IAM Local 4 in Saint Mary’s County, MD hosted a candidate forum about military veterans and labor issues to allow members to hear from some of the runners in upcoming local and state elections.

Local 4 invited all of the candidates running for every race in Maryland: Maryland’s Governor, Comptroller, State Senator, House of Delegates, and Attorney General, as well as the candidates for Saint Mary’s County Commissioner and Maryland’s seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

“This forum is about voter education,” said IAM Local 4 President Jeremy Leissner. “We wanted to give our local and state candidates the opportunity to speak to Lodge 4 members about the issues that are important to us, like workers and veterans.”

Local 4 represents many members who are also U.S. military veterans. The lodge recently started a partnership with Disabled American Veterans, allowing the non-profit to conduct its work helping veterans obtain their earned benefits from Local 4’s union hall.

READ: Maryland Local 4 Steps Up to Help Disabled American Veterans Chapter Continue Service

Attendees and the Local 4 Legislative Committee asked the candidates about their stance on waiving tuition fees for dependents of disabled veterans, how they would use their position to help veterans in the community if they support pushing for state-wide legislation allowing for public library employees in every county to unionize, and whether they would walk the picket line with striking workers.

READ: Maryland Law Giving Baltimore County Public Library Employees the Right to Collectively Bargain and Join the Machinists Union Goes Into Effect July 1st

“I think it’s terrific that my local union did this,” said Carlos Flores, an employee of VX20 and a five-year Local 4 member. “I don’t know any other place I could’ve gone to hear from the candidates. I passed out the flyer to other members and encouraged them to come.”

Assistant Political and Legislative Director Ty Richardson closed the forum and spoke about the Machinists Union efforts on Capitol Hill and in Annapolis, MD, lobbying on legislation that affects working people. That included the importance of passing federal legislation like the PRO Act and legislation to build the country’s infrastructure, in addition to state legislation that would allow for public library workers to organize in every Maryland county.

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