Former Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez received two large endorsements Monday in his run for Maryland governor.
Perez, also a former state and U.S. labor secretary, received endorsements from the Service Employees International Unions Local 500 and 32BJ that represent more than 30,000 education support personnel, janitors, security officers and airport workers in the state.
“Tom Perez has an unmatched track record of protecting immigrants and helping workers win back wages and jobs when they were wronged,” Jaime Contreras, executive vice president of 32BJ SEIU, said in a statement. “What sets Tom Perez apart is that he experienced the struggles facing immigrant families and devoted 35 years to protecting the civil rights of minority communities and ensuring working-class families get their fair share.”
Pia Morrison, president of SEIU Local 500, praised Perez and his running mate, former Baltimore City council member Shannon Sneed, have a “long history of standing with unions and working families and there is no clearer example of a more worker-friendly team.”
Perez already received two other key union endorsements in October from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 3 and Council 67. Combined, they represent about 50,000 state government workers.
Union endorsements allows a candidate to utilize an organized group who can also participate as campaign volunteers.
“When unions succeed, Maryland succeeds,” Perez said in a statement. “And as governor, I’ll always ensure that workers have a seat at the table as we work together to create a Maryland where no one working a full-time job lives in poverty, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, where families can access high-quality healthcare, and where workers are able to organize and collectively bargain.”
Perez joins a crowded Democratic field ahead of the June 28 primary that includes former nonprofit executive Jon Baron; former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III; state Comptroller Peter Franchot; former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler; former President Barack Obama administration official Ashwani Jain; former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr.; author and former nonprofit executive Wes Moore; former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman; and Jerome Segal, who founded the former Bread and Roses Party.
The Maryland Democratic Party will host its second “Burgers and Brews” gubernatorial candidates forum Tuesday in Frederick focusing on transportation. Some people will be allowed to attend in person, but those interested can register to view it online.