Wielding our Power at the Polls

September 2, 2022

Members across the Union are gearing up for consequential midterm elections.

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 5.46.11 PM.pngRetirees in Florida kicked off the election season with their annual picnic in Orlando on June 30th.

It was an opportunity to enjoy food and fellowship, but also to prepare for the important battles ahead as the country heads into the midterm elections in November.

Elected officials who have demonstrated their support for working people in the past stopped by to join the party and hear retirees’ concerns firsthand.

There are roughly 600 Union retirees now living in the Orlando area, many of whom moved to the Sunshine State after decades of caring for others in New York.

The effort to influence the outcome of the midterm elections with phone-banking, canvassing and voter registration drives is unionwide, but Florida will see some of the most consequential races. Val Demings, who has represented 1199 retirees in Orlando as their U.S. Congresswoman for Florida’s 10th district, is now challenging Marco Rubio for his seat in the Senate. The race will be tight, but if 1199ers are able to push her over the top, it would have far-reaching consequences. It could be the key to the Democrats holding onto control of the Senate.

Regina Knight, a retired Delegate from Brooklyn Hospital has remained politically active since she moved to Florida. She worked the phones in 2020 to get out the vote for President Joe Biden.

“This time around we have to make sure we keep [Democratic] control of the Senate. I’m tired of Republicans. And we certainly can’t risk Donald Trump getting back into office,” she warned.

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 5.52.33 PM.pngGloria Hewitt has lived in Orlando for the past 24 years after retiring from her job in the dietary division at NYU Medical Center in the mid-90s. “I just love politics and meeting different people when you knock on their doors to canvas,” she said, “I’m always trying to help people understand that their votes count. If we don’t vote, we will lose services that we rely on. I went door-to-door for President Barack Obama and I am ready to do the same for Val Demmings.”

It is not just the Congressional races, which will have a significant effect on issues that matter to members like, affordable healthcare, fair wages, secure housing and equitable education.

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul will be facing the voters to defend her seat. Because so many decisions regarding healthcare funding that are taken in Albany have a direct effect on the wages and benefit packages that members are able to negotiate at the bargaining table, 1199ers will be working hard to make sure Governor Hochul remains in office.

In Georgia, too, 1199 retirees will be supporting Stacey Abrams once again as she battles to unseat the sitting Governor who narrowly defeated her in 2018 in a hotly contested election.

Both Massachusetts and Maryland will see their incumbent Republican Governors step down leaving an opening for 1199-backed Democratic candidates Maura Healey in Massachusetts and Wes Moore in Maryland to win the top elected position in their respective states.

Meanwhile, redistricting in both New York and New Jersey means that more than a dozen seats in the U.S. Congress are in play.

Many of these office holders are already known to 1199 members, who will be doing their best to ensure that candidates with a proven track-record in fighting for working people win their elections.

1199 Magazine - July / August 2022