Democrats, Labor Leaders Endorse Edwards For President

Friday, October 19th 2007, 8:20 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields joined state labor leaders Thursday in endorsing Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards in Oklahoma's 2008 presidential primary. Fields, a Democrat who is serving his first four-year term as Labor Commissioner, said that Edwards, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, and his wife, Elizabeth, have the kind of rural roots and family values that resonate with many Oklahomans.

"They have the rural backgrounds that I believe in," said Fields, of Arpelar. "Meeting John Edwards is just like meeting your next-door neighbor."

House Democratic leader Danny Morgan of Prague said Edwards comes from a humble background and understands the kinds of issues that concern rural Oklahomans, including poverty and lack of health insurance.

"We need a leader who can compete anywhere in America and win," said Morgan, adding that many members of the Oklahoma House's Democratic caucus also support Edwards.

Mike McDonald, vice president of the Transport Workers Union Local 514, said Edwards understands working-class families. The union, the largest in Oklahoma with more than 10,000 workers, formally endorsed Edwards last month.

"John is for working-class people," McDonald said. "John Edwards takes on subjects such as job security, health care, retirement and the growing gap in wealth between the rich and the middle class in a straight forward way that the country and working families desperately need."

Fields, the first statewide elected official to endorse a candidate in the 2008 presidential primary, said Edwards is not getting as much media attention as some other Democratic presidential candidates, including New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

"But the people will elect him from the standpoint of his abilities," Fields said. "In Oklahoma, John Edwards will win hands down."

Edwards finished a close second behind Wesley Clark in Oklahoma's 2004 Democratic presidential primary before going on to become the party's vice-presidential nominee. Oklahoma is among a group of states holding primaries on February 5.