ILWU Local 13 member Vivian Malauulu scored an impressive election victory on April 12, defeating a well-connected incumbent and winning a seat on the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees.
Malauulu won nearly 60% of the tally – soundly defeating her establishment-backed rival who resorted to anti-union attacks that flopped with voters.
“I am very, very proud of the clean and well-organized campaign that we ran – and am exceptionally proud of our team of committed volunteers,” she said. “Our campaign was fueled by a grassroots effort and propelled by good, old-fashioned hard work.”
Before the votes were counted, Malauulu shared some candid thoughts with supporters, acknowledging that she had never worked so hard for anything in her life – wearing out the soles on several pairs of shoes and carrying around piles of precinct folders.
“I spent every waking moment – and quite a few sleeping ones – trying hard to connect with the voters in our district.”
In addition to her work on the docks, Malauulu has been a teaching journalism classes on a part-time basis at Long Beach City College where she was active in the faculty union and the Trades Advisory Council.
Her formula for success was built on a winning strategy:
- She built a team of dedicated volunteers by drawing on years of relationships built through work with unions, churches, sports clubs, charities, and community organizations.
- She says support from the ILWU and her teacher’s union at Long Beach State were important – but worked hard to build a broad-based coalition.
- She organized a network of volunteers and rallied supporters to walk every one of the 54 precincts in her district at least once – some twice, and a few were visited three times.
- Thousands of calls were made to registered voters who also received mailings and email/text messages.
- They kept careful track of each contact with a voter, and followed-up with those who had questions or wanted more information.
- They attended numerous public events in order to contact voters and raise the campaign profile in the community.
- She tried to make her team of volunteers and supporters feel like they were part of a big, loving family. Efforts were made to consistently thank and appreciate volunteers for their work.
- She wasn’t afraid to ask for campaign donations. Like Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, she built her campaign treasury on lots of small campaign contributions that added up to a powerful resource.
- She sought endorsements from respected community and political leaders, including Congress member Janice Hahn.
Malauulu thanked her longshore brothers and sisters for their support.
“The ILWU was very supportive of my campaign and hosted three fundraisers on my behalf. One was in San Pedro for our LA ILWU, one was in Long Beach for our LB ILWU, and then again the week before Election Day to kick off our Get Out the Vote efforts, which Local 13 President Bobby Olvera, Jr. spearheaded together with Latinas Lead California. Cathy Familethe, President of the Southern California District Council, distributed both an ILWU voter slate card and a personalized postcard mailer on my behalf that was sent throughout the college board district. The SCDC also hosted a member-to-member phone bank the day before Election Day where ILWU members who live in Long Beach were contacted by ILWU volunteers and reminded to vote.”
The victory on election night left her feeling grateful for everyone who made it possible.
“I want to express my deep, heartfelt gratitude to my tireless campaign team, my faithful supporters, my incomparable volunteers, my dedicated colleagues, my loyal friends, my ILWU brothers and sisters, my incredible students, my committed prayer warriors, my encouraging Mami, my loving husband, and my four precious children for running this campaign with me. I couldn’t have done this without you!”