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    Posted November 3, 2014 by
    La Crosse, Wisconsin

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    Nuns on the Bus Tour Stresses GOTV- Get Out To Vote


    As the United States gears up for Election Day November 4th, the Nuns on the Bus are concluding an 11 state tour to encourage people to Get Out To Vote (GOTV). The bus tour, which just left Iowa, headed through Wisconsin with an afternoon stop in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The bus, emblazoned with the words, “We the People, We the Voters” is covered with signatures from around the country, including those of Vice President Joe Biden, and Sister Simone who has been a national figure for the tour.


    Richelle Friedman, a Presentation Sister from Dubuque, Iowa told the audience with all the big money involved in political ads, “…the antidote for that is all of us as individuals, matter.” Wearing a bright green coat in the crisp cold Wisconsin afternoon, Sister Friedman said, “We make a big difference….it’s really us that will decide the elections.” Presentation Sisters, also known as the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (SPBVM) is a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church.


    Sister Friedman went on to say, “What really gets me inspired is to see the people who have worked so hard to encourage their friends, neighbors, relatives to get out to vote-people who really care about their democracy.” She added people of all ages have helped GOTV, but was particularly impressed with seniors, and especially the young. Sister Friedman shared a story from Red Oak, Iowa where she was paired up with a 15-year-old girl who has being workout to Get Out To Vote since June. “She can’t vote for three more years but already she knows the importance of voting and how critical it is.”


    Sister Friedman said their bus tour was in Dubuque, Iowa earlier where the poll was open for early voting. There, they had already surpassed the number of early voters compared to the last non-presidential year in 2010. She said, “We want the 100% at the table, so the more people that come out and vote- that is a success.”

    An attendee at the event, Ramona Gonzalez posed in front of the bus with her hands forming an arc under the words, “I am a Voter.” Gonzalez said, "I voted for the first time in 1974. I was 18, a newly naturalized citizen and thrilled The Nuns on the Bus reminded me today why each election matters and why my thrill will never die."


    Bernadine Karge, another Sister on the Bus described the event as “just an amazing thing.” As the bus traveled through each town, she remembered the faces of the people and their sense of gratitude that we came to the event. “It’s the community that is created, however briefly…the sense of solidarity.”


    Sister Karge noted that on one of their last stops in Iowa, several women had two crock pots of soup and with cups-to-go for us. As my friend says, “We are all in the soup together,” which is a perfect metaphor. Sister Karge never thought she would be doing this after teaching fourth grade long ago in Wausau, Wisconsin. She said, “Today, I hope we are creating a sense of hope, a sense of community and working together for change.” As the interview, she posed for one last photo with her hands held high in victory. For Getting Out the Vote, perhaps this will be the Nuns on the Bus Victory Tour.

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