In a move that Charles Barron called "huge," DC37 endorsed the New York City councilman for Congress in the 8th District (Brooklyn).
Barron will take on New York State Assemblyman Hakim Jeffries for the seat vacated by Rep. Edolphus Towns in the upcoming primary. The Washington Post recently called Jeffries "Brooklyn's Barack Obama."
Standing in front of City Hall on a rainy Thursday afternoon, Barron thanked DC37 and all local leaders and talked about what the endorsement means to him.
"This is a tremendous boost for our campaign," said Barron. "Our relationship goes back decades fighting for workers' pensions, fighting for health care, fighting for living wages, fighting for our fair share of government contracts. This goes back a long way."
DC37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts wasn't able to attend the press conference but did release a statement expressing her support for Barron.
"Throughout the years, Council Member Charles Barron has been a committed advocate for the issues that matter to DC37 and its members, such as affordable housing, funding for CUNY and the city's cultural institutions and libraries," said Roberts. "He has also been an outspoken supporter of public education and the fight against mayoral control, co-location, school closings, charter schools and the fight for parental involvement."
Some have said that the support of Barron for Congress is a reaction to Jeffries' pro-charter school stance, which some have called anti-union. DC37 Associate Director Oliver Gray told reporters that was not the case. He said a collection of leaders representing all of the local chapters got together and decided Barron was the right guy for the job through an interview process.
Their endorsement leaves Barron believing the seat is just within his grasp.
"On June 26, history is going to be made," said Barron. "On June 26, the election won't be bought...this is going to be on the ground, meeting the people where they are and bringing them out to vote to say we need a fighter to go to Congress."
In other congressional elections, DC37 endorsed incumbents Charlie Rangel in the 13th District, Yvette Clarke in the 9th District and Nydia Vasquez in the 7th District.