The Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council will focus on voting records, and not on political labels, as it evaluates candidates in coming state races, reports The Tennessean, quoting President Gary Moore. “We’re going to look at and endorse candidates who support labor regardless of party affiliation,” he said. That’s a shift for the council, which represents about 300 unions and affiliates with 60,000-plus members in Tennessee and has a history of heavily favoring Democrats.
In the 2012 state legislative campaign, it endorsed 53 Democrats, one independent and one Republican. The council previously based its political endorsements largely on the candidates’ party affiliations and pledges to support workers but never really followed up to verify whether their votes matched their words, Moore said.
When the council did so for the 2013 legislative session, there were some surprising results.
“We found out that not all Democrats are friends with working people,” Moore said, singling out Rep. Charles Curtiss of Sparta as an example.
Curtiss voted against the council’s position on six key bills, including Gov. Bill Haslam’s workers compensation reform measure. Moore said that could cost Curtiss the council’s endorsement in the 2014 campaign.
News release from House Democratic Caucus:
(Nashville) – State Rep. Gary Moore Thursday announced his retirement from the Tennessee House of Representatives after eight years of service.
“Gary Moore is one of my best friends,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “I’ve worked with him for 25 years in the Nashville Fire Department and I’ve literally stood shoulder to shoulder with him working to protect the people in our community. His colleagues this morning expressed their gratitude for his institutional knowledge and recognized the hole he will leave in our caucus.”
Moore, who was recently elected President of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, spent his years in the House fighting for working families and formerly served as Democratic Caucus Treasurer. He serves on the House Consumer and Employee Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
Moore resides in Joelton with his wife, Gloria. They have two children and four grandchildren. He represents District 50, is active in the communities he represents, and is a member of First Baptist Church, Joelton. He attended the National Labor College and Volunteer State Community College.
He served as a Nashville Firefighter for 30 years, and held the position of Captain for 11 years. He has over 40 years experience in developing various types of business and community organizations on a local, state and multi-state level.
With a profound concern for the environment, youth, senior citizens, veterans and the citizens of Tennessee, Moore is always willing to organize or become involved in any cause that will benefit them. He is a seasoned charity fundraiser, organized a citizens environmental group, is a founding member of “Get Kids Hooked on Fishing Instead of Drugs” and has organized Property Tax Assistance, Inc., a 501 ( c ) 3 that provides tax assistance to low income senior citizens.
“Gary will be missed as a colleague in the House, but we know he’ll still be around fighting for the causes we all stand for,” Turner said.
State Rep. Gary Moore, the newly-elected president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, says he will separate his duties as a legislator from the statewide union’s lobbying and political activities.
State Republican Chairman Chris Devaney questions whether that is possible.
“This isn’t like he’s become the president of the Mickey Mouse Club,” said Devaney. “He will be the Tennessee face of one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in America every time he shows his face on the House floor talking about an issue.”
“He needs to figure out if he wants to represent his district or represent the AFL-CIO,” Devaney said in an interview.
The GOP chairman also issued a news release last week declaring that Moore, D-Nashville, would be the “de facto campaign manager” for President Obama’s reelection effort in Tennessee.
Moore said that Devaney is wrong and that his new position is no different than that of other lawmakers who make a living outside the Legislature.
“Does Ron Ramsey become the face of auctioneers when he’s presiding over the Senate? Is Debra Maggart the face of school boards? Is Joey Hensley the face of doctors on the House floor? You could go on and on and on,” said Moore.
The Tennessee Republican Party, which rarely misses an opportunity to bash Democrats, has not missed the selection of state Rep. Gary Moore, D-Nashville, as president of the state AFL-CIO. Here’s the news release:
NASHVILLE, TN – Earlier this week, Democrat State Representative Gary Moore, District 50, was elected to serve as President of the Tennessee Chapter of the AFL-CIO Labor Council.
The AFL-CIO, including all chapters, enthusiastically endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008 stating, “…he’s leading the fight to turn around America…Obama knows what it’s going to take to create an economy that works for everyone…Obama has vowed to fight for working families and for an economy that works for all–and he has the record to prove it.”
“Make no mistake, Gary Moore will be leading the fight in Tennessee to re-elect Barack Obama and perpetuate his failed economic policies. Whether it includes raising money or organizing grassroots efforts, Moore will essentially be Obama’s de-facto campaign manager in the state,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
Just today, The Hill reported that Michael Podhorzer, the labor federation’s top politics officer, said, “There’s no question that the Obama administration has done many things that have helped working people…” The story also indicates that the union is likely to create a “super PAC” that can spend and receive unlimited amounts of campaign cash to help fund campaigns like President Obama’s.
“One could give the AFL-CIO the benefit of the doubt about what they said of Obama back in 2008; but to reaffirm their position that Obama is showing leadership on the economy, even as the economy continues to tank, is not only misguided, but naïve. As the leader of the Tennessee chapter of this big union, it will be difficult, if not impossible for Gary Moore to distance himself from this position,” said Devaney.
In 2004 and in subsequent re-election campaigns, Moore has received thousands of dollars from the AFL-CIO to fund his own campaign.
The Obama Record Endorsed by the AFL-CIO:
New Low Of 26% Approve Of Obama On The Economy. From Gallup: “A new low of 26% of Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, down 11 percentage points since Gallup last measured it in mid-May and well below his previous low of 35% in November 2010.” http://bit.ly/ojgvGF
Consumer Prices Rose By The Most Since March. From the Associated Press: “Consumers paid more for gas, food and clothes last month, pushing prices up by the most since the spring.” http://apne.ws/nN0WYK
Jobless Claims In U.S. Top Forecast, Climb Back Above 400k. From Bloomberg News: “More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, signaling the labor market is struggling two years into the economic recovery. Jobless claims climbed by 9,000 to 408,000 in the week ended Aug. 13, the highest in a month, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington.” http://bloom.bg/oYukin
The state AFL-CIO chapter has tapped a Nashville firefighters’ union president and state legislator to be its top leader as part of a top-management shakeup, reports the Tennessean.
State Rep. Gary W. Moore, D-Joelton, was elected president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council during the union’s biennial convention in Nashville earlier this week. Moore succeeds Jerry Lee, who did not seek re-election to the post he had held since 2003.
Another longtime union executive also stepped down: Eddie Bryan, who retired as secretary/treasurer after 32 years. James C. Hale, a former union official and labor activist from Sparta, Tenn., succeeds him.
Moore, 62, did not return telephone messages Wednesday. In addition to serving as a state representative, Moore is president of the union that represents Nashville firefighters.
“I think Gary will be a very energetic leader,” Lee said in a phone interview. Lee, 73, said he isn’t retiring from his union career but felt it was time for a change.