December 1, 2007
Contact: Anders Lindall


AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer issued this statement following the union's political conference in Peoria, Ill., where some 400 delegates representing Illinois AFSCME local unions voted to endorse candidates for the state's Feb. 5 primary elections:

"AFSCME Council 31 proudly and enthusiastically endorses Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States in the Democratic primary. More than any other candidate, Senator Obama has the integrity, vision and judgment to lead our nation in meeting the critical challenges now before us.

"AFSCME members in Illinois know firsthand the caliber of this man. He has been our unwavering ally in seeking to improve the lives of working families for more than 20 years, from his earliest days as a leader of Chicago's largest-ever voter registration drive to his ascendancy on the national stage. As a state senator and now as a United States senator, he has been a tireless advocate for making government more responsive to working people--expanding prescription drug coverage for seniors, improving education for our children, strengthening the rights of workers on the job.

"Senator Obama has consistently demonstrated the integrity to stand against entrenched special interests, the judgment to do what's right rather than what's politically convenient, and the vision to bring people together to solve tough problems across party lines.

"As President, Barack Obama will restore the right of American workers to freely form unions. We know this because long before the world's eyes were on him, Senator Obama stood with workers struggling to join AFSCME. We know he will work tirelessly to achieve universal health care and protect retirement security for all American families because he has fought for these same goals here in Illinois.

"We also know that as President, Senator Obama will end the tragic war in Iraq. With foresight and courage he opposed the war before it began and spoke forcefully against its authorization. It has cost the lives of thousands of Americans, diminished our standing in the world, and drained from our treasury one trillion dollars better spent on education, health care and other domestic priorities.

"We believe that Barack Obama is the candidate most likely to attract the support of independents, Republicans, and new voters necessary to win the White House. With his leadership, the American people have the rare chance to make real, historic change in our nation and the world."

About AFSCME Council 31
The Illinois council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME Council 31 represents more than 95,000 active and retired public-service workers statewide.

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