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Tom Erickson is a D.C. political legend. He's been consulting pro-labor Democratic members of Congress for over 40 years. If you were looking to get elected or re-elected and had union issues, you went (and still go) to Tom. 


A born New Yorker and lifelong New Jerseyan from a working-class family where, as a child, lived in the same Dyckman Street housing projects with then-Lew Alcindor (a.k.a. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). Even now, when you visit Tom's D.C. office, you're immediately awestruck by all the photos and autographs with every prominent political figure from across the world in the last 50 years. Still, his favorite is the one of him as a child being hoisted over the shoulders of Kareem. 


When Denny began working for him, he had to learn quickly, and Tom wasn't shy about challenging him. But he learned two critical lessons from his mentor that he would often share with his clients: 


  1. Have convictions for what you stand for and find the policies to back them up, and

  2. Be honest, and stand up for yourself when challenged. People will always disagree with you, but they'll respect you for staying true to yourself. 


Denny wouldn't share much else with us while drafting this piece because the rule under Tom's roof was, "Whatever happens in this office, stays in this office." And he will not break that, but he said there are two stories that our readers would likely find entertaining and would be okay to share. 


One story involves Jim Messina, then-President Obama's deputy Chief of Staff, and 2012 Campaign Manager. Often (too often), Jim would come running through the front door of Tom's office and immediately ask Denny, "Where's the big guy?" Denny would point upwards, and Jim would sprint up the stairs and run into his office.




Well, it turns out Tom's office was Jim's "Safe Room" when Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama's then-Chief of Staff, was looking for him. If you've ever heard stories of Rahm, then we don't need to explain further. Denny would only say it was always entertaining seeing Jim in the office. 


The second story is when Tom gave Denny tickets to a special Massachusetts delegation celebration when the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Denny grew up in New England and loves his Boston sports teams, so he was thrilled to go. The tickets were given to Tom by one of his clients (Hint: he endorsed Denny), and every Massachusetts member of Congress was in attendance, along with Lord Stanley's Cup and the NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman. 


But why is this story relevant?


Well, Senator John Kerry was in attendance, and if you read pt. 4, you would know that Denny wouldn't have made it to D.C. without his staff. Denny approached the Senator and thanked him for hiring compassionate people who give atypical individuals like him an opportunity. 


After two years in Tom's office, it was time to move on, and Denny would have the opportunity to work on behalf of a uniquely American manufacturing industry - the recreational boating industry. 


Read Pt. 6


Vote #dennyfornyc on 6/28th! 

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