What WE can win, together
November 2, 2018

[Steve Garey offered these remarks to a group of Yes on 1631 volunteers preparing for the final weekend of canvassing of the 2018 election season at Washington Hall, Seattle.]

You guys really are inspirational.

Greetings from Skagit County.

Greetings from a lifelong member of organized labor, greetings from a retired refinery worker, and a retired union president.

On the way driving down here today, the freeway was a mess. There was an accident every five miles or something; we were just creeping, and you get a lot of time to think. I was imagining the light rail system we’re building here in Central Puget Sound, all over the state. And how I might be able to be on that train instead of in that car. I was imagining half the cars on the freeway, and that most of them were electric. I was imagining every fleet vehicle, every truck, all electric.

Can you imagine an electric vehicle charging station in every parking lot in town?  Can you imagine looking at your power bill, and realizing that because your home or your building had an energy efficiency upgrade, that your electricity bill was actually half of what it was ten years ago? Can you imagine a $30 an hour job instead of a $15 an hour job?

Can you imagine our natural resource lands, our forest lands, without diseased trees in them,  can you imagine them without the brush that leads to such severe wildfires? Can you imagine every bit of the water flowing out of those forests clean, and staying clean all the way to the Salish Sea?

Can you imagine whales? Can you imagine the rivers full of fish? Can you imagine baby whales growing up or being born into a safe world that’s just as safe for our children as well?

We can do this. We have to do this. We are here today because, though we’ve been dreaming and imagining these things for a very long time, we’ve gone from dreaming and imagining, to actually doing. Because that’s what it takes to turn a dream into a reality.

This is so inspirational. As an organized labor person all my life, I understand the power of “we.” I’m going to close here by doubling down on something that Becky [Kelley, Washington Environmental Council] said: we have so much potential to solve pressing problems. It's not just climate reality, but so many other problems that can be solved by organized people. By people who understand the potential of “we.” And the power of that, rather than the self-interest of “me." The power that comes when we help people understand that to be part of the solution we have to quit being part of the problem.

We’ve only got a couple of days to push this initiative across the finish line. And then we’re going to have to manage that victory. Our opponents aren’t going to stop. They represent organized money. And we know the only antidote to that is organized people. So we’re going to keep working. I want you all to keep working. I’d like you to never give up. I want us to stay determined for our entire lives. We will be able to solve all of these problems, by working together.


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Author Bio

Steve is retired President of USW Local 12-591 and a member of the Blue-Green Alliance and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy.