AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka said Tuesday the labor movement will set its sights on political action in Texas, a Republican-controlled state that boasts its lack of government regulation has been a catalyst for economic growth.
“We’ll be in Texas in a bigger way than we have been in the past,” the head of the nation’s biggest labor group told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
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Progressive groups have been eyeing Texas in recent months for an improbable campaign to turn the decidedly red state into a blue one.
They were buoyed recently by Democratic state lawmaker Wendy Davis’ filibuster in Austin against anti-abortion laws and feel the Lone Star State’s large and growing minority populations could turn out more Democratic voters.
Mr. Trumka, who signaled he is trying to form alliances between his organization and other progressive groups, said Texas is “a very large state,” yet its minority population does not have “the voice they should be entitled to.”
The Obama administration recently sued the state of Texas over its voter-ID law, a move Republican lawmakers criticized as an end-run around the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down a part of the Voting Rights Act that requires some parts of the country to “pre-clear” changes to their voting laws with the Justice Department.
Voting rights advocates said the decision will adversely affect minorities.
Mr. Trumka also said Texas gets more federal aid than it likes to admit, and that its lack of regulation — particularly when it comes to fire codes — is courting danger at the workplace.
“We’ll be giving it more attention in the future,” he said.