The 2022 general election was the first race held following legislative redistricting, caused by the 2020 US Census, and the results show not much has changed for the Trades overall.
While many labor-backed Democrats were defeated in their elections, including several incumbents, a number of trades-friendly Republicans gained seats in the House and Senate.
In the House of Delegates, the breakdown is now 88 Republicans and 12 Democrats. In the State Senate, there will be 30 Republicans and 4 Democrats.
However, George Capel, Government Relations Director for the WV State Building and Construction Trades, says the new partisan split should not be the main takeaway from the election.
“When you consider all our friendly Republican and Democratic friends, we lost about 6 votes in the State Senate. However, our total numbers in the House remain the same,” said Capel. “It is important to look at candidates based on their stances on our issues rather than their party affiliation.”
Over the course of the past two years, ACT has worked with Building Trades crafts to hold tours of apprenticeship training facilities and other events to educate lawmakers, candidates, and the general public about the construction industry and the benefits of apprenticeship.
Capel says these tours have been paying off by creating new relationships and bipartisan support for the Trades.
“I believe our combined efforts have helped change lawmakers’ views of our organizations and bring more people to our side,” said Capel. “We have to continue making inroads on both sides of the aisle and show everyone that supporting West Virginia workers is not a partisan issue.”