State AFL-CIO endorses Woolf for Congress, Russell in Assembly, Ritchie and Griffo in Senate
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 5:39 pm

The New York State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has endorsed Elizabethtown Democrat Aaron Woolf in his race for Congress in New York’s 21st District.

The union labor organization also announced endorsements of some state senators and assembly members in this fall’s election.

“The strength of our workforce has always been the backbone of upstate New York and the North Country,” congressional candidate Woolf said. “That is why in Congress I will fight to protect the rights of our workers and their ability to compete. This would ensure that our economy continues to grow. And this would ensure the wellbeing of New York’s families. I thank the AFL-CIO for its endorsement. Together, we will work to create jobs and promote economic opportunity for the district.”

President Mario Cilento of the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO said, “Just like the hardworking people of the 21st Congressional District, Aaron Woolf is relentless and determined. He will fight tooth and nail in Washington DC for good jobs and economic opportunity.”

Woolf, a documentary filmmaker and owner of a Brooklyn grocery store who is living in Elizabethtown, is running against Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro), a former Republican operative in Washington, D.C. who returned to the North Country to run for the seat that Democrat Bill Owens has chosen not to seek again, and baker Matt Funiciello of Glens Falls representing the Green Party.

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced that the organization endorsed her candidacy for the 116th Assembly District. She is the only Democrat representing a portion of St. Lawrence County (the townships along the St. Lawrence River, plus Canton and Potsdam) in the state Legislature.

Assemblywoman Russell said, “The North Country thrives when workers can earn a decent wage, provide a good education for their kids and retire with dignity. “I’m honored that the New York State AFL-CIO has endorsed my work to strengthen our economy, but we have much more work to do and a I look forward to continuing to fight on behalf of working families.”

Russell notes that she worked to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour beginning this year, up from $7.25 per hour, a pay rate that nets an employee working 40 hours a week just over $15,000 annually.

The AFL-CIO also endorsed Republican Assembly member Janet Duprey (Peru) of the 115th Assembly District, which includes the eastern townships in the county.

They made no endorsements in the 117th District of Ken Blankenbush (R-Black River), which includes south-central St. Lawrence County, or the 118th District of Marc Butler (R-Newport), which includes Madrid and Norfolk and townships through to the south of the county.

The union organization also endorsed state Sens. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) who represents the 48th District, including northwestern St. Lawrence County, and Joe Griffo (R-Rome) in the 48th District, which includes a strip of St. Lawrence County from Massena in the north to Clifton, Fine and Pitcairn in the south. The two Republicans face no Democratic challengers in the November election.

The union did not endorse Republican Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury, from the 45th District, which includes eastern St. Lawrence County.

The AFL-CIO’s Cilento said, “Our members want a state that prioritizes the creation of good, long-term jobs and strong investment in the public services all New Yorkers rely on. But, that only happens if we elect the right candidates to office. Union members from throughout the state will work together in a coordinated effort to ensure that our endorsed candidates, and in turn an agenda that puts workers and their families first, are successful on election day.”

A statement from the New York AFL-CIO said that, in furtherance of the union’s elections goals, members will be contacted on the job and at home through member mailings, worksite flyers, phone bank operations and a “labor-to-neighbor” program, where union members visit other members in the area to discuss a particular races.