How We Did It

Music & Politics

Volume CVIII, No. 12December, 2008

Paul Molloy

Like many New Yorkers, I still wear my Obama button. I’m proud of the choices I made in the voting booth and I’m particularly proud of the choices Local 802 made this election cycle.

Of the 34 candidates Local 802 endorsed, 32 won their races on Nov. 4. (The two that didn’t prevail were first-time congressional candidates Linda Stender and Rabbi Dennis Shulman, both from New Jersey.)

We bucked popular opinion among many unions and the state AFL-CIO by supporting Joe Addabbo and Brian Foley for their respective state senate races. Both candidates won handily, giving the Democrats control of the state senate for the first time since 1965.

We made calls to Florida, reaching out to other union members and our own retirees on behalf of Obama. Here in New York, we called our members on behalf of Rep. John Hall and Congressional candidate Mike McMahon.

“I was more than happy to be part of the process of going to bat for one of our own,” said guitarist and Local 802 member Joseph LoSchiavo, who made calls for John Hall. “Local 802 endorsed some outstanding candidates and I’m thrilled that my representatives, Congressman Tim Bishop and State Senator-elect Brian Foley, were among them.”

Additionally, Local 802 called Democrats in the town of Brookhaven, Long Island, where we had endorsed five candidates. And members who live in the third state senate district received “Friend to Friend” cards from me on behalf of Brian Foley.

Members of our staff hit the pavement in three swing states: Bill Dennison and Claudia Copeland in Florida, Jay Schaffner in Pennsylvania and Diana Cohn in Virginia. Organizing Director Joel LeFevre provided on-the-ground support for John Hall in Westchester County.

As in all successful operations, many people deserve credit. Local 802 members Ethan Fein and Maxine Roach headed up our volunteer recruitment campaign. We ran phone banks on Monday nights and Saturday afternoons and every day for the last four days leading up to Nov. 4. Ethan organized the volunteers on Mondays and I handled things on Saturdays. Our Power Boosters campaign is off to an impressive start and will serve as a good model for next year’s local elections.

What do all these victories mean for Local 802? We have the peace of mind that there are elected officials at the state and federal levels who share our values and understand our issues. We have commitments to work for passage of the pro-musician bills I’ve written about in the past, including the Empire State Film Post Production Tax Credit in Albany and the Performance Rights Act in Washington.

In the coming weeks, we will begin assembling teams of volunteers to travel to Albany to meet with our legislators as citizen lobbyists on these and other pressing issues. If you are interested in playing a role in these efforts, please contact me at or (212) 245-4802, ext. 176. 

Paul Molloy is the public relations and political director for Local 802.