Organized labor is running television advertisements urging voters to contact U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., to tell him to support proposals to help workers laid off because of the slumping economy.
Several proposals are being debated in Congress to stimulate the faltering economy that was further rocked by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A plan by House Republicans is criticized by the AFL-CIO ad as not benefiting displaced workers.
Erik Hotmire, a spokesman for Brownback, said it was odd the ads were running because Brownback stuck his political neck out a couple of weeks ago when he voted with labor and Democrats for a bill to extend unemployment benefits. The bill failed to get the necessary votes for further consideration.
"It's sort of darned if you do and darned if you don't," Hotmire said.
But Jim DeHoff, executive secretary of the Kansas AFL-CIO, said the ads aren't critical of Brownback.
DeHoff said he wants people to call Brownback so that the senator feels he has support in voting for proposals to extend unemployment benefits and help with health coverage for people laid off from their jobs.
"It's mainly to get people to contact him and firm up his stand," DeHoff said. "I think Brownback will take a strong look at it and give workers in the state a break."
The ads were put together by the national office of the AFL-CIO and have been aimed at a handful of Republican senators across the nation.
DeHoff said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was not targeted because he usually supports the Republican leadership, while Brownback is more independent.