Democratic Florida House candidate Tracy Kagan has gotten the backing of the first two labor union groups, the Florida AFL-CIO and the Seminole UniServe PAC, weighing in on this year’s House District 29 election, her campaign announced Wednesday.

“Labor unions aren’t just important—they’re a matter of survival for the middle class,” Kagan stated in a news release from her campaign. “Wealth inequality is skyrocketing in Florida and across the country, and collective bargaining power is a key toward closing that gap.”

And in this district, they could become more active than in most.

Kagan, a Longwood lawyer, is running against Republican incumbent state Rep. Scott Plakon, a Sanford publisher, in HD 29 in Central Seminole County.

Plakon is expected to have the union target label on his back in this year’s election, as he has pushed bills the past two sessions that would have forced public unions to recertify if they couldn’t sustain minimum thresholds of dues-paying members. Unions fought the bills vigorously.

The AFL-CIO and UniServe are the first two labor organizations to join Kagan’s campaign with an endorsement, and she had not yet received any union money for her campaign, at least not through  the most recent campaign finance reporting deadline, Aug. 31. However, she had only just won the Democratic primary for the district thee days prior to that reporting date, and she had run against an opponent, Darryl Block, who had strong union ties.

The Florida AFL-CIO represents more than 500 locals of various unions which have more than 1 million union members, retirees and their families in Florida, including some public employee unions that would have been covered in Plakon’s proposal.

Seminole UniServ is an umbrella group for unions representing teachers, education support staff, and school bus drivers through four unions that each would have been affected if Plakon’s House Bill 25 had been adopted this year: Seminole Educators Association, Seminole Education Clerical Association, Seminole County School Bus Drivers Association, and Non-Instructional Personnel of Seminole County.

Kagan expressed her ties to educators in the news release.

“My father was a public school principal,” Kagan stated. “I’m the proud product of public education, and so are my three daughters. Meanwhile, Florida ranks 42nd in the nation for teacher pay. Our public schools need a fighter in Tallahassee, and I can’t wait to get there and get to work.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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