Donovan picks up VSEA endorsement

The Vermont State Employees Association, a union of about 6,400 state workers, endorsed Democratic attorney general candidate TJ Donovan Thursday in a strongly worded show of support.

In a statement released by the Donovan campaign, VSEA president John Resse said, “For too long Vermonters have gone without an Attorney General who understands what working and middle class Vermonters go through day in and day out, and who appreciates the essential role state workers play in our state.”

The slight against Bill Sorrell, the 15-year incumbent, didn’t come as a surprise to Sorrell, who said he didn’t expect an endorsement from the union.

“TJ approached them,” he said. “They were in touch with me to ask me if I wanted to meet with them, but they didn’t endorse me two years ago either, so I didn’t expect their endorsement.”

As he suggested in answering questions about the Vermont Troopers Association and Vermont Sheriffs Association endorsements of his opponent, Sorrell pointed to his work in the AG’s office as a possible reason the group shied away.

“The attorney general defends the employee grievances that get filed, so we find ourselves litigating against the VSEA very frequently,” Sorrell said in an interview.

Donovan said the fact that he is a “middle class guy” helped him gain the support of the union. Other unions have endorsed Donovan as well. On June 6, the campaign announced they’d received the support of the Vermont State Labor Council and the AFL-CIO.

Eric Davis, a retired professor of political science at Middlebury, said support from big organizations can help boost a candidate if enough of the organizations’ members get to the polls. Davis predicts August’s Democratic primary to bring out about 40,000 voters, which means 20,000 votes would likely win the race.

“I would say the VSEA is one of the most important unions with it comes to endorsements in the primary. The other two are the NEA and the AFL-CIO,” Davis said.

Today’s announcement gives Donovan a boost, especially if the VSEA mobilizes its members in support of Donovan in August.

“If they can get, as a result, you know 2,000 of their people to the polls to vote for Donovan, that gets him 10 percent of the votes he would need to win the primary,” Davis said.

Taylor Dobbs

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6 Comments on "Donovan picks up VSEA endorsement"


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Nancy Classig
4 years 6 months ago

If memory serves, VSEA and AFL-CIO endorsed Doug Racine in the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary,and Vt Sheriffs endorsed Brian Dubie in 2010. Their guys didn’t win then, so who can say what they would do in this race?

Julie Hansen
4 years 6 months ago

I will say again. Is Donavon running for Attorney General or Governor? The AG enforces the law as it is written. Sometimes the law works for a employee and sometimes it works for the employer.

I’m amazed that so many folks don’t seem to understand the job of the AG.

Christian Noll
4 years 6 months ago
Hey Julie thanks but it seems you’re the one that doesn’t understand the “Job of the AG.” Anyone is better than Bill Sorrell. “Sometimes the law works for a(n) employee and sometimes it works for the employer.” Are you kidding me? Talk about CLUELESS! We “understand” very well that the “Law” very very rarely works for the employee if the AG is involved. In fact the Vermont Attorney General’s Office is quite undeniably “In the pockets” of most Vermont employers. We “folks” understand quite well what the job of the AG’s office is. If we could just get our current… Read more »
Julie Hansen
4 years 6 months ago
Mr. Noll, I get it that you oppose the re-election of Bill Sorrell. My issue is a bit different from that. The AG does not write the law. We know that Vermont pushes the limits in some of their legislation, but I don’t happen to think that is a bad thing. It does make it more challenging to win court cases, and yes, I know that we would prefer to win and that it costs money. But I do think progress is made each time those cases are fought, even if Vermont loses. It is clear that many Vermonters have… Read more »
Christian Noll
4 years 6 months ago
Julie you’re welcome and thanks for responding. “I am not comfortable with someone running for Attorney General who seeks the approval of so many groups.” Really? I wonder why? Is there any candidate running for any office who doesn’t seek the approval of any voting group? If you’re running for office you’re everybody’s friend. My understanding is that Mr Sorrell’s mother used to play bridge with Howard Dean’s mother and was greatly assisted by this relationship to get where he is now. Many people are voting for TJ Donovan because they just want a plain and simple change. As far… Read more »
Sally Reynolds
4 years 6 months ago
I think it’s a great thing that Donovan is getting these endorsements. Also, memory serves me right — VSEA endorsed Doug Racine in 2010, showed up to his campaign HQ to go door-to-door and the campaign had nothing for them to do. Doug squandered the endorsement. Also, keep in mind that Shumin’s former deputy field director is now TJ’s campaign manager. Shumlin had a far superior ground game than anyone else in the primary and general — so I think they will put the endorsement to good use, cut turf and get VSEA members out there and knock on doors.… Read more »
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