Newark voters elected Ras Baraka, a city councilman and staunch CWA ally, mayor of New Jersey's largest city Tuesday night.
"We are the mayor!" he told supporters at his victory party. Those words were a familiar rallying cry to the many grassroots activists who volunteered on his campaign.
Lillian Pichardo-Mancheno, a Newark resident and CWA Local 1037 shop steward, said, "It wasn't just a campaign slogan. Ras' track record as a Newark high school principal and a Newark councilmember clearly demonstrates that he prioritizes the people of Newark over the interests of Wall Street."
Baraka succeeds Cory Booker, who left office last year after winning a seat in the United States Senate. Baraka won 54 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for fellow Democrat and former state assistant attorney general Shavar Jeffries.
CWA Local 1037 members were a big part of the campaign to elect Ras Bakara mayor of Newark. They knocked on doors and spread the word about Baraka's support for working families.
"This is a stunning victory for the justice and democracy movement," said CWA New Jersey State Director Hetty Rosenstein. "Ras Baraka began this journey by saying this wasn't a campaign, it's a movement. His vision for Newark exactly matches CWA's vision of a broad based movement for economic justice and democracy. This shared vision played itself out in a campaign where we were outspent 10 to 1 by Wall Street money and in the end, union members, students, parents, and seniors overcame school privatizers, hedge funders and political machine bosses to elect the most progressive mayor in the United States."
CWA members who live and work in Newark campaigned for Baraka, spreading the word about why he was the best candidate for working families. Even in the final hours before the polls closed, Wall Street's unprecedented fundraising couldn't match the droves of supporters who worked the phones and hit the streets to get out the vote.
"CWA Local 1037 and our friends at the NJ Working Families Alliance, NJ Communities United and the Newark Students Union worked hard to make sure that Ras Baraka became Newark's next Mayor," said Ken McNamara, president of Local 1037. "It's a new day in Newark. It's our time. And we couldn't be more thrilled. Now the real work of restoring the city to the people begins."
"This is the moment that you reach inside and we all pull out a win," said CWA Local 1037 representative Christian Estevez, firing up more than 150 canvassers on Tuesday afternoon. "Nobody comes back early. You knock on doors again and again and again until the polls close. We're going to win because of you."
"I'm so proud of all my Local 1037 brothers and sisters who dedicated months of their time to make sure Ras Baraka became the next Mayor of Newark," said Annie Huff, a Newark resident and CWA Local 1037 Shop Steward. "We knocked on doors. We made phone calls. We attended rallies. We supported Ras Baraka and everything he stands for. And we did it because we believe that Newark and our future will be stronger under his leadership."