Kindler receives second Teamsters endorsement (updated)

Published 3:22 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

The political action committee that serves as an umbrella organization for the local law enforcement union has chosen to endorse Bob Kindler in the Freeborn County sheriff’s race.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 32 DRIVE announced on Wednesday it is backing Kindler, who is running against incumbent Sheriff Mark Harig in the Nov. 2 election.

JC 32 DRIVE, which stands for Democrat-Republican-Independent-Voter-Education, is the political action committee for Teamsters Joint Council 32.

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Teamsters Joint Council 32 is the umbrella organization for Teamsters Union Local 320 which represents Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office correction officers, licensed patrol deputies and jail sergeants and Albert Lea Police Department officers and dispatchers.

JC 32 also represents 14 other affiliated Teamster Local Unions representing more than 75,000 members in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

A joint statement sent to the Tribune on Oct. 22, by JC 32 DRIVE Commission President Scott Gelhar and Political Director Edward Reynoso dated Oct. 20, stated the following:

“The Teamsters know [Kindler] will work to protect the rights of Minnesota’s working men and women, and we want [Kindler] to know that we will be seeking his assistance in protecting Minnesota’s workers. We wish him great success.”

The statement also said the notification was at the request of Susan E. Mauren, president of Teamsters JC 32.

“I was very happy to receive the endorsement,” said Kindler. “This is reinforcing what the local Teamsters union had voted and gives me the full Teamster endorsement.”

Harig did not wish to comment.

According Reynoso, JC 32 DRIVE screens and recommends candidates for state and federal office based on their record and willingness to commit to a pro-worker agenda. Since the Teamsters are independent, their endorsements span the political spectrum.

Active and retired members of JC 32 support DRIVE through their contributions.

JC 32 DRIVE also organizes Teamsters and their families to volunteer on behalf of DRIVE-endorsed candidates, and contribute funds to their campaigns.

After the election, JC 32 works with elected officials to pass legislation to improve the lives of working families everywhere.

Local endorsement

The Local 320 endorsed Kindler late last month.

According to Mike Golen, business agent for the Local 320, the union chose to back Kindler on a 4-to-1 ratio, meaning that out of every five people who voted, four of the votes were for Kindler. Members of the Local 320 tallied the ballots on Sept. 30.

Golen said all 78 members of the union’s five departments were sent ballots but said he did not have the number of ballots tallied and actual vote count, nor is this information they release to the public. He said they share percentages.

Sheriff Mark Harig questioned the validity of that vote and why the Local 320 wouldn’t share the actual numbers.

“I’d like to know the breakdown myself, because personally I know people who didn’t send the ballot back in,” he said.

According to Golen, all Teamster members who had anything to do with law enforcement in Albert Lea and the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office were invited to participate.

Harig said the first time he found out about that endorsement was on Oct. 1, when contacted by the Tribune.

Look to for more information as it becomes available.