by Mark McCullough | March 14, 2016
For members David Diaz and Corey Taylor, politics is one of the AFSCME activities they enjoy most. From knocking on doors and making calls to fellow members to registering co-workers and writing postcards to neighbors about the issues, they know that the stronger the AFSCME voice at the ballot box, the more respect they will have with elected officials across the region.
That is why last week’s Democratic Presidential Primary debate at Miami Dade College’s Kendall campus was the time for them to shine, both outside at a rally and inside for the debate itself. Florida’s primary is this Tuesday, March 15, along with Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.
“We are pretty used to the political circus coming to town for these debates but it is never the same experience twice, so you have to bring your ‘A game’ to get your support across to the media, the crowd and drivers going by,” said Taylor, a sanitation worker with the City of Miami and vice president of AFSCME Local 871.
The circus started hours before the debate with a rally outside of the venue where AFSCME united with other unions, environmental activists, retirees, students and more in support of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.
Lots of chanting, cheering and sign-waving was mixed in with talking to reporters from news networks from around the world and posting photos and video to social media.
“The whole thing, from the free speech and free expression outside to the advocating for votes inside, really shows our democracy in action,” said AFSCME Local 3292’s Diaz, a sanitation worker with Miami-Dade County and vice president of the South Florida Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). “You can’t take that for granted, you have to show up and participate, with your vote, with your voice, with your time, because so many people have given their lives so we have that chance.”
Eventually it was time to go through the security perimeter and into the debate hall itself, where Diaz and Taylor had reserved seats to watch the debate in person.
“I think I’ve lost count of how many debates have happened to this point, but I know exactly how many of them Hillary Clinton has lost, and that is zero,” said Taylor. “She clearly knows the issues and knows what she is going to do to build on President Obama’s success, especially when it comes to helping workers.”
“I was amazed by how much happens in a debate that you don’t see on TV, from all the speeches beforehand to the logistics just during commercial breaks. It was incredible,” said Diaz. “But the best was to see all the elected officials that were there, to get the time to go and talk to them about things going on and making sure they knew AFSCME was in the house.”
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