2004 UAW National CAP Legislative Conference Day Four
By Region 8 Webmaster and Local 2195 Editor John Davis

National CAP Chair Dick Long called the final meeting to order, with a short agenda before the conference ended. The final day began with a speech by John Washington, Region 8 Servicing Representative. Brother Washington serves as the mayor of his hometown. He spoke of the importance of UAW members stepping out and running for office. The best way to insure that our agenda is heard is for one our members to carry it into halls of government. As more and more members of labor hold public office, the louder the union message gets communicated,” Washington stated.

The final speaker of the conference was the honorable John Lewis of the House of Representatives. Congressman Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th District in the House. He was introduced by Region Assistant Director Donny Bevis. “My friend John Lewis is considered one of the most courageous people the Civil Rights movement ever produced,” Assistant Director Bevis stated. “He was born the son of a sharecropper in 1940 just outside Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family's farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and Philosophy from Fisk University; and he is a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee.
At an early age, John Lewis developed an unwavering commitment to the Civil Rights Movement. For more than forty years, he has been in the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggles in the United States. As a student, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.

John Lewis's first electoral success came in 1981 when he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. While serving on the Atlanta City Council, Lewis was an advocate for ethics in government and neighborhood preservation. He resigned from the Council in 1986 to run for Congress.

Since joining the U.S. Congress, John Lewis has drawn much praise from political observers who have predicted a bright future for him in national politics. In 1990, the National Journal named John Lewis as one of eleven "rising stars in Congress." The Journal stated, "Few House Members have had such momentous experiences before coming to Washington that other Members of Congress want to hear about them. John R. Lewis, D-GA., has that cachet and he has made it a plus in his House service." In 1998, Congressional Quarterly named John Lewis a Liberal Stalwart in its edition "50 ways to do the job of Congress."
Brothers welcome a friend of labor’s, Representative John Lewis.”

“I want to thank Brother Bevis for that fine introduction and my UAW friends from Georgia who met me at the door,” Representative Lewis stated. “It was friends such as the UAW that allowed me to make it to the dance, and I assure you that I will keep you as a dance partner. Together we have been able to accomplish many things during our time here. However, we face many obstacles still. The 2000 elections will forever be marred by the memory of what happened in Florida. We need to make certain that all votes are counted and that every voice is heard. These voting irregularities were not limited to Florida, for I experienced them myself in Atlanta. Regardless of the intent of the voting issues, they had an effect on our right to vote. There can be no legitimacy in an election absent the principle of one person, one vote in an election that close, every vote must count and every vote must be counted.”

The conference wrapped up with a final urging to the delegates to take this information back to their members and their communities. The truth must be told about what is happening in this country. How long can America stand if all of the people are not being represented? President Franklin Roosevelt stood watch over this country through some of its darkest days. His forward thinking and vision helped shape a mighty nation. However, his ideals were not new. One famous Roosevelt quote does, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” This is accomplished by government truly being a force of the people and by the people. The only way for this idea to ring true is if all people are counted. Yes, the UAW is fighting for America’s working families. It is a fight that we cannot afford to lose. Our very way of life depends on. The first step in winning the war of the working family begins with taking back the White House.

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