by Eric Epps
In this important election, we’re not just choosing policymakers. We need to elect candidates who will see us as full people, who understand our needs and can empathize with our challenges. Candidates who show us respect.
My son, Eric Epps Jr., is autistic. He is a curious, happy young man, and I like to expose him to lots of different things. I want him to understand how the world works and that he can contribute to make things better, not just for himself but his community.
That’s why he came with me canvassing in Pittsburgh for Hillary Clinton and Katie McGinty on Saturday, October 15. We had a great time, and we went back to speak to voters by phone on October 29. And between now and Election Day, we are talking with everyone we know to make sure that they get out to vote.
I have a lot of friends who have kids with disabilities. It makes me so angry to think about anyone making fun of my son or any of those other kids because of their condition.
I myself have some physical challenges. My left foot has required multiple surgeries because of a condition I’ve had since childhood. I currently have to wear a supportive boot to get around. It doesn’t keep me from carrying out my job as a security officer at a large commercial building downtown, but sometimes I need to make some adjustments.
I am quite grateful that as long as I can carry out my duties, I am protected from unfair treatment because I have a union job. That wasn’t the case at my previous job, where I was laid off the day I came back to work after another surgery because my non-union employer lost their contract.
Donald Trump doesn’t respect unions, and he doesn’t respect people with disabilities, or Black people, or women, or immigrants, or anyone he thinks is different than him. And here in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey has been equally heartless. He has voted against raising the minimum wage and wants to privatize Social Security. I can’t even imagine what kind of country we’d have with them in office. I say, Trump or Toomey? Heck no!
That’s why I’m supporting Hillary Clinton for President and Katie McGinty for Senate. These two women have compassion for people who struggle, whether it’s single parents, low-wage workers, immigrants or people with special needs.
Hillary Clinton supports giving everyone 12 weeks paid family or medical leave, she wants to make public colleges free for families making less than $125,000, and she said she’ll propose a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that would help so many families here working hard.
And Katie McGinty wants support working parents by raising the minimum wage to $15, securing better funding for Pennsylvania schools and making quality childcare more affordable. These are policies that truly show respect for working families and the challenges they face every day.
There’s a lot on the line on November 8, for Pennsylvania and for our country. I urge all my union brothers and sisters and everyone in my community to go out and vote for Hillary and for Katie. They show us the respect we deserve!