Dallas Workers Are Represented in Elections

The Texas primary runoff election revealed that Dallas County voters favor the most worker-friendly candidates in seven of ten cases. Only three of the ten labor-endorsed candidates failed to survive the runoff election.

After Mark York was elected principal officer of the Dallas AFL-CIO, labor began a rigorous screening process leading to labor recommendations for all offices. Such a broad commitment was unprecedented. York insisted that Dallas County working families have an important stake in every race, and the Dallas AFL-CIO represents all of them; consequently, labor could not abstain from any election.

Lupe Valdez and Mark York

The labor council targeted three races that were the most critical for Dallas workers – Lupe Valdez for Governor, Colin Allred for Congress, and Carl Sherman for State Representative. Activists were organized by Political Director Lorraine Montemayor to knock on doors and make phone calls, and all three races were won. Valdez and Allred, who had to campaign outside Dallas County, had much bigger margins of victory in Dallas than elsewhere. For example, Valdez won statewide by 53.05%, according to the Secretary of State, but she won Dallas County by 65.25%!

Carl Sherman

Interestingly, it was our Mark York who took the floor at the Texas labor convention to argue against those who thought Lupe Valdez should not be labor’s candidate for governor. The runoff election was his personal vindication.

What’s Next for Labor?

The Dallas AFL-CIO will continue its all-out effort to elect worker-friendly candidates. The immediate challenge is to get Bernadette Nutall elected to the school board in June. Petitioning for a ballot initiative to win paid sick time for all workers in the city is critical. If we get enough signatures, Dallas voters will have a chance to help all workers in November.

In all Texas elections, the biggest problem is turnout. The Secretary of State says that there are 19,900,980 voting-age people in Texas, but only 15,249,541 (76%) are registered to vote. Lupe Valdez’ victory in the runoff was based on only 2.8% of the registered voters and only 2.1% of the voting-age population. Those numbers suggest that she and other labor-friendly candidates could sweep the state if we can register enough voters and crank up the turnout!