AFT uses multistate bus tour to speak on education and the vote
STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 10/25/2012, 1:59 p.m.
With less than two weeks left until Election Day, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has begun a bus tour across several key battleground states in order to get out the vote.
The AFT kicked off its multistate election bus tour in Ohio last Friday, starting in Cincinnati and making their way to Toledo and Cleveland. Titled the "Your Vote, Your Right, Their Futures" tour, the goal is to build excitement in re-electing President Barack Obama and other candidates the union believes are pro-labor. Through organizing, volunteer efforts and face-to-face communication, the union hopes they have what it takes to pull out the election for Obama and officials like Sen. Sherrod Brown.
AFT President Randi Weingarten, Executive Vice President Francine Lawrence and Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper joined the Ohio leg of the tour and met with community members, union volunteers and union members. When asked to comment on what the tour meant and why they were making the efforts to get out the vote now, AFT spokespeople directed the AmNews to a recent op-ed written by Weingarten in the Huffington Post in which she criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's stance on education.
"Earlier this year at a roundtable discussion in Colorado, Mitt Romney was talking about education--extolling the virtues of private schools and vouchers, and criticizing public schools and teachers unions," wrote Weingarten. "When a teacher participating in the discussion tried to offer her perspective, Romney shot back: 'I didn't ask you a question.'
"But teachers, like many other Americans, have questions about Romney's policies and proposals. ... They question his taking credit for educational success in Massachusetts that was spurred by reforms instituted a decade before he became governor and wonder why as a presidential candidate he is proposing entirely different, discredited education policies."
On the Florida leg of the tour this week, Weingarten was joined by AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson and local AFT leaders and members. The goal in Florida was to push for Obama in a key battleground state and to show support for Sen. Bill Nelson.
The tour concludes in the Northeast next week just before Election Day.