SEIU pledges “largest-ever” grassroots presidential campaign for Florida

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The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), today is launching what it says will be its largest and most-targeted political field campaign in the union’s 91-year history, to re-elect President Obama and win other key elections in eight battleground states, including Florida.

The union will be targeting union and community members on an unprecedented scale. By Election Day, the SEIU field campaign says it intends to connect with voters by making 13 million phone calls, knocking on more than 3 million doors and holding more than 1 million conversations in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“If you look at what President Obama has done, and is trying to do, with healthcare, immigration and jobs, you can see he is working to move our country to somewhere good, somewhere positive and a better country for our children then we have today,” said Willie Minus, a healthcare worker and SEIU1199 United Healthcare Workers East member from West Palm Beach. “I’m dedicated to this campaign because this program is going to show how powerful we can be on a one-on-one basis.”

Beginning this week, rank and file SEIU members will take time off their jobs and train to become member political organizers (MPOs) who will reach out to fellow union members as well as the general public with a specific focus on African Americans, Caribbean, Latinos and youth voters. Over the coming months, more than 700 SEIU members will become member organizers. The field program also includes a robust volunteer recruitment program with more than 100,000 members volunteering to help reelect President Obama.

“Our boots-on-the-ground effort will be big, bold and targeted,” said Eliseo Medina, SEIU international secretary treasurer. “Far too much is at stake for working people this election cycle. We are using our human and capital resources to give working people a voice and stand by candidates who will stand up for working people and not return the country to failed policies of the past.”

In Florida, the field campaign is designed to have conversations with key voters, including knocking on 225,000 doors and making phone calls. There will be more than 80 MPOs in Miami, Tampa, Palm Beach, Broward, Orlando and the Jacksonville area working with Florida New Majority and other community and labor partners to elect candidates up and down the ballot that will put hard working families first.

The field campaign is part of SEIU’s broad political program, which includes aggressive paid and volunteer GOTV efforts; large-scale civic engagement initiatives with community partners in the African American, Caribbean and Latino communities; major paid media campaigns; and a coordinated voter education and protection program to inform people of their voting rights. The political program’s goal is to elect candidates who support working people and will work to create good jobs here at home, rebuild an economy where everyone pays their fair share, invest in healthcare and other services for those in need and create a fair pathway to citizenship for every immigrant worker.

“The voices of working people are being drowned out by corporations and extremist elected officials beholden to the interests of the elite,” said Minus.  “Mitt Romney has voiced his support for tax breaks for the wealthy while cutting critical programs and services such as education and health care. Working people literally can’t afford to have Romney or any other elected officials who back an agenda that would make the rich richer and force the rest of us to bear the burden.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.