When AFSCME, the state's largest public employees union, interviewed gubernatorial candidates for possible endorsement, all the Democrats and one Republican -- Pat Anderson -- showed up.

When MAPE, the state's second largest public employees union, did their screening all the Democrats and one Republican -- Pat Anderson -- showed up again.

What's Anderson, who leans closer to libertarian than she does to labor, doing?

Just reaching out, she said.

"It gives me a chance to sit down with the unions and talk to them about my philosophy and who I am," said Anderson, who also screened with public employee unions when she was running for auditor. She won the 2002 auditors race, without union endorsement. "Public employee unions are a fact of life."

Anderson has had her share of contact with the unions as a commissioner of the state's Department of Employee Relations and says all state officials and potential governors should remember: "the public employees themselves are your staff and in order to accomplish the things that you need to accomplish you need to have buy in from your staff."

"I think it's a bad policy to run around and bash people in public employees unions," she said.

Both AFSCME and MAPE passed her by when they endorsed this year, just as she expected -- and hoped.

"It would hurt me to get their endorsements," she said.


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