A Union Leader Battles to Win the Pennsylvania 14th Legislative District for Working Families
By Randy Shannon, PA 4th CD Chapter, Progressive Democrats of America
This year Dennis Rousseau, a leader of the Carpenter’s Union, is fighting to win back the 14th District seat for labor and the Democratic Party. Dennis has been a member of the Carpenters Union for 33 years. He is the Business Representative for Local 422 and Local 500 and the Political Action Chairman of the Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters. He is a volunteer and leader in many programs that help working families in Beaver County cope with job loss and dislocation.
Progressive Democrats in the 4th District should spend the rest of the month knocking on doors in Midland, Rochester, New Brighton, Chippewa, and Beaver Falls for Rousseau along with the Obama-Biden ticket. While Beaver County is key to winning the state for Obama, the 14th Legislative District is key to winning a progressive legislature for Pennsylvania.
In 2010 western Pennsylvania will lose a U.S. Congressional seat as young people are leaving to search for jobs. The Congressional District map will be redrawn by the Pennsylvania legislature. Dennis Rousseau has pledged to do all he can to make sure that western Pennsylvania loses a Republican seat in Congress instead of a Democratic one. Winning back the 14th District Legislative seat is important to Progressive Democrats of America.
Because of the last Republican redistricting, the 4th CD is stretched from the Ohio border to Monroeville, east of Pittsburgh. The 4th CD is a weaker Democratic District with Republican districts to the north and to the south. In 2010, redistricting can potentially strengthen the Democratic 4th CD, eliminate one Republican district, and swing another Republican district to the Democratic column in western Pennsylvania.
Dennis Rousseau and a united Democratic caucus from this area can bargain for a larger 4th CD west of Pittsburgh. This kind of district will be a more forceful voice for Medicare for All, for ending the war in Iraq, and bringing funding for infrastructure projects to western Pennsylvania.
The 14th Legislative District has been one of the strongest Democratic seats in the Legislature because of the strong union influence in the steel, glass, machine, and service industries in the Beaver valley. That seat was lost to an inept Republican due to voter anger at the culture of arrogance and corruption that permeated the legislature in Harrisburg. Top Democratic and Republican leaders were involved and subsequently were replaced by candidates from the opposite party, no matter how weak they were. We now have an ineffectual and out of touch legislator with no base.
Dennis Rousseau is struggling against a Republican smear campaign that tries to associate every Democrat with the culture of corruption. The AFL-CIO campaign for Obama-Biden is helping Dennis with combined lit drops and phone banking. Voters must hear that electing Dennis is key to an economic recovery in our area.
Redistricting for a stronger Democratic Congressional delegation in Washington will help carry progressive legislation in the second half of an Obama presidency. Dennis is currently behind in the polls. A boost from Progressive Democrats can make a difference in the 14th Legislative District of Beaver County.