September 8, 2016
The Batavia Democrat is challenging U.S. Rep. Chris Collins to represent the district covering much of Ontario County
By Julie Sherwoodjsherwood@messengerpostmedia.com
Diana Kastenbaum, the Genesee County Democrat hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, announced support from the United Auto Workers.
Kastenbaum was endorsed by UAW Region 9, whose members are part of the automotive, aerospace and steel industries, along with members at Cornell University in Ithaca.
“We have much to be thankful for when it comes to Labor in this country,” stated Kastenbaum in a release. “Without organized labor we would not have child labor laws, minimum wage and safe working conditions. However, we must always be diligent because there are those who would seek to strip away the monumental strides that have been made by literally the blood, sweat and tears of the labor movement.”
The UAW is the most recent in a line of unions getting behind the Batavia business executive.
The first union backing came from UFCW Local One (United Food and Commercial Workers). Other supporters are WNY-CWA (Communications Workers of America), PEF (Public Employees Federation), and NYSUT (New York State United Teachers). Western New York AFL-CIO and New York State AFL-CIO have also endorsed Kastenbaum's challenge against Collins.
Collins, a business owner and former Erie County executive, easily sewed up his re-election bid in 2014 to represent the district that stretches across Western New York and covers more than half of Ontario County. Before Kastenbaum announced her candidacy in February, Collins made national news for being the first member of Congress to come out publicly in support of Donald Trump for president. Then, Collins was the center of controversy after backing Trump’s disparaging remarks about the family of a slain U.S. soldier, as well as slinging criticism of his own.
Kastenbaum responded to a number of media outlets about the Collins/Trump alliance, saying Collins' defense of the Trump attacks on the Khan family was another chance for Collins to stand by the Republican presidential nominee and “the divisiveness that he is inflicting on our country.”
In 2014, Collins won a second term with 72 percent of the vote against a Buffalo police department lieutenant, Jim O’Donnell. Collins’ first run was a tight one, though: Collins slipped in with just 51 percent in 2012 to beat incumbent Kathy Hochul, who since has become lieutenant governor.