On Saturday, more than twenty-five thousand SEIU members were out in full force, knocking doors and making the case for President Obama and other champions for working people. I had the good fortune of joining some of our members speaking to voters in Ohio. We canvassed 94th and 96th streets in Cleveland Saturday afternoon. Carol Ford, a member of SEIU 1199WKO was our leader. She told me that she was honored to walk with me and Becky Williams, the president of SEIU 1199WKO, but really, the honor was ours.
In the seven months since Carol began canvassing she has lost 30 pounds - which is a good thing, considering she has two herniated discs from her more than 30 years of back-breaking work as a CNA. She told me she walks through the pain because of the elders she serves every day; they would be on the street if it wasn't for our President. He fights for us, all of us, not just some of us, Carol remarked.
Carol is just one of 151 SEIU members in Ohio who have committed to making phone calls and knocking doors full time for the last couple months to reelect President Obama. On the weekends, Carol is joined by hundreds of her SEIU brothers and sisters from Ohio and across the region, talking to thousands of voters.
Collectively, SEIU members have knocked almost 460,000 doors in Ohio, having conversations with close to 7,000 members along the way. Despite the incredible number of doors that Carol has knocked over the past few months, she sees every door as a new opportunity to renew our commitment to building the middle class and winning for working people.
We knock one door; no one is home, and like clockwork we move on to the neighbors. A young man pokes his head out, we introduce ourselves, and Carol inquires as to whether or not he has early voted. Our prospect explains that he is going to vote tomorrow.
"Are you voting for President Obama?" Carol inquires.
The young man shot us a look that made us both laugh out loud. "Is the grass green? Is the sky blue? Yes I am voting for Obama...and Sherrod Brown too!"
Across the street, a woman calls down from the second floor window and asks us to wait because she something to show us. Without pause, Carol asks me to step behind her, explaining that you never know what might happen next. The woman opens her window and proudly displays a shirt inscribed, "I Voted for Hope Over Fear," with a picture of the Obama family in the background. We quickly learned that the woman voted on the first day of early voting, some three weeks earlier, and she was more than confident that the families in the row houses around are all in for Obama.
Carol holds the soul of SEIU inside her. She has worked tirelessly, without complaint, for months and months. She knows her turf, she knows the voters along her route - she was even bitten by a cat, went to the hospital and insisted on returning to complete her turf.
Carol represents the best of SEIU. I feel incredibly proud to have walked with her yesterday.