AFSCME Council 5 Hosts Gubernatorial Forum; Endorses Governor Tim Walz

AFSCME Council 5 Hosts Gubernatorial Forum

On the evening of March 3, 2022 AFSCME Council 5 hosted a gubernatorial forum for members to ask questions of candidates running to be Governor of Minnesota.

The central themes of our gubernatorial forum were: Member access and engagement, transparency, and open participation with AFSCME members and retirees. Our forum was by AFSCME members, for AFSCME members.

Many thousands of invites were sent to our members' home emails and via text message to ensure as much member input was included as possible. This event was also co-hosted by AFSCME Chapter 5 Retirees United and thousands of AFSCME retiree members were invited to also participate. Our union even expanded our virtual platform to allow for up to 1,000 member and retiree attendees.

AFSCME Council 5 extended invitations to Governor Tim Walz, as well as Republican challengers including Dr. Neil Shah, Sen. Michelle Benson, Sen. Paul Gazelka, Scott Jensen, and Kendall Qualls, to attend our gubernatorial forum with our members on March 3, 2022. The only gubernatorial candidate who accepted our invitation was Governor Tim Walz. Republican challengers either outright denied to support our basic rights as union members to exist or otherwise ignored our invitation to answer our members' questions. We are disappointed in their decision.

All AFSCME members and retirees were provided access to submit questions ahead of the forum and we asked as many of those questions as possible in the course of the forum. As Executive Director Julie Bleyhl, President Eric Hesse, and others declared: Our union and our country are run by those who show up, stressing the importance of continued member engagement and activism in the operations of our union and the forward trajectory of our state and country. We are grateful for the member turnout at our forum!

Our union stands strong in our legacy of transparency, openness, and robust member engagement, and this includes the invitations sent to many gubernatorial candidates to participate in our forum. Our union cannot and will not tolerate any elected official from any political party to attack our rights to exist, who want to turn public services over to corporations, attack our retirement security and turn our pensions over to hedge fund managers, or otherwise refuse to push for policies and investments that will ensure all Minnesotans' right to live happy, safe, and thriving lives. We were happy to welcome gubernatorial candidates who otherwise decided to ignore this opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue and debate with the 43,000 workers we proudly represent.

As AFSCME members, we always look at how lawmakers vote, rather than their rhetoric. Be sure to view our legislative scorecards to judge some of the declared gubernatorial candidates' votes for yourself.

We are proud of the work our members do every single day to ensure our communities are safe, healthy, and thriving. And no matter where you live, what you look like, who you may or may not pray to, or who you love, all of our members have a place in our 'big tent' union!

State and local candidate endorsements are made by the AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board.

Video of gubernatorial forum background information:

AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board Votes to Endorse Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan 

 March 17, 2022 - 

Following our member-led AFSCME Council 5 Gubernatorial Forum, the AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board voted overwhelmingly to endorse Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan for re-election. We are confident in Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan’s leadership in the building of our future that is rooted in the lived experiences of all working people, no matter their background or zip code. Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan have a proven track record of fighting for policies and funding initiatives that will positively transform our state to ensure the working-class can live safe, healthy, and thriving lives in every corner of our state. Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan have stood alongside our union and working people in the halls of power, in our workplaces, communities, and in the courtroom to protect workers’ rights and ensure members of the working-class are truly heard and respected."


*Prepared and paid for by AFSCME Council 5 PEOPLE Fund. 300 Hardman Ave. S. South St. Paul, MN 55075.*