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Ironworker Sworn in as N.J. State Senate President


Ironworker Sworn in as N.J. State Senate President

by Mike Hall, Jan 20, 2010

Steve Sweeney, a member of Ironworkers Local 399 and one of the early graduates of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Labor Candidates School, was sworn in last week as president of the New Jersey State Senate.

Sweeney, who was first elected to the State Senate in 2001, is the first union member to serve as president of the upper chamber.

He said at his swearing-in ceremony:

“I accept this task with great humility and an ironclad belief that New Jersey’s best days are ahead of us. I will bring the work ethic here that I did in my career as an ironworker.”

New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech says Sweeney’s swearing-in “marks a milestone for the labor movement in New Jersey.”

As a union member, Sweeney now holds one of our state’s most powerful and prestigious positions.

Also, for a few days last week, Sweeney became New Jersey’s first labor governor when he was sworn in as acting governor while outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine (D) was traveling out of state. Sweeney had the opportunity to sign several labor-related bills, including one strengthening collective bargaining rights for Delaware River Port Authority workers. He told reporters that after his brief time in the governor’s office:

I guess I’m going to be a trivia question.

The Labor Candidates School was founded in 1997, and more than 500 of its graduates have been elected to public office in the Garden State. The school gives union members an opportunity to learn campaign basics, including fundraising, election law, public speaking and media relations.

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