NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — One of Connecticut's largest unions has elected a new executive director.

Friday, delegates overwhelmingly chose Jody Barr, a voice system analyst at Eastern Connecticut State University, to be executive director of Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees or AFSCME. The union represents 35,000 Connecticut workers in the public and private sectors.

The 43-year-old Barr replaces Salvatore Luciano, who has held the job for 17 years. The 61-year-old Luciano spent 20 years as a state social worker before rising through the union ranks. He ultimately led Council 4 during some challenging financial times for the state, which have led to layoffs and givebacks.

Luciano says it's the right time to step away. He says Barr will bring "new energy and a fresh voice to our cause."