MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers are advancing bills to stop political campaign workers from receiving benefits after the election is over.
That’s after WCCO reported last December those benefits went to campaign workers for the first time.
The dislocated workers program is designed for mass layoffs of 50 workers or more, and usually includes layoffs like mining companies, Macy’s or even longtime staffers at the State Capitol when the Legislature changes hands.
For the first time after the 2016 election, a group of DFL campaign workers applied for benefits. Those benefits can include job training, help with job seeking, and even rent or mortgage payments.
“I see campaign staffers similar to Christmas tree lot workers,” said Rep. Kelly Fenton (R – Woodbury). “A Christmas tree lot worker knows that his job ends with Christmas, and a campaign staffer knows that at the end of a campaign, there are wins and there are losses.”
On the other hand, Rep. Rita Moran (DFL – St. Paul) says work is work.
“[I]t is helping them to feed a family or pay bills or whatever they need to do to be self-sufficient,” she said. “And I cannot understand why we are targeting campaign workers. It’s a job.”
The Department of Employment and Economic Development made the call to accept the group of more than 50 political campaign workers into the displaced workers program.
A department official said Wednesday that only two DFL campaign staffers actually took advantage of the offer.