What’s It Take To Get An Endorsement? 10 Organizations/Unions Explain How

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/10/10/whats-it-take-to-get-an-endorsement-10-organizations-unions-explain-how/

Political candidates tout endorsements, which raises the question:  what exactly do they mean?

When a candidate has an endorsement from an advocacy group or union, what does it say — particularly about their policy positions?

New Boston Post reached out to more than 25 organizations that endorse candidates to ask what the endorsement process is like and what a candidate has to stand for to earn their endorsement.

In all, 10 responded. Here is what they had to say:


Massachusetts Citizens for Life

Massachusetts Citizens for Life can’t make endorsements because it is a 501(c)(4) corporation, which federal and state rules prohibit from endorsing candidates. However, an external political action committee in state races and an internal political action committee in federal races make such decisions. They pick candidates based on their support for defending life — from conception to natural death.

MCFL considers candidates from all parties, sending Bay State candidates a questionnaire in every election cycle.

“Do the responses indicate that the candidate will consistently and unqualifiedly support legislation that advances pro-life causes?” a statement from the Massachusetts Citizens For Life PAC Chairman provided by Pat Stewart told New Boston Post. “Are the responses ‘mixed’ – meaning pro-life on some issues but not on others? Did the candidate not respond at all? Is the candidate ‘personally opposed’ to abortion or doctor-prescribed suicide, for example, but in practice, would vote to support legislation that favored these policies?”

“Other factors that may be considered include for incumbents, his or her voting record on pro-life issues, and for all candidates whether or not he or she belongs to any pro-life organizations or has done any work to advance pro-life causes,” the statement continued. “Irrespective of party affiliation, only candidates that unequivocally, consistently, and publicly stand for pro-life policies are eligible to receive the State PAC’s endorsement.”

In federal elections, the MCFL PAC uses similar standards and may take into consideration the perspective of individual people on MCFL’s board of directors.


National Federation of Independent Business

In Massachusetts, the National Federation of Independent Business has a state political action committee that is willing to endorse candidates from any party. The organization bases its endorsements of incumbents on their voting record, Massachusetts state director Christopher Carlozzi told New Boston Post. For non-incumbents, NFIB uses a questionnaire of issues they see as important to small businesses. Then, the state political action committee board, composed of small business owners, decides whom to endorse.

So what issues do they consider?

Economic recovery for small businesses is the primary concern for NFIB,” Carlozzi wrote in an email message. “Creating an environment where businesses will thrive and begin to create jobs again is vital to the state’s recovery. This means elected officials must resist the urge to raise taxes, introduce new labor mandates, or increase operating costs for small employers. In order to prevent dark storefronts in communities across the Commonwealth, lawmakers will need to support legislation that will encourage small business growth, not inhibit expansion through higher taxes or increased mandates.”


Massachusetts Voters for Animals

Massachusetts Voters for Animals endorses Democrats and Republicans alike and considers candidates regardless of their party affiliation. They look only at Massachusetts State House races.

Our group’s sole mission is to endorse and try to help elect to the State House the most humane minded candidates who we feel would most strongly advocate for protecting animals from cruelty and to try to defeat candidates who we feel likely to support bills that would harm them,” Marge Peppercorn, a steering committee member for Massachusetts Voters for Animals, told New Boston Post in an email message.

The candidates receive a questionnaire. The group assesses the positions listed on a candidate’s web site, as well as a candidate’s past voting record, if applicable.

“We don’t actually have a main issue and instead ask questions that touch on each group of animal — farm, wildlife, research lab, and domestic,” Peppercorn wrote. “For example we ask views about the wildlife protection act trapping restrictions, having wild animals in circuses and other traveling shows, civil citations for neglect and cruelty of all domestic animals not just dogs, breed-specific insurance regulations, use of animals for cosmetic testing, ivory and rhino horn commerce, Sunday hunting, etc.”

“For each question, we give a brief background of the issue and then ask the candidate’s opinion,” she added.


Massachusetts Nurses’ Association

The Massachusetts Nurses’ Association has a group of nurses and health care professionals elected by their colleagues in Massachusetts who serve on the board of directors and on the board of the organization’s political action committee. They use questionnaires and interviews, and Joe Markman, an Massachusetts Nurses’ Association spokesman, told New Boston Post in an email message that “all candidates are welcome to seek endorsement.”

He also explained what the nurses’ association looks for in a candidate.

“Among top priorities when considering endorsements:  Support and protection for nurses and healthcare professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring safe, high-quality patient care conditions, a safe workplace, fair working environments, protection of collective bargaining rights, access to local healthcare and best nursing practices,” he wrote.


Environmental League of Massachusetts 

The Environmental League of Massachusetts’s Action Fund requires candidates to fill out a questionnaire and undergo an interview process. Ellen Tomlinson, the organization’s communications director, told New Boston Post that party affiliation does not affect a candidate’s chances of an endorsement and noted that the organization has endorsed two Republicans in this election cycle.

Tomlinson also listed out league’s priorities:

Reducing transportation emissions, particularly through the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative.

Increasing our offshore wind resources, since offshore wind is the biggest lever we can pull to protect the environment and grow the economy at the same time.

Ensuring that environmental agencies and programs are adequately funded in the state budget.

We’ve strongly supported the 2050 Roadmap bill in the state legislature, as well as the inclusion of the environmental justice amendment.


Boston Independent Drivers Guild

The guild for ridesharing drivers endorsed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, for president, and executive director Henry De Groot uses Sanders’s brand of politics as an example of what the guild looks for in a candidate.

“We want people who are unequivocally fighting for workers’ rights and the labor movement and who are taking on the corporate establishment in the Democratic Party,” De Groot told New Boston Post in a telephone interview.

“When we endorsed Senator Sanders, we also endorsed his idea of a political revolution against the billionaire class,” he added. “The mainstream of the labor movement tied in with the corporate part of the Democratic Party hasn’t been able to help workers organize in new industries like ridesharing and even ones that have long existed like food service.”

De Groot said that his group wants politicians who will regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to add protections for workers. He also said since the drivers come from diverse backgrounds, the organization prefers candidates with pro-immigrant policies “who are active in the fight for racial justice.”

He said the group would consider endorsing candidates of various parties — but probably not a Republican anytime soon.

“If there was a candidate running in the Republican Party that was committed to a political revolution against the billionaire class, I suppose we would, but it seems incredibly unlikely in this GOP. Maybe in the GOP of 100 years ago or 150 years ago. In terms of independents and third-party candidates, we’re definitely open to them.”


United Auto Workers

Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for United Auto Workers, explained how their process works and why they tend to be one of the last major unions to endorse in presidential elections.

“Under the UAW Constitution each Local Union has standing committees,” Rothenberg told New Boston Post in an email message. “One of those is the CAP Committee which local unions each have. Endorsements recommendations come from those local CAP committees to the region (in case there are dueling recommendations). The Regional CAP Council then makes the final endorsement from those recommendations of the Locals. In the case of the Presidential Campaign, the Regions then forward their recommendations to the International Executive Board which reviews those recommendations and makes a final endorsement.”

Fair trade is an issue that United Auto Workers cares about. The UAW’s national CAP department notes a few other issues they look for in candidates:

Protecting our right to collectively bargain

Protecting Social Security and Medicare

Fair tax laws

Adequate funding for public education

Ensuring that all workers, regardless of country of origin, are treated with respect and dignity


United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America

United Electrical regards itself as one of the most progressive labor unions in the country, although communications director Jonathan Kissam told New Boston Post by email, “We support or oppose candidates based upon their actions, not their words or party label.”

Some issues that UE supports:  a federal jobs program, a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, Medicare-for-All, a moratorium on home foreclosures, eliminating offshore tax havens, breaking up and/or nationalizing banks, raising taxes on the wealthy, and supporting all immigrants (including illegals).

UE doesn’t do many presidential endorsements, but they have done these seven:  Franklin D. Roosevelt (twice), Lyndon B. Johnson, George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Ralph Nader, and Bernie Sanders.


United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459

United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459 represents workers in eight fields:  food, transit, education, retail, the public sector, security, Westover Air Base, and health care.

Some of the issues the union cares about include:  protections on the job, unemployment benefits, paid family medical leave, time-and-a-half pay on Sundays, and increasing the minimum wage.

Union officials say they don’t care if the candidate has a D or R next to their name, as long as they feel as though the candidate helps achieve those goals.

“We would support anyone of any party as long as they share the views of labor and bettering the lives of the working class in the district which they are running to represent,” UFCW Local 1459 vice president Matt Szulborski told New Boston Post in a telephone interview last week.

“To be honest with you, most of the people who support labor issues tend to lean Democrat or are independent, but I would love to see Republicans come around and offer more support for labor,” he later added. “We’re open to endorsing candidates on either side of the aisle.”


Citizens For Limited Taxation

Citizens for Limited Taxation has never endorsed a candidate, but it had a state political action committee called 2 1/2 PAC headed by Francis J. “Chip” Faulkner until his death last year.

Citizens for Limited Taxation executive director Chip Ford told New Boston Post that the political action committee sent candidates a CLT Taxpayer Protection Pledge as the first step for candidates to qualify for an endorsement.

It read, “I, (blank), pledge to the taxpayers of the (blank) District of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to all the people of this state, that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

The candidates also got a questionnaire with tax-related issues. The political action committee judged the candidates on their responses.

“If a candidate got that far then he or she had to demonstrate that there was an actual campaign in place, with a campaign manager and credible fundraising, that the campaign was competitive,” Ford said by email.