AFT President Randi Weingarten on Senate Introduction of S. 1, the For the People Act of 2021
Sarah Hager Mosby
WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the introduction in the Senate of S. 1, a bill to restore the rights of working people, limit the power of the corrupt and expand voting rights:
“Every person in America deserves a voice in our democracy—it is the bedrock of a healthy society and the only way for Americans to thrive. But in this last election, anti-democracy forces worked overtime: Across the country, numerous voters waited in line for hours to cast their ballots, and there was rampant voter suppression targeting Black and brown communities, students and low-wage workers. Systematic gerrymandering was rigged in such a way that the voting results were predetermined. And special interest groups worked to stifle the voices of people who only hoped to participate in their democracy.
“Despite these obstacles, the American people came out in record numbers in 2020 to vote for a new path forward for America. But instead of celebrating the participation in our democracy, the GOP in 43 states, fueled by disinformation and the ‘big lie’ that the election was rigged, are now pushing more than 200 bills to try to quash the right to vote. This isn’t how democracy is supposed to work.
“That is why the For the People Act is absolutely essential—it aims to reform the insidious efforts that have worked to dilute the people’s right to decide their representatives. The bill works to safeguard our entire voting system by ending partisan gerrymandering in federal elections, banning voter roll purging, strengthening the government’s ethics laws, putting important restrictions on campaign finance regulations, expanding voting rights and much more. In short, this bill repairs our democracy and ensures that we the people—all of us—have access to the vote and therefore a voice in our democracy.
“Special thanks to the leadership of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sens. Jeff Merkley and Amy Klobuchar, and so many more. We hope, for the sake of our democracy, that the Senate acts swiftly to pass this once-in-a-generation legislation.”
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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.