AFT Embarks on Nationwide Get-Out-the-Vote Election Bus Tour
GREEN BAY, Wis.—Leaders of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers have kicked off a cross-country, multi-city bus tour to get out the vote and highlight the stark choice confronting a nation divided between hope and fear, aspiration and anxiety, and freedom and autocracy.
Union members will rally at dozens of community events, including book giveaways, roundtables, canvassing and door knocking, to support candidates fighting for freedom and democracy, lower costs, affordable healthcare and investments in great public schools—rather than those trying to ban books, censor history, cut Medicare and Social Security, and let corporations gouge the public.
The “#AFTvotes—What Kids and Communities Need” tour will kick off today in Green Bay, Wis., and continue for 20 days in at least 10 states and 25 cities through Election Day, Nov. 8. Stops will include Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “This November, so much is on the ballot: our democracy and our freedoms, public education, healthcare, Medicare and Social Security, safety from gun violence, and economic security. Who is going to help solve this, and who will make it worse?
“This is an election of contrasts. Who is fighting for democracy? Who is tackling the concerns that keep people up at night? On the other hand, who prefers to stoke resentment, anger and fear—rather than find solutions to our biggest problems?”
As extremist politicians try to dissemble and divide, AFT members are focused on what kids and communities need to recover and thrive. The tour will elevate the work they do every day to make a difference in the lives of kids, patients and communities.
Speakers will drive home the message that everyone in America should have the freedom to pursue a better life, with justice and dignity guaranteed. And with early voting in full swing, they will make it clear that it is vital that we vote, and get our communities out to vote too.
“Together, we are fighting for the freedom to live in a democracy, to have a voice in that democracy, and—for each of us, particularly our kids—to have a pathway to the middle class,” Weingarten said.
Weingarten will kick off the tour Wednesday at a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay press conference with Gov. Tony Evers on school funding. The AFT and AFT-Wisconsin will make a significant donation to the school’s Campus Cupboard & Clothes Closet.
The bus will travel from west to east, concluding in New York City on Nov. 8. Weingarten will be joined by AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus and AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram at multiple stops. All three AFT officers have traveled to numerous states already this fall, including Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Texas.
Today’s and each subsequent day’s activities and events will be broadcast live across the union’s social media channels.
“The truth is, although you hear a lot about the divisions polarizing our country, Americans really are united by a powerful bond: We all want a better life for ourselves and our families,” added Weingarten.
“The most important right we have is the right to vote, and that is why, over the next three weeks, we will work every hour of every day to get the vote out.”
AFT leaders are available for interview – email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect.
Itinerary (subject to change)
Oct. 19 – Green Bay, Wis.
Oct. 20 – St. Paul, Minn.
Oct. 21 – Minneapolis, Minn.
Oct. 22 – Milwaukee, Wis.
Oct. 23 – St. Louis, Mo.
Oct. 24 – Peoria, Ill., and Urbana-Champaign, Ill.
Oct. 26 – Anderson, Ind.
Oct. 26 – Albuquerque, N.M. (no bus)
Oct. 27 – Cincinnati, Ohio
Oct. 28 – Atlanta, Ga. (no bus)
Oct. 29 – Taylor, Mich., and Detroit metro area
Oct. 30 – Toledo, Ohio
Nov. 1 – Cleveland, Ohio
Nov. 2 – Pittsburgh, Pa.
Nov. 4 – Scranton, Pa.
Nov. 5 – Philadelphia, Pa.
Nov. 6 – Connecticut/New York
Nov. 7 – Long Island, N.Y.
Nov. 8 – New York, N.Y.
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.