Who you calling a loser?
Anyone who says 1199SEIU “showed little interest” and wasn’t a “major player and prominent progressive voice” during this past general election clearly spent the past few months in another state. 1199SEIU member volunteers were everywhere knocking on over 26,000 doors leading up to the general election for Ben Jealous and union-endorsed county executive and legislative candidates.
1199SEIU won all four of the county executive candidates they endorsed – Calvin Ball, Johnny Olszewski, Angela Alsobrooks and Marc Elrich – and resourced three of those races with both direct contributions, independent expenditure mailings and digital ads.
In addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed to legislative candidates before the primary, in the closing weeks of the general election 1199 contributed to progressive Maryland state Senate candidates in the closing weeks of the general election. 1199SEIU led or supported independent expenditure efforts to educate voters on behalf of county executive and state senate candidates, including sending mail and placing newspaper ads. Furthermore, all 10,000 1199 members received three to four pieces of mail educating them about endorsed candidates.
The idea that 1199 members did not participate in this election is an insult to all these union members. It is especially disrespectful to our members who took time away from their families to participate in candidate interviews, knock on doors, make phone calls, attend rallies and voluntarily contributed anywhere from $5 to $10 per month to their union’s political action committee.
Unlike some organizations, we are not controlled by the old transactional “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” attitude that is so prevalent in Maryland’s political culture. We understand that may open us up to criticism by the establishment and those that support the status quo.
While our members were heartbroken that Ben Jealous lost his race, we consider 2018 a victory for our union because our members were part of transforming Maryland political culture and ideas to create more fertile soil for progressive policies that help everyone not just the wealthy, chosen few.
— Pat Lippold
The writer is vice president/political director for 1199SEIU.