IBEW Member Elected to Congress
November 10, 2014
The evening of Nov. 4 was a tough night for pro-worker candidates. But there was nothing but good news coming out of southern New Jersey, where voters sent an IBEW electrician to Congress.
Folsom, N.J., Local 351 Assistant Business Manager Donald Norcross won with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
“Tonight the New Jersey labor movement made history,” said a statement from the New Jersey AFL-CIO. “This would not have been possible without thousands of union members who volunteered each week leading up to the election.”
Norcross became an electrician in the early 1980s, going on to serve as business agent and then assistant business manager of Local 351. He was also president of the South Jersey AFL-CIO.
In 2010, Norcross was elected to the state Legislature.
Even for New Jersey union members, who have a long tradition of electing their own to higher office, Norcross’ victory is a big deal.
"It makes a difference having us in the room," New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney told the Electrical Worker in October. "It makes a difference having someone who worked outside through the winter, who had to come home from a job and tell his wife he'd been laid off. It makes a difference because it is harder for politicians to make unions into something they're not when one of our own is there in the room to remind them what working men and women look like."
At least one other member of the building trades currently serves in Congress: Steve Lynch of Massachusetts is an ironworker.
"We have to get America back to work ... It's about jobs, education and getting South Jersey its fair share," said Norcross in his victory speech. He added that he will fight to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
"Who would have ever thought a kid from Pennsauken would be here to represent the 1st District down in D.C.?" he said. "There are 211 lawyers in Congress, it's time to get an electrician down there."
Says IBEW President Edwin D. Hill:
“I congratulate Brother Norcross on his victory. As a fellow electrician, he knows what it’s like to pick up the tools every day. He knows the bread and butter issues working families face. It’s good to know that we’ll have someone in Congress who will fight in the interests of all working people.”