RALEIGH, N.C. – Indian-American candidate for North Carolina State Senate Jay Chaudhuri has been endorsed by the North Carolina AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the Triangle Labor Council, the Raleigh Police Protective Association and the Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association. The groups emphasized Chaudhuri’s career devoted to fighting for North Carolina workers.
“Throughout his career with State Treasurer Janet Cowell and Attorney General Roy Cooper, Jay Chaudhuri has stood up for the issues that matter to our members,” said Triangle Labor Council President Michael Gravinese. “We endorse Jay because as State Senator, he’ll be a champion for workers and working families throughout the state.”
“I’m honored that these groups representing hard-working North Carolina union members, firefighters and police officers have chosen to support me,” said Chaudhuri. “We rely on these workers and public servants to do their jobs every day, and as State Senator, I’ll work hard to build a better economy for them and for everyone in the state.”
The Primary is slated for March 15th. If Chaudhuri wins the primary from the heavily Democratic District 16, he would be as good as elected before the November general elections, making him the first Indian-American state Senator in North Carolina.
He is fighting a tough battle against his rival Ellis Hankins who was the head of North Carolina League of Municipalities for 17 years. The District 16 seat opened up when incumbent Josh Stein declared his run for state Attorney General. To date Chaudhuri has raised almost $290,000 from 571 contributors. “This is a very competitive Democratic primary,” he acknowledged.
Chaudhuri said he hoped the latest endorsements would increase the grassroots machinery he has working on his campaign including some 40 volunteers who have helped make some 62,067 calls and door knocks to voters. Hankins said he had “lots of volunteers” engaged in putting up neighborhood signs, and preparing for monitoring early voting sights and carrying out polling etc.
District 16 includes parts of Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville and western Wake County. Morrisville has a rising number of Indian-Americans and Chaudhuri hopes they will come out to swell his numbers on primary day. Chaudhuri said the labor groups’ endorsement recognized his career fighting for working families. “I have a track record of getting things done including taking on multibillion dollar companies to protect children on the Internet, and helping recover more than $100 million from life insurance companies,” he said.
In addition to the AFL-CIO, Teamsters Local 391, the Triangle Labor Council, the Raleigh Police Protective Association and the Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association, Chaudhuri has been endorsed by nine current and past elected officials: State Treasurer Janet Cowell, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, State Representative Gale Adcock, Wake County Commissioner John Burns, Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, former Raleigh City Council Member Rodger Koopman, former Raleigh City Council Member Randy Stagner, Morrisville Town Council Member Steve Rao, and former Morrisville Mayor Margaret Broadwell.
Chaudhuri has a Masters in international affairs from Columbia University and a law degree from North Carolina Central University. He was a legislative aide to Democratic U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin. From 2001 to 2009, he was special counsel to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, where he is credited with developing major policy initiatives such as drafting the statewide strategy to combat methamphetamine; spearheading the AG’s Campus Safety Task Force after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2006; being involved in the national multi-state investigation of MySpace and Facebook, helping negotiate an agreement between 49 state attorneys general and MySpace to create a task-force on online safety tools.
From 2009 to mid-2015, Chaudhuri was general counsel and senior policy advisor to State Treasurer Janet Cowell, where he managed all corporate governance and legal matters for the department which handled the $90 billion pension fund among other things. “When I announced my candidacy in May, I laid out my plan to meet, listen to and discuss issues with voters across the district so we can work together to move North Carolina forward,” said Chaudhuri. “We now have a strong grassroots-oriented staff to help us do exactly that.”