Rep. Bob Dixon, a candidate for the 30th Senate District seat in 2010, was the only Republican official to attend Springfield's Labor Day parade and rally.
But Jim Kabell, the business manager for the Teamsters Local 245 union, cautioned that local labor is not necessarily endorsing Dixon in his state Senate bid.
"We've not made any endorsement," said Kabell in an interview. "Dixon has not been a solid labor vote, but there are things he has done."
"When people saw him there, they asked me, 'What are you going to do with him?' And I said, I'm going to introduce him, like we did the other state representatives. This was an ideal opportunity for others to twist his arm," Kabell explained.
VIDEO of Dixon's appearance posted on YouTube shows Kabell crediting Dixon for appearing before a group that usually supports Democrats. "But we need friends on both sides of the aisle folks," Kabell added.
"We need somebody in the Republican Party that will represent working men and women just as we need them in the Democratic Party," Kabell said.
Dixon was clear about why he was there -- to win their votes for his Senate bid.
"I stand before you as the grandson of Democrats and the son of a union member," Dixon said in a brief statement where he promised to campaign for economic opportunity, stronger schools and safe neighborhoods.
Kabell was vague when describing what Dixon has done for labor causes.
"He's kept some things locked up so it doesn't do us harm. He's blocked some things from hitting the floor, made sure some things don't get out of committee," Kabell explained.
When asked for specifics on what Dixon blocked, Kabell declined to say. "I don't want to do him harm, get him in trouble with some of his friends," Kabell added.
Kabell made clear that respect and having a relationship with Dixon does not qualify as an endorsement.
Springfield school board member Michael Hoeman first told The Notebook he was considering a bid for the District #30 Senate seat as a Democrat back in June. Kabell said he's only had a brief conversation with Hoeman that did not include "much substance."
Kabell doesn't know the chances of Dixon winning labor's blessing. They're likely slim.
The fact that Dixon is actively courting labor should be a warning to Greene County Democrats.
And the fact that Dixon is quietly maneuvering policy for labor might catch the antenna of some Republicans.