A labor union representing engineers and other professional and technical workers is endorsing Democrat Charles "Chaz" Tedesco, an Adams County commissioner, in the race to represent Colorado's new congressional district, the group said Monday.
The 80,000-member International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers said it's backing Tedesco due to the former local union president's track record delivering for working families.
“Brother Tedesco has a proven record of winning, both at the ballot box and on behalf of the working families that he represents once elected,” Matt Biggs, the union's president, said in a statement. “There is little doubt that Chaz Tedesco will push for many of the policy priorities impacting IFPTE’s diverse membership, including concrete labor law reform in the private and public sectors to give workers an unfettered ability to join and form unions absent employer interference.”
The union's secretary-treasurer, Gay Henson, added: “The best way to get more workers to join the union is to elect more union members to Congress, and we’re going to do everything we can to help Brother Tedesco win his race in an election year that is critically important to working families.”
Tedesco is running in a primary against state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician and Thornton Democrat, in the highly competitive 8th Congressional District, which covers suburban Adams County and parts of Weld County, including Greeley.
Colorado is gaining the seat after the next election, following population gains recorded in last year's census.
It's considered the state's toss-up district, with Democrats outperforming Republican candidates by an average 1.3 points in recent benchmark elections. While Democrat Joe Biden won the district's voters last year by a wide margin, its electorate swung toward Republican Donald Trump in 2016.
Four Republicans are campaigning in the district: state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, first-time candidate Giulianna "Jewels" Gray and Ryan Gonzalez, a business owner who briefly sought the GOP nomination last year in the 6th Congressional District.
In a release, Tedesco recalled starting work as a machinist, a trade he acquired in the Navy, and joining the United Steelworkers, the union whose local affiliate he later led.
“I am honored to have the support of thousands of scientists, non-profit employees, engineers and technicians from across America," he said. "We share common goals: livable wages, commensurate benefits, safe working conditions, and universal healthcare. When I get to Congress, all legislation will be evaluated on how it affects working families and the American workers agenda.”
Earlier this month, when Caraveo won an endorsement from 314 Action Fund, a Democratic group focused on electing scientists and doctors, Tedesco expressed skepticism about the influence of "professionals' voices" on public policy and said it was time instead to listen to workers.
“Professionals’ voices have been heard loud and clear in Congress for some time now and what have they gotten the working families of Colorado?” he told Colorado Politics on Nov. 10. “High gas prices, high healthcare costs, underfunded education, unequal opportunity and working families forced to live on low, unlivable wages. It is time workers like me represented working families."