Longtime legislative friends greet delegates

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Pennsylvania lawmakers from both houses of Congress offered their greetings to convention delegates on Saturday morning. Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Mike Doyle, both Democrats, thanked AFT members for the work they do every day, and encouraged them to continue living the theme of this year’s convention: Care, fight, show up and, most importantly, vote.

“I know your work is denigrated by politicians, but never let them undermine you,” Casey told the delegates.

Now that the “hard right” controls Congress, we must fight daily against them, said Casey. Part of that fight is to prevent the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Casey said. The Trump administration wants to hand over the third branch of government to the conservative right, noted Casey. “Janus is just the beginning. That’s why on Election Day, “we send them a message that unions are important to us. The deck may seem stacked against us, but people are ready to mobilize, engage and vote.”

Doyle told delegates that this is a pivotal time in the lives of Americans. “We have let our guard down and allowed people to lose sight of middle-class values,” he said, adding that we have a way to turn things around. “Our future depends on the education of the people. The key to the 21st century economy—and to having everyone participate in that economy—is education.”

The congressman hopes to see four or five seats flipped in Pennsylvania this year. “We started the revolution with a young man named Conor Lamb,” said Doyle. It was Lamb’s willingness to talk about kitchen-table issues like jobs, healthcare, pensions and college affordability that helped him, Doyle explained. “He talked about issues that are core to Democrats. We must return to our roots. This is the time to take our country back.” Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) will address the general session on Sunday morning.

[Adrienne Coles]