Congressman Chris Smith was endorsed for reelection by the New Jersey AFL-CIO at the union’s convention in Atlantic City this week.
Over 600 delegates from 1,000 NJ unions—representing more than one million members and their families— voted to endorse Smith.
New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech said of the slate that includes Smith, “This year’s endorsed candidates… have the experience and dedication necessary to grow our communities prioritizing education, health care, jobs, infrastructure and investment in our future.”
Smith, the only Republican from New Jersey’s congressional delegation to win the endorsement, addressed the convention delegates on Tuesday morning.
“For me, the cause of working families—and the critical importance of unions in the never-ending fight for fair wages and benefits, workplace protections and other important terms of employment achieved through collective bargaining is a core conviction…
“I strongly support Davis-Bacon; project labor agreements; best value contracting and robust funding of the Amtrak Gateway project. I am a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act…
“I am the prime author of four and soon to be five anti-human trafficking laws including the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
“The TVPA is a well-funded whole of government approach to combat the cruelty and violence of sex and labor trafficking both in the United States and around the world by rescuing and protecting victims who are usually women, prosecuting the traffickers with penalties of up to life imprisonment, sanctioning countries that are indifferent or complicit in trafficking and by pushing best practices to prevent the exploitation in the first place.
“According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) traffickers make $150 billion a year… 24.9 million people are trapped in forced labour… Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.”
Smith’s campaign released the following statement in response to the endorsement:
“Chris is grateful to have the endorsement of the one million-strong New Jersey AFL-CIO, and looks forward to the active support of the working men and women of the AFL-CIO as part of his broad-based, grassroots reelection campaign.
Chris is widely recognized as a bipartisan problem solver who effectively works across the aisle to get things done—fighting to grow our economy, improve infrastructure, and bring jobs to New Jersey especially and including at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
He has successfully written laws on a variety of issues critical to New Jersey’s working families—veterans laws; laws regarding healthcare, autism, and education; anti-human trafficking laws to combat both sex and labor trafficking; and laws protecting children, human rights, and national security. He is a legislative leader, second in the House when it comes to getting bills enacted into law.”