By TIM ROWDEN
Just one year after Donald Trump was elected president, the political landscape shifted yet again, in major elections in New Jersey and Virginia – this time in favor of working families.
“The election marked a major shift in America’s political landscape that rebuked the greedy politics of the rich and powerful, and the Labor Movement was at the center of it all – winning through our issues and electing dozens of union members to office,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
“Working people won because our political independence focused on issues, not personalities or party registration. Moving forward into 2018 and 2020, we’re ready to boost worker champions no matter the letter next to their name in order to deliver hope and opportunity for millions of working people.”
In New Jersey, the Labor Movement’s political program made more than a million contacts to union households through a robust mail, phone and door-knocking program. In addition to the election of Phil Murphy as governor and Sheila Oliver as lieutenant governor, the nationally renowned New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Program propelled 43 rank-and-file union members to public office.
This comes shortly after the AFL-CIO convention adopted a new resolution that pledges to adapt similar Labor candidate programs in every state Labor federation and central labor council in the country. And each candidate who spoke on this resolution at our convention won their races – Keith Kazmark Woodland Park New Jersey Mayor, Braxton Winston Charlotte City Council, and Teresa Mosqueda Seattle City Council
In Virginia, the Labor Movement’s political program sent nearly 150,000 pieces of mail, made nearly 100,000 contacts at worksites, and drove nearly 100,000 calls and door knocks to union households, propelling Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, to a decisive victory in the race for governor over Republican rival Ed Gillespie.
Virginia Democrats also elected Justin Fairfax as lieutenant governor — just the second African-American elected to statewide office since Reconstruction — re-elected Mark Herring as attorney general, and made major gains in the Virginia House of Delegates.