Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004
For Information, contact: Sara Howard
Statement of SEIU President Andrew L.
on Howard Dean's 'Campaign for Change'
Andrew L. Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), today released the following statement after holding a conference call with SEIU's Executive Board: "Last fall, SEIU members decided to endorse Howard Dean for president because his proven track record of providing health care - both as a doctor and as Vermont's Governor - made him the candidate they trusted to deliver health care to the entire nation.
"And it was Howard Dean who stood up to George W. Bush on so many other issues important to ordinary Americans, even when it wasn't popular.
"That is why SEIU nurses, health care workers, janitors, security officers and public employees from New Hampshire to Michigan to Wisconsin continued to stand by Governor Dean, even as other candidates adopted his message and moved up in the polls.
"We understand and respect his decision to stop pursuing the presidency, but Howard Dean's 'campaign for change' is far greater than a bid for the White House. His legacy will be felt well beyond SEIU's members or even this election. Ordinary Americans, working families, and the Democratic Party all owe a huge debt to Governor Dean, for his candidacy has had a monumental effect on American politics and our nation's values. SEIU holds no regrets.
"Howard Dean's message that we must change Washington so that all Americans can earn a decent living, provide a good education for their children, and depend upon quality, affordable health care is now the message of the entire Democratic field.
"Because of his vision, hundreds of thousands of people who were turned off by the political process have returned -- or are participating for the first time. And he has opened up a whole new world of political activity by tapping into the limitless potential of the Internet, connecting people and places with issues and ideas.
"With these contributions in hand, the eventual Democratic nominee will be even stronger and better prepared to beat George W. Bush in November.
"Given Howard Dean's decision, SEIU's Executive Board has asked local leadership to begin the process of determining whether it is in the best interest of our members for SEIU to endorse another candidate, or to release local unions to make their own decisions. The SEIU Executive Board will revisit the issue in one week to allow for member input.
"We applaud Howard Dean, honor his contribution, and look forward to working with him to elect a president who will fight for working families and who will not rest until every American has access to secure, affordable health care.
"Together, we will take our country back."