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July 27, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Kucinich back in state next week to speak at union confab

Posted by Jim Brunner

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich will return to Washington state again next week to speak at the Washington State Labor Council's annual convention.

Kucinich, a Democrat, has been mulling whether to run for a seat here in 2012 because his own Cleveland district may be redrawn in redistricting. While saying he hasn't made any decision to run in Washington, Kucinich has been a frequent visitor here of late

The prospect of a Kucinich candidacy hasn't sat well with state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who has been increasingly cranky in his statements that Kucinich should stay home.

But Kucinich definitely has his fans in the Democratic base -- especially among unions and anti-war activists.

He's been more vocal than most Washington politicians in his defense of the National Labor Relations Board's charge against Boeing for moving jobs to South Carolina in retaliation for strikes here.

Jeff Johnson, president of the labor council, said he invited Kucinich to speak at the convention after he shared a stage with him at a February rally in support of public workers in Wisconsin.

"He is one of the leading politicians in the country defending the rights of working people to collectively bargain," Johnson said.

Kucinich won't be the only prospective Democratic congressional candidate to speak at the labor gathering. State Reps. Roger Goodman and Marko Liias and former state Rep. Laura Ruderman, are also on the schedule, said Johnson. They're all candidates for the 1st District congressional seat being vacated by Jay Inslee.

Denny Heck, a possible candidate for the new 10th Congressional District, also will speak, Johnson said.

Inslee and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell also have been invited.

The three-day convention runs Aug. 4-6 at the SeaTac DoubleTree. Kucinich is scheduled to speak on the first day, Johnson said.

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