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Bannock County Democrats focus on union workforce

Democrat Political Soup Luncheon

POCATELLO, Idaho - The Bannock County Democrats are refocusing some of their campaign efforts to get out the vote this upcoming election in November by pointing much of their attention at giving the sedentary labor union workers more of a voice.

Historically, labor unions are the reason why Pocatello is one of the few democratic county's in Idaho, yet over time, they have slowly been fading into the background.

State Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Bannock County, said the county started shifting toward becoming a more, Republican-influenced region after Idaho became a right-to-work state.

He feels unions have been politically ignored, which has caused a lot of voters to become sedentary.

"Pocatello was built on the backs of labor unions and they were a very important part of our history here," Lacey said. "Yes, over the years the influence of labor unions has diminished since the right to work law came into effect, and it has been very difficult for the labor unions to maintain. However, we still have the labor union attitude here and those who cherish what they have done for us over the years."

He said that gratitude is probably why the region still has a strong Democratic influence.

Douglas Nilson, an adjunct political science professor at Idaho State University, said the pendulum has swung toward a more Republican direction, but feels this upcoming year the Democrats could swing back to where they once were in the past.

"If it were moving in a Republican direction, that momentum has been blunted and is moving back toward a Democratic, if not controlled, then a strong Democratic influence," Nilson said.

He predicts Bannock County will see some tight races this November, but Lacey said the county could see a heavy democratic push if everyone were to come out and vote.

He theorizes that 40 percent of the labor force will vote Republican, while another 40 percent will swing toward the Democrats. He said that leave the rest of the 20 percent of undecided voters who he feels will end up voting blue, come election day.

Nilson said other Democratic regions in the state include Blaine County, Lewiston County, Moscow, and now Boise, with Ada County being the largest county in the Gem State.

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