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WA Workers Reach Out to NH Voters

January 7, 2008

Wenatchee, WA – While many folks in our state will be watching Tuesday's New Hampshire primary with keen interest, a few Washington residents are actually living it.

T.J. Janssen of Wenatchee is one of them. As a member of the Service Employees' International Union (SEIU), which represents healthcare workers, he volunteered to go cross-country to stump for healthcare reform. It's an issue that he knows firsthand.

"Doing in-home health care, I see people that aren't able to afford their medicines, or they have to make choices between, 'Do I get a loaf of bread, or do I get the pills I need to sustain my life?'"

Janssen says he and his fellow out-of-town campaigners have received a warm welcome, and he adds with a chuckle that it's been just about the only warmth. When canvassing in New Hampshire's deep snow and sub-freezing temperatures, Janssen reports it helps to be "fired up" to make a difference.

"Well, it was five degrees this morning, and I had icicles hanging from my moustache! It was pretty brisk! It gets cold where I live in central Washington -- we get the snow and cold weather, too -- but this just has more bite to it out here."

Janssen and other SEIU members from across the country have been in New Hampshire for almost a month.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA