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Local News

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff joins labor leaders in Denver for roundtable discussion

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by Lindsey Toomer, Colorado Newsline
March 22, 2024

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff sat down with local union leaders in Denver on Thursday to talk about the Biden-Harris campaign’s continued support of union work. 

Union leaders from the Service Employees International Union Local 105, the Colorado Education Association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and others sat down with Emhoff to ask questions about labor at a roundtable hosted by the Colorado Democratic Party.

The national organizations for both SEIU and AFSCME endorsed Biden last year.

“We are making the case to everyone that the Biden-Harris administration has delivered for the American people, including folks in labor,” Emhoff said. 

Emhoff touted how supportive President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been of unions throughout their time in office. He noted the millions of jobs created to support projects funded by laws such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. 

“It is the most pro-labor administration in history,” Emhoff said. “We’re going to invest in good paying union jobs, protect your bargaining rights, fight to expand overtime protections. We revoked (former President Donald) Trump’s executive orders that hurt all of these things. We established the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, which is chaired by Kamala Harris.” 

Biden and Trump clinched their parties’ presidential nominations earlier this month.

Heather Burke, president of AFSCME Local 3927, said the Biden-Harris campaign can win union member votes by targeting younger voters, focusing on topics important to them such as reproductive rights and clean air and water. 

Emhoff expressed confidence in the campaign, saying “we’re gonna win this election.” He said the same team that beat Trump in 2020 is already working to do it again. 

“Part of what we have to do is just remind people about what it was really like when Trump wins, because I think there has been some kind of amnesia about it, some kind of weird nostalgia about those years,” Emhoff said. “We got to remind people what that feeling was like, because it’s going to be worse now because he’s worse now than he was back then.”

Key actions from Trump that troubled Emhoff include the spread of COVID misinformation, tax cuts for “the wealthiest people, the biggest corporations” — which he said “gutted” the economy — and “cozying up to dictators.” He also said Trump attacked unions, removing workplace protections, making unionizing more difficult and putting union busters on the National Labor Relations Board. 

“A strong economy is built on rule of law,” Emhoff said. “A strong economy is built on freedom — freedom of ideas, freedom to create, freedom to innovate — all the things that we enjoy, that will be gone, God forbid.”

When November comes around, Emhoff said the administration will do everything it can to ensure people are able to vote and that their votes will be counted. 

“That’s how America works — free and fair elections, and whoever gets the most votes wins,” Emhoff said. “And the loser needs to concede when they lose and not continue to lie about losing the election, just like Donald Trump has been doing all the way since 2020.”

Emhoff started the day off touring the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods of Denver alongside Mayor Mike Johnston.

Colorado Democratic Party Chair Shad Murib said Colorado is “fortunate” to have so much attention from the White House. Harris spoke in Denver just last week, and Biden visited Pueblo to tout “Bidenomics” in November. He said if Colorado comes out strong for the Biden-Harris campaign, it could lead to the election of other Colorado Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo in the 8th Congressional District and Adam Frisch in the 3rd Congressional District. 

“We’re proud that Colorado is such a strong state, but it’s also key to their victory, and so welcoming them at any chance we get is just a true joy,” Murib said. “Anybody who says Colorado is not important, Just take a look at the president visiting Pueblo, the president designated Camp Hale a national monument, he visited Denver, and the vice president’s been here a number of times in the past couple years.”

The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, south of Vail, in 2022 became the first national monument created under the Biden administration.

This story is republished from CO Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.