Director’s Column – Stepping Up – October 15, 2016
With the November 8th election fast approaching, I’m asking you to BELIEVE. Not just in a particular candidate’s ability to bring real change to Minnesota, but to believe in our union’s collective power to make our state work even better.
United we can rise up for excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for every worker.
Voting together, we can retire the politicians who have put greed ahead of public need. We can defeat the foes who threaten our pensions and even our jobs as they slash public budgets and try to privatize our work.
Exercising our power starts at the ballot box. Please mark your calendar and plan to vote for AFSCME-endorsed candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Our union and our elected allies are a powerful voice for working people. In Minnesota, we taxed the rich and raised the minimum wage. We gave everyone access to affordable health care and free all-day kindergarten. We turned a budget deficit into a surplus. Now more Minnesotans are working than ever before and our state is ranked best in the nation for business and job creation.
But we’re still facing incoming fire from corporate special interests and the right-wing politicians they carry in their pockets. They’re not content just to slow us down; they want to take us out. They don’t want to just weaken us; they want to destroy us.
To withstand these attacks, we need elected leaders – in the White House, state House and every city and county seat – who share our values and honor our work.
We’re lucky in Minnesota to have a governor like Mark Dayton who’s in our corner. A governor committed to creating opportunity for working people…a governor who supports safe staffing…a governor who took out his veto pen when legislators tried to cut our pensions.
What we need to do now is send Governor Dayton more like-minded allies who want to get the job done. This cycle, the full state House and Senate will be up for election. To regain a pro-worker majority, we must protect the state Senate while gaining seven seats to win control of the state House.
We need to restore the trifecta – the governor and both chambers – to move the needle further on important issues affecting working people. I believe we can do it.
A pro-worker governor and Legislature could tackle the big challenges that working families say matter most: preparing every child for success with universal early education; helping students afford a college degree without a mountain of debt; adopting paid family leave so we can care for our infants and aging parents; and making infrastructure investments that ensure safe transportation and clean drinking water for everyone.
It’s your choice how you vote, but please consider the candidates recommended by your co-workers who spend countless hours screening them and holding them accountable. AFSCME backs candidates – Democrats and Republicans – who support our work and share our values.
Our choices at the ballot box couldn’t be clearer and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Elections matter, and this one really matters.
Election Day is less than three weeks away. We need your time, your energy, and your shoe leather. If you think you’ve knocked on enough doors, knock on a dozen more. If you think you’ve made enough phone calls, make 20 more. And if you’ve already contributed to our PEOPLE program, consider kicking in a little more and encourage others to sign up as well.
Candidates know one thing about AFSCME: We never quit on our families, our communities, and the people who depend on us. Students are smarter, families are healthier, and our neighborhoods are safer when we have a voice in the halls of power. We won’t relent until we elect leaders as good we are.