Three of the state's largest unions are teaming up to educate voters, hiring a political consultant and community leader to lead the project.
Gena Ozols will lead the new Colorado Labor Electoral Action Project to extend the political power of working people and hold elected leaders "of all parties" accountable, the Colorado AFL-CIO, SEIU Colorado and the Colorado Education Association said in a joint press release Tuesday afternoon.
“The goal of this project is to move our political system so it delivers a better life to all working people across our state, and we'll use all the available tools to get that done," Ron Ruggiero, the president of SEIU Local 105, said in a statement. "Gena brings the skills and relationships to build power for Colorado workers. She has an ability to bring conflicting interests together and build a strategic path forward that lifts up workers.
"Workers — regardless of the color of their skin, size of their paycheck, or what ZIP code they live in — deserve a voice at work and a life where they can thrive, and this is the exact type of leadership we need moving forward to hold leaders accountable and build that future for Colorado’s frontline heroes.”
Ozols has 13 years of experience in campaign, legislative and coalition building, serving most recently as the political and outreach director for the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR).
"Especially at this pivotal moment in history, we must center the fight to advance workers rights," she stated. "As frontline workers have shouldered the burdens of keeping businesses, schools and hospitals open during the pandemic, it has become even more clear that policy makers must prioritize the needs of these heros who keep our communities running and our economy buzzing. I am honored to work to elect champions for working people and marginalized communities.”
Amie Baca Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association, said union membership is rising among women and people of color for good reason.
"Membership in a labor union is the best way to lift a worker out of poverty and this is even more true for women and people of color," she stated. "Workers rights are the backbone of true economic justice.
"Gena has a reputation for challenging longstanding power structures while advancing issues and policies related to racial justice and class. We are excited to have her in the fight for the workers of Colorado.”