Providence Journal: Regunberg receives endorsements from organized labor

Regunberg, the East Side Providence Democrat who led this year’s campaign for mandatory paid sick leave, is waging a primary challenge to Lt. Gov. Dan McKee.

by Katherine Gregg

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — State Rep. Aaron Regunberg has nailed down early endorsements for his campaign to become Rhode Island’s next lieutenant governor from key players in the organized-labor world.

The five groups endorsing Regunberg included the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 New England, Teamsters Local 251, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 618, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2323 and the Rhode Island Working Families Party.

Regunberg, the East Side Providence Democrat who led this year’s campaign for mandatory paid sick leave, is waging a primary challenge to incumbent Dan McKee.

At his recent announcement for reelection, McKee, 66, sought to distinguish himself from the 27-year-old Regunberg this way: “I have learned that the most important qualification that any lieutenant governor can have is to be able and prepared to become governor. There have been seven lieutenant governors who have become governor in the past year. Each of them has been tempered by solid experience in the public and private sector, as I have.”

A news release provided by Regunberg’s campaign included these tributes from officers and activists in the unions endorsing him for the work he has done, in the legislature, on their high-priority issues.

Matt Taibi, secretary treasurer for Teamsters Local 251, hailed Regunberg’s efforts to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in 20 years and secure “earned sick days for over 100,000 families who never before had that security.”

Shirley Lomba, a certified nursing assistant at the Bannister House nursing home, and political organizer for district 1199 SEIU New England, said: “Aaron understands that investing in Medicaid is necessary to provide quality care and to pay caregivers a living wage.”

Georgia Hollister-Isman, state director for the Rhode Island Working Families Party, said: “Rep. Regunberg has led winning, grass-roots campaigns to support working families, reform our criminal justice system and expand renewable energy. That’s the kind of energy and experience we need.”

Steven Murphy, business manager for IBEW Local 2323, said: “Corporate special interests can hire lobbyists to get their way. Aaron will be a voice for all the Rhode Islanders who can’t afford a State House lobbyist.”

Echoed Thomas Cute, president and business agent for ATU Local 618: “He is the only candidate for lieutenant governor who has dedicated his life to speaking out for people who can’t afford high-priced lobbyists — and winning results.”

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