Sara Lonardo,, 202-730-7162

Issued November 07, 2017

Virginia, New Jersey voters put working families ahead of billionaires, corporations

SEIU members help elect Ralph Northam and other pro-working family candidates in Virginia, New Jersey

WASHINGTON—SEIU members have spent months knocking on doors, making phone calls and holding public events in the first major elections since Donald Trump took office one year ago, and tonight their efforts paid off as Ralph Northam won the hotly contested Virginia Governor’s race. SEIU members and their communities will use the momentum from this victory to power them in the 2018 midterms, where they have committed to helping elect candidates who will stand beside working families, and fight back against Donald Trump and other politicians who have rigged the system to benefit billionaires and big corporations at the expense of working families.  

In addition to the win in Virginia, Phil Murphy won the race to replace outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In both states, SEIU members' extensive door-to-door efforts were key to the success of the pro-working family candidates.

"I've been knocking doors so that working people can get quality health care, affordable housing, living wages, better schools and a government that works for us,” said SEIU Virginia 512 member and home care worker Vellon Harris from Fredericksburg. “We voted for these candidates. We canvassed for them. Now we need them to deliver a better future for working people across Virginia."

SEIU Virginia 512 President David Broder reacted to today’s victory by saying, "Working people delivered this victory for Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring. We knocked the doors. We made the calls. Now we expect all our elected officials to come together to ensure that all Virginians have living wages, quality healthcare, voting rights, and a brighter future."

“Ralph Northam’s election is a clear rebuke of the politics of hate practiced by his opponent,” said 32BJ SEIU’s Jaime Contreras, who heads 32BJ’s 17,000 member Capital Area district. “Northam’s support for a $15 minimum wage and affordable health care resonated more powerfully with working families than an empty, Trumpian message of hate. His victory proves that Virginians want a leader who will fight to improve the lives of all working people, regardless of their skin color.”

“SEIU members across the country will gather inspiration from tonight’s victories in Virginia and New Jersey, and are more committed than ever to holding politicians accountable in 2018,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry.  “The number one job of elected leaders is to improve the lives of working people. Those who have aligned themselves with Donald Trump and Republican leaders’ plan to take away healthcare, cut Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax breaks for corporations and billionaires, tear apart families through mass deportations, and deny working Americans’ rights to join a union will meet the same fate 12 months from now.  SEIU members are up to the task and tonight was just the first step.”

In the months leading up to the campaign, SEIU members knocked on over 115,000 doors and made thousands more phone calls to Virginia voters in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads, prioritizing turnout in African American, Latino and AAPI communities that do not always vote in midterm elections.