State Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, launched his candidacy for governor today and said he'll continue his push to make union membership and union dues voluntary for all workers.
Thompson ran afoul of organized labor last year when he tried unsuccessfully to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot to make Minnesota a right to work state. During a campaign kick-off event, Thompson insisted that he is not anti-union. But he said he doesn't believe big labor serves laborers.
"The union machine has gotten very separated from the union worker," Thompson said. "So I'm very concerned about the union worker. But the fact that some of the folks that organize the unions may disagree with me on some policy matters is not terribly troubling to me."
The Minnesota AFL-CIO responded critically to Thompson's candidacy. President Shar Knutson claimed in a news release that his priority is to erode workers rights, wages and benefits.
Thompson said he'll push for tuition tax credits that would allow more parents to send their children to private school. He also wants to shrink state government and improve Minnesota's business climate. He said he will seek the GOP endorsement and abide by the outcome.
Thompson is now the fourth Republican in the race to challenge incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton next year. State Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, launched his campaign earlier this week. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and Orono businessman Scott Honour are also running.