TRADE UNIONS THROW WEIGHT BEHIND DAVIS by Roxanne Escobales

09/18/06

While Republican Charlie Crist leads the race for governor less than two months before the general election, polls show the margin is slim enough that Crist should feel opponent Jim Davis’s breath on his neck. At a strategy meeting today in Tampa, trade union federation the AFL-CIO hopes to light Davis’s jets by mobilizing members to get out the vote for a Democratic candidate they say will help working families. WMNF’s Roxanne Escobales reports.

[davis gladhand then under]

Three days after the primary election when Democrats voted in Jim Davis as their gubernatorial nominee, trade union group the AFL-CIO came out with an endorsement for the US Congressman. Today, Davis shook hands with trade union leaders as they lunched during a meeting at the Wyndahm Hotel in Westshore.

With a half-million members in Florida, the AFL-CIO endorsement is a boon to the Davis campaign as the labor federation plans a grassroots onslaught in the coming weeks.

Florida AFL CIO political director Deborah Dionne says the trade union has a four-pronged strategy for getting its members out to the polls on election day. It plans door-to-door walks to contact 149-thousand households in the state.

ACT:

Other plans include phoning nearly 300-hundred-thousand union members who don’t normally vote in off-year elections. Work sites will be leafleted promoting Jim Davis for governor and mailers will feature heavily between now and November 7th. According to the Dionne, all tried and true methods.

ACT: It works, we know it works, we’ve won elections like that before.

Dionne says it’s the bread and butter issues that resonate with AFL CIO members and Davis is being touted as the candidate that fights for working families. While the Republicans say that under Governor Jeb Bush, the state has experienced phenomenal job growth. But the union says this growth has not improved the lives of everyday Floridians.

Florida AFL CIO communications director Rich Templin

ACT:

Templin says the current state economy is a throwback to the 80s.

ACT: voodoo economics

Jim Davis says Floridians need a change while Charlie Crist promises to stay the course navigated by Jeb Bush for the past 8 years. The union leaders at the meeting agree with Davis. ACT: Vox pops

Jim Davis is considered a policy wonk, someone who gets buried in the details. Now he’s positioning himself as someone who listens to the concerns of the average Joe. After a closed door meeting with union leaders, Jim Davis told WMNF he’s dedicated to the middle classes.

ACT:

Davis hasn’t yet revealed how this translates into concrete policies, but he said he’ll unveil his plans as soon as later this week.

For WMNF News in Tampa, I’m Roxanne Escobales.

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