A Message From International President Lonnie R. Stephenson
Brothers and Sisters,
Last night, I was in Madison, Wis., watching the election results come in, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the hard work so many of you put in over the last many months.
I was the Sixth District vice president in 2011 when Gov. Scott Walker decided to make destroying unions the centerpiece of his right-wing agenda, and to be back in that state on the night we sent him packing was quite a moment. Governor-elect Tony Evers will be a friend to working families, and I’m proud of the work IBEW members did to put him in office.
More importantly, I’m proud that we stuck to the issues. Whether it was protecting Social Security and Medicare or making sure that folks with pre-existing medical conditions can get the care they need; or making sure that working people have the right to join together in union and negotiate for a fair deal at work; or putting an end to the partisan gerrymandering that stacks the political deck against the least powerful; we stood up and made ourselves heard and backed candidates – regardless of party – who pledged to put working people first.
We didn’t win every race that we wanted to, but there are signs for hope. Gov. Bruce Rauner in Illinois – another politician who decided unions were the enemy – is looking for a new job this morning. In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer reclaimed the governor’s mansion in a union stronghold that inexplicably went right-to-work in 2012. Now, we start to turn the tide.
There were victories from IBEW members running for office and family members of IBEW members, and I hope even more of you will choose to run in the future.
But, for now, for every one of you that made phone calls, sent letters, knocked doors or talked about the candidates and the issues on the jobsite, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Whether your candidate won or lost last night, you made a difference, and you did the IBEW proud.
Moving forward, there are area where we can work together, Republicans and Democrats alike. America’s infrastructure badly needs an upgrade, and IBEW members are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. On trade and jobs and workplace safety, we can find common ground and make real progress over the next two years. I look forward to getting started.