Monday, September 06, 2010

Prince George's Delegate Attacks SEIU

Delegate Doyle Niemann (D-47), a two-term House member from Prince George's County, sent out an open email on Friday assailing SEIU for their attack mailers against District 47 Senator David Harrington. While Niemann does not state which part of SEIU has earned his ire, his reference to "New York labor thugs" suggests his target may be SEIU Local 1199, which has also bashed Prince George's Senator Nathaniel Exum (D-24). Niemann is not an anti-union legislator. In fact, he enjoys a four-year rating of 95% from Progressive Maryland and once worked for ULLICO, a union-owned insurance company. Following is Niemann's email.

SEIU has stepped over the line

Politics is a rough and tumble business. But the New York-based SEIU has stepped over the line, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on some of the most deceitful and despicable campaign mailings I have ever seen – and for no good reason.

In the 47th District, they have targeted Senator David Harrington on behalf of my colleague, Delegate Victor Ramirez, who is challenging David for the Senate and who has been endorsed by SEIU. Day after day, we have been barraged by an endless collection of slick, professionally produced mailings sent by SEIU – using lies, half-truths, inflammatory language and manipulated photos to personally attack the character of Sen. Harrington.

There has not been a word about important policy issues or critical things affecting anyone in the state or 47th District. It has all been personal. It is the same piece reworked again and again – all with the purpose of spreading fear and distrust.

Wrong and Doubly Wrong

This kind of personal attack is simply wrong. It is destructive of the political process and it undermines our community.

It is doubly wrong because it is being done by an outside group, with no stake or care for our community and no regard for the consequences. They are using the money of their members elsewhere to play games in our county – not to make our community stronger but to weaken it; not to educate voters but to fool and trick them.

There is no issue of concern to the labor movement and working families here. The positions of the two candidates are the essentially same.

This is about power – a bullying union out to prove that it can control Prince George's County politics.

Make no mistake, these mailings are about fear. First, the fear they create in the minds of voters, which they hope to turn into votes for their favored candidate. But second, and more important, the fear they create in other political leaders.

In the long-term, that is SEIU’s goal: to make all our political leaders afraid – so afraid that they will blindly do what this union wants in the future out of fear that the same thing might happen to them when they next run for election.

I Reject SEIU’s Endorsement

I have been endorsed by the SEIU. Whether that’s the same New York-based SEIU that has been distributing this trash, I don’t know. But I hereby reject that endorsement. I don’t need or want to be associated with this kind of evil and deceitful politics.

The SEIU has given me $1,000 for my reelection campaign. I am returning that money. I will find other ways to pay for my campaign.

Not an Isolated Example

This is not an isolated incident. This bunch of New York labor thugs is doing the same thing in at least one other legislative district. County Executive Michael Jackson has gotten the same treatment, with multiple mailings blaming him personally for things that he did not do, distorting the facts, distorting the record.

It doesn’t matter whether you like the candidates SEIU is supporting or not. This behavior cannot be tolerated. We cannot let a bunch of well-funded outsiders come in and muddy our political process for their own gain.

Imagine how much harder it will be the day after the election to bring people together when this kind of behavior is tolerated? Imagine how much more of this you will see in the future if it is allowed to work?

You have only to look at national politics and what is going on there – the personal attacks on President Obama, his family and other national leaders, the appeals to fear and hatred, the deliberate sowing of discord and division – to see where this goes.

The New York SEIU bosses are giving the labor movement a black eye. Every working person should be offended. This is not about working families; it is not about social justice or equality or fair wages. It is not about empowering people. This is a crude grab for power.

Stand Up and Be Counted

I call upon others to join me in rejecting this kind of politics. It weakens the ties that hold us together and demeans our political process.

Make your feelings known. Call the SEIU administrative office in New York at (212) 261-2273. Call the SEIU Maryland & DC Council at (410) 368-9070. Terry Cavanagh is the Executive Director for the Maryland Council. Send him an email at

Tell them all that we won’t support dirty politics in Prince George's County. Tell them to take their trash and go home.

Delegate Doyle Niemann
Maryland House of Delegates, District 47

By Authority, Friends of Doyle Niemann
Anne Browder, Treasurer

PO Box 51, Mt. Rainier, MD 20712