In yet another reversal from two years ago, the New York State AFL-CIO announced Tuesday, August 21 its endorsement of Democrat James Gaughran in his run against incumbent Republican Carl Marcellino in the Fifth State Senate District.
Two years ago, Mr. Marcellino held off Mr. Gaughran in a close race. In the 2016 campaign, the AFL-CIO endorsed Senator Marcellino. At its convention this week, however, the AFL-CIO voted to endorse Mr. Gaughran.
The New York State AFL-CIO is a federation of 3,000 affiliated public sector, private sector, and building trades unions throughout the state, representing 2.5 million members, retirees and their families.
“This is a huge boost to my campaign. Two years ago they endorsed my opponent and this is another sign that after 23 years, people want a change in this district,” Mr. Gaughran said during an interview Tuesday, August 21.
Mr. Gaughran called it an honor to have earned the union’s support. He said unions as well as working men and women are under attack in Washington D.C. and that they are going to be hurt by the tax reform law approved by Congress and signed by the president that eliminates the state and local tax deductions on federal income taxes.
“Unions are under assault today because of the decisions being made in Washington, so it is important for them to have someone in the state senate who will fight for what they believe in,” Mr. Gaughran said. “The inability to deduct state and local taxes is going to hurt local families badly and we will have to do more in Albany to try to help them.”
“As a State Senator, I will ensure that more New Yorkers have access to the good paying jobs, fair benefits and safe working conditions they deserve. Our state was the birthplace of the organized labor movement and we know that strong unions are the foundation of the middle class and the economic success we enjoy. That is why I will fight to protect the millions of New Yorkers who are proud union members and who make our state stronger and more prosperous every day,” Mr. Gaughran concluded.
The AFL-CIO is the third major labor organization to reverse its position from 2016 and endorse Mr. Gaughran over Mr. Marcellino. Earlier in the campaign, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) reversed it position and announced its endorsement of Mr. Gaughran. Then last month, the New York Building and Construction Trades Council announced its endorsement of five Democratic candidates running in key races on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, including Mr. Gaughran. Two years ago, the union backed Mr. Marcellino.
“Our statewide membership has prioritized legislation that defines ‘public work’ and ensures safe, good-paying construction jobs on projects that are publicly subsidized,” said Jim Cahill, President of the Council. “we are confident that these candidates share our vision of responsible economic development.”
In addition to the Gaughran, the Council also endorsed Anna Kaplan over Elaine Phillips, James Skoufis over Tom Basile and Karen Smythe, who is running to unseat Sen. Sue Serino.