Government

Iowa labor federation endorses Boulton for governor

State Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, speaks to a labor rally Thursday in the Iowa Capitol after receiving the endorsement of the Iowa Federation AFL-CIO. Boulton is one of six Democrats seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor. (James Q. Lynch/Gazette Des Moines Bureau)
State Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, speaks to a labor rally Thursday in the Iowa Capitol after receiving the endorsement of the Iowa Federation AFL-CIO. Boulton is one of six Democrats seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor. (James Q. Lynch/Gazette Des Moines Bureau)

DES MOINES — Democratic state Sen. Nate Boulton has won the backing of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO in his race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Boulton, a freshman senator from Des Moines, reminded more than 100 union members chanting “run with Nate” in the Capitol rotunda Thursday afternoon that he has a record of “fighting for you and with you” as a lawmaker and as a labor attorney.

“We stood up and fought them then,” he said of the unsuccessful battles last year against changes in Iowa’s public employee collective bargaining law and workers’ compensation program. “We stood up to them. We fought them every step of the way.

“Today we stand united for something,” said Boulton, 37.

The endorsement of Boulton represents working Iowans saying they are “tired of the same old ideas that have led our state to the brink of financial disaster, led us to the underfunding of schools and disregard for our children’s education, led us to low wages and poor opportunities,” said Ken Sagar, president of the labor federation, which represents nearly a quarter million public and private sector workers and their families.

“We need a new leader who will stand up for working Iowans, our children, our seniors and the values that Iowans believe in,” Sagar said in a statement. “Nate has the energy and the positive vision forward that our state needs, and we support him 100 percent.”

Noting that he grew up in a union household, Boulton called on union members to join him in the fight “to expand workplace rights and safety so every Iowan is valued and respected on the job.”

Today in Iowa, he said, “the working class is the forgotten class.”

The choice in 2018 is “a future of opportunity or a future of economic quicksand, of being low-skilled, low-wage,” Boulton said.

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“This is our moment, and this movement has to lead Iowa in this moment because our backs are against the wall,” Boulton said.

Boulton’s campaign rally showed “exactly where his priorities lie as his only focus is on the union bosses that are funding his campaign,” according to the Republican Party of Iowa. “But if Boulton is truly the candidate for labor unions, then he should put his money where his mouth is by unionizing his own campaign. At the end of the day, hardworking Iowans deserve better than a candidate who won’t lead by example.”

That a reference to a decision by the campaign staff of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful SEIU labor union leader Cathy Glasson to unionize.

In addition to Glasson, Boulton faces former Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire, former USDA official John Norris, retired businessman Fred Hubbell and Iowa State University diversity officer Ross Wilburn.

The primary is June 5.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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