Beltway Happenings
February 25, 2007--Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) said he chartered a plane from Florida so as to be able to arrive in time to address the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Legislative Conference.  Richardson said that he had voted with AFGE 96% of the time during his 15 years in Congress and he recalled many small actions he had taken as Secretary of Energy to improve conditions for employees.  He noted that he had established a labor council with AFGE leadership and had received an award from Office of Personnel Management.  Speaking on the situation in Iraq Richardson stated, "I would bring the troops back in one year."  "Of all the candidates, I believe I have the strongest foreign policy experience," Richardson said.  Richardson acknowledged that labor appears to have a favored candidate in the 2008 race (former Sen. John Edwards, who spoke to the group earlier in the afternoon), but urged the audience to "keep your options open."

After the speech, Richard Anaya, 1st vice president of AFGE Local 2263 at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico, praised Richardson.  He said that Richardson's first act as governor had been to repeal the previous administration's ban on collective bargaining, and he praised Richardson's record on economic development.  "It's not the McDonald's jobs he's bringing in," said Anaya.  He also noted Richardson has "a proven track record as a federal manager."

AFGE claims 217,500 members (active and retired) in 1,100 locals around the country.

Copyright © 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action