When it comes to political leanings, many Republican politicians think the majority of federal workers are Democrats. Many Democratic politicians agree. But that doesn’t mean they are correct or that federal and postal workers vote as a bloc.
But if they did…
In many states active and retired federal workers, all of whom are old enough to vote, have the power to tilt an election. Particularly a close one. In some congressional districts, Maryland, Virginia, Utah, Illinois, New York, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and California and Washington State among them, government workers and annuitants are the balance of power.
It would be possible to argue that because of the nature of the work performed by the government (administrative and technical) and educational requirements for those jobs that feds are smarter (at least better educated) than their private sector neighbors.
In congressional districts around Washington, D.C., politicians of both parties who want to get elected and keep getting re-elected are pro-fed. Democratic pols in Maryland and Republicans representing districts in Virginia have a long history of cooperation. They’ve pushed pro-fed, pro-retiree legislation through Congress no matter who controlled the White House. And they’ve boosted the amount of pay raises proposed by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama almost every year.
There are primaries today in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
According to the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, West Virginia has just over 14,000 federal workers and slightly more than 38,000 federal retirees. A 2009 report by Federally Employed Women in 2009 put the number of retirees at 18,444. Either way that’s a lot of voters in a state with a fairly small population.
Democratic pundit James Carville once described Pennsylvania as “Philadelphia on one end, and Pittsburgh on the other, with Alabama in the middle,” thus insulting three regions and at least one state at the same time.
True or not, Pennsylvania has a large federal family presence. According to FEW’s numbers in 2009 there were 183,386 U.S. Government workers or people retired from federal civilian service. That’s a lot of voters in a small or big state.
Arkansas, according to NARFE, has 24,591 federal retirees and 14,139 active duty civilian federal workers.
Most of the candidates endorsed by federal unions are Democrats. Under revised Hatch Act rules (liberalized during the Clinton administration) federal and postal workers can participate in the political process with certain restrictions.
Here’s a partial list of Hatch Act Do’s and Don’ts. You can find much more info at the Hatch Act page of the Office of Special Counsel’s website.
May be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections May register and vote as they choose May assist in voter registration drives May express opinions about candidates and issues May contribute money to political organizations May attend political fundraising functions May attend and be active at political rallies and meetings May join and be an active member of a political party or club May sign nominating petitions May campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances May campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections May make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections May distribute campaign literature in partisan elections May hold office in political clubs or parties including serving as a delegate to a convention
May not use their official authority or influence to interfere with an election May not solicit, accept or receive political contributions unless both individuals are members of the same Federal labor organization or employee organization and the one solicited is not a subordinate employee May not knowingly solicit or discourage the political activity of any person who has business before the agency May not engage in political activity while on duty May not engage in political activity in any government office May not engage in political activity while wearing an official uniform May not engage in political activity while using a government vehicle May not be candidates for public office in partisan elections May not wear political buttons on duty
As they say in Chicago (and lots of other places) vote early. And often!
The National Geographic News reports a new study finds “about half of all ball lightning reports are actually tricks of the mind induced by magnetism.”
ADDITIONAL PAY & BENEFITS NEWS ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Tuesday Morning Federal Newscast Among the headlines this morning in the Federal Newscast: IRS could tap TSP accounts of tax-delinquent feds, FEHBP fees could foot bill for same sex benefits, Mikulski wants the FBI to relocate to Maryland, Former NIH director nominated to run the National Cancer Institute . For more, click here.
TSP numbers: Look past the short term trend The Daily Debrief is no more, but our weekly updates about your Thrift Savings Plan will continue every Monday afternoon here at DorobekInsider. Tom Trabucco is Director of External Affairs for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investments Board and fills us in on this month’s numbers so far, as well as what happened at the monthly meeting of the Board. Read more here.
Toss out that time card, get more productive employees Imagine a work world without a schedule — without meetings — where the total focus is on results. The concept is called the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) and the federal government is testing its waters. Federal News Radio told you about a pilot program recently launched by the Office of Personnel Management. Jody Thompson is co-founder of ROWE, wrote a book about its successful implementation and tells us more here.