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Labor Groups Launch Major Voter Outreach Effort

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Voter outreach efforts kick into high gear this weekend across Florida. (jdurham/morguefile)
Voter outreach efforts kick into high gear this weekend across Florida. (jdurham/morguefile)
 By Mona ShandContact
July 29, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. - With both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton now throwing their campaigns into high gear, the same is true of the effort to educate and engage Florida voters in what many are calling the most important election in modern history. Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams said this election will in many ways determine the fate of the middle-class way of life in the state.

"The ability to have a living wage and not have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, the ability to secure health care and Florida's inaction to increase those opportunities, Social Security, the impact on retirees and immigration issues," he said.

This weekend, union members from across the state plan to kick off a series of rallies and then hit the streets and phone banks in hopes of increasing voter turnout in the state. Several national labor leaders also plan to take part in the events.

Tefere Gebre serves as executive vice president of the national AFL-CIO, and he plans to come to Florida for this weekend's events. He said not only is Florida critical to any candidate that wants to win the White House, it is a "ground zero" for many of the major issues facing the nation.

"Latinos, African-Americans, Asians, everybody from around the world, people who want to marry whoever they want to marry, and people who really urgently want to raise their wages," he said.

Gebre, who fled war-torn Ethiopia in his youth, said he is honored to speak out in Florida and beyond against what he believes has become an increasingly hostile and fear-driven atmosphere.

"As a man of color, being a black man, an immigrant and a refugee, and a labor activist, I'm more than a triple, I'm four times the threat, and because of that this election is really, really important for people like me," he added.

It's expected that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will spend significant time and resources campaigning in Florida in the coming months.

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