- Posted October 18, 2008 by
Washington, District of Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Joe the Plumber
Joe the Plumber....Meet Jim the Electrician
Joe the Plumber........Meet Jim the Electrician
Swiftboat Vet takes on John McCain
After 39 years in the IBEW, with three tours of duty in Vietnam and some high-profile political activism during the 2004 presidential election, Jim Wasser, a member of Joliet, IL IBEW Local 176, has earned the right to begin easing into his November retirement.
But Wasser, 62 - who served in the Navy with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) and was one of the "band of brothers" who took on the swiftboat attack ads on Kerry's military service- says "I have one tour of duty left and I want to get it right."
Wasser is on the road again, reminding workers that Senator John McCain, despite his heroic record of military service, has voted against veteran's needs as a legislator. "I want people to know about McCain's agenda and to call on all Vets and working people to let McCain know that his agenda is wrong on pocketbook issues", says Wasser.
Some 2.1 million Union members, or 14 percent of all union members, are veterans of military service. From now until the election, Wasser is working full-time with the AFL-CIO's Union Veteran's Council to bring together union leaders and members who are veterans to speak out and hold government officials and candidates accountable to the needs of our returning heroes-not only in 2008, but beyond.
"Veterans need to know that John McCain has voted against veteran's healthcare. He's voted against an increase in the minimum wage. And he continues to promote the bad trade deals that sent our good jobs overseas, says Wasser.
Wasser's activism is driven by his concern about the future of his co-workers and millions of Americans who will still be struggling to make ends meet after he retires.
I've been fortunate, really, to only miss 11 weeks of work in 39 years," Wasser said. "But my friends, my co-workers, my fellow brothers and sisters aren't that lucky.....this year I feel everything's at stake. If businesses could pay us all $7 an hour, they would until everyone in the middle class were dinosaurs. And we're going to have two classes of people - the rich and the poor - unless we change our direction.
As a member of a politically active local in the candidate's home state, Wasser has paid close attention to Barack Obama's voting record in Illinois and in the U.S. Senate. Obama's record shows that he understands what working people and Veterans needs," says Wasser.
"We have to give Barack Obama and Joe Biden a chance and work for their election, " says wasser. It makes a difference when the IBEW takes a stand. "Wherever I travel, when folks find out that I'm an IBEW member, they show me respect. I can put my chest out with pride and get a lump in my throat.
+_"As a veteran, I respect John McCain's military service. But as a family man trying to make ends meet, I'm having a hard time with McCain's record in_ +Washington."++
- Jim Wasser, IBEW Local 176, Joliet, IL
- VIETNAM VETERAN -
As published in the IBEW Journal "Fall 2008" Issue
900 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20001