Alan Hughes, the president of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, this morning announced his organization's endorsement of Bill Halter in the runoff for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.
Before the May 23 primary election, the AFL-CIO endorsed three out of the four original candidates in that race: Halter, Mike Hathorn and Jay Martin. The sole man excluded from that endorsement, Tim Wooldridge, is Halter's opponent in the June 13 runoff.
CORRECTION: Ricky Belk, the secretary/treasurer of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, called to say that the organization did not make an endorsement in the race before May 23 because no candidate received the two-thirds vote necessary from the membership.
In that sense, the endorsement is hardly surprising. But labor is still an important organizing force in Democratic party politics, and organization is especially important in a runoff, where voter turnout is the biggest challenge.
WOOLRIDGE RESPONDS: on the jump.
Wooldridge news release
May 26, 2006 – (Little Rock, AR) - State Senator Tim Wooldridge (D) of Paragould said the endorsement of his opponent by the AFL-CIO in the Democratic Run-Off Election for Lt. Governor doesn’t damper his support for labor in the least.
“I have two brothers that got up before 5 a.m. this morning and went to work in factories, and my mother was a long term laborer in a shirt factory. I grew up in rural Northeast Arkansas and I was raised in an environment that valued a strong work ethic. Arkansas is blessed with a population of men and women who work hard for what they earn,” Wooldridge said. “During my last 16 years in the legislature, any time I had the opportunity to be a part of recruiting new industry I would always take the occasion to brag on our skilled work force.”
Senator Wooldridge, in addition to chairing Revenue and Taxation, is also Senate Chairman of the Legislative Council that manages the business of the legislature while not in session, and serves on the Agriculture Committee, Economic and Industrial Development Committee, the Joint Committee on Energy Committee, the Joint Budget Committee and the Efficiency Committee.
Wooldridge was named a 2005 “Friend of the AARP” and the “2005 Statesmanship Award” by the Arkansas Hospital Association. He was recently awarded a 2005 “Honorary Farmer” by the Arkansas FFA Association, was named the Arkansas Municipal League’s “Person of the Year” for 2004, and was selected as Arkansas Outstanding Senator in 2003 by the Arkansas State Employees Association. He received the Award of Merit from the Arkansas Environmental Federation in 2001.
Senator Wooldridge represents Arkansas Senate District 11, comprised of Greene, Clay and Lawrence Counties, as well as part of Craighead County in Northeast Arkansas. He and his wife, Lisa, reside in Paragould and have two children, Jeremy and Tiffany.