AFT members like Karen Haglund are staffing phone banks and going door to door to help re-elect President Obama.
What will be the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the millions of Americans who now have healthcare coverage under this legislation? Will young people and families continue to have access to Pell Grants and other college tuition assistance? And will right-wing governors and other elected officials feel emboldened to go after the bargaining rights of teachers and other public employees in a naked attempt to silence their voices?
These are questions that AFT members and others are pondering as they prepare to go to the polls on Nov. 6. Put simply, it’s a choice between President Obama’s vision of an America that cares for all of its people—the young, the old, the middle class and the most vulnerable—and Mitt Romney’s vision of a country whose guiding principle is survival of the fittest.
It’s a clear and stark choice for members like John Epple, a cytotechnologist in Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (WFNHP) member says he is supporting the president because he is worried about potential changes to Medicare and Social Security and wants to keep the Affordable Care Act in place. “It’s very important to get insurance coverage for as many people as possible,” says Epple. “I know the ACA is not perfect, but it is a starting point.” Epple has been participating in neighborhood canvassing and other political activities. Being part of a group that shares his beliefs is “uplifting” for Epple, who says he’s been much more politically active since the protests in Wisconsin. “This is an opportunity to spread our message in more ways than one,” he says.
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