The Electrical Worker online
June 2019

From the Officers
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What We Want in a Candidate

We're still nearly 18 months away from the next presidential election, but I'm sure many of you, like me, are eyeing the enormous field of candidates for president and wondering how to make sense of it all.

There are some declared candidates we've known for a long time and others who we're still getting to know, but we want to assure each of you that we're listening and asking a lot of questions of the women and men seeking to lead this nation. At some point, we may endorse a candidate, but we're going to take our time and make sure that the next president is one who will put working families first.

I've been disappointed over the last few years with pro-worker rhetoric backed up by anti-worker policies.

So far, this administration has passed a massive tax cut for the top 1 percent and worked to eliminate health care protections for people with preexisting conditions. It's put union-busting judges and bureaucrats in positions of power all over government and made it harder for us to organize and even keep our workers safe on the job.

We're two and a half years into an administration that promised us an infrastructure bill that we still haven't seen; meanwhile, we're still watching American manufacturers pull up stakes and head overseas.

So, here's what I hope IBEW members will stand up and demand of their next president.

We want a leader who is focused on the bread-and-butter issues that matter to working families; someone who's committed to quality health care, to protecting our pensions and our paychecks; someone who will hold bad employers accountable for mistreating or endangering their workers.

We want a leader who can bring together working families in every part of the country and stop sowing division at every opportunity.

We want a leader who isn't afraid to say "union"; someone who says what they mean and keeps their promises to the IBEW and to all union families.

That means someone who understands that the labor movement built the middle class, and that if we're serious about restoring it, then the labor movement must be treated as key partners in that effort.

That's the bar we're setting for an IBEW endorsement, and for those of you lucky enough to interact with some of these candidates over the next year, it's a message we hope you'll help spread. If working people stand together over the next year and a half, it's a message we know will be heard.

We don't take our job evaluating these candidates lightly, and every IBEW member should expect that whomever we endorse — if we endorse — will take their responsibility to working families just as seriously.


Also: Stephenson: The Tools to Grow Read Stephenson's Column

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer