Senate should support bonding bill, says Business Manager Jason George

Local 49 Business Manager Jason George is encouraging Minnesota senators to support the proposed bonding bill, which was passed with bipartisan support in the Minnesota House. He released the following letter encouraging senators to work across party lines and do what’s right for the state:

Dear Senator,

I ask you to support SF 676/HF 669 and SF 677/HF 670, which together create a $1.9 billion bonding bill funding hundreds of projects that will put Local 49 members to work rebuilding Minnesota. Every corner of this state, and many different industries where our members work, will benefit.

As you know, we are the largest construction union in Minnesota, with close to 15,000 active members who support 20,000 spouses and children with their union jobs. We have hundreds of members in each of your districts, and I write on their behalf.

Our union is unlike most, because our endorsement isn’t handed to one party, it is earned. We are proud to support members from both sides of the aisle, and especially proud that we only focus on two narrow issues in politics — jobs and union rights.

This is the biggest jobs bill that will come before you this session. Holding bonding bills hostage to other issues has proven to be poor political strategy in the recent past. In addition, this posturing creates uncertainty for your local communities, local businesses and the local workers you represent.

We understand politics. We understand the inclination to use this as leverage for tax cuts. There is a massive government surplus, and we agree some should be returned to taxpayers. But please do not to hold this bill hostage to make that point. It is not necessary. The Governor and a number of other Democrats are calling for some kind of tax relief for Minnesotans. You can build on that support.

Furthermore, I say this to my Republican friends, who are many. The DFL won the elections. They can pass a cash-only bill without your input, and they absolutely will if you play these games. It would be a shame if Republican-represented districts had no say in this bill at all. Bonding should not be a partisan issue. We commend the House Republicans who worked with the House majority and advocated for projects that help their districts. Putting partisan politics aside was the right thing to do and was what their constituents wanted.

I also say this to my DFL friends, who are many. Don’t count on us to help you make bonding a political gotcha moment. Whatever happens with this vote, we encourage you to work with your colleagues across the aisle on this and other issues, even though you don’t have to.

Minnesota works best when the parties compete but then, at the end of the day, work together on core issues Minnesotans agree on. Bonding bills that rebuild Minnesota and put thousands of skilled tradespeople to work are one such issue.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jason George
Business Manager
International Union of Operating Engineers