Union Members Help Turn the Tide in Election

The 2018 election was a resounding victory for working people across the state.

In key state and federal races, Council 4 members endorsed candidates who share our union’s values and recognize the importance of public service and the need for a strong and vibrant middle class.

Better than two-thirds of our AFSCME-endorsed candidates were elected. From volunteer labor walks and phone banks to direct mail, from worksite “lunch and learn” meetings to social media engagement, our Get Out the Vote efforts provided the margin of victory for pro-union candidates.

Here is our election review:

Congress and U.S. Senate
In the 5th Congressional District, union member Jahana Hayes won her first-ever election. The former Waterbury school teacher and administrator made history by becoming the first African American woman elected from Connecticut to serve in the U.S. Congress.

In the U.S. Senate, Chris Murphy easily won reelection to serve a second term. Council 4 endorsed Murphy based on his 99% voting record on labor issues.

Local 1186 member Frank Mute, left, and Council 4 Legislative Coordinator Brian Anderson talk during a volunteer labor walk in the 30th district.

Council 4’s endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Ned Lamont, who champions workers’ rights and unions, won a hard-fought campaign against Bob Stefanowski, who had applauded the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, by just over 44,000 votes.

Also winning statewide were William Tong for Attorney General, Kevin Lembo for State Comptroller, Denise Merrill for Secretary of the State, Shawn Wooden for State Treasurer and Susan Bysiewicz for Lieutenant Governor. All were endorsed by Council 4.

State Legislature
In the General Assembly, the pro-worker majority in the House of Representatives grew by twelve seats, bringing the chamber makeup to 92 Democrats and 59 Republicans.

Most notably, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (30th District), a member of AFSCME Local 3145 and Council 4’s Education Coordinator, won reelection by 50 votes. Aresimowicz was the prime target of a dark-money campaign that flooded his district in Berlin and Southington. Anti-union groups ranging from the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and the Koch Brothers made his defeat a top priority but failed, thanks to our members’ mobilization.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of the AFL-CIO Labor 2018 mobilization program in which our union participated, the tie in the state Senate has been broken. In January, the Senate will be made up of 23 Democrats and 13 Republicans.

Congressperson-elect Jahana Hayes, center, with Local 714 member-leaders Dwight Frederick, Bill Seedman, Glenn Guerrera and Jay Bartolomei at a pre-election rally at Council 4.

Thank You!
Since the election, both Democratic caucuses in both chambers have articulated an intention to pass pro-worker legislation while pushing back against corporate conservative attacks on our bargaining rights and freedoms.

Thanks to our many AFSCME members who volunteered for Get Out the Vote activities over the last few months. We made a big difference by knocking on doors, calling your fellow union members, sending post cards and turning out for rallies like our Nov. 2 GOTV rally with our top endorsed candidates at Council 4.

“From the start, we said this election was not about left or right, red or blue. It was about fighting back against a rigged economy,” Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr commented. “It was about sending a strong message to the wealthy and corporate special interests that have been trying to destroy public services and to undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of all workers.”

Click here for the complete list of Council 4-endorsed candidates who won their election.

Adina Ghanooni, right, of AFSCME Local 2663 volunteered her weekends this fall to help elect Mary Abrams, left, to State Senate in the 13th district. Abrams defeated a notorious anti-union opponent when she bested incumbent Senator Len Suzio.