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The Mid-Atlantic Big 25

Your Guide to the Hottest Races of the '08 Elections

Welcome to the 25 biggest Mid-Atlantic bird-dogging opportunities of the 2008 elections.  The candidates featured below are the ones most in need of your bird-dogging on trade issues in these remaining pre-elections weeks.  (Click here for background on bird-dogging and here for a how-to guide.)  To prepare for bird-dogging on trade, we’ve compiled relevant voting records, public statements, and campaign finance sources for each of the profiled candidates.  Click on your state to get the inside scoop on your candidates!


The voting records below tell how the candidate voted on four key trade votes. A NO vote means support for fair trade, while a YES vote means support for "free" trade:
  • NAFTA--the North American Free Trade Agreement, passed in 1994
  • Fast Track--legislation to expedite passage of FTAs, passed in 2002
  • CAFTA--the Central American Free Trade Agreement, passed in 2005
  • Peru FTA--the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement, passed in 2007
The statements below on trade are ones that candidates themselves have made (unless otherwise noted) in speeches, interviews, or campaign publicity.  For campaign funding sources, we highlight funding from Political Action Committees (PACs), special interest groups whose campaign contributions tend to sway representatives’ votes.  We provide the breakdown of PAC funding from labor (unions typically opposed to free trade deals) versus business (corporations typically in favor of free trade deals).  

You’ll notice that we are featuring Congressional races rather than the Presidential race.  That is partially because you’ll find far more local bird-dogging opportunities for Congressional candidates than for Obama or McCain, and partially because the positions of the Presidential candidates are already featured in WFP National’s Fall newsletter.  

All of these 25 Congressional races, divided by state and district, meet one of two criteria:
  1. One of the candidates is seen as riding the fence on trade issues—labeled as “TRADE TARGET”
  2. The race is predicted to be a tight one, meaning that both candidates are particularly vulnerable to bird-dogging and other forms of voter pressure—labeled as “TIGHT RACE”
(These are all candidates for the House of Representatives.  No Senate races were featured since none of the Mid-Atlantic Senate races in this election meet either of these criteria.)  

If you don’t see your candidates below, that doesn’t mean bird-dogging is useless.  This pre-elections moment is still the best chance you have to push them to take a position on trade.  To get info on your candidate, visit:
  • Project Vote Smart--Find your candidates, get their voting record on trade issues, and read their public statements on trade.
  • Open Secrets--See what special interests are funding your candidates.  Check out what percentage of PAC contributions are business vs. labor.  

(Disclosure: Witness for Peace—MidAtlantic has no preference among the candidates.)  

Sources: tight race information from the Cook Political Report and Electoral-vote.com; trade target information from Witness for Peace, Global Trade Watch, and the AFL-CIO; voting record information from the Library of Congress; public statements information from Project Vote Smart; PAC funding information from OpenSecrets.org




Maryland

Not sure which district in MD is yours?  Click here to find out (just enter your ZIP).  

 

MD-6—TRADE TARGET!


Roscoe Bartlett (R)

Votes:
NO on NAFTA
NO on Fast Track
YES on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

"I spent a lot of time carefully evaluating all of the pros and cons before deciding the benefits from CAFTA outweigh sovereignty concerns that I expressed…Farmers and other business owners were among the constituents who told me that they support CAFTA because the reductions in the cost of selling their products would help them create new jobs…President Bush also came to the Capitol yesterday. He argued very persuasively about the benefits of CAFTA for improving America's national security."  (Press release, July 28, 2005)

PAC funding: 85% Business, 0% Labor





New Jersey

Districts:  35713

Not sure which district in NJ is yours?  Click here to find out (just enter your ZIP).  


NJ-3—TIGHT RACE!


John Adler (D)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: 26% labor, 23% business

Chris Myers (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: 26% business, 0% labor



NJ-5—TIGHT RACE!


Scott Garrett (R)--ALSO A TRADE TARGET!

Votes:
NO on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

PAC funding: 53% Business, 0% Labor

Dennis Shulman (D)

“I firmly oppose all NAFTA style trade deals, including Peru.”  (Campaign website)

“Investment rules in trade agreements that prioritize the interests of multinational corporations over those of American citizens, like the Peru Free Trade Agreement supported by Rep. Garrett, enable foreign companies to sue the U.S. government if American public safety policies limit their profits, even if the safety policy is something so basic as inspecting imported toys for lead.”  (Press release, December 21, 2007)

PAC funding: 4% Business, 1% Labor


NJ-7—TIGHT RACE!


Leonard Lance (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: 49% business, 3% labor

Linda Stender (D)

“I support expanding trade agreements as long as they are also fair trade agreements.  All trade policies and treaties signed by the U.S. should include labor and environmental requirements to help level the playing field.” (Candidate profile on Emily’s List, June 2008)

PAC funding: 31% labor, 7% business



NJ-13—TRADE TARGET!


Albio Sires (D)

Votes:
YES on Peru FTA

PAC funding: 58% Business, 38% Labor





New York

Districts:  25101213192024252629

Not sure which district in NY is yours?  Click here to find out (just enter your ZIP).  



NY-2—TRADE TARGET!


Steve Israel (D)

Votes:
NO on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

Statement about Israel: “[Presidential candidates Obama and Clinton] both are now calling for NAFTA to be renegotiated…Three other Democratic House members…[including] New York Rep. Steve Israel …distanced themselves from the NAFTA position articulated by the Democratic Party's presidential candidates.”  (“NAFTA Renegotiation Questioned by Fellow Dems,” ABC News, February 25, 2008)

PAC funding: 50% Business, 28% Labor



NY-5—TRADE TARGET!!


Gary Ackerman (D)

Votes:
NO on NAFTA
NO on Fast Track
NO on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

PAC funding: 48% Business, 34% Labor



NY-10—TRADE TARGET!!


Edolphus Towns (D)

Votes:
NO on NAFTA
NO on Fast Track
YES on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

“Once implemented, CAFTA will, in fact, likely condemn the area's agricultural, service and industrial workers to further marginalization, with the accompanying risk that they might fall into abject poverty… The principle that states that free trade is beneficial to all those involved is misleading and simplistic as it disregards the fact that with unfettered access, the advantage almost always lies with the powerful. In its current format, CAFTA is the economic equivalent of a 220-pound heavyweight being allowed to step into the ring against a 112-pound flyweight.”  (Speech on House floor, November 19, 2004)  

Statement about Towns: “The Rep. Towns of November 2004 – who made a congressional floor speech passionately criticizing CAFTA – sounded like a leader of the global justice movement, so clear was his analysis of the problems with the NAFTA model of trade agreements. This leaves his constituents to angrily ask how he could have provided one of the deciding votes that passed CAFTA.”  (Lori Wallach, Global Trade Watch press release, August 31, 2005)  

PAC funding: 74% Business, 9% Labor



NY-12—TRADE TARGET!!


Nydia Velazquez (D)

Votes:
NO on NAFTA
NO on Fast Track
NO on CAFTA
NO on Peru FTA

“Recent [trade] agreements have not included industries dominated by small business. They have also failed to stop unfair trade practices, such as dumping and intellectual property theft, that harm entrepreneurs. These actions are limiting small businesses’ opportunities to benefit from trade, making it more difficult for them to compete domestically and internationally.”  (Press Release, June 13, 2007)

PAC funding: 71% Business, 10% Labor



NY-13—TIGHT RACE!


Michael McMahon (D)

“I will fight with…vigor for labor and environmental standards in all international trade agreements. Our country needs fair trade that raises the wages and standards of all workers, not trade that makes it free for employers to export jobs and exploit workers.”  (Campaign website)

PAC funding: 3% Labor, 0% Business

Bob Straniere (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: No PAC contributions on record



NY-19—TIGHT RACE!


John Hall (D)

Votes:
NO on Peru FTA

“I campaigned last year for Congress saying that I would only support Free Trade Agreements if they included enforceable labor and environmental standards, agreements that could be described as Fair Trade Agreements that would protect workers here and in the country under consideration as well as reinforce our environmental concerns around the world…The core of the [Peru free trade] agreement remains the same language as the NAFTA and CAFTA deals which contributed to the loss of 3 million manufacturing jobs, stagnating wages and a nearly $800 billion trade deficit.”  (Press Release, November 8, 2007)

On the Colombia FTA: "Passage of this agreement would increase the economically damaging trend of sending good American jobs overseas. In this time of great economic difficulty for so many, we would best serve our national interest by encouraging the creation of more American jobs, not approving plans that are likely to reduce them…Colombian union organizers have been murdered and kidnapped, leaving Colombian workers and their families fearing for their safety. As long as the Colombian government is unable to guarantee the safety of workers who want to exercise their basic right to organize, Colombia is not prepared for any agreement to be implemented."  (Press Release, April 7, 2008)

PAC funding: 36% Labor, 22% Business

Kieran Lalor (R)

“I will fight for trade policies that improve U.S. national security and not that of our enemies. “  (Campaign website)

PAC funding: No PAC contributions on record



NY-20—TIGHT RACE!


Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Votes:
YES on Peru FTA

Campaign ’06 platform: “Protect American jobs from going overseas…Reject trade agreements that hurt our workers.”  (’06 Campaign website)

PAC funding: 35% business, 21% labor

Sandy Treadwell (R)

On the House’s decision to delay a vote on the Colombia FTA: “the House leadership has shown that it cares more about re-electing its Democratic members than doing what is best for the American people, and this trade bill is only the latest example.”  (Press release, April 10, 2008)

PAC funding: 27% business, 0% labor



NY-24—TIGHT RACE!


Mike Arcuri (D)

Votes:
NO on Peru FTA

On the Peru FTA: “Having lived in Upstate New York nearly all of my life, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects unbalanced trade can have on the economy –major businesses closing their doors, job loss, and families struggling to pay their mortgage and send their kids to college.  Since 2001, our country has lost over three million manufacturing jobs—nearly 200,000 in New York alone. I refuse to accept that the loss of manufacturing jobs is ‘inevitable.’’ It is time to take real action in Washington to protect local jobs, empower American workers, and build the economy here at home. My vote today is not a vote against free trade, nor a vote against Peru, but rather a vote to get our priorities straight.” (Press release, November 8, 2007)

PAC funding: 35% Business, 28% Labor

Richard Hanna (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: No PAC contributions on record



NY-25—TIGHT RACE!


Dan Maffei (D)

“The reason we've been losing thousands and thousands of good jobs in central and upstate New York has nothing to do with drilling issues and everything to do with the free-trade policies pushed by President Bush and John McCain…Just this week, Republican presidential candidate John McCain went down to Mexico and Colombia to arrange for more trade agreements that will ship more of our jobs away.”  (Campaign website, July 3, 2008)

PAC funding: 20% Labor, 11% Business

Dale Sweetland (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: 14% Labor, 1% Business



NY-26—TIGHT RACE!


Alice Kryzan (D)

“We need a representative in Congress who will fight to bring good-paying jobs back to our region and build trade agreements that move from free trade to fair trade, putting workers ahead of multinational corporations…I will work to ensure that all U.S. trade policies include environmental and labor protections and provide an even playing field for American workers and their families and include U.S. environmental standards, worker safety standards, and product safety standards.” (Campaign website)

PAC funding: No PAC contributions on record

Christopher Lee (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: 18% business, 0% labor



NY-29—TIGHT RACE!


Randy Kuhl (R)

Votes:
YES on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

On CAFTA: "After very lengthy and careful consideration, I decided that this trade agreement is a 'win-win' situation for American workers and agriculture. By removing barriers currently in place in the Central American markets, we can increase exports and create jobs right here at home. Many farmers and businesspeople in our district told me that they will directly benefit from the reduction of tariffs and harmonizing of trade laws between the United States and Central America. This agreement can only help, not hurt, our economy." (Press release, July 28, 2005)

PAC funding: 54% business, 8% labor

Eric Massa (D)

“Ending Free Trade and beginning Fair Trade is the single most important economic issue facing Upstate New York… The current policy has destroyed our factories, is destroying our farms, and will destroy our very families unless we change course in Washington DC. Virtually all Republicans and many Democrats in Congress supported destroying our economic border security by voting for NAFTA.  I disagree with them all regardless of what party they are from and I am suggesting that we reforge Democratic identity, with fair trade practices that protect workers as a central tenet.”  (Daily KOs blog post, April 1, 2007)

PAC funding: 47% labor, 2% business


Pennsylvania

Districts:  3467810111518

Not sure which district in PA is yours?  Click here to find out (just enter your ZIP).  



PA-3—TIGHT RACE!


Kathy Dahlkemper (D)

“There is no question that NAFTA & CAFTA have caused considerable negative impact to our region. I believe we must renegotiate these trade agreements immediately in a way that is both fair and equitable. We must ensure that the agreements are fair in terms of human rights, quality control and tariffs.” (Interview with Lake Erie Alliance for Democracy, March 16, 2008)

PAC funding: 10% business, 1% labor

Phil English (R)

Votes:
YES on Fast Track
YES on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

On CAFTA: “What we are doing here is creating a two-way street for trade between the United States and CAFTA countries…I sympathize with the concerns that have been raised by CAFTA critics, but if we look at the details I think this is an agreement that we can afford to pass. “  (Speech on House floor, July 20, 2005)

On the Peru FTA: “Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise in strong support of this free trade agreement on the strength of the fact that it clearly will further advance America's economic as well as political and foreign policy interests... What this is not, and I emphasize this to my constituents, this is not another NAFTA. This is not a threat to our manufacturing base… If we embrace this free trade agreement, we have an opportunity to use it as a model for future trade agreements…”  (Speech on House floor, November 7, 2007)

On NAFTA: “Three years ago I became the first member of either party of the House Ways and Means Committee to call for the renegotiation of NAFTA at a major Washington trade forum... At the time, I said that NAFTA was dysfunctional and the only solution was a renegotiation that would demand from the treaty a level playing field, credibility in environmental provisions and stop the race to the bottom on the southern border.”  (Press release, April 18, 2008)

PAC funding: 68% business, 5% labor



PA-4—TIGHT RACE!


Jason Altmire (D)

Votes:
NO on Peru FTA

“Pennsylvanians have seen firsthand how ill-conceived trade agreements can be devastating for our state’s manufacturing industry. Under the Bush Administration, Pennsylvania has lost over 200,000 jobs, which is roughly one-fourth of our state’s factory jobs. I do not see how the Colombia Free Trade Agreement would improve this situation. Furthermore, Colombia’s record of violence against union members is inhumane and violates basic human rights. Although I support the principals that govern free trade, I cannot support agreements drafted by the Bush Administration that show careless disregard for human rights and for America’s workers. (Press release, April 8, 2008)

PAC funding: 44% business, 23% labor

Melissa Hart (R)

Votes:
YES on Fast Track
YES on CAFTA

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement… This agreement will solidify the political enlightenment that has taken place over the past decade in Central America and the Dominican Republic…The agreement will lead to stability and propel these countries forward, rather than allow them to backslide into dangerous political and economic policies that have hindered other countries in Latin America.”  (Speech on House floor, July 20, 2005)  

On CAFTA: “American companies with American employees, many of them organized labor, are excited about this agreement. And why? Because they have a very difficult time getting their products into Central America as it is today.”  (Speech on House floor, July 27, 2005)

PAC funding: 21% business, 0% labor

PA-6—TIGHT RACE!


Jim Gerlach (R)

Votes:
YES on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

On CAFTA: “Passage of this important trade agreement will not only boost our own local agricultural, confection and technology industries, but it will help ensure that our neighboring countries, whose democracies depend on stable economic growth, will continue to flourish…While a complicated and complex issue, in the end, I voted for the DR-CAFTA trade pact simply because we will be able to sell more American goods in Latin America at a cheaper price than ever before and that helps our manufacturers and working families.”  (Press release, August 5, 2005)

PAC funding: 69% Business, 6% Labor

Bob Roggio (D)

“International trade agreements must be changed to make them more balanced because the existing ones are driving business into the hands of foreign companies and forcing American companies to move manufacturing operations to foreign countries…They don't have fair labor practices or health care…It's very difficult for our companies to compete. Our middle class suffers when jobs are sent overseas.” (“Third Democrat Enters 6th District Congressional Race,” The Reading Eagle, February 24, 2008)

PAC funding: 29% Labor, 6% Business

PA-7—TRADE TARGET!


Joe Sestak (D)

Votes:
YES on Peru FTA

“I thought what you said about President Clinton was true… I thought his principles approach to free trade were spot on…But it always came down to the enforceability…”  (Speech to House Small Business Committee, November 1, 2007)

“…Free trade, with appropriate worker rights and environmental measures, helps spur productivity.”   (Campaign website)

PAC funding: 39% Business, 34% Labor



PA-8—TIGHT RACE!


Tom Manion (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: 3% Business, 0% Labor

Patrick Murphy (D)

Votes:
NO on Peru FTA

On CAFTA’s approval: "As the son of a 36-year union member…I am outraged by this attack against the American worker and how it hurts working families in Bucks County. When will our elected representatives fight for us?"  (Press Release, July 29, 2005)

On the Peru FTA: “I oppose this bill because I come from a part of our country that has seen all the drawbacks of free trade without any of the supposed benefits. I oppose this bill on behalf of the countless Americans who spent years of their lives working in a steel mill or manufacturing plant whose lives were uprooted in the wake of NAFTA and CAFTA…Madam Speaker, free trade is not free if it costs American workers their jobs.”  (Speech on House floor, November 8, 2007)

PAC funding: 35% Business, 27% Labor


PA-10—TIGHT RACE!


Chris Carney (D)

Votes:
NO on Peru FTA

Interview with Carney: “Q: Do you support NAFTA and CAFTA?  A: No; Q: Should a nation's human rights record affect its normal trade relations status with the US? A: Yes; Q: Should trade agreements include provisions to address environmental concerns and to protect workers' rights? A: Yes.”  (2006 Congressional National Political Awareness Test)

PAC funding: 33% business, 28% labor

Chris Hackett (R)

“When it comes to job creation, there are trade policies that don't give the best deal to our farmers and manufacturers...When foreign companies sell goods in America, our consumers benefit and we should preserve that. But when foreign countries do not allow our domestic producers to sell our goods in their markets, we must not stand for it. I will fight to ensure that foreign markets are fully open for our farmers and manufacturers.”  (Campaign website)

PAC funding: 18% business, 0% labor


PA-11—TIGHT RACE!


Lou Barletta (R)

No voting record or public statements found on trade

PAC funding: 3% business, 0% labor

Paul Kanjorski (D)

Votes:
NO on NAFTA
NO on Fast Track
NO on CAFTA
NO on Peru FTA

Statement about Kanjorski: “Mr. Kanjorski said he was ‘very disappointed’ by the passage of CAFTA, which he defined as ‘economic genocide.’” (“Kanjorski, Sherwood Split on CAFTA,” The Times-Tribune, July 29, 2005)

PAC funding: 71% business, 12% labor


PA-15—TIGHT RACE!


Sam Bennett (D)

“U.S. trade policies supported by Dent such as NAFTA and CAFTA encourage companies to outsource jobs to countries with weak labor standards. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that over a million U.S. jobs have been relocated since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law in 1993.  As the Lehigh Valley knows most painfully, the majority of those jobs were in manufacturing industries, but jobs were lost in every state and every industry in this country. I will not back down in Congress on trade policies that promote exporting American jobs.”  (Campaign website)

PAC funding: 66% Labor, 2% Business

Charlie Dent (R)

Votes:
YES on CAFTA
YES on Peru FTA

PAC funding: 67% Business, 6% Labor


PA-18—TIGHT RACE!


Tim Murphy (R)--ALSO A TRADE TARGET!

Votes:
YES on CAFTA
NO on Peru FTA

On CAFTA: “Having listened closely to all sides of the debate, I decided to vote in favor of the bill…The [CAFTA] region is one of Pennsylvania's top export destinations, and this trade agreement will only increase the ability for our region's businesses to grow and our workers to secure jobs.”   (Press Release, July 28, 2005)

“The United States consistently sets the standards for trade in the global marketplace only to get burned by other countries that do not play by the rules. China…has a consistent record of breaking the rules at the expense of American workers. Before addressing trade with other nations, Congress must get its priorities straight, and address the long-standing problem of China.”  (Press Release, November 8, 2007)

PAC funding: 64% Business, 14% Labor

Steve O’Donnell (D)

“While I favor free trade, trade must also be fair…When companies move their production outside the borders of this country I believe they must do so under terms and conditions that reflect the interest of their equity holders but also the interest of the American communities from which they are exiting…Having laid out some sense of the problem one possible course of action for Congress to take is to withhold Favored Nation Trading Status from countries who do not comply with reasonable standards and oversight governing the production of products, the payment of fair wages, and the establishment of safe working conditions.”  (Interview with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2008)

PAC funding: No PAC contributions on record


Delaware


Unfortunately, none of Delaware’s candidates for House or Senate are running in particularly tight races, nor are they seen as riding the fence on trade.  Sorry Delaware.




Washington, DC


As you’re probably aware, you have no voting representatives in the House or Senate.  You live in a 21st-century colony.  Peeved?  Click here

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