Senator Jeff Merkley endorses Bernie Sanders

YAHOO: State Senator Jeff Merkley is the first senator to endorse presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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Merkley’s endorsement comes as a welcome end to Sanders’s dry spell of Senate endorsements as he aggressively campaigns against rival Clinton ahead of the New York primary on Tuesday. Later Wednesday, Sanders earned another key supporter: New York’s transit workers union, representing some 42,000 workers in the region.

Merkley, hailing from liberal Oregon, sits on the powerful Appropriations and Budget committees in the Senate. He worked as a national security analyst at the Pentagon and at the Congressional Budget Office before returning to Oregon to become a state lawmaker, and eventually coming back to Washington when elected to Congress. He’s since become one of the party’s most progressive lawmakers, railing against Wall Street big banks, spearheading legislation for protections against workplace discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, and leading a Democratic fight against abuse of the filibuster. He has sponsored legislation with Sanders, seeking greater accountability for the VA in the wake of its wait time scandal in 2014, when Sanders was chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

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