A New Year’s resolution

by Nathan Horak-Hern—Kentucky

I spoke to a couple of construction workers (father and son) yesterday who were excited that Working America is fighting to stop the outsourcing of American jobs. They make an effort to only buy products made in America, in order to support the American worker and American economy. When they recently learned that most of the products sold at Wal-Mart come from China, they made New Year’s resolutions to stop shopping at the retail giant, thereby keeping more of their money in the American economy. It’s wonderful that we have so many members in Working America willing not just to put their name down on a piece of paper, but live their lives in such a way as to bring more economic justice to our society, one resolution at a time.

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Spreading the word

by Nathan Horak-Hern—Kentucky

I recently canvassed a wonderful woman who was very excited about the issues Working America addresses. When I told her we were fighting to stop the outsourcing of American jobs, she signed up as a member immediately, and when I showed her our adhesive bandage campaign, she got her husband so they could both sign it.

She said that she and her husband have to go without health insurance so that they can afford it for their kids. Despite her hardships, she gave a voluntary dues payment and said she would tell everyone she knows about Working America and the great work we are doing.

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Fightin’ mad at Bush in Indiana

by Rabecca Gainey—Kentucky


Earlier this week George W. Bush was in New Albany, Indiana, to make some sort of B.S. speech criticizing Congress. Later that same day I was out canvassing in New Albany. I met a few people who were upset that Bush had come, and one man in particular was very mad. He was an older gentleman in his early eighties, and after I knocked on his door and told him why I was there, he signed up right away.

“I hope this makes a difference,” he said, “because that fool in the White House is making things terrible for everyone. He’s got a lot of nerve coming down here and acting high and mighty. I’ve got no use for him, if I had my way I would’ve been down there with a torch and pitchfork just like they did to Frankenstein in that old movie. That man’s a monster, I can’t wait until 2008 when America finally wakes up and gets him out of there.”

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Everyday lives, everyday issues

by Matt Isaacs—Kentucky


Canvassing with Working America has really opened my eyes to the extent that political issues affect our day to day lives. While there may be one or two people in a day that don’t seem to have a particular concern, when I ask what political issue is most important to them, the vast majority instantly can tell me what affects them the most and why. Their responses come out of the things that they deal with everyday.

One person that will always stand out in my mind was a mother whose four-year-old daughter had cancer. She told me that she and her husband both worked full time trying to keep up with the cost of treatments for their child. She explained, with tears in her eyes, how they had tried repeatedly obtain government assistance but kept getting denied.

Their jobs are also leaving them no time to spend with their daughter, and it’s hard to imagine how important that time may be. Working Americans deserve so much more than this. I am privileged to be part of the positive changes that are happening.

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Braving the dog

by Nathan Horak-Hern—Kentucky


While canvassing this past week I came to a Working America member’s house with a large yard surrounded by a chain-link fence. Sitting near the front door was a small, but unchained, dog. I love dogs, but even the smallest one can pose a major hazard to the canvasser’s efforts. After taking a moment to consider what the famous door-to-door worker Cliff Clavin would do, I decided against spouting useless trivia at the pup, and entered the gates.

I was soon rewarded for my “bravery,” as the dog was friendly and the Working America member was vitally interested in our cause. She has been an assistant at a cancer treatment center for many years. She told me she’d seen first-hand how our current governor’s “streamlining” of Medicare here in Kentucky had severely undermined people’s health care. She said she’d definitely be supporting Steve Beshear, the labor-endorsed candidate for governor, in the upcoming election, largely due to his efforts to give the poor and the elderly the assistance they need to obtain necessary health care. She even offered to volunteer if her work schedule would allow it. I thanked her for her dedication, and her dog for the hospitality, before rambling on to my next stop.

Paid for by AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund.

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The biggest sign they had

by Maribeth Schneber—Kentucky

I met a woman in the field who was a staunch supporter of Steve Beshear, the labor-endorsed candidate for governor here in Kentucky. When I got to talking to her, she told me that she had a house for sale, and she had told the Beshear campaign to put up the biggest sign that they had on her property.

After a while her real estate agent called and told her that no one could see the “For Sale” sign on the house. The woman told me that she then replied, “I don’t care if I have to pay a few more months of the mortgage if it means that Steve Beshear gets elected.” She then offered to come to our office or to a Labor Walk and bake us all chocolate chip cookies for our important and hard work.

Paid for by AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund.

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He didn’t seem that happy about it

by Carissa Lovelace—Kentucky

Today I spoke to one of our members, a man in his mid-forties, and I asked him what I ask everyone: what’s your most important issue, what do you do for a living, and who are you planning to vote for? He answered that health care was his most important issue, he was unemployed, and he was voting for Steve Beshear, the labor-endorsed candidate for governor here in Kentucky. I said that he didn’t seem too happy about that, which he didn’t, to which he replied that he wasn’t. He explained that his job at a local chemical plant had recently been outsourced due to its inability to unionize, and that his son, who has special needs, was not receiving the proper medical attention.

The kicker was, he was a registered Republican and had voted the party line his entire life. This election would be the first time he voted for a Democrat. He said he couldn’t justify voting for a man that was doing nothing but hurting the middle class, and that it would be sheer ignorance for him to vote for Ernie Fletcher, the Republican incumbent governor, again.

I assured him that not only would Beshear be better for the job, but that Working America would do its best to hold him accountable once elected. He cracked his first smile of our conversation and I wished him a good night.

Paid for by AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund.

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Tell your friends, too

by Rabecca Gainey—Kentucky

A woman tonight told me she was very concerned with health care. A few years ago she fell and broke her ankle and calf. As a result she’d had several surgeries and now has a metal rod in her leg and foot. Despite being unable to work, she’d been denied unemployment and disability benefits, often depending on her neighbors for food because she receives less than $40 dollars a week in food stamps.

On top of all this she said she was going through a divorce, and would lose the health insurance she’s had up to now through her ex-husband’s job. She told me she had been raised Republican and voted the party line for many, many years, but if Steve Beshear, the labor-endorsed candidate for governor, had a plan to make health care more affordable and accessible than she would definitely vote for him—and tell all her friends to vote for him too.

Paid for by AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund.

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Glad we’re there

by Jason Elgin—Kentucky


It was the end of the night and I was canvassing an apartment complex where few people were answering their doors.

Finally, a woman comes to the door. I explained that I was from Working America and that we were supporting Steve Beshear for Governor because of his record in support of working families. While we were talking, her son, a young adult, comes up and asks, “Are you backing the Democrat?” He was thrilled to see me and said no one from either campaign had been to their door. He was very happy someone thought they warranted some attention.

He was unsure of the election date and his polling place. I told him the date and handed him a voter info pamphlet. He asked about volunteering and asked to be sent all the info about the election. As I left, he told me how glad he was that someone was out there trying to cut through the smokescreen that the incumbent here, Governor Ernie Fletcher, has created by using wedge issues.

Paid for by AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund.

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Never too late to start voting

by Toya Ballenger—Kentucky

Tonight, I talked to a surprisingly eager 88-year-old man about politics. He was concerned about Kentucky’s economy, with all the jobs being shipped overseas. I handed him some literature like I always do, and proceeded to tell him that Steve Beshear, the labor-endorsed candidate for governor, was the best choice when it came to jobs. He told me he didn’t know who was running and wasn’t even registered to vote. In fact, his neighbor always made fun of him because he hadn’t voted once in his entire life. When he said that, I took out a voter registration card, handed it to him, and said, “Now your neighbor can’t make fun of you anymore.” He took the card from me and filled it out.

Paid for by AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund.

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