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(This diary cross-posted at CtW Connect)

CtW Connect readers know that one issue I’ve been following there for quite some time is the problem of combustible dust — invisible particles that can build up inside a factory and then ignite, blowing the place to kingdom come.

On February 8, that nightmare scenario became a reality -- killing 14 workers and sending dozens more to the hospital. And the resulting investigation may turn out to be the vehicle that causes a GOP incumbent to lose his Senate seat.

The rest of the story, including a powerful new ad, after the jump...

On February 8, the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia on February 8, exploded -- killing more than a dozen workers and sending dozens more to the hospital. And in the investigations that followed, it became clear that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had been derelict in its duty to protect workers from the life-threatening safety hazard of combustible dust.

On June 9, 60 Minutes reported on just how serious that safety hazard is:

So I’m gratified to see the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has picked up the issue to take on one of Imperial Sugar’s key enablers in Congress — Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

Here’s the DSCC’s new Web ad, titled “Sugar”:

It’s significant that they’re highlighting this issue because Chambliss — who has drawn fire for putting Big Sugar’s interests above those of his constituents, and who spent a Senate hearing on combustible dust browbeating a whistleblower to burnish the image of Imperial Sugar — is facing a strong challenge from one of Kos' Orange to Blue candidates, Democrat Jim Martin.

Just look at the polls:

Starting at a pronounced disadvantage, Martin has managed to scrap his way to a virtual tie with Chambliss — and the national Democratic tide is putting even more wind at his back. So presumably Chambliss is not thrilled that his constituents are being reminded of his ties to a corporation (headquartered out of state, no less) whose failure to protect their workers cost 14 Georgians their lives.

Which is all the more reason to make sure those constituents hear that message. If you know a Georgia voter, send them the video. And if you are a Georgia voter, remember those fallen workers when you cast your ballot.

Originally posted to ChangeToWin on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 01:20 PM PDT.

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