His hands are rough. His boots are dirty. He has the resume to prove it.
Vance Snider is a SMART Transportation Division member out of Local 1313 in Amarillo, Texas, a veteran of the U.S. Army, a father of two and a BNSF conductor.
He’s also running for Congress to represent Texas’ 13th District, an open seat with the announced retirement of Rep. Mac Thornberry at the conclusion of the 116th Congress.
“My hands are rough, my boots are dirty, and I’m not a career politician” is the quote that introduces his biography on his campaign website.
He has the background to prove that — working his way up from sweeping floors in his dad’s parts shop in Texas and fighting for our country on foreign soil.


Vance Snider, a member of Local 1313 in Amarillo, Texas, is running in the Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas’ 13th District.

Snider, 30, served in Afghanistan after enlisting in the Army in December 2007 after his high school graduation. After completing his service, he hired on to the Texas Northwestern Railway in 2013 and later moved on to become a conductor for BNSF.
He’s been a TD member since April 2015 and is running as a first-time candidate as a Republican to represent the 13th District, which is home to hundreds of SMART-TD members and retirees and their families. He will need their support to win in the crowded 15-candidate primary that takes place March 3, and he plans to fight for our members and the people in the district if elected.
It’s a challenge to be sure. The 13th is a vast district that has more ground to cover than 13 U.S. states and one of the most Republican. The winner of the Republican primary is practically a shoo-in to win in November and move on to D.C. — Thornberry won his last re-election bid with 81 percent of the vote.
And Snider is doing his best to break the typical red-blue stereotype. He’s a registered Republican because his values align most with the pro-life and pro-Second Amendment stance of the party. But when out talking to prospective voters, he said that sometimes people who identify as Republican get hung up on the fact that he’s a proud union member.
“Republicans are typically associated with big business,” Snider said. “They forget about the little people who made them the millions of dollars.”
So he’s trying to change that by infusing some youth into the party and to break some of the typical set-in-stone party preconceptions by running for the House.
The 2018 election and the hyperpartisanship in D.C. is what inspired him to run – he’s tired of seeing people staying in Congress for decades but then ignoring important issues such as railroad safety.
“I want to go forth and create a revolution – bring regular people to the House and Senate. Get rid of the incumbents,” Snider said. “It’s about taking action and doing something about it.
“I got tired of the political BS going between the two parties. That’s what really annoyed me.”
Since officially becoming a candidate on the ballot in early October and even before then, Snider has been campaigning on his own terms. He’s found that some of the 14 other Republicans competing for the chance to appear on the November 2020 ballot have been following his lead.
“I’m actually out there hitting the pavement – I was one of the first ones to put the name on the ballot and put out yard signs,” he said. “They’re all copying my campaign. I’ve been hand-delivering yard signs – the campaign seems to be going really well. I ain’t scared to get up at 6 in the morning and drive across the country, so putting a few miles on my truck doesn’t bother me.”
Vance Snider, a member of Local 1313 out of Amarillo, Texas, places a yard sign while campaigning for Congress.
He doesn’t usually put on a suit and tie on his visits — he just goes out as he normally dresses from his Texas upbringing, cowboy hat on his head, and a message that he is going to represent people from all over the district, not just the people in its two major cities of Amarillo and Wichita. It means a lot of mileage on his Ford F-250 (he estimates he’s put 8,000 miles on it criss-crossing the district) and dirtier boots, but it shows his commitment to his beliefs.
“Politicians need to start working for the people,” he said. “They need to elect a like-minded individual who thinks about the people in the district first, then the rest of the country. I want to start a revolution – show I’m a normal Joe Blow guy like you — and can get out and do something.”
After Thornberry, who’s held the seat in the 13th District for 25 years, announced his retirement, Snider fully committed the run and he’s had 100% support from his wife, Christy, and the rest of his family.
His platform includes a commitment to being pro-life and defending Second Amendment rights. He also counts rail safety as an issue in his campaign, which sets him apart from others in his party and has led to the backing of his campaign by SMART TD PAC and others associated with rail labor.
The number of co-sponsors show that current incumbent Republicans have been slow to come around in supporting the two-person freight crew legislation (H.R. 1748 in the House and S. 1979 in the Senate). Thornberry has not signed on to the Safe Freight Act, and so far only 10 GOP reps have signed on as co-sponsors compared with 124 Democrats.
But Snider sees hope that rail safety and having two on the crew will eventually be recognized as a non-partisan issue that goes beyond red or blue.
“We need to get Republicans aboard,” he said. “I’ve had national support from all over the country – I’ve got donations from Democrats and Republicans. It’s about being working class, a working person – making sure we’re all taken care of.”
“We need to give the honest truth – make the public aware of it. A lot of them think we still have five people on the train,” he said.
The public also does not recognize that there are safety and environmental factors to railroad accidents that would be worsened by going from two to one person in the cab, he said, pointing out that a Jan. 1 derailment into the Kootenai River in Idaho could have easily resulted in a fatality had there not been two people aboard to assist one another to survive in their BNSF locomotive that was partially submerged during the accident.
“It’s about informing the public. It’s about safety. And public awareness — that’s what it comes down to,” he said.
Moreover, the work schedule of a railroader does not help matters when it comes to rail safety, and having two aboard is an important check, even with Positive Train Control.
“Whenever you’re working an extra board, you’re fatigued,” he said. “There’s been issues where a signal drops from clear to red—there’s more going on out there than people think. When you have those instances when you have to have someone out there, two sets of eyes are better than one.
“There have been times when guys have missed a signal, and you have to speak up.”
There are a number of ways rail workers and union members can speak up – one of them is by running for public office, as Snider is.
“It took me two weeks to get through the red tape. If I can do it, you can do it too,” he said. “Once you get through the red tape, find a good campaign consultant and an election lawyer who can tell you what can and can’t be done – those are the two key things. Then put your nose to the grindstone and start campaigning.”
A second way that isn’t as time intensive, but helps just the same is by donating to the TD PAC.
“I would encourage people to donate to PAC. You really can help by donating to the PAC fund, no matter what the level,” he said. “It really helps out and allows candidates like me to go forward. It is bipartisan and goes to both Republicans and Democrats. This money doesn’t come from union dues.”
Snider is looking to change things for people in his congressional district, his fellow union members and in Washington, D.C. To find out more about him and how you can help our union brother in his campaign, visit www.vancesniderforcongress.com search Vance Snider for U.S. Congress on Facebook or email vancesniderforcongress@gmail.com.
For more information about how to contribute to SMART TD PAC, email TDPAC@smart-union.org or visit https://smart-union.org/td/washington/tdpac/

Come Nov. 7, Macon County, Ill.’s county government could be getting a SMART influx with two candidates with Transportation Division ties seeking office in the Nov. 6 elections.
Lloyd Holman, a member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, is seeking a seat on the Macon County Board in his first run for office.

Lloyd Holman, a SMART TD Alumni Association member, is seeking a seat on the Macon County (Ill.) Board.

“My union experiences have provided me with a wealth of knowledge on contracts, legislation, safety and healthcare,” Holman said. “I have chosen to use that energy, experience and knowledge to help build a stronger community.”
He said he decided to run in November 2017 after receiving requests from Macon County board members and other community leaders.
“Although I have never considered myself a politician, apparently others feel I could make a positive contribution,” Holman said.
As the LCA 453 legislative representative for nearly three decades (1983-2011) and a former Illinois State Legislative Board chairperson for 16 years, Holman has said his experience with UTU/SMART TD helped to lay the groundwork for his run. Holman said the Macon County board chairman even helped to circulate his nominating petitions while Holman was incapacitated briefly during recovery from neck surgery.
“I have had the privilege and honor to work with and around some very dedicated and amazing union brothers,” Holman said. “Being part of the union has provided me with a very diverse education and support, even after my retirement.”
That support has extended to his campaign, where he’s received support from his union brothers and sisters.
“Finances are paramount in getting your name, face and position into the public eye,” Holman said. “My union brothers and sisters have been helpful in that area as well.”
He encourages union brothers and sisters to get informed on the issues that matter to them and get involved by voting and campaigning if possible.
“Remember that voting is a right and a privilege,” he said.
Also running in Macon County, Ill., is April Kostenski, wife of SMART TD member David Kostenski, who is treasurer of Local 768 (Decatur, Ill.).
April Kostenski, the wife of SMART TD Local 768 Treasurer David Kostenski, is running for Macon County, Ill., treasurer.

With three years’ experience as a treasurer for the Macon County Democratic Central Committee, April chose to seek the county government post.
“I knew with my education and background, I could offer our residents a positive change in the treasurer’s office that will promise a better tomorrow for future generations,” she said. “I know that I can do a better job serving my community — I decided I needed to be a small part of the solution.”
The mother of 14-year-old son Dawson and 12-year-old daughter Olivia said the time factor is a big challenge in running the campaign she wants to run.
“Sometimes I just need more hours in a day!” she said.
However, SMART TD has helped by providing support to her campaign.
“The Illinois Legislative Board and Bob Guy particularly, do a great job of keeping us informed,” Kostenski said. “Since I announced my candidacy, being a SMART TD family member has opened doors to the other labor organizations. The support from SMART TD and all organized labor is very humbling.”
Kostenski encourages SMART TD members and their families to get involved, volunteer and know their candidates as the election approaches. State legislative boards are great resources to provide information about candidates and donations to the UTU Political Action Committee helps candidates such as April make their runs for local office, she said.
“Running for public office has been a positive experience,” Kostenski said. “I have had many new experiences, met a lot of great people and learned a lot along the way. Sometimes you don’t know what you are capable of until you try.”
And lastly, members need to show up Nov. 6 or beforehand.
“Every vote counts and makes a difference where you live,” Kostenski said.
Right next door in Indiana, Jessica Bailey is seeking the office of Porter County clerk.
Jessica Bailey, wife of SMART TD Local 1383 Legislative Representative Ryan Bailey, is running for clerk in Porter County, Ind.

The wife of Local 1383 (Gary, Ind.) Legislative Representative Ryan Bailey, Jessica is on the Portage Township school board.
Ryan Bailey is a 14-year railroad veteran who works at Canadian National’s Kirk Yard in Gary and is secretary on the SMART TD Indiana State Legislative Board’s Executive Committee.
Jessica and Ryan live in Valparaiso, Ind., with their two children, Bryce, 17, and Emma, 14.
“Jessica’s race is going to be a battle of shoe leather,” said Indiana State Legislative Director Kenny Edwards. “No donation is too small.”
To donate to her campaign, send contributions to:
Committee to Elect Jessica Bailey
641-1 Old Forge Road
Valparaiso, IN 46385
To read more about candidates with a TD connection and other election news – including our national endorsements – check out the October issue of the SMART Transportation Division News, available online now and coming soon to your doorstep.

missouri_map SMART Transportation Division’s Missouri State Legislative Board has released the names of candidates that it is endorsing for the 2014 midterm elections. The state of Missouri is holding primary elections Tuesday, Aug. 5.

For a list showing all candidates and the board’s recommendations, click here. Candidates that are marked as “no” on the list have repeatedly voted against labor in the past and have shown that they do not support the goals of the Missouri State Legislative Board. Candidates on which the board expresses no opinion are listed as “open.”

The board asks that all members from Missouri vote their paycheck by voting for the endorsed candidates.

If you are unsure of the voting district in which you reside, click here.

Candidates being endorsed by the Missouri State Legislative Board are as follows:

NamePositionDistrict
Lacy ClayU.S. Representative1
Nate IrvinU.S. Representative4
Emanuel Cleaver IIU.S. Representative

5

   
Joe KeavenyState Senator4
Maria Chappelle-Nadal State Senator14
Jill SchuppState Senator24
Robert StuberState Senator34
   
Mike WaltemathState Representative 2
Nate WalkerState Representative3
Robert HarringtonState Representative6
Jim NeeleyState Representative8
Pat ConwayState Representative10
Galen Hidgon Jr.State Representative11
Sandy Van WagnerState Representative12
Jon Carpenter State Representative 15 
Mark Ellebracht State Representative 17 
Kevin Garner State Representative 18 
John Rizzo State Representative 19 
John Mayfield State Representative 20 
Ira Anders State Representative 21 
Brandon Ellington State Representative 22 
Randy DunnState Representative 23 
Judy Morgan State Representative 24 
Jeremy LaFaver State Representative 25 
Gail Beatty State Representative 26 
Bonnaye MimsState Representative27
Tom McDonaldState Representative28
Noel TorpeyState Representative29
Sheila SolonState Representative31
Jeanie LauerState Representative32
Donna PfautschState Representative33
Kenneth DuvallState Representative35
Kevin McManusState Representative36
Joe RunionsState Representative37
Dan DildineState Representative41
Bart KormanState Representative42
Ed LockwoodState Representative43
Kip KendrickState Representative45
Stephen WebberState Representative46
John WrightState Representative47
Gracia BackerState Representative49
Gary GrigsbyState Representative51
Henry GrubbState Representative53
Patty JohnsonState Representative56
William GrimesState Representative57
Tom SmithState Representative61
Anne ZerrState Representative65
Tommie PiersonState Representative66
Sylvester Taylor IIState Representative67
Keith EnglishState Representative68
Margo McNeilState Representative69
Bill OttoState Representative70
Sue MeredithState Representative71
Mary NicholsState Representative72
Courtney CurtisState Representative73
Sharon PaceState Representative74
Rochelle Walton GrayState Representative75
Joshua PetersState Representative76
Kimberly GardnerState Representative77
Penny HubbardState Representative78
Michael ButlerState Representative79
Mike ColonaState Representative80
Jacob HummelState Representative81
Mi
chele Kratky
State Representative82
Gina MittenState Representative83
Karla MayState Representative84
Clem SmithState Representative85
Joe AdamsState Representative86
Stacey NewmanState Representative87
Tracy McCreeryState Representative88
Deb LavenderState Representative90
Jeanne KirktonState Representative91
Genise MontecilloState Representative92
Bob BurnsState Representative93
Vicki Lorenz EnglundState Representative94
John McCahertyState Representative97
John CallahanState Representative102
Michael SwyersState Representative102
Kyle SchlerethState Representative103
Kathie ConwayState Representative104
Matt JudkinsState Representative105
Chrissy SommerState Representative106
Ron HicksState Representative107
Bobbie BollmannState Representative109
Michael FrameState Representative111
Robert ButlerState Representative112
T.J. McKennaState Representative114
Elaine GannonState Representative115
Kevin EnglerState Representative116
Linda BlackState Representative117
Ben HarrisState Representative118
Dave HinsonState Representative119
Ethan NewmanState Representative125
Charlie NorrState Representative132
Angie FilbeckState Representative135
Don PhillipsState Representative138
Paul FitzwaterState Representative144
Charles ElrodState Representative145
Duston StoneState Representative148
Diedra FreemanState Representative149
Walter DearingState Representative149
Ryan HolderState Representative151
Hugh ShieldsState Representative161
   

 

 

By Bonnie Morr
Alternate Vice President – Bus Department

Right now in our country, economics is spelling out what transit and transportation will look like now and in the future.

The UTU Bus Department has been following the trends for funding that are necessary for passenger and public transportation to meet the needs of an aging population and growing automobile congestion.

It does not look good. 

In every town and community, hard decisions must be made — and we want those decisions made by lawmakers who understand the importance of adeuate, reliable and safe public transportation, including transportation of school children by bus.
 
We have a responsibility to our families, children and community to make sure that the funding for public transportation stays in place. We can do that with our votes on Election Day, Nov. 2.

When we say, “vote your paycheck,” keep in mind that the jobs of UTU Bus Department members depend on adequate, reliable and safe funding for public transportation.

We need to get out the vote for labor-friendly candidates who support adequate, reliable and safe public transportation.

Think jobs, because there are candidates out there who are coming after our jobs.

When you cast your ballot on Election Day, support candidates who will do the right thing when it comes to funding and ensuring adequate, reliable and safe public transportation.

I am a laborer. I drive a bus. I want the labor protections that labor-friendly candidates will honor with laws and regulations that my mother fought for as an organizer for the Ladies Garment Workers Union.

We have protections as union bus operators, and we want to extend those protections to the unorganized.

Let us all support candidates who are pledged to increased funding for public transportation, job security, safe working conditions and an environment that respects working families.

To view the list of labor-friendly candidates, click on the following link:

https://static.smart-union.org/worksite/PDFs/2010_cong_endorsements.pdf

By Bonnie Morr,

Alternate vice president, Bus Department

Right now in our country, economics are spelling out what transit and transportation will look like, now and in the future.

The UTU Bus Department has been following politics and the trends for funding that are necessary for passenger and public transportation to meet the needs of an aging population and growing automobile congestion. It does not look good.

In every town and community, hard decisions must be made — and we want those decisions made by lawmakers who understand the importance of adequate, reliable and safe public transportation, including transportation of school children by bus.

We have a responsibility to our families, children and community to make sure that the funding for public transportation stays in place. We can do that with our votes on Election Day.

When we say, “vote your paycheck,” keep in mind that the jobs of UTU Bus Department members depend on adequate, reliable and safe funding for public transportation.

We need to get out the vote for labor-friendly candidates who support adequate, reliable and safe public transportation.

Think jobs, because there are candidates out there who are coming after our jobs.

When you cast your ballot on Election Day, support candidates who will do the right thing when it comes to funding and ensuring adequate, reliable and safe public transportation.

I am a laborer. I drive a bus. I want the labor protections that labor-friendly candidates will honor with laws and regulations that my mother fought for as an organizer for the Ladies Garment Workers Union.

We have protections as unionized bus operators, and we want to extend those protections to the unorganized.

Let us all support candidates who are pledged to increased funding for public transportation, job security, safe working conditions and an environment that respects working families.