BILLINGS – The Montana Teamsters Union Local 190 endorsed Democratic congressional hopeful Grant Kier Tuesday, an unusual action for the union in a crowded primary.
This is the first time the Teamsters Union local 190 has picked sides in a primary since 2006, when it endorsed Jon Tester for Senate. Tester ended up besting a field of six Democrats that year, then unseating incumbent Republican Conrad Burns.
Jim Larson, principal officer for the Montana-based Teamsters Local 190 and former chairman of the state’s Democratic party, said Kier will be "our voice in D.C. and a champion for organized workers in Montana."
Kier, a Missoula resident and former director of two separate Montana Land Trusts, was campaigning in Billings on Tuesday.
"I come from a home where I was raised by a single mom. I know what it’s like to struggle every day to make ends meet and I know the value of a paycheck and a fair wage for hard work. I think it’s really important we have leaders stepping forward right now who are committed to taking care of everyday Montanans and making sure everybody has a fair deal," Kier said.
Kier is facing five other Democrats: John Heenan, a Billings attorney, Kathleen Williams, a former state representative from Bozeman, Lynda Moss, a former state senator from Billings, Jared Pettinato, a Bozeman lawyer and John Meyer, and environmental attorney from Bozeman. The winner will face Republican incumbent Greg Gianforte in the general election.
The Teamsters Local Union 190 currently have about 1,900 members in Montana, including coal power plant workers and refinery workers.
Note: The original story stated the Montana Teamsters Union endorsed Kier. There are actually two Teamster Locals in Montana. Local 190 has endorsed Kier. Local 2, based in Butte, has not decided whether or not to endorse a candidate in the primary, according to Bill Rowe, the secretary of Local 2. Local 2 has approximately 3,000 members and is the largest teamsters local in the state.