Texas Changes Course in Banner Night For Working Families

Texas AFL-CIO: Candidates Won or Out-Performed Via Fair Shot Agenda

After a quarter-century of lopsided partisanship, Texas today changed course and became a battleground as working families reasserted support for an agenda that lifts up everyone, the Texas AFL-CIO said today.

Beto O'Rourke and other statewide, congressional, legislative and local labor-backed candidates flipped the Texas script. Working families celebrated major gains in Harris, Dallas, Travis, Tarrant, Williamson, Hays and other large counties, helping flip 12 Texas House seats and two Texas Senate seats - each with labor-backed candidates. The victory by union member Colin Allred, Rep.-elect in Congressional District 32, contributed to an all-important change of leadership in the U.S. House.

"The election of 2018 has proven beyond a doubt that when working families organize and vote, we are a powerful force that can help change Texas," Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. 

"This election is a landmark in a long-run process. A coalition of working people and allied organizations demanded that our leaders put aside the partisan distractions and focus on providing Texans a fair shot at better lives," Levy said. "The advances in this election reinforce those priorities. The labor movement has advocated for this fair shot agenda for generations, in all political climates, and we will continue to grow our working-class infrastructure for coming election cycles." 

"A new era has arrived in Texas politics and this is only the beginning," Levy said. 

The results and historical turnout make it clear voters are no longer falling prey to fear-mongering and political scare tactics that have dominated state politics, Levy said.

"Win or lose, labor-backed candidates transformed the electorate by elevating core economic issues," Levy said. "Those issues include: affordable health care for all; more state funding to support public school teachers and students; college affordability and access to union apprenticeships; immigration reform that includes protection for Dreamers and an end to family separation at the border; higher wages, equal pay and earned paid sick leave; and freedom of working people to speak up together for better lives."

"On the flip side of the same coin, austerity hawks, private school voucher supporters, immigrant bashers and other purveyors of wedge issues lost ground."

Levy said an unprecedented Texas AFL-CIO turnout campaign knocked on more than 210,000 doors of working families and, in the last two weeks alone, made more than 450,000 digital impressions. While exact numbers are not yet available, preliminary indications are that the labor turnout exceeded the state average even in a high-turnout year.

 "Every element of the labor movement across the state worked countless hours to listen to working people, tell their stories and come together to elect candidates who will fight for us, rather than rig the rules and divide us," Levy said.

 "The Texas AFL-CIO will continue to work with elected officials of both parties to advance the interests of working families," Levy said, "and we will hold them accountable when they don't."