New Jersey Rep. Donald Norcross -- the only active member of the IBEW in Congress—has been appointed to serve on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The Education and Workforce Committee oversees all government programs related to education as well as health care, job training, and retirement security for workers. It was called the Education and Labor Committee until the Republican majority renamed it in 2010.

Norcross, who was elected to his second term in Congress last fall, will be the only union member to serve on the committee.

In a display case, the business agent desk plate from the 11 years Norcross spent at Local 351.
Norcross holds a section of the wire he used to splice when he worked in Camden's waterfront refineries.

“It’s an honor to represent New Jersey’s working families on the Education and Workforce Committee. This is a continuation of my lifelong fight to defend hardworking men and women and make certain that every person has the dignity of a good paying job,” Norcross said in a statement.

A journeyman inside wireman and member of Folsom, N.J., Local 351, Norcross worked with the tools for a decade on commercial and industrial construction projects across the state. When Local 351 was formed by the amalgamation of the three south New Jersey locals in 2001, then-Business Manager Eddie Gant hired Norcross to be the local’s business agent on the west side of the state.

“There are plenty of business owners in Congress, alongside all the bankers and the lawyers, but there are precious few who worked with their hands and their minds for a living. It is incredibly important that we have one of our brothers in the room when laws are being made,” said IBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson.

Norcross was elected to Congress in a 2014 special election after serving four years as a state senator. In his first term in Washington, Norcross was appointed to the Democratic House leadership, introduced legislation to incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, fought the Trans-Pacific Partnership and formed the bipartisan Building Trades Caucus.