Unions Turn on Nevada Democrat Whose Vote Helped Wal-Mart

An eight-page political pamphlet being distributed by the Service Trades Council of S. Nev., a group of Las Vegas unions including the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 711, is being called “the most incendiary political flier to surface so far this campaign season.” The piece features  photos of ill, burned or disabled children, was mailed to thousands of homes in early July in support of teacher Stephanie Smith, a N. Las Vegas City Council Member, challenging incumbent Clark County Commissioner Mary Kincaid. The two face off in a Sept. 5 Democratic primary.

The flier criticizes Kincaid’s opposition in May to a new pediatric facility. It reads: “Kincaid voted against building a children’s hospital…Doctors testified that sick children were being turned away from other hospitals because they didn’t have insurance. …Kincaid said we don’t need a ‘Taj Mahal of a hospital for sick kids.'”

Kincaid, who said she has received assurances from officials at both local hospitals that no children are being rejected for lack of insurance. She expressed anger over the mailer. “It’s really disgusting. I can’t believe [these unions] would exploit sick children for a political campaign,” she said.

Smith said she has no qualms about her union backers using these images to support her because they are realistic and speak to the issue of children’s health. She said she doesn’t think the flier is exploitative or an attack on Kincaid. “There’s a difference between negative personal attacks or calling someone names and simply pointing out their voting record. It is not a distortion of fact, ” she said.

Kincaid was endorsed by most local unions in 1996 but fell out of favor with many union bosses after she opposed an ordinance that could have limited Wal-Mart’s ability to open several Las Vegas Valley supercenters that sell groceries in addition to their retail operations. Wal-Mart employs nonunion employees. [Las Vegas Rev.-J. 7/6/00]