WASHINGTON—Anxiety shaped this election, and the results show it. The economy has left the American people uncertain about their future. Many have lost their jobs, homes and healthcare, and have seen their quality of life plundered by an economy that is not meeting their needs. They want change, and they want their government to focus sharply on putting people back to work.
Despite all the efforts made to stabilize our economy, the American voters saw it differently. Turning around the economy, creating jobs and rehiring workers all take time and the careful stewardship of economic and regulatory policies. The problems that confronted the country before the election are the same problems we are facing the day after the election. Voters vented their anger at the polls and now expect the government to get us back on track with more jobs, better schools and a more prosperous future. The question is: How will the new Congress accomplish this?
The AFT devoted the bulk of our time and resources to encouraging members to turn out to vote for candidates and policies that support an agenda to help working families. Our efforts helped lead to victories in the Senate for West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Colorado’s Michael Bennet, California’s Barbara Boxer, Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal and Nevada’s Harry Reid; the gubernatorial victories of Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, California’s Jerry Brown and Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee; Vincent Gray’s mayoral victory in Washington, D.C.; and numerous victories in the House of Representatives. In Massachusetts and Colorado, initiatives that would have gutted funding for education and other essential investments were defeated. AFT members have always been our most powerful political asset, and that power was demonstrated in making these victories possible and making many other races competitive.
It’s time to come together to solve the problems of our country. The AFT and our members always have been problem solvers, and we stand ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead.