Meek gets key union endorsement in Senate bid
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02/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

This morning one of the biggest public employee unions in Florida endorsed Miami area Congressman Kendrick Meek in the Senate race in 2010.

The endorsement by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is an early and strong boost for the Democrat. Currently, only Miami Beach Sen. Dan Gelber and North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns have announced their candidacies, though there could be several more announcing in the coming months.

Monica Russo is president of the Florida SEIU. She says her members "barraged" the group to get behind Meek now.

Russo said the SEIU has worked extremely well with Meek for years, going back to his time as a state legislator in the 1990s; and in particular, for his work on bringing about the Class Size Amendment, which Floridians approved back in 2002.

Kendrick Meek said his campaign so far has been about learning about various parts of the electorate.

Meek was in Tampa yesterday fundraising, and he mentioned that he has hired political consultant Steve Hildebrand, who served as Deputy National Campaign Manager for Barack Obama.

The SEIU represents public employees, janitorial workers, as well as health care aides and orderlies. Martha Baker is a registered nurse who works at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Congressman (roll tape#4 o.q.”move us forward”)

The SEIU says it has more than 45,000 members in Florida.

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