Hope all is well.
I arrived Sunday and to call it organized chaos would be kind (lol).
We spent Sunday with the UFCW including International President Joe Hansen. Speaking to him was great! The highlight of that night was Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, who came by to greet us and talk about the re-election. Patrick is a good friend to us and has been for quite a while. The guest of the UFCW at the dinner was California Speaker of the House, John Perez, a long time UFCW member prior to entering politics. We talked about policies that affect larger states like California and New York. It's refreshing and always an amazing feeling to meet former UFCW members who now represent the hard-working men and women of our country. That's why we're always looking for any Local 1500 members who want to get involved in local politics back home. It's a remarkable feeling to work for the betterment of your community and your neighbors, and there is no better representative of people than union members....Union members like John Perez who will always be a part of the UFCW family. John is a great friend to us, labor, and a great representative for California, he's one of the politicians who really gets it.
Many of the NY folks are at our hotel. We keep running into many elected officials we know so well from back home, and our union brothers and sisters we work so hard with back in NY. Among the many people we spoke with were, Congressman Serrano, Assemblyman Kellner, Council Member Debbi Rose, Suzy Ballantyne (Executive Assistant to the President at the New York State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in Albany), Mario Cilento (President NYS-AFL-CIO) and Vinny Alverez (NY-CLC President). It was a great opportunity to talk to a lot of folks in a relaxed setting, something that's very rare when meeting with politicians and their staff.
We attended the NYS Delegation Welcome Breakfast Monday morning and spoke to dozens of folks. It was a nice event and Mario Cilento got an award for being an outstanding progressive leader. After that we took the light rail down to the Convention Center to attend the first UFCW Breakfast. We will be doing that every morning to recap yesterday's events and discuss the days activities, plans and agenda. That group was even smaller and you can tell the International is very glad we are there on behalf of our 23,000 members from New York.
We did three great things last night:
- First we attended an event where our close friend Jessica Lappin was one of several folks who were honored as up and coming Democrats on the rise. She personally invited us and it was really great. She is very appreciative of all we do to make New York better for working men and women. We also spoke to Christine Quinn's campaign manager at the event about Paid Sick Days and we are setting up a meeting for when we all return to NY.
- We attended the NY State Dems "Salute To Labor" get-together downtown. It was a great event where all the major NY political players were. We met and spoke to all of them. Like I mentioned earlier, these events are priceless, politicians and their staff's are in a relaxed atmosphere, making speaking to them much easier.
- We closed the night at a DCCC event where again we spoke to a bunch of people but my highlight was meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi who actually took a couple of minutes to speak to me while taking a pic with me. In fact, she shared some UFCW gossip and jokes, that was funny.
That concludes the first two days. Again, big thanks to our Political Director, John Woods, who has gotten us everything we need! That's all for now and I will continue tweeting live w/ hashtag #DNC2012, until next time, stay tuned!