The carpenters' union that represents about 12,000 Minnesota members released a list of legislative endorsements on Friday that includes both Democratic and a hefty dose of Republican lawmakers.
Those winning the nod include both the Senate's Republican Majority Leader Dave Senjem, of Rochester, and it's DFL Minority Leader Tom Bakk, of Cook, and the Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers, of Maple Grove, and it's DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen, of Minneapolis. Here's the complete list of endorsees.
Kyle Makarios, the union’s Director of Government Affairs, said the union's major issue is jobs and that, "has not been a partisan issue."
The construction bonding bills were major issues as well and although Democrats tended to want more borrowing than Republicans, the union was pleased with the eventual passage of medium-sized bonding bills both last year and this, he said. Construction of a new Minnesota Vikings stadium was also a priorities and that passed, even though Zellers voted against it.
"We are not going to hold up an endorsement over one particular vote," Makarios said.
House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, was on among the carpenters' endorsees.
"I want everybody to endorse me so that's a good thing," Dean said. Although the Capitol fights are sometimes boiled down to Democrats siding with unions and Republicans siding against them, Dean said the lines are not that bright in reality.
Campaigning as a Republican with union endorsement would be a positive attribute, Dean said.
Education Minnesota, the state's teachers union, has also released a list of some of their legislative endorsements. That list, too, includes some Republicans, although fewer than the carpenters'.