Lewis County Politician is Supported by Freedom Foundation Staff (Past and Present)

First-time candidate Christina Riley is running for the District 2 seat on the Board of Lewis County Commissioners this year.

Her campaign finance reports show donations from a current Freedom Foundation staffer, a donation from the Lewis County Republican Party where that Freedom Foundation staffer is Vice-Chair, and that an ex-Freedom Foundation staffer is an officer on her campaign. 

Riley pledges to “leverage her workforce and trades experience” on her campaign website, and refers to herself as a ‘training and apprenticeship specialist’ on her business website – Christina Riley Consulting. 

She is also listed as Board Treasurer and Regional Labor and Apprenticeship Representative for Pacific Mountain Workforce Development (PACMTN), a non-profit convener of regional workforce development efforts supporting five Washington counties.

Riley’s apparent experience with the welfare of workers makes it all the more surprising that her campaign has received multiple personal donations from Erin Volz, of Centralia, WA. 

Volz serves as the Washington Outreach Director at the anti-worker Freedom Foundation, “helping free public employees in Washington state from union bondage,” according to her website bio.  

In Washington State, Volz has signed thousands of unsolicited emails to public servants on their work computers, encouraging them to quit their union membership.

In a recent deceptive email telling state employees to stop paying dues, she asked: “…did you know they are voluntary, having no effect on your representation whether you pay them or not?” 

She has targeted unionized health care workers with spam email, too, asking them to combat the “greed” of their union leadership by dropping membership via the Freedom Foundation.

Volz has also tried to manufacture distrust of labor unions in blogs for the Freedom Foundation website.

As of mid-May, the largest contribution to Christina Riley’s campaign was from the Lewis County Republican Party (LCRP), where Volz serves as co-Chair of the Executive Board. In addition to the donation, that group has also endorsed Riley in the race. 

The LCRP has promoted Freedom Foundation events in the past, such as their 2023 anti-union “Teacher’s Conference.”

Additionally, Riley’s campaign registration lists former Freedom Foundation employee Conner Edwards as Treasurer. Edwards was once a Grassroots Coordinator for the Freedom Foundation, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Volz and Edwards’ colleagues at the so-called Freedom Foundation have been unsuccessfully trying to harm local labor unions for almost ten years

Their original hope was that if they could reduce union dues revenue, they could slow down pro-worker legislation and see less pro-union candidates elected. But the plan didn’t work. 

Their mission to have any impact on organized workers on the West Coast has stalled out. Their focus has shifted to friendlier southern states like Florida and Arkansas where existing anti-union policies make for easier lifts.