November 8, 2013
By Dan Cantor, Working Families
This week, we caught a glimpse of the future. Or at least, the future we can build. Progressives won big victories in local elections on Tuesday. We helped elect dozens of new progressive city councilors, county legislators, school board members — and even a couple of mayors. We threw a wrench into the plans of the school privatizers. And we voted to lift up low-wage workers out of poverty.
2014 is a bigger challenge. But if we want to see these kinds of victories at the ballot next year – a progressive future and a Tea Party on the decline — we've got to start building now. And we need you to stand with us.
Here are some highlights from Tuesday:
New York City for the 99%: You've probably heard about Bill de Blasio, who called himself an "unapologetic progressive," and was elected the next Mayor of New York City — by a landslide. But you might not have heard about the New York City Council, where we elected another twelve Working Families Democrats. This will double the size of the Progressive Caucus — the caucus we've been building since 2007. Good things are about to become possible.
A Blow to School Privatizers: Bridgeport, CT is the front line of the national debate over education. The superintendent, Paul Vallas, is one of the architects of the corporate 'school reform' campaign that seeks to turn our public schools into engines of private profit. This year, we won a majority on the Board of Education in Bridgeport. It's a big win for everyone who believes in the idea of public education, and a major rebuke to the privatizers.
The Other New Jersey Election: The bad news: Gov. Chris Christie won re-election. But New Jersey voters also backed a minimum wage increase that will benefit almost a million low-wage workers. It also ties the minimum wage to the rising cost of living, so it doesn't degrade year after year. And the best part: the minimum increase won a larger share of the vote than Christie's.
And here's one inspiring victory you might have missed: In the small city of SeaTac, Washington, home to the Seattle region's airport, voters passed the nation's highest minimum wage — $15 an hour — that will raise wages for thousands of workers at the airport and the hotels.
In 2014, there'll be thousands of state legislators up for election, not to mention every single member of the US House of Representatives. The stakes are high. So we've got to start now.
Big wins don't happen overnight. For fifteen years we've recruited progressive candidates, trained them, and built campaigns on common sense and social justice: raising the minimum wage, good schools, fair progressive taxes, and ending big-money politics. And now it's starting to catch on.
Years of hard work paid off on Tuesday. Now, we've got our eye on the year ahead. 2014 could be a groundswell. We can send a mandate that our government should work for all of us, not just the wealthy and well connected. But only if we start working at it now. And only if you're part of it.
Together, we move forward.