Citing his long record in the legislature and the improving opinion polls, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told AFL-CIO leaders on Wednesday that he was the best equipped candidate to advance the benefits and rights of organized labor.

Although no mention of rivals came up, Sanders, who is one of many candidates to address the executive council of the organizations, said he told the group no one has as clear regard for labor as he did.

Sanders said he has been a member of the Senate and House for over 25 years and is not aware of one member of either chamber with as strong a record of voting for the AFL-CIO, of which he said it was 98%.

Speaking to local reporters, the presidential candidate said during his time he stressed to the group his early as well as vocal opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which members of the AFL-CIO attempted to defeat and the deregulation of the financial services sector.

He also mentioned that the legislation he planned to introduce would increase the national minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Martin O’Malley also spoke to the group. On Thursday both Jim Webb a former Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton will appear.

Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, has experienced some early signs of strong support amongst members of the labor movement and was welcomed warmly.

However, members of the executive council were cautious, saying everyone must consider carefully the electability of each candidate when determining endorsements, a potential strike against Sanders, who is trailing in the polls to Hillary Clinton.

Sanders said that he referenced new polling data take form CNN that showed him comparing  in a favorable manner in matchups head to head with a number of Republicans to demonstrate to the AFL-CIO council he is not only competitive be is electable as well.

The American Federation of Teachers, which is an affiliate of the AFC-CIO all ready endorsed Clinton.

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