Candidate Protests Exclusion From Parade

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - A candidate for the 17th Congressional District is protesting her exclusion from a Labor Day parade in this city.

Republican state Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin said she received an invitation a few weeks ago to participate in the 12th annual Labor Day Community Parade, scheduled for Saturday in downtown Warren.

The AFL-CIO, which has the permit for the parade, told her she would be permitted to participate as an unendorsed candidate placed at the end of the parade.

But she said that on Wednesday parade co-chair Glenn Wilson Sr. told her staff that she could not participate because the AFL-CIO didn't endorse her.

"This action to lock me out of participation shows complete and utter disregard for upholding the vision and goal of a labor organization," Womer Benjamin said.

Wilson declined comment when reached by telephone at the Warren AFL-CIO office on Thursday. A message was left seeking comment with Ohio AFL-CIO President Bill Burga.

Warren Mayor Henry Angelo said it's the AFL-CIO's parade and the city can't decide who marches in it.

"I'm surprised they chose to take the action they did," he said.

The AFL-CIO has endorsed state Sen. Timothy Ryan, D-Niles, in the 17th District race. The AFL-CIO's 48 member unions represent about 47,600 registered voters in the district.

Former U.S. Rep. James Traficant, who was convicted in April on bribery charges, is running as an independent.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)