Soapbox

Another View: Labor attacks on Bera don’t help Democrats

Congressman Ami Bera of Elk Grove holds an open house in his Capitol Hill office in January 2013 before being sworn into office.
Congressman Ami Bera of Elk Grove holds an open house in his Capitol Hill office in January 2013 before being sworn into office. Abaca Press/MCT

I am a supporter of Congressman Ami Bera and was a Bera delegate to the California Democratic convention this past weekend where he won the official party endorsement. I’ve known him personally for 17 years.

I’m having an increasingly difficult time understanding why The Bee continues to give such a prominent forum to Robert Longer, a local union leader whose proverbial nose is out of joint because Bera had the gall to not vote in lockstep with his wishes (“Bera pays price for breaking his trade promise,” Viewpoints, Feb. 24).

When Bera voted for trade promotion authority – a vote with which I and other supporters didn’t necessarily agree – local labor leaders told the congressman they would find an opponent to run against him. They came up empty-handed because no Democrat was willing to take on that enormous challenge.

Now, Longer and company have resorted to trying to shame Bera. This immature activity does nothing to advance the goals and principles of the Democratic Party.

Yet The Bee has walked head-first into this illusion of upheaval. One of the labor leaders incites a small Elk Grove Democratic club to not endorse Bera, and The Bee treats it like a political earthquake. Any notion that there is some kind of anti-Bera revolt in the district is utterly ridiculous.

Bera represents a “purple” district and does so appropriately. While I and other Bera supporters don’t always agree with his stances on issues, we are quite confident that he carefully considers his district’s wishes – the entire district, not just a few interest groups – before he casts his votes.

This small minority led by Longer and other petulant labor leaders in no way represents the general feeling in the district. And more importantly for Democrats, these antics only potentially advance the campaign of Bera’s Republican challenger, who you can be sure won’t give the time of day to labor.

Let’s not let a handful of selfish dissidents derail a good thing in the 7th Congressional District.

Steve Caruso of Carmichael is a former executive with Sacramento-area nonprofits. He can be contacted at carusopmg@aol.com.

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