“This is a really
close race. It may be 1,000 votes one way or the other,” Senator Joe
Donnelly said to a packed room of United Steelworkers in Burns Harbor
yesterday, urging them to “knock on doors” and talk to at least 10 people
before election day.
Donnelly was joined
by District 1 Rep. Pete Visclosky, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois,
congressional candidate Mel Hall, and USW President Leo Gerard, who all
echoed his statements on the importance of the midterm elections this year
for labor rights.
“This isn’t about
us. I’m in the autumn of my years. Most of you are too. We owe it to our
kids to give them the same shot at life we had,” Gerard said.
saying that Republicans are “always trying to set us back” by attacking
protections for workers and safety nets such as Social Security and
Medicare. Gerard also said he believes Dr. Ford, and urged women to go to
recent attack ads geared at Donnelly, said, “Millions of dollars from
outside our state has been spent to spread lies and half-truths about Joe.”
But he said the truth is that Carrier would have gone to Mexico if it wasn’t
for Gerard and Donnelly, and that Donnelly has fought to keep jobs in
Indiana at every turn.
his 2012 win, and called on his supporters to turn out again to keep the
fight for healthcare going. “If Richard Murdoch had beaten me in 2012,
healthcare would have lost,” he said, recalling the 2017 vote to repeal the
Affordable Care Act where Senator John McCain cast the deciding no in a
51-49 split. “I was never supposed to win that race. They said maybe you’ll
win Porter County. We won Porter County by 15,000 votes,” he said.
Donnelly held a
round of applause for the Veterans in the room, then talked about his visit
to the newest U.S. Navy submarine, the USS Indiana, which was made from
Burns Harbor steel. He pledged that only American steel will be used in
infrastructure projects under his leadership.
After the rally,
Donnelly told the Chesterton Tribune he thinks the most important
issue in the race for 2018 is healthcare. He repeated that the ACA passed by
only one vote, and said that his opponent is currently in support of rolling
back healthcare access, including eliminating HIP 2.0, the Indiana
low-income healthcare program that was expanded under the ACA.
“He’s tight at the
hip to Mitch McConnel,” Donnelly said of his opponent. “He’ll take your
coverage away. I’ll fight for your healthcare.”
Donnelly said his
priorities upon re-election would be protecting healthcare--and making it
better and more affordable--protecting veterans and active duty military,
and fighting the opioid crisis. He noted his recent accomplishments include
securing $20 million in funding for addiction treatment in Indiana and
introducing a bill obligating the Federal Drug Administration to fast-track
approval for new non-addictive painkillers.
A couple of
steelworkers weighed in on the rally and what they look for in a candidate.
coordinator for Women of Steel District 7, said the WOS have been very
active this election cycle, reaching 1,700 people by knocking on doors.
Jones said she looks for labor friendly candidates who fight for the working
class with legislation, not just in words. As for the attack ads about
Donnelly, Jones said it’s typical politics and, “Hoosiers are smarter than
they think we are.”
Amy Pritchett, a
steelworker from Warsaw, said the rally was empowering, and especially so
for women. Pritchett said she has been a steelworker for a year. “It’s my
whole life. I’ll retire as a steelworker,” she said.
Pritchett said she
looks for a candidate who supports fairness for everyone. “When we say the
pledge, it’s liberty and justice for all, not just who you as a candidate
choose to empower.”