Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern issued the following statement tonight upon the confirmed victory of the Obama-Biden ticket and pro-worker candidates across the country:
“Tonight does not simply turn a page but begins a new era for America. Forty years ago we saw on the streets of Chicago, at the Democratic Convention, a country divided by race and a war. Tonight, 40 years later, we gather in the same city of past divisions as a nation united by a young leader who has traveled a once unimaginable journey, wise beyond his years, offering hope and an end to the ‘old politics,’ and, proudly, will become the first African-American President in our history.
“Barack Obama — raised by a single Mom, who borrowed money to go to college, married to the daughter of a Chicago public worker — has lived the American Dream and today voters gave him a mandate to make the dreams of so many other Americans come true.
“There can be no overstatement for what hardworking Americans all over this great country have accomplished today. Despite the daunting challenges on the horizon, at home and abroad, and an economy that has left workers far behind, the American people have chosen a president, a vice president and Congressional candidates that understand that the American Dream is not just our ideal, it is our responsibility.
“We have been called by an extraordinary candidate to something greater than the fear and greed that have gripped Washington these past eight years — hope. Hope grounded from the beginning in Senator Obama’s belief that his campaign is not fundamentally about him, but about us.
“Barack Obama symbolically began his partnership with our union, SEIU, by walking a day in the shoes of an SEIU member, Pauline Beck, a homecare worker in California.
“Today all Americans walk together, having embraced his call wholeheartedly, and it is time to put aside partisanship and all do our part to solve the problems we face as one nation united by a belief that our best days are ahead of us.
“Tonight, as we celebrate these hard earned victories, we must not forget that elections are not an end in themselves, but mark new beginnings. This is our moment — our chance to seize the opportunity.
“Starting tonight, we will work with our elected leaders to establish a clear agenda to rebuild the middle class, fix our national healthcare system, give workers a stronger voice and hold every politician accountable for the promises made to the hardworking families of this nation who tonight have changed history.”