Florida’s Biggest Political Campaign that No One Knows About But Should

Oct 10, 2012 –

Florida New Majority and SEIU Florida State Council build largest political campaign in the state.

Miami, FL – With less than 30 days to go before the Nov. 6 election, polls show that Florida remains the thin purple line that defines the national swing from red to blue. Beyond the major money being pumped into the state by mega PACs, the most underestimated story is the battle for voters happening on the streets.

Florida New Majority and SEIU Florida State Council have formed a strategic partnership to directly combat the undue influence of conservative corporate-funded PAC slush funds with the grassroots-based Breakthrough 2012 campaign. It has mobilized more than 400 volunteers and staff recruited from the community in the Miami-Dade, Tampa Bay, Orlando-Kissimmee, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach areas to canvass and phone bank likely voters and to activate them in the campaign. As of last week, the campaign has knocked on more than 180,000 doors and conducted hundreds of house meetings and community events.

One of the largest efforts links low-income workers, retirees and community activists pounding the pavement to support candidates who are committed to our state’s hardworking families. Florida New Majority is engaging a broad coalition of grassroots activists in five regions, loosely organized around the Florida Freedom Charter, a document that demands good jobs, affordable housing, quality healthcare and public education, transportation, immigrant and civil rights for all Floridians.

“This campaign is about bringing power back to our communities,” said Gihan Perera, executive director of Florida New Majority. “We may not be able to compete with the money that corporations and millionaires are contributing to the right, but we are in the neighborhoods and reminding everyone that there is power in numbers. Regardless of the state’s tactics to suppress the vote, we need to get behind candidates that will work for us – Florida’s New Majority. ”

With more than $5 million committed to turning out the state for President Obama and a slate of other candidates, such as U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Joe Garcia (Fla. Congressional District 26), Patrick Murphy (Fla. Congressional District 18) and Alan Grayson (Fla. Congressional District 9), Florida New Majority and SEIU Florida are leading a broad coalition of organizations and have quietly built the largest grassroots field operations in the state.

SEIU Florida is mobilizing its 55,000-member Florida base of healthcare workers, janitors, school bus drivers, security guards and retirees, on issues relevant to healthcare, jobs, taxes and immigration. With more than 1,100 volunteers, SEIU’s PAC has also seen a dramatic increase in voluntary member contributions, which is about $7 per pay period on average.

“SEIU members understand the urgency of this moment of extreme income inequality and we have decided to make a massive human and financial investment in reversing the trend of corporate, billionaire welfare and a rising see of poverty which threaten the American Dream as well as our democracy. By making our voices heard in this election, we can begin to tip the scales towards shared prosperity and opportunity for all people” said Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida State Council. “Our members – including our retirees – are putting their money where their mouth is and their feet in the streets. In addition to contributing their hard-earned money to SEIU’s political action committee, they are volunteering their time phone banking and knocking on neighbors’ doors in rain, heat and shine.

“In a race in which statements about numbers – 47%, 99%, 1% – are framing the debate, the only the number that ultimately will matter is turnout generated by the winning side,” noted Jonathan Rodrigues, organizer and community leader. “The ground game is absolutely critical. We must all vote to have our voices heard.”