AFSCME Endorsement Remarks

Remarks by State Sen. Toni Harp
AFSCME Endorsement July 22, 2013

Thank you. I’m honored to receive the endorsement of your union. I’m honored you chose me as the right candidate to lead this city forward.

Receiving this endorsement is a special honor for me in particular because I am a former member of AFSCME. When I worked for the city in the 1980s I was a member of Local 3144, during some of the union’s earliest years.

In fact, I was the city’s Human Resources Department’s first union steward. I’m proud to able to look now, more than twenty years later, and see how the union has grown and how much it has done to represent its members since then. AFSCME has done a lot to move New Haven forward, both by fighting for fair wages for its members and by ensuring that city services are provided at a high level.

The people AFSCME represents keep our city running every single day. They take care of kids at day care, they answer 911 calls, and they keep the peace at our schools. When a new citizen registers to vote, an ASCFME member files their application. New Haven may not always realize it, but we rely on AFSCME. They do essential work, and they do it well. Thank you.

Today we stand on the steps of the New Haven Free Public Library. Libraries are a symbol of our city’s commitment to everyone who lives here, regardless of their income bracket or where they were born. And it is staffed by AFSCME members. We can and will do more to make sure that everyone in the city knows about and has access to the resources of our libraries.

That is the sort of progress I want to make in City Hall, and I hope to work with AFSCME, the Board of Aldermen, and every single resident who cares about our city’s future to do it.

I believe that the city government can do more to help the people of this city, and have faith that those services can be done well because I have faith in the members of AFSCME. When I speak of a “Mobile City Hall,” coming to each part of the city in turn to make government more accessible, I envision a project staffed in part by AFSCME members.

The same is true for my plans to expand early childhood education, increase tax credits for small businesses who hire locally, and develop the Long Wharf area. AFSCME will not be the only union that our city relies on, but it will be a crucial one. 

Together we can move New Haven forward. ASFCME and I share a vision for a new, New Haven. We share a vision of a New Haven that pays all workers fairly, that provides social services to the less fortunate, and guarantees all employees a secure retirement.

We share a vision of a New Haven that is not stuck in the past but is moving forward. And that progress will happen only if we can abandon the feuds that have divided the city for so long and instead bring everyone together. 

There are less than two months ahead. We face well-financed opponents, who will not hesitate to launch negative attack campaigns. But we will work together to win this campaign in the only way that people can counter money – grassroots organizing. In the streets.

Face to face with voters. Knocking on every door and talking to every voter. It is a great comfort to me knowing that the workers who keeping this city running are on my side, and will be volunteering on my behalf. We will work together to win this race, and then we will keep working together to make this city better for everyone.

Thank you again for your endorsement.