HARTFORD, CT — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont and Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, the labor organizer who is running for lieutenant governor, received the endorsement of the Working Families Party Tuesday.
Lamont, the recently retired cable executive who lost a Democratic primary in 2010 to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, was praised by the Working Families Party for supporting a paid Family Medical Leave system and a $15 minimum wage.
It’s a far cry from the criticism Lamont received from the organization in 2010 when he refused to support paid sick leave.
Malloy, who received the Working Families Party endorsement in the 2010 general election, supported the idea of paid sick leave and was able to get the legislation passed during his first year in office.
This year, Lamont, is supporting paid Family Medical Leave and a $15 minimum wage.
“We need to help our workers who are struggling to make ends meet by gradually increasing the minimum wage,” Lamont said. “Our workers should never have to choose between caring for a loved one and collecting a paycheck. These are the core values that weave the fabric of our state together.”
Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Working Families Party, said “Ned has what it takes to bring people together to fight for real solutions that will move our state forward.”
The decision to support Zimmerman over former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz comes as no surprise to those who have been watching what’s happening nationally with progressive politics.
Zimmerman, 31, is a labor organizer with SEIU Local 2001. She’s spent the past 13 years working with community organizations and received the Latina Citizen of the Year award from the Connecticut General Assembly for helping 7,000 Connecticut residents find health insurance through the exchange.
Bysiewicz is the establishment candidate who served in elected office for 18 years and received the Democratic Party’s endorsement at the convention in May.
Bysiewicz had been running for governor until a few days before the convention when she agreed to be Lamont’s running mate. However, in the primary lieutenant governor candidates run separate from gubernatorial candidates. The two are only merged on the general election ballot.
“A lifetime friend of CT Working Families and an advocate for a fairer, more just society since childhood, Eva is exactly the kind of candidate Connecticut needs today,” Farrell said. “We know that, if elected, Eva will fight tooth and nail every day to make real improvements in people’s lives.”
The Working Families Party endorsement comes with hundreds of volunteers calling voters and door knocking on behalf of the endorsed candidates.
Lamont and Zimmerman also won the AFL-CIO’s endorsement in June.
The two endorsements solidify their support from the progressive side of the Democratic Party.
The Working Families Party also endorsed Shawn Wooden for treasurer and Rep. William Tong for attorney general. Neither Wooden or Tong received the AFL-CIO’s endorsement in June. Labor delegates were openly hostile toward Wooden for his role as Hartford City Council president and the decision to shoulder taxpayers with the cost of building a minor league baseball stadium.
When it comes to the attorney general race labor delegates were divided in their support between Tong and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei. Sen. Paul Doyle of Wethersfield is also running for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.