Kent-Ionia Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class

Running for office– a call to union members and allies

LANSING February 9, 2017– In 2015, the Michigan AFL-CIO launched a pilot program, Local Elected Assistance Program (LEAP), to engage central labor bodies and affiliated path-to-power-logounions in supporting pro-labor candidates for local office. That work included coordinating strategic targeting and LAN universes, providing and organizing resources and volunteer efforts, drafting and managing L2L mailings and other communications, and other operations to support local efforts. The program had a 77% success rate, working with 26 local candidates and proposals in five central labor councils in the state.

During the same period, the National AFL-CIO piloted their Path To Power program, tackling the same purpose, in two states.

Throughout 2017, the Michigan AFL-CIO and labor councils across Michigan (including the West Michigan Area Labor Council) will partner with the National AFL-CIO to identify, recruit, and elect candidates to run for local government offices in 2017 and beyond. The purpose is to shift the power in local government to favor stronger pro-worker policies and develop a bench of candidates to move into higher office.

Path to Power will work with affiliates, local labor bodies and close partners to identify union members and progressive, pro-working-family candidates who can run winning campaigns in identified races. Working together, they determine which races and which areas of the state to focus on.

Path to Power is a comprehensive program that follows the candidate through all stages, from recruitment to governing:

  • Identify & Recruit Candidates – Using data analytics, local knowledge and the political landscape to identify races that can be won by progressive pro-working families’ candidates. Local labor leaders and partners will then identify potential candidates to run in those races.
  • Candidate Training – Path to Power, in partnership with affiliates on the ground, will train candidates on how to run a campaign, including: campaign messaging, labor issues, campaign planning, fundraising, and voter contact.
  • Electoral Support – Path to Power will offer continued support to endorsed Path to Power candidates to assist in their election efforts, as allowed by Michigan’s election law.
  • Issues & Accountability – Path to Power Alumni in elected office will have access to continued issue education and policy conferences, giving alumni the resources they need to introduce and pass progressive, pro-working families legislation. Path To Power Preparing for 2017 Electoral Success and Beyond
  • Elevation – The Path to Power team and alumni, the state federation and local labor bodies will monitor public offices that Path to Power Alumni may elevate to in future elections.

What resources can Path To Power provide? The Path to Power program can provide the following to designated Path to Power candidates:

  • Path to Power conference curricula and materials
  • Instructional and expert support for Path to Power conferences
  • District targeting and analytics
  • Policy development and analysis
  • Campaign communications
  • Strategic support for campaigns

Who can be a Path to Power candidate? The Michigan AFL-CIO strongly encourages union members to run for political office. It’s also recognized that many labor supporters may not have an opportunity to join a union at their workplace, so the Path to Power program provides space for both union members and union supporters to run successful campaigns. The Path to Power program is specifically for candidates who do not currently hold office, or current electeds who are running for higher office.

How is someone selected as a Path to Power candidate? Path to Power candidates must apply for consideration by submitting an application and questionnaire. They must be invited to and participate in an official Path to Power candidate conference. They must then receive the formal endorsement of the State Federation or other endorsing labor body. After this, they are eligible for selection as a Path to Power candidate.

What are the next steps? The Michigan AFL-CIO is hosting leadership trainings in 2017 to help in the identification and recruitment of candidates into the Path To Power program.

Save the date:

Path To Power Orientation: Saturday, February 25, 2017 9AM–4PM

Location: Iron Workers, 25150 Trans X Drive Novi, MI 48376

A West Michigan training date and location is to-be-determined.

If you are interested in participating in the orientation in Novi on February 25, or would like more information, please email Steve Veldheer at


This entry was posted on February 9, 2017 by in Political news and tagged .

Kent-Ionia Labor Council

The Kent-Ionia Labor Council, AFL-CIO is a coalition of west Michigan labor unions in Kent and Ionia Counties, based in Grand Rapids.

Address, phone, email

918 Benjamin NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

%d bloggers like this: