I just got back from an event in Arlington, at which a consortium of Virginia community and labor organizations – Mid-Atlantic Laborers Union/LIUNA, CASA in Action, NAKASEC Action Fund, SEIU Virginia 512, SEIU 32BJ, UFCW Local 400 – made joint endorsements in four contested Democratic primary contests: Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey for Arlington County Board; Penelope Gross for Fairfax County Board; Rosalyn “Roz” Dance for State Senate from the 16th district; Steve Heretick for House of Delegates from the 79th district (currently misrepresented by the godawful Johnny Joannou, who masquerades as a “Democrat” but really should be a Republican).
The endorsements are valuable, as they come with both money and potentially dozens of volunteer “ground troops” (e.g., door knockers). How much money? I was told $10,000 each for Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey; $5,000 for Penny Gross; $5,000 for Rosalyn Dance; “in the $10,000 range” for Steve Heretick.
As for how these endorsements were determined, there was an interview process, and in talking to some of the labor representatives there today, clearly they were looking for diversity as well. For instance, in Arlington, I was told point blank that they wanted a woman on the County Board to replace Mary Hynes (who is retiring), and also a person of color to replace Walter Tejada (also retiring), in addition to being strong and forceful on the issues they care about (e.g., affordable housing, raising the minimum wage, immigration, health care coverage, a government that works in the public interest and not for the special interests, etc.).
Anyway, here’s some video (also see the comments section) which will give you a feel for what this effort is all about. The speakers are Jaime Contreras from SEIU 32BJ, David Broder from SEIU Virginia 512, Austin Thompson from the African-American Youth Voter Engagement organization, Gustavo Torres from CASA in Action, David Allison from the Mid-Atlantic Laborers Union, Boaz Young-el from UFCW Local 400, and Arlington County Board candidates Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol. (note: also present and part of the coalition was Julie Koo of the NAKASEC Action Fund)
P.S. I asked why they had decided to endorse in these specific races, and basically was told that it was a combination of resource limitations/allocation choices, where they felt the strongest about the candidates, the results of candidate questionnaires and interviews, the desire for diversity, etc. For my part, I would have loved to see them endorse Emily Francis (by far the strongest progressive in that race) and Atif Qarni (the best chance of holding the seat, also a strong progressive) for State Senate in their primaries, also Paul Krizek in his primary for House of Delegates, and possibly others, but I understand that this is a new organization and that they can’t do everything.