Related content: Race for 8th District congressional seat heats up
At least one labor union as well as the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund are backing candidate Chip Cravaack in the race for U.S. Rep. District 8. Several statewide newspapers, including the Star Tribune and the Duluth News Tribune, are also endorsing Cravaack.
The union that supports Chip Cravaack is the International Union of Operating Engineers, also known as Local 49. This union is based in three states – Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Local 49 has over 1,300 members and was formed with construction workers in mind.
After hearing from three Democrats, union members took a secret vote and decided to endorse Cravaack, said Jason George, spokesman for Local 49. “It’s up to each individual union, and our members decided to go this way,” George said.
Local 49 likes that Cravaack favors jobs in mining, oil pipeline and construction, George said. He said the union also supports Cravaak because even though he is a Republican, he has voted for David Bacon and has been a union member himself. Local 49 members were also happy that Cravaack voted for the transportation bill, George said.
The College Republicans at the University of Minnesota Duluth also endorse Cravaack. Members of the group "table" on campus, which involves distributing information to students who visit their table.
The UMD College Republicans also visit the Duluth Victory Center where they call local individuals and discuss Cravaack's stance on popular issues. Betsy Johnson, president of the UMD College Republicans, said she agrees with Cravaack’s devotion to creating jobs.
“He’s spending a lot of time talking about mining and jobs,” Johnson said. “[He wants to] open up mining to open up jobs.”
Cravaack is taking into consideration the environmental effects that mining will have in the future, and he is open to finding alternative sources of energy, Johnson said.
Because of the potential environmental effects of mining, policies have recently been put into place to protect the land. These policies raise taxes and hurt the market, according to Ryan Lyk, chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans. Because there are so many policies, jobs are being lost, Lyk said.
“Businesses are having to lay people off because of these policies,” Lyk said. “All Cravaack wants to do is make sure the 8th District is a working district again.”
Lyk said many unions are starting to support Cravaack’s point of view because they are realizing that he stands for the workers.
“He’s the one that’s fighting for what they want, which is the jobs, not more government bureaucrats,” Lyk said. “Cravaack has more union support than many of the Republican candidates have had over the years."
Lyk said he supports Cravaack’s campaign because he "isn’t in it for the title."
“He talks about the real solution," Lyk said. "He’s going to be honest with what he believes in."
Other organizations that endorse Cravaack include the Bemidji Pioneer, National Right to Life Committee, Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life Federal PAC, Mesabi Daily News, ECM Publishers, Inc., and Steelworkers, according to Cravaack's campaign website.
Editor's Note: Several requests were made to interview Cravaack, but campaign staff said he would only respond to email interviews. It is against the policies of LakeVoice News to conduct email interviews.