Our elected officials — from local offices right up to the U.S. Congress – have immense power over our lives, both on and off the job. Lawmakers can enact policies that lift up working families like ours — or they can push through laws that are harmful to workers, unions, and the utility industry. A bright future starts with electing the right politicians who understand and support our values, which is why labor unions, and IBEW 1245 specifically, see political activism as a core tenet of the Labor Movement. It’s why unions research candidates, issue endorsements based on their records and positions, and encourage all members to vote.
In politics, every vote matters, and unions can (and do) effect real change. For evidence, look no further than the results of the June 2022 Primary Election, where nearly all of IBEW 1245’s endorsed candidates succeeded in their efforts to garner enough votes in the Primary to advance to the Midterm Election in November.
“1245’s endorsed candidates did very well this election cycle,” Local 1245 Assistant Business Manager Hunter Stern reported. “This cycle had a total of 17 races with open seats in California, an extraordinarily high number, due to redistricting and term limits. Our union-endorsed candidates finished first or second in every one of those races. In Nevada, Local 1245 issued endorsements in the 20 state level races; 16 of those endorsed candidates won.”
“This kind of success doesn’t happen by accident – it’s the result of our members taking the time to cast their votes, and encouraging others to vote as well,” underscored IBEW 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean. “This is what winning looks like!”
This spring, the IBEW 1245 organizing team dispatched more than 20 IBEW 1245 organizing stewards to work with five central labor councils – in Sacramento, North Valley, Alameda, Fresno, and South Bay — to help get out the vote for labor-friendly candidates. Organizing stewards and union staff also attended canvassing events in Reno, El Dorado Hills, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo.
“The energy and passion was in full force as organizing stewards made phone calls, sent texts, knocked on doors and canvassed precincts for union-endorsed candidates,” IBEW 1245 Staff Organizer Charlotte Stevens reported. “The leadership displayed by our organizing stewards help fuel the victory of most our endorsed candidates making it to the midterm.”
In California, Local 1245 can report the most current returns on the following key races:
In the two closely contested statewide races, 1245-endorsed candidates for Insurance Commissioner and for Controller have qualified for the ballot in November.
- Ricardo Lara finished first in the Insurance Commissioner race.
- Malia Cohen has finished second for Controller.
1245-endorsed candidates came out on top in three open U.S. Congress races:
- In CD 3 (Part of Sacramento, all of Placer/El Dorado/Nevada and four other counties), 1245-endorsed candidate Kermit Jones won the Primary and will advance to the General Election.
- In CD 13 (Stanislaus/Merced/Madera and small part of Fresno), 1245-endorsed candidate Adam Gray and his opponent are running neck and neck and will face off in the Fall.
- In CD 15 (San Mateo County and small portion of San Francisco), 1245-endorsed candidate Kevin Mullen has won with 40% of the vote and is well positioned to win in the General Election.
1245-endorsed candidates came out on top in all four California State Senate races with open seats:
- In SD 4 (Stanislaus/El Dorado/Nevada and 10 other counties), 1245-endorsed candidate and labor leader Tim Robertson won the Primary.
- In SD 8 (Sacramento), 1245-endorsed candidate Angelique Ashby finished second and is only 5% behind the winner. This is shaping up to be a very competitive race in the fall.
- In SD 10 (Parts of Alameda and Santa Clara), 1245-endorsed candidate Aisha Wahab is running a strong second and has advanced to the General.
- In SD 14 (Merced/Madera and part of Fresno), 1245-endorsed candidate Anna Caballero has won the Primary. Although she is a current Senator, this District covers only a fraction of her current District, so she was running in an open seat.
1245-endorsed candidates won in nine of the 10 California Assembly races with open seats (including two which had special elections to fill vacant seats in April):
- In AD 11 (Solano), 1245 endorsed candidate Lori Wilson won the primary with nearly 65% of the vote.
- In AD 12 (Marin/part of Sonoma) 1245 endorsed candidate Sara Aminzadeh finished a close second and qualified for the General.
- In AD 17 (San Francisco), 1245 endorsed candidate Matt Haney won the Primary and effectively cleared the field.
- In AD 20 (Alameda), 1245 endorsed candidate and Alameda Labor Council Leader Liz Ortega has won the Primary and qualified for November.
- In AD 21 (South Bay) 1245-endorsed candidate Giselle Hale initially appeared to have finished third. But after an additional 42,000 mail ballots were counted in San Mateo county, she has moved into second place by roughly 340 votes, and it appears she will quality for the General Election.
- In AD 22 (Stanislaus), 1245 endorsed candidate and union member Jessica Self has finished second, garnering enough votes to qualify for the General Election.
- In AD 27 (Merced/Madera/part of Fresno), 1245 endorsed candidate Esmeralda Soria won the Primary.
- In AD 28 (Santa Cruz/part of Santa Clara) 1245 endorsed candidate Gail Pellerin won the Primary.
- In AD 30 (SLO/ parts of Monterey and Santa Cruz), 1245 endorsed candidate Dawn Addis won decisively.
- In AD 35 (Kern) 1245 endorsed candidate and County Supervisor Leticia Perez won decisively.
In Nevada, Local 1245 can report the most current returns on the following key races:
- 1245 endorsed candidate Catherine Cortez Masto won her U.S. Senate primary. Senator Cortez Masto sits on Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is very influential . She has used that influence to support Local 1245 and the IBEW.
- 1245 endorsed candidate Governor Steve Sisolak easily won his primary election. Governor Sisolak has been VERY supportive of 1245 members, signing numerous energy bills in 2019 and 2021 and directing the Nevada Department of Energy and Governor’s Office of Economic Development to work with 1245 on key energy issues.
- 1245 endorsed candidate Lisa Cano Berkhead won the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, defeating someone who is not 1245 friendly.
- In AD 12, 1245 endorsed candidate and IBEW (Local 357) member Max Carter won the primary.
- In AD 33, 1245 endorsed candidate Bert Gurr won the primary.
- In AD 25, 1245 endorsed candidate and union member Alex Goff unfortunately lost his race.
- In SD 12, 1245 endorsed candidate and IBEW contractor Julie Pazina won the primary.
- In SD 13, 1245 endorsed candidate and union member Skip Daly won his race. He has served in the Assembly previously and has been helpful to 1245 on energy issues.
- In SD 17, 1245 endorsed candidate Robin Titus (former Assemblymember) won her race. She has supported energy legislation in the past and defeated another former Assemblymember who was not supportive.
- In CD 2, Incumbent U.S. Representative Mark Amodei easily won his primary.
- In local races, 1245 endorsed candidates Reno Mayor Hilary Schieve and City Council members Naomi Duerr and Bonnie Webber won their races. The latter two serve on the Board of Truckee Meadows Water Authority and have supported 1245 members working there.
In many of these races, IBEW 1245’s organizing stewards were the driving force behind the victory. Below, organizing stewards reflect on their campaign experiences in their own words.
“I was on the Modesto campaign for Tim Robertson, Jessica Self, and Tony Madrigal. This was my first campaign, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I would love to do it again if the opportunity were to arise. I had volunteered on my days off before, so I had a little experience with canvassing and phone banking. Although it was a lot of work, I loved the feeling of doing something that will help make a difference. I spoke to a lot of supporters of our candidates. I was nervous at first to speak to people because I had some bad experiences with people being rude during the Newsom campaign that I had volunteered for but everyone ended up being respectful and kind, even if they had differing opinions.” – Mary Garcia, New Organizing Steward
“Local campaigns will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the community I grew up in and I’m trying to give back whenever I can. When we wear our blue 1245 organizing shirts, it feels like we are invincible and a part of something much bigger! I am grateful to be a part of IBEW 1245 and feel blessed to call myself a member. One of the most memorable highlights was when I walked into a small neighborhood, and the voter I needed to speak with was outside playing with their son, I knew it would be a great conversation. He was excited to support us and our candidates, and as soon as I walked away, his son asked, “What is a union, Dad?” He responded with, “It’s protection and fairness at your job. Not everyone gets that, and so it’s important that we continue to vote for people who believe in and want more unions at work.” It was a perfect explanation, and all I needed to hear to put a pep in my step and spread the word about our candidates!” – Valarie Moralez, Lead Organizing Steward
“This was my first time being involved as an Organizing Steward. I really enjoyed the experience. Getting to meet the candidate, Tim Robertson, personally was awesome! The first day of door-knocking made me a bit nervous, but by the second day I was comfortable on my own and enjoyed walking the neighborhoods. I loved the phone calls/texts, that was definitely more within my comfort zone. As a plus, I was able to recruit my best friend to join me on our last day. We had a lot of fun door-knocking together! She said she enjoyed it and she committed to volunteering with me again – YAY!” –Valerie Salazar, New Organizing Steward
“This was an awesome experience! Even my 13-year-old son attended, and he loved it so much he pounded the pavement with my team and I that Sunday and the following Saturday too. Although the main goal of us being on union business was to support the candidate who will support us in the labor movement (which we did), my biggest takeaway was building new relationships with my team members, including my brother Robert and my sisters Dawn and Maria. I also loved meeting all the candidates that we are supporting, and seeing them be willing to walk with us meant a lot to me. All in all, I pray our hard work makes a difference and we win every spot we are fighting for.” – Quentin Hunter
“This campaign was by far the most challenging I have encountered, but also the most rewarding. I was able to meet many different candidates that were running for office, and have learned that it truly takes a surmountable amount of support to see these candidates through to the finish line. One candidate in particular stood out – Karina Talamantes, running for City Council in District 3. As a resident of District 3, I was able to use my own experiences and share it with my neighborhood and friends in hopes to educate and encourage to Get The Vote Out. We were fortunate enough to meet Karina on the first day of Union work and canvass with her throughout Natomas. Another great treat for me was to experience the Salute to Labor Event for the first time. This event was very informative and it gave me a lot of insight on labor worker rights, why we fight for these rights and why it is important to have these rights. Such a humbling experience indeed. I would like to thank IBEW 1245 for the opportunity to be a part of another GOTV event this year. It’s always a pleasure to answer the call and to help serve for the betterment of our union and community. I look forward to many other opportunities ahead.” — Dawn Akolo
“We walked between 5.5- 6.5 miles a day in 100+ temperatures, but the conversations at the doors were worth it! Our team came across a lot of friendly neighbors who gave us support. Isaacs’s highlight was knocking on the door of a retired iron worker who thanked him for his time volunteering to canvas for labor friendly candidates. He advised Isaac he was fully supporting the candidates we were walking for and asked for additional information. Isaac had his daughter out walking over the weekend; she loved walking with her dad and knocking on doors and she even asked to volunteer.” — Brittany Santana, Lead Organizing Steward
“I want to thank IBEW 1245 for allowing me to participate in GOTV week and my team for so many wonderful moments. This was my first time participating, so I didn’t have any expectations, nor did I know what I was signing up for. Our team spent seven days in the Fresno heat, and it wouldn’t have been possible without continuous encouragement from the group, adequate hydration, and many restroom visits. Canvassing allowed us to speak to various types of residents, some with strong political views, and others who were willing to listen with an open mind. Many also expressed gratitude for the reminder to go out and vote. Overall a wonderful experience, and certainly looking forward to future opportunities.” — Juan Montoya, New Organizing Steward
“My highlight from this time around would be working with two people I’ve never worked with before and seeing that same level of commitment that I have seen in the past from other stewards. Juan was unbelievable. His drive and work ethic are crazy. He was down for anything, whether that was picking up the slack when we were shorthanded or staying an extra 30-minutes to make sure we completed our list. One of Juan’s greatest qualities is people open the door for him at a high clip. Laney was great, we lost her for a couple days due to personal reasons and a day where she went down south to help out another county. We hit 764 doors in the first 4 days. And on election day we hit over 800 doors in the last 3 days with over 400 doors on election day. Big thanks to Brittney Santana who volunteered and came out on Sunday and spent 3 to 4 hours with us walking, and 1245 Staffer Melissa Echeverria who came out twice and showed great leadership and support throughout the campaign.” — Brandon Fosselman, Lead Organizing Steward
“I had the privilege of assisting the labor endorsed Liz Ortega for assembly campaign, alongside seasoned veterans in the campaigning field such as Alvin Dayoan. 1245 was able to knock on a total of 3,345 doors and made over 5,256 calls. This campaign was demanding of our time and required long hours and hard work. My team stepped up to the plate to help Liz get across the finish line. My team and I received great feedback from other union-endorsed candidates, including Attorney General Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, and City Council member Aisha Wahab who all thanked us for all our hard work. Thank you for the opportunity to lead such an amazing team. I look forward to helping our union in our continued support of labor endorsed candidates.” — Foster Goree, Lead Organizing Steward
“These last three weeks have been so fun and amazing for me — from meeting so many brothers and sisters, to fighting the fight and learning what our IBEW 1245 does behind the scenes for us as employees and for the future of democracy. I was able to take my family on a trip to show them a glimpse of what gets done and a small view of the process of an election. I appreciated every second of it.” — Robert Delgado-Bustos, New Organizing Steward
“Our team visited 1,071 home and made 2,677 phone calls. Not only did we work well and efficiently as a team, we had fun too. Cory Alves had a plan regarding splitting up our precinct and it worked very well. I’ve worked with Darla West many times in the past, and I couldn’t ask for a harder worker more dedicated to our goals. She didn’t have to, but she showed up early too. She has the best attitude and is always up to put in the work. One highlight was a conversation I had on the phone with a voter that didn’t start out too positive. He started off by saying that he probably wouldn’t be voting for Jaclyn Moreno (the 1245-endorsed candidate for county supervisor) because he assumed all union-endorsed candidates were only aligned with Democrats. I explained to him that our union endorses candidates that are labor-friendly, whether Republican or Democrat or Decline-to-State. He said he wasn’t too happy with either political party at the moment, and I invited him to look at Jaclyn’s positions to see if they align with his interests. I felt that he was more open to voting for Jaclyn by the end of the call.” – Serena Moss, Lead Organizing Steward
“I really enjoyed working this primary campaign mostly because it was more than just phone banking and canvassing. While phone banking and canvassing are very effective and crucial parts of a campaign there is also the other side of the campaign that I was not used to being a part of but really enjoyed it! On this campaign we all had to wear many hats and change our plans day by day and hour by hour and that made the time just fly by but also made me feel that we were being effective and strategizing daily and pivoting our game plan for the day based on the voting results we were receiving. On some days we had to push more for one candidate and other candidates needed our help at the tail end of the campaign either way I seen how quickly things would change and how everyone would just adapt.” –Brenda Balcazar, Lead Organizing Steward