By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
Darin Kelly, the president of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council said he is “appalled” at the Allegheny County Democratic Committee’s endorsement of Heather Kass, a candidate with a history of posting derogatory comments online about LGBTQ people, people on public assistance and said that those addicted to drug should “OD” so there is “less shit in the world.”
“Many Union members in Western Pennsylvania are also Democratic Committee Members, including myself, and we know that many times we disagree over policies, priorities and strategies,” Kelly wrote in a statement released by the labor council Monday. And while there may be a differing opinions on which candidates to support, Kelly writes that, “there is absolutely no disagreement over the fundamental values that we all share.”
“There is no room in the labor movement or in the Democratic Party for someone who trashes the Affordable Care Act and pushed propaganda from right-wing think tanks that exist to attack unions, hurt workers and help corporate interests. There is no room for someone who shows so much contempt for working families and people struggling to get by and so little compassion for people suffering from addiction in the midst of a regional opioid epidemic that has affected so many of us.”
“As I told Ms. Kass when she sought the Labor Council’s endorsement, her social media posts made me sick. They do not reflect our values in the labor movement or in the Democratic Party, and they should be disqualifying for anyone seeking our support.”
Kass received the endorsement yesterday by a vote of 49-19, largely, if not solely due to personal and family connections on the committee. Retiring State Rep. Harry Readshaw handpicked and endorsed Kass to run and refused to waiver on that support even after the Pittsburgh Current turned up the social media posts on Jan. 20. She defeated autism and disability-rights advocate Jessica Benham, a progressive who has been running since fall 2019 and planned on challenging Readshaw.
The Labor Council’s stand could make any kind of viable campaign for Kass an uphill battle. Readshaw, while an extremely conservative Democrat, at least was able to muster the support of unions.
Many folks were upset about what transpired on Sunday Feb. 18 at the endorsement proceedings. You can follow our complete coverage here.