1199SEIU members were “fired up, ready to go” to help re-elect President Obama on November 6, but were also instrumental in helping senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren take on incumbent Senator Scott Brown and win the much-coveted seat held by legendary former Senator Ted Kennedy.
Thousands of 1199SEIU members in Massachusetts in the months prior to the election canvassed neighborhoods in Massachusetts to drum up support for Elizabeth Warren and President Obama. On Election Day, more than 500 union members from across the state volunteered to help support 1199SEIU-endorsed candidates.
“During the summer months, we went door-to-door in Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, Lynn and Springfield speaking to people about Medicaid. This was an important issue for personal care attendants and so many of us who depend on MassHealth,” said Lisa Ivey, a member political organizer.
Lisa is excited about the win for Elizabeth Warren and knows she will be a strong advocate for Medicaid, Medicare and other programs important to healthcare workers.
During the election season, 1199SEIU members canvassed neighborhoods with historically low turnout including communities in Boston, Springfield, Lawrence, Brockton, Lynn, New Bedford, and Fall River. Thanks to 1199SEIU member engagement along with the support of other union locals, overall turnout among all of those cities was up by an average of six percent. Elizabeth Warren also defeated Scott Brown overwhelmingly in each of those cities. Turnout for Obama was also significant in each of these cities with turnout in these few cities being higher than the state average.
Two days after Massachusetts historically elected its first woman to the U.S. Senate, Governor Deval Patrick visited the 1199SEIU office in Dorchester and praised the dozens of member volunteers who attended for their hard work and their commitment.
“As they said in the south during the civil rights movement, ‘My feet are tired, but my soul is at rest’,” said the governor to the crowd, emphasizing that though they may be exhausted from hundreds of hours of door knocking and phone banking, they could take comfort in the fact that their hard work paid off.
Afterwards, member volunteers took turns telling stories about their get out the vote activities. Harrowing stories were told, from random people on the street asking for rides to the polls to a paraplegic man who went down three flights of stairs on his rear end just so he could go vote.
A “mandate” rally was held later on in the day where union members discussed the importance of holding our elected officials accountable now that they’ve been elected (or re-elected) into office.