By MIKE LEE
In an election that featured one of the highest voter midterm turnouts in recent history, the efforts of DC 37’s vaunted Green Machine were pivotal in finally breaking the Albany legislative gridlock by helping several local state senate candidates to victory.
The state’s top elected officials were all re-elected with union help. Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeated Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, while New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand scored easy victories.
Letitia James, the city’s Public Advocate and a stalwart DC 37 ally, was elected New York State’s first African American Attorney General, winning by a landslide.
“Tonight the working men and women of New York spoke loudly and clearly about our values, our priorities, and how we want to run our state,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “In record numbers, we rejected the bigoted politics of Trump in favor of the politics of inclusion and tolerance.”
Thanks in large part to union efforts, the Democrats wrested control of the state Senate, winning by sizable margins over Republicans throughout New York City.
DC 37 volunteers and activists canvassed members by phone and were out in force across the city. Among those receiving a boost from the union were former city Comptroller John Liu, who won election in the 11th Senate District in Queens.
“I congratulate them on their well-deserved victories and look forward to continue working with them on an agenda that benefits all New Yorkers,” Garrido said.
Nationally, the Democrats won a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, winning back control of the chamber after eight years. Republicans maintained a majority in the U.S. Senate.
In a historic victory for women, at least 117 female candidates won elections across the country Tuesday night, taking over high-level political positions including House seats, Senate seats, and governorships.
Among the victors: New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
More history was made by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, the first two Native American women to win seats in the House.
Also, pro-labor candidates won several gubernatorial governor races and state legislative contests. Labor went all-out in Wisconsin and Illinois to defeat Koch-funded, anti-union governors Scott Walker and Bruce Rauner.
Both were key leaders in the right-wing assault on public employee unions. Their defeat, along with strong showings for other pro-labor candidates across the country show that union members are engaged and winning.
The DC 37 Blog is an official online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal workers in New York.