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Arizona, Elections, Politics

Union endorses Matt Salmon

Posted: August 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm   /   by

The Republican primary in Congressional District 5 has become a nasty slog to the finish line.  Today it came out that a union – the Professional Firefighters of Arizona – endorsed only one GOP candidate for federal office.  That candidate was Matt Salmon.

This endorsement likely stems from the fact that when in Congress previously, Salmon sponsored the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.  This bill was an intrusive piece of legislation that would have taken political power away from state and local governments by mandating collective bargaining for many of their employees.  Some of his fellow cosponsors were Nancy Pelosi, Ed Pastor, and Tom Barrett — who ran against Gov. Walker in the Wisconsin recall election.

Cops and firefighters provide important services to the community.  But former public employees’ pension costs are hurting the ability of cities and states to fund those services in the present.  Stockton, California, recently filed for bankruptcy after public sector unions refused to compromise on compensation and benefits.

Last year, Stockton made Forbes’s list of “Most Miserable Cities” because of its staggering levels of unemployment (near 20 percent) and crime (it’s the tenth-most-dangerous city in terms of violent crime). And over the last three years, Stockton saw 25 percent of its police officers, 30 percent of its firefighting staff, and 43 percent of its other public employees let go as the city scrambled to cut $90 million from its budget.

Some observers have questioned whether there is a connection between Salmon’s lobbying work and his positions on the issues, and in that regard, it is noteworthy that the Arizona Professional Firefighters Association is now one of his clients at Upstream Consulting. Upstream has had a number of big clients with a heavy interest in decisions made in Washington, including Big Pharma, General Motors, and green energy companies. When these companies look to lobby Washington for advantages, will they seek out Salmon as a friendly face if he returns to Congress?

Hannah Thoreson

Hannah Thoreson is a science and technology writer based in northern Virginia. She earned a physics degree from Arizona State University in 2012 and has been causing trouble ever since.

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Union endorses Matt Salmon