9:11 AM Eastern - Monday, October 22, 2012

The Incredible Work of Our Members to Elect Champions for Working People #default

Yolanda Florian, a home care provider and member of SEIU Local 1107, was my teacher on Saturday in North Las Vegas. A Member Political Organizer, Yolanda has spent the last six months knocking doors and making phone calls to ensure that true champions for working people - candidates like President Barack Obama and Shelly Berkley - win this November. While we didn't have the chance to walk a full canvas shift (we first joined hundreds of SEIU members who were taking part in early voting yesterday), Yolanda helped me understand what she was facing each and every day, education, registering and motivating voters to participate in this election.


Mary Kay Henry canvassing in Nevada Oct 20 with homecare worker and SEIU member Yolanda Florian

During our shift, Yolanda recounted her favorite visit; a young voter who wasn't quite sure who to vote for, or even if her vote would actually matter. As Yolanda gently probed with questions, she learned that the young woman had recently moved to Las Vegas from Texas, trying to "make it" on her own. When the conversation turned to exactly what was at stake this November, the woman continued to defer to what her staunchly Republican family had told her, instead of making her own choices.

Yolanda challenged the young woman to consider the importance of making her own decision. "Do you let your neighbors decide what you eat every day?" Yolanda questioned. "Do you let your friends decide what you wear to work? Then why let anyone but you decide who runs our government? That decisions affects your healthcare, your economic security and so many other aspects of your life."

By the end of the conversation, Yolanda registered the young woman as a new voter and had a commitment to vote on Election Day. But for Yolanda, that conversation, one of many, was all in a day's work.

We both agreed that the most satisfying part of the worksite visits, phone calls, and neighborhood door knocks is when you make a difference to our family, friends and neighbors - a difference made by listening and providing information about how participation in our democracy affects the future.

I find great hope and inspiration in the fact that Yolanda is one of many SEIU Member Political Organizers in the battlegrounds across this country who has stepped up in leadership to win for working people this November. Yesterday, in Las Vegas alone, SEIU canvassers knocked on more than 6,100 doors, adding to the tens of thousands of doors knocked nationwide by SEIU members.

We will win this November, and we will do so because of the incredible leadership of SEIU members like Yolanda.

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