The New Jersey State AFL-CIO held its 22nd annual Labor Candidates School at the union-staffed Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center this past weekend. The school graduated a record high 36 candidates, all of whom intend to run for offices across New Jersey.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates School is part of an ongoing effort to recruit, train, mentor, and support union sisters and brothers running for elected office. Since 1997, the school has helped 973 union members get elected to local, state, and federal offices.
“No one can represent working families and their unions better than our own brothers and sisters,” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “By securing across-the-board labor candidate victories, we can ensure that working men and women play the predominant role in rebuilding and revitalizing our state’s economy. With the solidarity of working people, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”
Through the Labor Candidates School, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO affords union members the opportunity to gain the skills they need to succeed in the political arena. The school features lectures from a number of seasoned election experts who cover subjects such as fundraising, election law, campaign research, message development, public speaking, media relations, voter contact, volunteer recruitment, targeting, digital strategy, and get-out-the-vote.
“I feel fortunate to have been nominated and selected to attend the New Jersey State AFL-CIO 22nd Annual Candidate School. It was a privilege to be among fellow union brothers and sisters in a well-organized and bipartisan weekend conference,” said Keyport Mayor Candidate Collette Kennedy. “The experts who spoke at the school were experienced and knowledgeable, and the feedback I received was invaluable.”
She added, “This school provided me a strategic advantage that no other campaign can match.”
More than 141 graduates of the Labor Candidates School currently hold public office. Among them are Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Troy Singleton, Congressman Donald Norcross, Assemblyman Joe Egan, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Assemblyman Tom Giblin, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.
Because of these graduates and their unwavering dedication to the labor movement, several pro-worker pieces of legislation have been passed in NJ this year. This includes Paid Sick Days, Equal Pay for Women and Minorities, The Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act; and most recently, Unemployment Benefits for Striking Workers.
“The New Jersey State AFL-CIO congratulates this year’s graduates,” said President Wowkanech. “We look forward to working with them to ensure their success on Election Day.”