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A Message From the President

Five Phone Calls

Barbara Matteson


These last few months, I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors, and now I want to knock on yours, figuratively.

“Hi. I’m your colleague. What are you doing November 7? I hope you’re going to vote—for yourself, for your colleagues, for your former students.”

I’ve been knocking on doors in my neighborhood in Tucson because we have a tight race for Congress. My candidate, former state Senator Gabrielle Giffords, is going to vote for better Medicare drug coverage if she gets a chance. She’ll vote to protect my pension if she gets a chance. She’ll vote for common sense reforms in “No Child Left Behind,” for a higher minimum wage, and for more college scholarships for students who don’t have money—if she gets a chance.

I'm trying to give her that chance.

And I think I’m helping. My neighbors, my friends, and my family listen to me.

In the last days before the Nov. 7 election, I’m going to call everybody who I think will listen and try to get them to actually go out and vote, because so many people forget or don’t get around to it.

Your neighbors, friends, and family will listen to you, too. Make a list of five people who might not remember to vote, and remind them when Election Day comes around. Important races do turn on a very small number of votes—we’ve certainly learned that! And the results matter to all of us—we’ve learned that, too.

These days, most elected officials in Washington are not focused on the challenges that face you and me. They’re paying more attention to the corporations, the privileged, and the well-connected.

There are a lot of close races around the country, and we retired educators are in a good position to help someone like Gabrielle Giffords, or whoever is the pro-senior, pro-child, pro-average person candidate in your area.

So please, colleague, make that list of five and pick up your phone.

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