by IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell
As we have for the last several election cycles, Local 1245 dispatched a number of organizing stewards to work on elections affecting our members. There are two points to this work – to give 1245 activists a chance to learn the skills needed in ground campaigns, and to elect officials and lawmakers who are friendly to our cause. So, how did we do?
IBEW 1245 endorsed candidates won an astounding 75% of local races and 81% of state-level races.
STATE OFFICE RESULTS: One key victory at the state level was the election of California Labor Federation President and UFCW 1428 leader Connie Leyva to the State Senate in District 20 (San Bernardino). We also helped replace some unfriendly termed-out members of the State Assembly who were not always supportive of 1245 interests. Some of the newly-elected Assembly members who are known and friendly to 1245 include Bill Dodd in Assembly District 4 (Napa and Solano counties), who has helped us on energy issues and opposed CCA; Tony Thurmond in AD 15 (Berkeley/Emeryville/Richmond) who is a strong supporter on our energy issues as well as PLAs and will help with communication of CCA issues in Richmond; and David Chiu in AD 17 (San Francisco), who did not support the city’s CCA program on the campaign trail, while his opponent made CCA a centerpiece of his campaign.
LOCAL OFFICE RESULTS: Winning 75% of local races is an amazing accomplishment. Many factors influence these campaigns: low turnout was a real problem throughout the state, candidates are hard to evaluate, local political consultants are sometimes of little value, and few candidates or their advisors understand how labor can help them get elected. Given these factors, winning anything more than 55% of these races is outstanding.
Among the most impressive results: Bob Lingl was elected Mayor in Lompoc; Gregg Fishman crushed his rival for SMUD Board; Abel Guillen defeated a much better-known and better-funded rival in the Oakland City Council District 2 race; Dennis Moreland kept his seat on the South Feather River Water and Power Board despite being challenged by a sitting Oroville City Council member; all three of our endorsed candidates won election to the Redding City Council; and we helped keep a labor-friendly seat on the Merced Irrigation District Board.
These results show that when our members communicate directly to voters about the City Council and Board positions that matter to our members and the community, we can directly influence these elections in our favor.
As you know, each race is different and each election cycle presents its own challenges. But the bottom line is when these newly elected officials are sworn in next month, we will be better off than we were on November 4.
2015 is an off-year in the election cycle and generally will be slower in terms of active political campaigns, but we do have several critical races, including Turlock Irrigation District Board (two seats are up, and they are the City of Turlock seats), Modesto Irrigation District (we want to re-elect two of our best friends to the board), City of Modesto and City of Ceres races, San Francisco Mayor (SF Politics is always a challenge with a faction of so-called“progressives” perpetually attacking 1245 members’ interests), and a special election to replace Mark DeSaulnier in Senate District 7 (Assemblymember Susan Bonilla has announced she will run for the seat and has been good to us on a number of issues.)
Our organizers and organizing stewards gave us their skills and hard work this year, and the results show. I couldn’t be prouder.