Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, fighting for union supporters he upset by voting to advance a controversial trade agreement, has lost the backing of one labor group in his re-election battle this year.
The Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, the labor group for carpenters, pile drivers, millwrights and other skilled tradespeople, this week endorsed Sheriff Scott Jones, Bera’s Republican challenger in the swing district covering suburban Sacramento County.
Agustin “Augie” Beltran, director of public and governmental relations for the carpenters, issued a statement asserting that Jones understands the need to protect and promote American workers. While they supported Bera in the past, Beltran said, “he has not demonstrated the commitment to working men and women that we expected.”
Dave Gilliard, the sheriff’s political strategist, called the group’s support of a GOP congressional candidate “extraordinary” and a testament to Jones’ efforts to help working families struggling in today’s economy.
Bera has stressed that his backing of President Barack Obama’s request for trade-negotiating powers does not mean he’ll ultimately support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He said he is gathering input and expects to take a stance on the issue after a report is issued this spring.
On Wednesday, Bera issued prepared remarks responding to the carpenters’ decision to help Jones.
“The endorsement that matters the most to me is from the folks in the 7th Congressional District who will have the opportunity this fall to evaluate my record of working across the aisle against powerful special interests to get things done,” Bera said.
“From helping working families get ahead, advocating for women to make their own health care decisions, or helping small businesses grow, I have consistently voted for what’s best for the people in my district,” he added.