While today's Labor Day picnic in Boise's Memorial Park was billed as "anything but a political event," the number of candidates milling about the crowd said otherwise.
Democratic congressional hopefuls Nicole LeFavour and Jimmy Farris joined Statehouse candidates and members of local unions at the annual Labor Day picnic to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boise Central Trades and Labor Council. Representatives from the Boise Firefighters Union, local AFL-CIO and other labor groups donated canned goods or money for burgers to benefit the Council's Food Bank.
Democratic 2nd Congressional District candidate Nicole LeFavour served up the economy as the main entree in a brief speech to the crowd
"There are people who have seen massive losses in their wages. We all know this is bad for the economy. We all are the job creators," said LeFavour. "When we go out to eat, or pay to repair our washing machines, we create the jobs."
Betty Richardson, former chair of the Idaho Industrial Commission and Democratic candidate for District 15's State Senate seat, echoed the sentiments, referring to her father, Fred Hansen, who worked as a logger in north Idaho.
"He taught me that there's always going to be a bit of a tug of war between industry and workers," said Richardson. "The people lose when one side walks away with the rope."
Democrat F. Lawrence Dawson, running for District 12's House Seat 12B, said balance needs to return to the Republican-led Idaho Legislature.
"I see no difference between the Idaho Legislature and the Chicago political machine," said Dawson. "They're just as corrupt."
Democrat Leif Skyving, running for Canyon County's District 10 Senate seat, is challenging Republican Sen. Jim Rice, appointed to replace former Sen. John McGee.
"I'm running in Canyon County, a very conservative area," he said. "The Republicans have had an unbeatable majority for many years. They've developed a culture of corruption and entitlement with no oversight, and no balance."
Richardson also looked at the historical perspective of labor unions in the United States.
"It's a time that we honor working men and women in America," she said. "They brought us the 40-hour work week, child labor laws, overtime laws. Almost every piece of socially progressive legislation has come about because of the efforts of our working men and women."