Governmental and Political Affairs
My Assistant to the General President Kevin B. O’Connor, Governmental Affairs Director Barry Kasinitz and Political Director David Billy lead the Division of Governmental and Political Affairs. The hardworking staff of these two departments provides our union with an effective voice and aggressive advocacy in the halls of Congress and with the various regulatory and administrative agencies and with a robust and universally acclaimed political operation to advance the goals and objectives of the IAFF and professional fire fighters.
The IAFF has always enjoyed reputation for being the most bi-partisan union within the House of Labor. The overarching political philosophy of the IAFF is that our union supports our friends, regardless of party or political affiliation. If a politician supports the IAFF and our issues, we support them – period. This bedrock principle has allowed our union to thrive during periods of both Democratic and Republican control. A review of our union’s legislative accomplishments over the past decade provides ample evidence of the success of our political and lobbying strategy.
In a period of congressional inaction, stalemate and acrimony, the IAFF has been able to fend off federal attacks on pensions, mandatory Social Security coverage and taxation of benefits, while making progress on numerous issues ranging from the re-authorization of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and the Assistance to Firefighter (FIRE Act) grant programs, reforming the Hatch Act, improving public safety officer benefit (PSOB) and securing waivers to keep thousands of fire fighters from being laid off as a result of the continuing economic travails.
Our prowess and success on Capitol Hill is greatly assisted by our vibrant political action and field operations. Our trademark gold and black brand remains a much sought after endorsement by political candidates in federal, state and local elections. IAFF FIREPAC remains in the top 1 percent of all federal PACs. Each election cycle, IAFF members respond to our political call for help and contribute more than $6 million in voluntary contributions to FIREPAC.
The IAFF played aggressively in the 2012 presidential election cycle, both in terms of contributions to candidates and waging an effective field program. As a result, the IAFF made a difference in our endorsed candidates and ballot/referendum issues.
For many years, our union was structured so that the IAFF handled politics at the federal level, and our state and provincial bodies dealt with elections at their respective levels of government. Municipal and county races were the purview of our affiliates. However, as the attacks against our members have mushroomed at all levels of government, and as our political action resources grew, I decided – and the Executive Board concurred – that FIREPAC would begin to strategically invest in targeted state and local races. Both in 2012 and in the off year election of 2013, our union made significant investments in gubernatorial, state legislative, mayoral and ballot initiative contests. Our efforts helped our affiliates achieve significant victories and further advanced our union’s political reputation and branding.
Our expanded coffers also allowed the IAFF to invest meaningfully in Independent Expenditures (IEs) in key Senate and House races and in targeted gubernatorial and legislative races. Over the past two years, IAFF-sponsored IEs have included television, radio, cable, direct mail and targeted field activities. This election cycle, FIREPAC will be funding IEs for both our Democratic and Republican allies.
In compliance with Resolution 24 passed at our 2012 Convention, and in recognition that advancing a national collective bargaining bill in the current political climate is an almost impossibility, the IAFF conducted its first Collective Bargaining Referendum Academy in November 2013. The program, modelled after the highly successful Political Training Academy, was held in Memphis, Tennessee. The 27 participants learned to pursue collective bargaining through the referendum/initiative process. While achieving national collective bargaining remains the IAFF’s top legislative goal, during this period of congressional antagonism, the referendum process is a more viable path for our affiliates to expand bargaining on the local level.
In my 38 years at the IAFF, I have never witnessed a period in which Congress has been as dysfunctional as today, or the political tone of our country more rancorous. In spite of these challenges, our efforts have succeeded. Our membership is united and our resolve is unflinching. The IAFF will continue to lead in the political arena and succeed in lobbying effectively at all levels of government.
The two years since we last convened have been especially challenging for our legislative efforts on Capitol Hill. The wave of extremist politicians elected in 2010 – and re-elected in 2012 – has fundamentally altered how government functions. While the attacks on labor rights surpass anything seen since the McCarthy era, the biggest changes wrought by the Tea Party crowd are to the legislative process itself.
For more than 200 years, our democracy functioned based on an understanding that compromise was an essential part of the legislative process. The founding fathers carefully created governmental structures to protect the rights of the minority. A hallmark of our nation is that legislation rarely becomes law without some degree of bi-partisan cooperation.
The new mood on Capitol Hill is not characterized merely by more extreme positions, but by a wholesale repudiation of the very nature of negotiation and compromise. Pragmatism has become a dirty word among the new breed of lawmakers. Legislative actions which were once considered routine, such as paying off our government’s obligations and keeping the government open, have become battlefields. Major issues and pressing needs go unaddressed because Congress is unable to work cooperatively even on non-controversial issues. The permanent campaign has permeated every crevice of our nation’s capital and there is virtually no issue on which policy trumps political considerations.
Not surprisingly, this dynamic has led to a near-complete breakdown of the legislative process. The 112th Congress – which served from 2011-2012 – set a record for the least productive Congress in modern history, and the current 113th Congress is on a pace to smash that record in futility.
This new environment is especially difficult for organizations such as the IAFF – which has always prided itself on its bi-partisanship and pragmatic approach. Our past successes were always grounded in our willingness to engage with our opponents, and support those who support us, regardless of party. This style of advocacy has gone the way of VCRs and floppy disks as members of Congress approach their jobs as if they are guests on cable television talk shows whose primary role is to outshout their opponents.
The one period of productivity witnessed in the past two years was a brief two-week window following the 2012 election, which returned Barack Obama to the White House and kept the House of Representatives in Republican hands. With neither party able to claim a decisive electoral victory and a government shutdown looming, combatants briefly put aside their weapons for the Lame Duck session in December 2012.
The IAFF made the most of the opportunity, securing victories on a wide range of issues that had been caught up the gridlock of the previous two years. Among those victories were reauthorizations of the FIRE Act and SAFER grant programs, a reform to the Hatch Act and a new initiative to promote fire department compliance with health and safety standards.
The reauthorization of the SAFER law is particularly important because it makes permanent the ability to waive provisions of the law that make it difficult for fire departments to receive grants. Since 2009, Congress has repeatedly passed annual waivers in the appropriations bills that provide funding for the program, but those annual waivers were intended to address the lingering effects of the Great Recession. Placing the waiver language in the underlying law will ensure that fire departments in struggling communities will continue to be eligible for grants, even after the economy fully recovers. Other improvements to the SAFER program include shortening the length of the grant, removing the cap on the size of the grants and decreasing the local match.
The same legislation that reauthorized the SAFER program also reauthorized and improved the FIRE Act program. The new law reduces the local match and guarantees professional fire departments a minimum amount of the awards each year to offset the bias in favor of volunteer fire departments. The reforms also increased the size of grants that can go to larger jurisdictions and include waiver language in case of economic hardship.
One unintended consequence of the growth of the FIRE Act and SAFER grant programs over the last decade has been IAFF members running afoul of the federal Hatch Act. Under this law, public employees who work for agencies that receive direct federal funding are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity, including running for public office. As federal funding for fire departments grew, the Hatch Act created obstacles for the hundreds of IAFF members running for state and local office. To address this concern, we successfully lobbied for legislation amending the Hatch Act to allow municipal employees to run for office regardless of any grants received by their employer.
Another significant victory achieved during the chaotic Lame Duck session of December 2012 was passage of the Fire Fighter Fatality Reduction Act. This legislation requires the federal government to determine whether fire departments are complying with NFPA health and safety standards, and explore ways the federal government can force or encourage the use of standards that protect fire fighters.
This surge of bi-partisan activity quickly gave way to a return to open warfare once the 113th Congress convened in January 2013. As a result, most of the IAFF’s efforts in the past 18 months have been devoted to preserving existing programs and repelling a series of attacks on fire fighters. With spending on homeland security programs dramatically reduced, we were forced to compete against other popular programs for scarce resources, and I am pleased to note that we have thus far succeeded in defeating efforts to cut the FIRE Act and SAFER grant programs.
After House Speaker John Boehner identified comprehensive tax reform as his top priority – reserving the symbolic designation of H.R. 1 for the proposal – the IAFF led the effort to ensure that health benefits and pension contributions would not be counted as taxable income. We also opposed plans to tax state and municipal bond interest because of the impact it would have on municipal budgets. Our efforts forced the congressional tax writers to retreat from proposals that shifted the tax burden onto middle-income taxpayers, and helped undermine the momentum for comprehensive tax reform. When a tax proposal was finally unveiled – a full year later – even Speaker Boehner declined to support it.
Other attacks on fire fighters in the 113th Congress have included efforts to replace defined benefit pension plans with annuities sold by insurance companies and to encourage localities to contract out emergency medical services to private sector companies. In the face of each of these assaults, your IAFF has forcefully stood up for the nation’s professional fire fighters.
Federal employees — including members of the IAFF 16th District — have really taken it on the chin over the past two years as the favorite target of the anti-labor extremists. The IAFF has thus far been successful in stopping repeated efforts to increase the pension contributions of federal fire fighters, although twice Congress imposed increases on newly hired federal workers. And we were only partially successful in preventing furloughs of federal fire fighters. Federal employee “official time” and minimum staffing levels continue to come under attack, forcing the IAFF to spend more and more of its resources playing defense.
Perhaps the biggest frustration we have with the current partisan gridlock is in our efforts to reform the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While well-intentioned, the ACA has a number of provisions that pose problems for the IAFF and other labor unions. As we gather here this week, we continue to work on Capitol Hill to provide relief from the Transitional Reinsurance Fee. And we are beginning the hard work of figuring out how to get rid of the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” which will reduce the benefits that our members have negotiated.
Unfortunately, the hostile political environment has created two camps — one that believes that everything about the ACA is bad and needs to be repealed and another that believes everything about the ACA is good and it should not be touched. In reality, of course, the law contains both good and bad provisions. The good provisions should be retained and the bad ones repealed or reformed. But as long as Democrats refuse to acknowledge that problems exist and Republicans refuse to try to fix problems, we will be unable to address our legitimate concerns.
Whether we can get Congress to work cooperatively on reforms to the ACA will be a defining issue for our union in the coming months and even years.
The IAFF approached the 2012 election cycle with the same principle that it applies to all political races — this union supports candidates who stand with professional fire fighters and support fire fighter issues, regardless of political party.
Emboldened by the actions of extremist governors and legislatures elected in the 2010 mid-term elections who made attacking collective bargaining rights, eliminating defined benefit pension plans and supporting national Right-to-Work key priorities. In this election, the differences between the candidates and their ideology were stark. For the first time in recent political history, organized labor became a focal point of the presidential campaign.
With the line clearly drawn, the IAFF began its election activities in the race for president of the United States in early summer of 2012. The Executive Board endorsed the re-election bid of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on June 8. The IAFF then developed a campaign plan where we played a significant role in the battleground states.
We were literally fighting for our survival. On one side, we had a sitting president who provided funding to bring thousands of laid-off fire fighters back to work, stood with our members in Ohio in fighting off attacks on collective bargaining and supported traditional pensions and employer-sponsored health care. On the other side, we had a candidate who reveled in attacking labor and boasted that ‘we don’t need more fire fighters.’
IAFF members actively campaigned to re-elect the president, touting his support for SAFER grants to bring laid-off fire fighters back to work, increase staffing in cash-strapped communities and applauding his support for workers’ rights, collective bargaining, retirement security and tax code provisions that exclude the value of employer-sponsored health care from federal taxation.
We ran online and television ads in key markets in several battleground states to make sure the public understood which side fire fighters were on and which candidate stood for public safety. With the IAFF’s help, President Obama and Vice President Biden won re-election with a comfortable three point margin in the popular vote and a 126-vote landslide in the Electoral College (332 to 206).
Both the president and vice president called me personally to thank all of our members for their work and support in this election — and to let us know that they will continue to stand with us in tough battles in the years ahead.
Beyond the presidential race, the IAFF adopted a three-pronged strategy to assist endorsed candidates: 1) direct contributions from IAFF FIREPAC; 2) targeted Independent Expenditures; and 3) an internal member-to-member program to get out the vote. Based on this strategy and execution of our plan, our successes during the 2012 election cycle really were extraordinary.
The IAFF achieved an 87 percent winning percentage in gubernatorial and U.S. Senate and U.S. House races, and was also all in for many state legislative contests, winning control of eight chambers and preserving fire fighter-friendly majorities in nine others.
With the U.S. Senate and House chambers plagued with partisan gridlock, the IAFF worked hard to help re-elect its friends while also helping a number of challengers to unseat those incumbents who haven’t had our backs.
In the U.S. Senate, Democrats had 21 seats to defend, compared to 10 for Republicans, to hold onto its 53-47 majority. Most pundits predicted that control of the Senate would pass to the GOP.
On election night, IAFF-supported incumbents and three challengers won the evening. The results produced a net gain of two seats, preserving the Democratic Senate majority for the 113th Congress with a partisan makeup of 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and two Independents (who caucus with the Democrats).
In the U.S. House, the IAFF invested to help its friends, punish its enemies and elect candidates of either party who supported fire fighter issues.
The IAFF endorsed three Democratic challengers who faced three virulently anti-labor candidates — Florida’s Allen West, California’s Dan Lundgren and Illinois’ Joe Walsh. Each of these GOP incumbents took dead aim at benefits that fire fighters and other public safety employees have won over the years. Voters in those states sent union friendly Representatives-elect Patrick Murphy, Ami Bera and Gulf War veteran and double amputee Tammy Duckworth to the 113th Congress.
The IAFF stayed the course with GOP supporters Mike Fitzpatrick (PA), Pat Tiberi (OH), John Kline (MN), Peter King (NY), Walter Jones (NC), Dave Camp (MI), Fred Upton (MI), Speaker John Boehner (OH) and many others. In all, the IAFF supported 62 GOP candidates.
After all the ballots were totaled, Democrats picked up more seats than predicted, but the GOP comfortably maintained control of the House. The composition for the 113th Congress is 234-201.
The IAFF also played an extensive role in several gubernatorial and state legislative races.
After the 2010 elections — when newly minted GOP-controlled legislatures passed scores of anti-union bills — the veto power of Governor Brian Schweitzer in Montana and John Lynch in New Hampshire derailed those attacks for IAFF members.
But in 2012, both seats were open. In Montana, the IAFF ran radio ads attacking the GOP’s chosen candidate as “extreme and out of touch with Montana voters.” In the Granite State, the IAFF partnered with the Democratic Governors Association to fund ads exposing the agenda of the GOP nominee and party.
IAFF-endorsed candidates Steve Bullock and Maggie Hassan scored election night victories in Montana and New Hampshire, respectively.
IAFF-backed candidates Jay Inslee, Peter Shumlin and Earl Ray Tomblin also prevailed in Washington, Vermont and West Virginia, respectively. In each state, IAFF members were front and center with their gold and black as part of campaign efforts.
In Iowa, the Senate, led by the chair of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Mike Gronstal and his Senate Pro Tem Jeff Danielson (a member of Cedar Falls Local 1366) consistently bucked the attempts by Governor Terry Branstad to roll back labor rights. Control of the Senate depended on retaining Danielson and the Democrats’ ability to win a seat in a newly created Muscatine district. In that race, President of Muscatine Local 608 Chris Brase won his bid for office, defeating a freshman incumbent, while Senator Danielson prevailed in his re-election effort, protecting the majority and IAFF members in the process. I’m proud to say that both Jeff and Chris also participated in the IAFF Political Training Academy, which I know provided them with valuable insight and information about how to run a professional campaign.
In a bitter battle to maintain control of the New Mexico House — a vital buffer against attacks by Governor Susana Martinez — Albuquerque Local 244 member and President of the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Emily Kane won a closely watched House seat, helping a friendly majority maintain control.
Overall in state legislative chamber elections, the Democrats won control of eight legislative chambers: the Colorado House, Maine House and Senate, Minnesota House and Senate, New Hampshire House, New York Senate and Oregon House. Republicans picked up the Senate in Arkansas, Alaska and Wisconsin.
After the Supreme Court issued its decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission in January 2010, which lifted limits on independent political spending and opened the door for the creation of Super PACs to greatly influence the electorate with hundreds of millions of dollars in largely unreported contributions, the IAFF recognized that running an effective gold-and-black branded Independent Expenditure campaign to support its candidates would be an essential ingredient for success during the cycle.
IEs afford organizations and PACs the ability to message in support of or opposition to candidates. However, the organization cannot coordinate or communicate with the respective campaigns. The effort must truly be independent.
Stepping into IEs at the level we did was entering a brave new world for this union. But it was a necessary progression for the IAFF, and we made it very successful.
In the presidential race, the IAFF purchased two weeks of television ads immediately prior to Election Day on behalf of President Obama on the highly popular “Morning Joe Show.” That visibility was augmented with aggressive advertising in the online versions of nearly 40 major newspapers in eight swing states. These banner ads at the top of the page proclaimed, “IAFF Fire Fighters for Obama-Biden” in gold and black. Collectively, the ads produced more than 45 million impressions.
In Senate, House and governor races, the IAFF used television, radio and direct mail. In some states, the ads used the imagery of fire fighters to hammer home a message that the IAFF-endorsed candidate was right on public safety and security issues. In other venues, the ads used the cache of fire fighters to make a case of trust and integrity. In some cases, IEs simply promoted a hot-button issue under the authority line: “Paid for by IAFF FIREPAC.”
The IEs provided our union with a two-fold benefit – we helped our friends and promoted our brand. It was truly a win-win situation.
The most visible of all IEs was the gold-and-black buses outfitted to help the campaigns of Senator Claire McCaskill (MO) and IAFF-endorsed candidate and now Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA). The buses crisscrossed the two states providing roving billboards for McCaskill and Warren. Fire fighters operated the buses daily, visiting fire stations and traveling to rallies and events while logging thousands of miles in the final month of the campaigns.
In the final component of the election strategy — the member-to-member program — the IAFF first identified the key states in which it needed to assist and turn out members and families to vote, including presidential states and those with battles for control of the Senate and House, as well as states with key gubernatorial or state legislative contests. The entire political focus was to play in races that had a direct impact on the future of IAFF members and their families.
During the 2012 cycle, we coordinated our efforts all the way down to the local level to best leverage the resources of the IAFF and our affiliates. This, coupled with employing the latest technology in communications and identifying and targeting voters, ensured our success.
As part of the internal program, IAFF staff worked with state and local leadership on messaging, campaign-related activities and get-out-the-vote efforts. These efforts were complemented by a robust direct mail and electronic media program to members in targeted states. In the final weeks of the campaign, IAFF political and governmental staff was dispatched to work directly with IAFF leadership to maximize member voter turnout.
As we entered the 2014 election cycle, the Supreme Court issued another ruling in a campaign finance case in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission, whereby the Court struck down the overall limits on what an individual may donate collectively to political parties, candidates and PACs in one election cycle –which was capped at $123,200. While the overall limit was struck down, the individual limit of $2,600 to a candidate per election remained intact. The ruling only affects individual donors and not PACs, including FIREPAC. This ruling, which has been criticized for giving wealthier individuals an undue influence in the political process, is effective immediately and will be felt in federal elections in 2014.
While a lot of the election night focus in 2012 was on the big races at the top of the ballot, scores of other races — from state legislatures to city councils — were on the ballot in many states, including contests in which IAFF members, retirees or family members were candidates. I am especially proud of our members who ran for office. I have always said no one can better represent professional fire fighters than one of our own.
At least 64 IAFF members or family members appeared on the November ballot. Of these 64 candidates, 38 were successful — half of whom were incumbent members seeking re-election. Fifteen were first-time candidates and three were former candidates seeking their old seats.
Of the winning candidates, four won state Senate seats, 29 won state Representative races, two won countywide seats and two won municipal elections. In addition, a dozen of these candidates were past participants in the IAFF Political Training Academy.
In March 2014, the IAFF held its 18th Political Training Academy. Since its inception, we have trained more than 900 IAFF members or family members, preparing many of them to be candidates or managers of their local’s political program. With the training they receive, we are preparing them to be smart and successful in their local political endeavors. And the political successes we have seen over the years bears this out.
Like 2012, the IAFF and its affiliates invested heavily in numerous 2013 state and local elections in hopes of blunting the continued onslaught of attacks on public safety budgets and fire fighter rights and benefits. The raft of victories nationwide sent a clear signal that voters want move investment in public safety.
These elections were a major win for public safety and for our members. The results also made it clear that the people want state and municipal lawmakers who will address the real needs of everyday people, to keep them safe, create jobs and grow the economy. Voters were clearly fed up with cynical politics that have pushed to rip our cities and government apart board by board.
The IAFF and our state and local affiliates had numerous high-profile victories across the country in 2013 as well.
In Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the race for governor against Republican Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea Party favorite who had been openly hostile to fire fighters and other public employees in the state. On the campaign trail, Cuccinelli regularly attacked unions and voiced staunch support for Right-to-Work in Virginia. After the election, McAuliffe consulted with the IAFF and the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters as he put his together his transition team as it related to public safety measures, and placed an IAFF member on that team to ensure that our voice was heard and we had a seat at the table.
In New Jersey, while their endorsed candidate for governor, state Senator Barbara Buono, did not unseat Governor Chris Christie, our affiliates in the Garden State worked hard to maintain a pro-fire fighter majority in the state Senate and House that will serve as a check against further attacks from Christie.
Meanwhile, mayoral victories in numerous cities gave fire fighters good reason to expect better treatment over the next few years and greater attention to public safety resources. The IAFF helped elect fire fighter-friendly mayors in Boston, Seattle, Dayton, Scranton, Detroit, and right here in Cincinnati.
Since the 2000 election cycle, FIREPAC has grown from slightly more than a $1 million federal PAC to nearly $6 million, a phenomenal 600 percent increase. The growth in member contributions has made the IAFF a major player in the political arena. The generosity of our members has allowed FIREPAC to be in the top one-half of one percent of the 6,063 federally registered PACS in the country, as tracked by PoliticalMoneyLine.org. I’m proud of the commitment our leadership at all levels have made to our political program and the donations that our members made during this past election cycle. A lot was at stake in these elections, our members knew it, and they stepped up to the plate. This has really given our union clout in the political arena.
Overall, FIREAPC is the 26th largest PAC in the country based on total receipts, and within the House of Labor, FIREPAC was ranked the 12th largest among 160 labor PACs. The IAFF also continues to be recognized as the most bi-partisan federal PAC in the labor movement, with almost 25 percent of its contributions going to GOP candidates since 2002. No other major union is close to that ratio.
The bulk of FIREPAC’s contributions are raised from members who participate in their local’s Check-Off program. In fact, 72 percent of FIREPAC revenue comes from the IAFF locals that have an active Check-Off program. I commend those locals that have started a FIREPAC Check-Off program, as these locals also tend to be some of our most politically active within the IAFF. While we see the dividends of their efforts in our FIREPAC coffers, they also see the fruits of their labor as they engage in political action at the local level to elect politicians who will best represent them at the city and county level. On average, 26 percent of members in a local with a Check-Off program donate to FIREPAC – compared to just 5 percent for those who are in a local without a Check-Off program. With another set of critical elections coming this November, I strongly urge other locals to consider starting a FIREPAC Check-Off program as it’s a win-win proposition for both the IAFF and the local.
While 2014 is called an off-year election, what is at stake for fire fighters and public employees is anything but that.
At the federal level, there are 36 U.S. Senate seats up this year. Because of the success Democrats enjoyed in 2008, they have the bulk of the seats to defend – 21 seats to the Republican’s 14. Of the 21 seats the Democrats have to defend, at least 10 are considered in play.
On the flip side, the Republicans only have two seats that are currently viewed as in play.
The IAFF and FIREPAC will be engaged in a number of these contests to protect those incumbents who have had our back over the past six years and to help elect those candidates challenging our adversaries.
In the House of Representatives, Republicans are positioned to hold onto their 234-201 majority. While Democrats felt they had some momentum coming out of the 2012 elections to make inroads in 2014, that momentum appears to have stalled. There is a two-fold problem for Democrats in the House – redistricting from 2010 that Republicans controlled in many key states has limited the opportunity for competitive district and the disastrous roll out of the Affordable Care Act have hurt Democrats, and the Republicans are hoping to make the ACA a cornerstone of their national campaign as they did in 2010 when they won the House back based solely on that issue.
The bigger electoral battle in 2014 is going to be at the state level where 36 states will have gubernatorial contests at the top of the ticket. Unlike the Senate, while Democrats have a lot to protect, at the state level that scenario is reversed. Republicans will be defending 22 seats and Democrats just 14.
Another battleground area in 2014 will be in the state legislative chambers. Two years ago, we witnessed some significant wins in places including Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and New Hampshire. In 2014, we need to not only protect those gains but look to expand majorities in these states and several others – such as Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington. In addition, we need to work to gain majorities in Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. We will be working with our state affiliates to ensure that we work together and invest wisely to maximize our efforts.
Our union works hard and we work smart. Over the past two years, our political program has been extraordinary. We will continue to fight well above our weight class and win. We will be focused and ready for this November.