Labor-endorsed Karla Bigham fights ‘for an economy that works for everyone’

Karla Bigham

Working people have stood with Karla Bigham since her first campaign for the Legislature more than a decade ago. Bigham never took that support for granted, and she isn’t about to start now.

Bigham, a DFLer and longtime resident of Cottage Grove, is the labor-endorsed candidate in a Feb. 12 special election in Senate District 54, which includes Afton, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Newport, South St. Paul, St. Paul Park and surrounding townships.

“We’re excited to support Karla Bigham’s campaign for Senate,” St. Paul Regional Labor Federation President Bobby Kasper said. “She will be a strong advocate for working families in the southeast metro.”

As a two-term former legislator and current Washington County commissioner, Bigham has taken a hands-on approach to understanding the issues working people face. She’s gone on “ride-alongs” with local cops and probation officers, and observed public health nurses and teachers at work.

“I want to understand how the job actually gets done,” Bigham said. “That’s where we get good feedback so we can make the right policy decisions.”

Listening to workers is what collective bargaining is all about, and Bigham is a staunch supporter of unions and collective bargaining rights. She is a former member of two unions, the Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers.

Working people across the Mississippi River from District 54 have seen their bargaining rights stripped away by Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans. Bigham pledged to fight any attempt to put our state on the same path.

“As close as the Senate is, we have to defend against Right to Work laws, to make sure folks have the right to collectively bargain, to protect prevailing wage and stand up for economic equality,” Bigham said. “I’m fighting for a Minnesota economy that works for everyone. That’s what’s at stake.”

If elected to the Senate, Bigham said she will immediately focus on passing a robust infrastructure jobs bill, and she will support efforts already underway to address sexual harassment in the workplace, including state agencies. She also backs finalizing state employees’ union contracts, currently being held up by a legislative subcommittee.

Whether she’s elected to the Senate or not, though, working people can continue to count on Bigham being in their corner. “Any time you can stand with workers to lend your voice to their voice, it’s louder,” she said. “We have strength in numbers.”

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