AUGUSTA — One of the state's largest labor organizations says it's backing a pair of Maine Democrats running for federal office in 2014.
On Saturday, the Maine AFL-CIO voted to endorse state Sen. Emily Cain of Orono in her bid for Maine's 2nd District U.S. House seat in and Shenna Bellows of Manchester in her bid for the U.S. Senate.
The Maine AFL-CIO is a state federation of over 160 local unions representing over 42,000 workers and retirees across the state.
Bellows is facing incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins while Cain is facing former Maine State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin of Oakland, also a Republican.
“Emily has the same priorities as the hardworking people of the district — she will work to raise wages, create jobs and defend Social Security and Medicare," Don Berry, an electrician and president of the Maine AFL-CIO, said in a prepared statement Tuesday. "Emily Cain will stand up for working people and build a better Maine economy for everyone."
Emery Deabay, a papermaker from Bucksport and co-chairman of the Maine AFL-CIO Legislative Committee, also touted Cain in a prepared statement.
“The differences in this race could not be clearer," Deabay said. "Emily Cain will bring people together to support working families, while Bruce Poliquin is a rigid tea party ideologue on the side of the wealthy and of tax breaks for millionaires."
Berry said Bellows’ personal story growing up the daughter of a carpenter and a nurse in Hancock and her stances on issues of economic fairness and workers’ rights resonates with the members of Maine’s unions.
“Shenna Bellows would be a tremendous asset to the workers of Maine in the U.S. Senate," Berry said. "She understands the issues that matter to Maine people. She knows we need to raise wages and address income inequality in this country, and she is prepared to fight back against Wall Street greed that is hurting Maine workers and communities.”
The Maine AFL-CIO endorsement of Bellows came just days after Collins released her first political television advertisement of the season touting the support of four unions at Maine's largest employer Bath Iron Works.
"She cares, she cares about Bath Iron Works, she cares about the workers," Jay Wadleigh, president of Local 6 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at BIW, said in the television spot.