Katelyn Newberg – February 23, 2019
Speaking at a union hall Saturday in Las Vegas, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown promised to be the most pro-union candidate in the race if he decides to run for president.
“If I get in this race, I’ll be the most pro-union, pro-worker candidate in the group,” Brown, a Democratic senator from Ohio, later told reporters after making the same pledge in a speech to members of the Culinary union.
Brown spoke at the Culinary Local 226 union hall near downtown Las Vegas as part of his Dignity of Work Tour. It was also his first stop in Nevada, an early caucus state.
Brown also visited the Nevada State Democratic Party’s Local Brews + National Views fundraiser early Saturday evening, and planned to hold a live online discussion with Nevadans about wages and prescription drug costs Saturday night.
Brown told the crowd Saturday afternoon that he would make a final decision about running for the Democratic presidential nomination “in the next month or so.”
“It’s just a very personal decision,” he said after the speech, noting that the choice affects his four children, seven grandchildren, as well as his wife, columnist Connie Schultz.
Union members wearing bright-red shirts cheered for Brown while he spoke about health care, immigration, minimum wage and workers’ rights.
Brown praised the union’s past strikes on Strip casinos, and its recent push to negotiate contracts with Station Casinos’ Green Valley Ranch.
During a Q&A session with audience members, Brown emphasized keeping a federal public health care option, passing an immigration bill with a path for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship, and focusing on labor issues if he were to become president.
He also spoke about raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, a main talking point of his Dignity of Work tour.
“I think that people that work hard for a living should make $15,” he said after the event. “The minimum wage in many states is only seven or eight dollars. The last time the federal government raised the minimum wage was in 2007.”
Brown told an audience member that even if he didn’t run for president or win the nomination, he would work with the future administration to strengthen labor laws.
“I will always continue to fight for workers, and I will fight for better laws,” he told the crowd. “Republican presidents don’t care about the labor movement, except they’re hostile to it. But Democratic presidents never do enough.”
Nevada has attracted other Democratic politicians in recent weeks who have already declared their intentions to run for the presidency. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke Feb. 17 in Las Vegas, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is scheduled to hold a campaign event in North Las Vegas on Sunday.