The state’s second largest employee union, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, has endorsed DFL candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher for governor. In a statement released on Thursday, the union announced it will support Kelliher, the Speaker of the Minnesota House, because of her leadership and electability, becoming her first union endorsement in the election. “Speaker Kelliher is willing to bring people together to solve problems in a crisis,” MAPE president Chet Jorgenson said in the statement. “She has a history of respect for state workers and the jobs they do.” MAPE is the largest professional employees union in the state with more than 12,700 members. The endorsement decision was reached after a two-day conference earlier in the week in which elected MAPE officials met one-on-one with several gubernatorial candidates where each was given an opportunity to vie for the endorsement. In a letter of thanks to MAPE members, Kelliher said she would listen to the budget proposals put forth by MAPE âÄì solutions Governor Tim Pawlenty has ignored, she said. In the statement released by the union, MAPE executive director Jim Monroe said, âÄúSpeaker Kelliher can raise the necessary money, has the necessary experience to guide this state in hard times and has a superior campaign structure.âÄù The unionâÄôs endorsement comes just a few weeks after AFSCME âÄì another prominent state labor union âÄì announced its support for DFLer Mark Dayton. In a voicemail message, DaytonâÄôs campaign manager Dana Anderson said the campaign is âÄúdisappointedâÄù Dayton didnâÄôt receive the endorsement. Kelliher has already been endorsed by the womenwinning campaign fund, a non-partisan organization that supports women leadership in politics. Currently, 12 DFL candidates remain in the running for governor of Minnesota. As union support for DFLers continues to trickle in, at least two major unions have yet to choose their candidates. Both Education Minnesota and the Service Employees International Union Minnesota State Council are expected to announce their picks by January. Other major union DFL endorsements include Teamsters Local 120âÄôs backing Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and Rep. Paul ThissenâÄôs backing by the Minnesota Nurses Association. Additionally, Sen. Tom Bakk has the support of a regional carpenters union, and Rep. Tom Rukavina is being backed by four Minnesota steelworkersâÄô unions.