The sole electrician in the House of Representatives has just been named to one of the highest ranking positions for the Democratic Party. Rep. Donald Norcross, who represents the 1st District in New Jersey and is a member of Folsom, N.J., Local 351, was selected to the position of assistant whip by House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer.
| Norcross holds a section of the wire he used to splice when he worked in Camden's waterfront refineries.
“This is an honor and I’m humbled to play a vital leadership role in my party and in the House of Representatives,” Norcross said in a statement. “I hope my efforts will help advance an agenda of jobs, growth, and affordability for all Americans.”
Norcross, a journeyman wireman and former business agent for Local 351, will assume a role rarely held by a first-term member of Congress. The whip is responsible for maintaining the number of yes and no votes for various pieces of legislation, and for “whipping up” support for certain bills.
Additionally, the whip acts as a liaison between party leadership and members, and informs and mobilizes members on key legislation. As such, Norcross will work closely with congressional colleagues on upcoming legislative matters and advise party leadership.
“Brother Norcross knows what it’s like for our members and he’s stayed true to his roots,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “This is a great opportunity for him and for working families everywhere.”
|In a display case, the business agent desk plate from the 11 years Norcross spent at Local 351.
Norcross comes from a storied family in South Jersey labor and politics. His father, George Norcross Jr., was a civic and labor leader in southern New Jersey for more than 50 years. The Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO's annual humanitarian award is named in his honor.
His brother George Norcross III has established a reputation over the last two decades as one of, if not the, premier power broker in New Jersey politics.
Prior to serving in the House, Norcross worked for Local 351 as a business agent, then as assistant business manager. In 1995, he was elected president of the South Jersey AFL-CIO. In 2010 he added three new titles: candidate, assemblyman and then state senator.
In November 2014, Norcross was elected in a special election to replace a member who had retired before his term ended. Then a state senator from the Camden area, he won the election and unlike most newly elected representatives, went straight to Washington to finish the remainder of his predecessor's term. While it gave him a few months seniority over the rest of the incoming freshman, it also meant that, for a month, he was simultaneously a member of Congress and a business agent for Local 351.
Rep. Norcross also serves as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Budget Committee. He was previously appointed by the leadership of the Democratic Caucus to the Steering & Policy Committee, and the Communications Committee.