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Iowa Teamsters back Finkenauer in 1st District U.S. House race

Union leader: 'Abby was always on the front lines standing with us'

State Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Dubuque, announces her candidacy for the District 1 U.S. House race at Paulson Electric in Cedar Rapids on May 3. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
State Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Dubuque, announces her candidacy for the District 1 U.S. House race at Paulson Electric in Cedar Rapids on May 3. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Iowa Teamsters, representing about 10,000 Iowans, has joined five other labor unions in endorsing State Rep. Abby Finkenauer in the 1st District U.S. House race.

The Teamsters, which represents both public and private sector employees, cited Finkenauer’s defense of working Iowans in endorsing the Dubuque Democrat for Congress.

“When the Republican majority in the state legislature attacked Iowa workers’ rights, pensions and wages earlier this spring, Abby was always on the front lines standing with us,” said Teamsters State Political Coordinator Jim Romar. Finkenauer will be “unafraid to stand up for working families against the deep-pocketed, right-wing agendas that want to shortchange them.”

In announcing its endorsement, the Teamsters noted incumbent Dubuque businessman Rep. Rod Blum, who this past week applauded Iowa legislative Republicans for passing legislation the union considers anti-worker — limiting public employees’ collective bargaining rights and workers’ compensation benefits. Blum said he was “jealous” he couldn’t enact the same agenda in Washington.

“Blum applauded his Republican friends for undercutting hardworking teachers, snowplow drivers, correctional officers and truck drivers,” Finkenauer said. “The deck is still stacked against Iowa working families, and I’m tired of out-of-touch politicians like Congressman Blum who put their ideology ahead of putting money back in the pockets of our friends and neighbors.”

The Teamsters’ support will help send Finkenauer to Congress to “finally bring the voices of working men and women to the table,” she said.

Finkenauer, 28, who is in a four-way race for the Democratic nomination, has won endorsements from SMART Local 91, AFSCME Council 61, Dubuque Building and Construction Trades, Ironworkers Local 89, and Plumbers and Pipefitters of East Central Iowa Local 125. She’s also been endorsed by Emily’s List, NARAL and more than 20 elected officials and activists.

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George Ramsey III of Marion, Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls and Courtney Rowe of Cedar Rapids also are seeking the Democratic nomination.

Finkenauer, a Dubuque native, is part of the first generation in her family to graduate from college, earning her degree from Drake University. She has worked for the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and was the state director for Make It Work, an organization dedicated to creating equal pay in the workplace. In 2014, she was elected to the Iowa House.

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

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