Teamsters Elected to Office

Teamsters got plenty of good news on Election Day, but one of the bright spots was the six Teamsters elected to office around the country. In the war on workers, it has become increasingly clear that many politicians, particularly conservatives, don’t understand what unions do. The Teamsters Union has been encouraging members to run for office to get some pro-worker voices in positions of power.

The following Teamsters won their elections for state and national office.

Steve Bullock, Montana Governor

Steve Bullock, previously the Montana Attorney General, won his election to become governor of Montana. The former labor attorney for Local 190, who was raised in Helena, defeated former Republican Congressman Rick Hill in the race.

Bullock led a bi-partisan group of state attorneys general in cracking down on FedEx Ground’s illegal misclassification of 13,000 drivers, in addition to taking on the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizen’s United decision.

As governor, Bullock said he is committed to rebuilding Montana’s manufacturing base and creating good, middle-class jobs.

Rick Nolan, U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota

In one of the most hotly contested Congressional races in the U.S., former Teamster Rick Nolan defeated incumbent Republican (and Tea Partier) Chip Cravaack.

“My commitment to [the Teamsters], and to all working families, is to return to Washington and lead the fight for the Employee Free Choice Act, for pension protection, for single-payer universal health care, and for an end to the right wing war on workers that includes ‘right to work for less,’” Nolan said. “I worked my way through college as a Teamster at UPS. This is my union.”

Nolan is now the representative for Minnesota’s 8th District. He is a former three-term congressman recognized for his battles on behalf of working families, farmers, small businesses and rural communities.

Clint Zweifel, Missouri State Treasurer

Clint Zweifel, who served as the Education and Research Director at Local 688 in St. Louis, won reelection as Missouri’s treasurer.

He was first elected to this office in 2008 when he was 35, becoming the state’s youngest treasurer in more than a century.

Zwifel, now 39, spent his first term expanding Missouri’s small-business loan program, managing the state’s investments and getting a rating of “excellent” from the state auditor, a Republican. In his second term, he plans to continue investing in small business and improving the Missouri entrepreneurial environment.

Dave Hansen, Wisconsin State Senator

Dave Hansen has been a tireless advocate for workers’ rights for decades and was just reelected as a state senator in Wisconsin.

Hansen was one of the famous “Fab 14” state senators who left Wisconsin in 2011 in a show of solidarity against Gov. Scott Walker’s attacks on collective bargaining and working families. He is also a former Green Bay Department of Public Works employee and 20-year member of Wisconsin’s Local 662.

“We’re going to work real hard in the next four years. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a special time. The president getting elected, my election, and for all the people that didn’t vote for me, I’m going to keep working for you too,” Hansen said during his victory speech. 

Steve Sodders, Iowa State Senator

Steve Sodders was reelected to his position as state senator for Iowa’s District 22. Since then, he was chosen to be the Senate president pro-tem.

Sodders is a deputy sheriff in Marshall County who has been working in law enforcement for 20 years. He’s actively involved in the Teamsters Law Enforcement League. He is a DARE instructor and has served as a detective on the Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force. He has also worked as a volunteer fire fighter and is active with the Iowa Rivers Red Cross.

“It’s been a great experience working with the Teamsters Law Enforcement League,” Sodders said. “It’s given me leadership skills that helped me in the Iowa Senate.”

He and his wife, Carrie, have been married for 18 years. They live in State Center, Iowa with their two children.

Bob Burns, Missouri State Representative

Retired Teamster Bob Burns won his race to represent Missouri’s 93rd District in the state’s House of Representatives. Burns was a beer truck driver and member of Local 600 in St. Louis for 34 years.

Burns defeated his Republican opposition with 65 percent of the vote and he was sworn into office on January 9, 2013, in Jefferson City, Mo.

“My Teamster brothers and sisters in our state gave me a great deal of support,” Burns said after the election. “Everything I have I owe to the Teamsters.”