AFT Voices

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AFT Votes bus tour finishes with a flourish

Ending on Nov. 1 after a spirited dash through Florida, the AFT Votes bus tour visited thousands of members in 15 states, tapping into excitement for the presidential election and helping our members get out the vote nationwide.
AFT President Randi Weingarten, joined most of the way by Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick C. Ingram and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus, hosted every type of event possible while maintaining stringent pandemic protections, from drive-in rallies and car caravans to safely distanced marches, meetings and canvasses.

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Carl Williams: On Nov. 3, I’m voting for peace and love

The Biden-Harris ticket closely aligns with my personal values. I’m a California native, and Kamala Harris is a U.S. senator from California. She has always been a big supporter of whatever we do in the California Federation of Teachers, which is just the opposite of what Donald Trump does. And, on a side note, she is my political crush. I am hoping she will be elected vice president so she can help continue the work of President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Richard Franklin: Why Joe Biden is a visionary

Being African American, I sometimes doubt whether a white candidate for elected office could resonate with me. I don’t know any racists, however, who would be willing to serve as vice president under a person of color. Joe Biden’s actions speak louder than his words; they resonate with me not just politically but personally.

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Bernie Kemp: All politics is local, especially in Florida

Students in Broward County, Fla., whose parents opted for in-person public education went back to school starting Oct. 9, and one of those students is my second-grade granddaughter. We were the last district in Florida to start back face-to-face.

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Rep. LaKeshia Myers: Black America is not a monolith, and neither is our vote

In 1982, the poet and writer Audre Lorde said, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
Lorde’s assessment has never been more appropriate than at this moment in our collective history, and it is especially true for African Americans. To the outside world, Black Americans are viewed through one lens — a lens that almost always equates our community with poverty, violence and overall mediocrity. Having grown up solidly middle class, the daughter of public school educators, my life — and the lives of many of my peers — was the polar opposite of this narrow view. However, in politics, it is often easiest to speak to the striking generalities of one’s electorate. While this is often easiest, it is also dangerous, because one risks ignoring those who do not fit neatly into stereotypes. Such is the case with African Americans.

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Michael Barry: Let’s elect leaders, not a bully

It is still amazing to me that we have a bully for a president. A president who mocks a teenage global climate activist. A president who makes fun of a physically, differently abled news reporter. A president who dismisses the top infectious disease doctor in the USA and tweets, “No problem, no masks.” Every day, there’s some story about Donald Trump going after people he doesn’t like.

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Patrick Armstrong: Is America better off than it was 4 years ago? No

Donald Trump began his presidency by declaring, “We will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, we will make America great again.” Four years later, let’s evaluate where we are as a country and whether he succeeded.

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'Si, se puede!' New citizens get ready to vote

"This is going to be my first time voting," says Rodrigo Rodriguez, a dual language instructional coach and National Board Certified Teacher who swore his oath of allegiance earlier this year. "That is one of the most important reasons I decided to become a U.S. citizen."

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Jeion Ward: "We want an educator in the White House"

On a beautiful fall afternoon on the grounds of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., Dr. Jill Biden joined our small group of educators to discuss her husband’s vision for better public education for all children. Her husband, of course, is former Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for president.

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Brittney Cooper: "Trust Black women: Vote Biden-Harris"

We really should begin to trust Black women.
This slogan was pioneered in 1994 and carried forward by the sisters at SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a social justice advocacy organization working for marginalized communities, and by Sister Loretta Ross, a Black feminist academic and thought leader who is a part of that collective. “Trust Black women” is about our right to have kids, to not have kids and to have these kids grow up in safe and healthy environments. That really has to be a core focus as we’re thinking about this COVID moment.

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Sami Al-Abdrabbuh: "A president for all"

Let me tell you how I came to be a local elected official and a supporter of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In 2015, inspired by Brandon Stanton, the man who created Humans of New York, I took a train trip from Albany, Ore., to New York City, to expand my photo book. I wanted to interview a diverse range of people outside the small bubble of my lovely college town in Corvallis, Ore. From Oregon, I traveled to Sacramento, Calif., and then on to Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York and Boston.

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Lorretta Johnson: "Joe Biden will bring healing to this country"

We really should begin to trust Black women.
What I want our members to know about Joe Biden is that he understands us. The way I see him is as a regular working guy who knows the jobs working people do. After he lost his wife and daughter in a terrible car accident in 1972, he stayed home with his boys. He kept doing his job and riding home on the train every night to see his kids and put them to bed. That’s what regular people do.

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Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote kicks off series to energize teachers, young voters

In the last election, only 1 in 3 young people eligible to vote did so. When We All Vote, a program launched by former first lady Michelle Obama in 2019, is designed to increase voter participation in every election and make voting a lifelong habit. On April 20, the former first lady hosted the first in a series of virtual events specifically for educators, designed to help them make sure their students get registered to vote and to encourage their civic engagement.

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#AFTvotes: make your voice heard

Since the launch of AFT's presidential endorsement 2020 back in March of 2019, we have hosted 10 candidate town halls across the country, dozens of telephone town halls, member polling and surveys and a first-of-its-kind presidential forum on education with top candidates. We will continue to connect with as many members as possible in this endorsement process. Please visit aftvotes.org or text VOTE to 69238 to get the latest information. (Message and data rates apply.)

Highlights from the Public Education Forum 2020

AFT co-hosted the Public Education Forum 2020 in Pittsburgh with seven of the major presidential candidates discussing public education and taking questions in front of an audience of nearly 1,500 people. The candidates addressed how the narrative has changed regarding the promise and purpose of education and what we need to ensure all children have the opportunity regardless of their demography or geography. Watch the entire forum here

AFTvotes 2020: your voice, your vote!

AFT is committed to achieving the highest level of member engagement in our 2020 presidential endorsement process. Together, we can ensure that our collective voice shapes the debate and that we elect a candidate who shares our values and vision for our country. Visit aftvotes.org for more information. #aftvotes

AFTvotes Town Halls

AFT’s 2020 presidential endorsement process gives AFT members an opportunity to engage directly with candidates about their priorities. Hear from members who have had that opportunity! #AFTvotes

AFT Votes Town Hall in Milwaukee with Tom Steyer

The AFT endorsement process presents expanded opportunities for members to give input and feedback. It will provide for direct candidate engagement with AFT members, and will strive for the highest level of member participation ever achieved in an AFT presidential endorsement process. In our 10th town hall with candidates, we met with Tom Steyer and members from the state of Wisconsin to discuss what matters to them in this election.

AFT Votes town hall with Julián Castro

Presidential candidate Julián Castro met with union members in Las Vegas for an AFT Votes town hall. Castro spent most of the town hall conversing with members about healthcare, Medicare, immigration and retirement security. #AFTvotes

AFTvotes town hall with MT Gov. and Dem. presidential candidate Steve Bullock

As part of AFT's presidential endorsement process, we are holding town halls with candidates and members so they understand the issues our members care about. Gov. Steve Bullock came to Washington DC and met with members to talk about economic fairness, strong public schools and colleges and making healthcare affordable. Hear what our members had to say.

AFT Votes Town Hall in Miami with Beto O'Rourke

Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke joins AFT President Randi Weingarten, Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram, United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats and educators who work in K-12 public education and higher education, as well as retirees from across Florida for an AFT Votes town hall. #AFTvotes

AFT Members at Town Hall with Vice President Joe Biden

On May 28, 2019, AFT president Weingarten joined Houston teachers and school staff engaged with Vice President Joe Biden at an AFT Votes town hall. VP Biden announced his policy proposal that triples federal spending on k-12 education. #AFTvotes #Election2020

AFT Votes Town Hall with Elizabeth Warren

As part of AFT's presidential endorsement process, we are holding town halls with candidates and members so they understand the issues our members care about. We met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Philly as she talked about economic fairness, strong public schools and colleges, ending the student loan crisis and making healthcare affordable. Hear what our members had to say.

AFT Votes Town Hall with Congressman Tim Ryan

Congressman Tim Ryan met with AFT and NYSUT members in Albany to have a real and honest conversation about what's on the line in the upcoming presidential election. He answered our members' questions and spoke about the importance of the middle class and public education in our communities.

AFTvotes Town Hall with Sen. Klobuchar in Yonkers, NY

On Fri., May 10, Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined AFT President Weingarten, Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Samantha Rosado-Ciriello and members of YFT, New York State United Teachers, in visits to two Yonkers public schools followed by an AFT Votes town hall. During the school visits, the leaders will tour the schools and meet with school staff and students. They discussed the ongoing need for federal, state and local investment in public education, particularly school infrastructure, as well as issues facing educators in the classroom.

AFTvotes member town hall with Sen. Kamala Harris in Detroit

On Mon., May 6, Sen. Kamala Harris joined AFT President Weingarten, AFT Michigan President David Hecker and members of AFT Michigan in two public school visits followed by a member town hall. AFT's presidential endorsement process engages members more than ever and focuses on electing someone to the White House who shares our values. Hear what AFT members had to say.

Sen. Bernie Sanders visit with members in Lordstown, OH

AFT members in Lordstown, OH met and talked with @BernieSanders about issues that matter most to them in the upcoming #election2020. Hear what they had to say. #AFTvotes

#AFTvotes Voices on #Election2020

AFT members are energized and speaking up about what’s on the line in the upcoming presidential election. We care, fight and show up for our students, our patients and our communities. And we need a candidate for president who will do the same. #aftvotes #IamAFT

Johanna Lopez
Orange County School Board
Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (Fla.)
Cody Thompson
West Virginia House of Delegates
AFT WV
Stacey Caruso-Sharpe
Galway Central School District Board of Education
Amsterdam Teachers’ Association (N.Y.)
Nicole Terminelli
St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators
Massena Federation of Teachers (N.Y.)
Willie Madrid
New Mexico House of Representatives
Gadsden Federation of Teachers (N.M.)
Moffie Funk
Montana House of Representatives
Montana City Education Association (Mont.)
Rodney Miller
West Virginia House of Delegates
AFT WV
Terry Clements
Westchester County Board of Legislators
New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees (N.Y.)
Daniel Dromm
New York City Council
United Federation of Teachers (N.Y.)
Robert Thompson
West Virginia House of Delegates
AFT WV