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Local union council backs state rep hopeful

Lance Yednock
Lance Yednock

More unions are backing Ottawa's Lance Yednock in his Democratic primary campaign for state representative.

The Illinois Valley Building and Construction Trades Council endorsed Lance Yednock for the 76th House District, which includes most of La Salle County. The seat is now occupied by state Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator.

"The council rarely makes endorsements in primary elections because we believe choosing between candidates who will each listen, and more times than not, support our concerns, is not in the best interests of our members," the union council said in a statement. "We compare it to choosing a favorite child."

But in the case of Yednock, the union council was choosing its own treasurer. He has been a member of Operating Engineers Local 150 his entire adult life and is now a business representative for the group.

Yednock's endorsements include Local 150, the Teamsters and AFL-CIO. Organized labor is closely aligned with the state Democratic Party, headed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, of Chicago.

Yednock has raised more than $50,000 in his campaign so far, more than his March 20 Democratic primary opponent, Jill Bernal, of Peru. She has said she is pro-union.

In its statement, the council said, "Mr. Yednock completely understands our concerns and we believe he can help us help other elected representatives recognize the underlying issues of legislation proposed and its effect on working people."

It also said Yednock illustrates the difference between being a union member and being a supporter of what unions represent.

In 2016, Long edged out union-backed Rep. Andy Skoog, D-La Salle, who was appointed months earlier to replace Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, an ally of organized labor and a top Madigan lieutenant.

In his campaign, Long touted his union credentials as a Teamster truck driver for three decades. Without referring to Long by name, Building Trades criticized his voting record.

"Voters, including a disheartening number of our own members, elected a 'union' member to represent us in the 76th District the last time we had a choice," the council said in a statement. "The 'union' member voted against working men and women almost 90 percent of the time."

Long, however, said he has voted with unions 80 percent of the time. Long and organized labor are including different bills in their numbers.

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