UAW Endorses D.J. Byrnes

Oct 2, 2018

When I accepted the challenge of entering a state representative race on a hyper-shortened timeframe, I knew I wouldn't be able to pursue every endorsement I would like. I also knew a lot of organizations would rightfully be reluctant to back a first-time candidate against a stacked deck.

The United Auto Workers was my first choice to pursue. The UAW is one of the most storied unions in North America; it has bettered the lives of millions of people and expanded workers' rights across the globe. Its principles represent everything my campaign is about.From the Economic Policy Institute

I approached Local 128 President Joe Konicki, who opened his union hall in Troy to Miami County Democrats earlier this year, and he immediately got on the phone with his regional political action director in Lima. 

Fourteen pages of questionnaire responses later,  I traveled north on I-75 to speak with the regional Community Action Program committee.  These are the types of speeches that successful politicians can recite in their sleep. But as someone who had only been a candidate for a month, I was not on that level. I chose to trust my workers-first message and spoke from the heart.

I spoke about my desire to restore labor unions to the pedestal of power upon which they sat in the middle of the 20th century, and how a worker's right to collectively bargain built the American middle class. I vowed to defend Ohio against corporate greed, Right-to-Work lies, wealth inequality and for-profit education.

I am deeply honored to have earned the UAW's endorsement and a $500 campaign donation despite a nervous tic of talking with my hands and driving a 2012 Honda Accord.

This campaign has showed me the power of an individual taking action, and Joe Konicki embodied that by going to bat for a first-time candidate. His early support imbued me with confidence my message could win. I will never forget his faith me.

And I have no complaints about my Accord outside the petty grudges every car-owner inevitably develops after exactly one week of driving. The price  was agreeable, and my maternal aunt works for a supplier of Honda. But I believe in politicians that live their politics, which is why — regardless of Nov. 6th's  outcome — I have vowed to only purchase UAW-produced vehicles built with Ohio steel for the rest of my life. 

The fight continues,

D.J. Byrnes