Oregon AG candidate Kroger gets key labor endorsement

Chris Rizo Apr. 1, 2008, 8:39pm



SALEM -- Oregon attorney general candidate John Kroger on Tuesday notched another endorsement from one of the state's leading labor unions.

In its endorsement, the Oregon AFL-CIO pointed to Kroger's work as a federal prosecutor, going after corporate scofflaws, including executives at Enron Corp.

"John Kroger has fought against corrupt corporations like Enron whose leadership lined their pockets while robbing hardworking Americans of their pensions," Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain said in a statement. "He will bring that same tenacity and sense of fairness to the Oregon attorney general's office."

Kroger, a Democrat and professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, was previously endorsed by the Oregon Education Association and the Service Employees International Union, making him backed by the state's three largest unions.

Kroger, 41, is running against fellow Democrat state Rep. Greg Macpherson, who has been endorsed by many of his Democratic legislative colleagues, retiring state Attorney General Hardy Myers and Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

Macpherson, 57, has drawn some union support from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, which called him "a strong advocate for working families."

Despite Macpherson's experience in the state Legislature, where he is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, his bid for attorney general has uniformly been rejected by the state's public employee unions largely because some of the state's labor groups remember the leading role he played in overhauling the state's Public Employees Retirement System.

Many union leaders blame the three-term lawmaker for a plan that reduced benefits to state workers. For his part, Macpherson says the plan kept the PERS system solvent amid billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.

Since there is no Republican running in the attorney general race, the winner in the state's May Democratic primary will almost assuredly be Oregon's next attorney general.

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