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Why We Support Ben Jealous for Governor of Maryland

Local 400 Strongly Recommends Progressive Champion

Local 400 members living in Maryland would benefit greatly if they help elect Ben Jealous (D) their next governor, because he will fight for a $15 minimum wage, debt-free college tuition, bottom-up economic growth, universal health coverage, and a host of other pro-worker policies.

By contrast, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has repeatedly vetoed legislation our members need, like the Healthy Working Families Act. Fortunately, at Local 400’s urging, the General Assembly overrode Hogan’s veto and made paid sick leave state law.

That’s why Jealous, the former National President & CEO of the NAACP, received Local 400’s enthusiastic recommendation for his campaign to unseat Hogan.

“Ben has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to economic and social justice,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “Now more than ever, we need bold, visionary leaders like Ben to lead us on a new path to ensure every Marylander has the opportunity to earn a better life. We look forward to Ben bringing his much-needed fighting spirit to Annapolis.”

“I’m proud of the movement of working people we’ve put together over the past year,” Jealous said at a press conference announcing his endorsement by Local 400 and four other unions. “As a lifelong community organizer, I know that building a broader, more robust coalition than anyone thinks is possible is the only way to move forward on Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and fully funding our schools.”

Jealous’ agenda for Maryland’s working families includes:

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and tying it to the state’s median wage, while also gradually eliminating the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers.
  • Implementing an economic policy that increases wage growth, supports small businesses, and expands prosperity across every sector and region of the state.
  • Ensuring that the more than 300,000 Marylanders who currently lack health care are covered through a Medicare-for-All system that delivers better care for less cost.
  • Making community college free for every Marylander and making all four-year public colleges debt-free for state residents.

By contrast, Hogan has continually opposed measures designed to improve the living standards and quality of life for Maryland workers. Specifically, he:

  • Vetoed the Healthy Working Families Act, which would have denied paid family leave to workers in the state had the General Assembly not overridden his veto.
  • Opposes a $15/hour minimum wage.
  • Let health insurance premiums in the state rise by a whopping 120 percent, while opposing efforts to lower prescription drug prices.
  • Rejected needed increases in school funding. He tried to cut $144 million from Maryland’s public schools in his first budget. In 2016, he pushed to cut $30 million in investments for after-school programs, college preparation, and teacher retention. And he has diverted $18 million from public schools to subsidize expensive private schools.
  • Allowed Maryland workers to fall behind their counterparts, taking home less than $1,000 in inflation-adjusted wage growth during his time as governor while workers nationwide took home more than $5,500 in wage growth, and Virginia workers gained an additional $8,000.

“Wage growth for Maryland’s families has fallen behind under Larry Hogan and we need new leadership to create an economy that is truly inclusive and meets the needs of our state,” Jealous said. “As a businessman and civil rights leader, I know how to build an economy that leaves no family behind, no worker behind, no young person behind, and no person behind who has paid their debt to society and deserves a second chance. With new leadership, we can increase wage growth, support our small businesses, retain more of our own start ups and expand prosperity across every sector and region of our state.”

Federici urged Local 400 members in Maryland not only to vote for Jealous but to work for his election. “The more our members volunteer to make calls, knock on doors, and take other steps to elect Ben our next governor, the greater our chances of getting a true ally, advocate and fighter for our interests in the governor’s mansion,” he said. “I encourage everyone to do their part.”

Most Candidates Backed by Local 400 Win Maryland Primary Elections

Photo via Twitter @BenJealous

Jealous Receives Nomination for Governor

Elrich Narrowly Leads Montgomery Executive Race

Candidates backed by Local 400 won more than they lost in the 2018 Maryland primaries, with a huge victory in the nomination of former NAACP President Ben Jealous for governor. Jealous (D) will face off against incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in the November 6th general election.

In addition, Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, a longtime Local 400 ally and champion of the $15 minimum wage, is holding a narrow lead of 473 votes in the race for Montgomery County executive as of Wednesday afternoon. This contest won’t be decided for days if not weeks due to the need to count absentee and provisional ballots.

Other winning candidates recommended by Local 400 include:

  • Attorney and community activist Will Jawando, who won the Democratic nomination for a Montgomery County Council at-large seat.
  • Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro (District 4).
  • Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker (District 5).
  • Civic activist Tom Dernoga, who won the Democratic nomination for Prince George’s County Council in the 1st district.
  • Prince George’s County Councilmember Deni Taveras (District 2).
  • Former State Del. Jolene Ivey, who won the Democratic nomination for Prince George’s County Council in the 5th district.
  • State Del. Aisha Braveboy, who won the Democratic nomination for Prince George’s County State’s Attorney.

In addition, community activist Krystal Oriadha was trailing by just nine votes as of Wednesday afternoon in her race for Prince George’s County Council in the 7th district.

“Local 400 members worked hard for our recommended candidates in this all-important primary election, and I am especially pleased that we have a dynamic Democratic nominee for governor in Ben Jealous,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “He will be the fiercest fighter for working families we’ve ever had in Annapolis if we can help propel him to victory over Larry Hogan in November. His work as a civil rights leader and community organizer is beyond compare, and his agenda of a $15/hour minimum wage and a free community college education for all is exactly what Marylanders need. We’re going to do everything in our power to elect this great pro-worker champion as Maryland’s next governor.

“While it will take some time to be certain, we are also very pleased that Marc Elrich is leading in the race for Montgomery County Executive,” Federici said. “His sponsorship of Montgomery County’s $15/hour minimum wage law and the consistent strong support he gives to our hardworking members will make him a great progressive leader of this large, diverse county.”

Local 400 recommended candidates who were not nominated include Brandy Brooks and Chris Wilhelm (Montgomery County Council at large), Ben Shnider (Montgomery County Council-3), Donna Edwards (Prince George’s County Executive), Gerron Levi and Karen Toles (Prince George’s County Council at large), and Tony Knotts (Prince George’s County Council 8th district).

“My congratulations to all our recommended candidates, no matter the outcome of their primaries, for running strong campaigns and advocating pro-worker policies,” Federici said. “Now, it’s on to the November general election, where our members will have so much at stake and so much to fight for.”