FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 23, 2020
BIDEN PRAISES “NUNS ON THE BUS” TOUR AFTER 63 EVENTS IN CRITICAL SWING STATES ACROSS AMERICA TO RALLY CATHOLIC VOTERS
Senator Brown, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Rep. DeLauro, Sister Simone Campbell Conclude “Nuns on the Bus” Tour by Urging Catholics to Vote Against Trump
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), President of Freedom Road Lisa Sharon Harper, Sister Julie Fertsch, Director of Advocacy for Little Lobbyists Erin Gabriel, Sister Simone Campbell, and others rallied progressive Catholic voters at the Nuns on the Bus: Who We Elect Matters closing rally by discussing key issues, such as the Affordable Care Act, at stake in this election.
In a letter to NETWORK marking the conclusion of the tour Former Vice President Joe Biden said, “As we continue to deal with a public health crisis which has laid bare historic inequities in our healthcare system and our economy, we are all called upon to dig deep and summon the courage do more than simply speak out––but to engage our communities, to practice gratitude and self-reflection, and to address injustices with real action.”
“It is a pleasure, as always, to extend my well-wishes and sincere congratulations to you on another successful tour. While it has looked and felt different than previous tours and rallies, this milestone is no less momentous; your mission to bolster humanity and decency in our nation’s politics so that it may elevate those who face the greatest challenges, no less righteous. I’d like to take this opportunity to send a special thanks to Sister Simone Campbell. You’ve been a champion of hope and an inspiration to me since the day we met. Despite the deep division that defines so much of our politics these days, there is no force more powerful than the love and compassion you bring to your mission to achieve peace and justice,” continued Former Vice President Biden.
Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, was joined by Catholics in political swing states from across the country. The virtual tour registered voters and discussed “equally sacred priorities” with Catholics like racial justice, economic inequality, health care access, immigration reform, and the housing crisis. Over the course of the tour, white Catholic support for President Trump has slipped by 11 percentage points.
“During the course of the Who We Elect Matters Nuns on the Bus tour, one thing has been made crystal clear: Catholics are not single issue voters. In the midst of our current political, moral, and spiritual crisis, people of faith across our nation are responding to our Scripture’s call to care for those in our nation who are suffering. This suffering has been exacerbated by the failure of the Trump administration to lead for the common good,” said Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. “In this sacred season of voting, we must elect leaders who can both empathize with the people and implement policies to create healing. We must elect leaders who understand the urgent need to keep us safe from disease, end structural racism, fix our broken immigration system, support social programs that pull families out of poverty, and expand health care access for all.”
“Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell fundamentally do not understand the term, ‘dignity of work,’ said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “Fundamentally, work unites all of us. But for far too many people in this country, far too many people, work just doesn’t pay off. I was speaking to a grocery store worker a few weeks ago in southern Ohio. She said, ‘you know they call me essential but I really am expendable because they don’t pay me much, and they don’t protect me in the workplace.’ [It’s] why we fight over the next 12 days. It’s why we elect Joe Biden, the most pro-worker candidate I believe in a generation.”
“Sr. Simone Campbell is a beacon for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Through the Nuns on the Bus tours, the Sisters have listened and learned from Americans across the country on the many vital issues that will define us for generations. Our faith reminds us of the shared responsibility we have to one another, and this election demands us to act on it. Take a stand for the most marginalized and vote.” said Representative Rose DeLauro (D-Conn).
The tour showcased critical issues at stake in the election through site visits, rallies, town halls, and dialogues in over 56 communities across the country in states where the Catholic vote will be critical to the presidential election, including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Florida, California, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Highlights from the Nuns on the Bus: Who We Elect Matters tour include:
- On health care access, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi remarked, “I’ve always said thank god for the nuns. Without the nuns, we would have never passed the Affordable Care Act. Without the nuns, we would have never saved the Affordable Care Act.”
- At the Democracy Rally, Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC) said, “Efforts like Nuns on the Bus are crucial in bringing communities together, inspiring enthusiasm, and giving people the tools they need to vote and vote early. Every American should have a plan to vote. Nobody can organize like faith leaders, and with their support, October will truly be ‘Election Month.’”
- Ahead of a Texas site visit to address the immigration crisis, Dr. Paula Sanders, Director of Communications and Resource Development at Angry Tias and Abuelas said, “Nuns on the Bus gives us a critical platform to call attention to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. The religious and non-religious alike must commit to feed the hungry and care for the asylum seeker. Our nation’s failed immigration system is stripping away the basic human dignity of migrants.”
In August, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice encouraged its members to vote against President Trump – the first announcement of its kind in the organization’s nearly 50 year history – telling members in a statement: “Catholics cannot be true to their faith and vote for Donald Trump in November.” The group also announced the release of its Equally Sacred Scorecard for voters. This scorecard compares President Trump’s and Vice President Biden’s positions on the issues that Pope Francis names as “equally sacred” to the defense of the unborn, including caring for immigrants and ending economic inequality. The Nuns on the Bus: Who We Elect Matters campaign is led by NETWORK, which was founded nearly 50 years ago to work for justice through education, organization, and lobbying for economic and social transformation.
“What the NETWORK and Sister Simone has done for all these years is to ensure that it is the connective tissue of compassion and of justice, said President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten. “I just want to say, as someone who has followed you for all of these years, thank you for all this work. ‘Justice, justice, you shall pursue,’ is something that in my tradition we say and hopefully mean a lot… I think about the whole notion [of] what justice means, and what it means in our faith traditions…it is that we must fight for the dignity of all, and for particularly those who are the most vulnerable.”
In 2012, NETWORK organized the first Nuns On The Bus tour to speak out against Speaker Paul Ryan’s immoral federal budget proposal that disproportionately favored the wealthy at the expense of average American families. Since then, NETWORK has launched six tours to address deep-rooted issues affecting societal inequity and injustices. Past tours have included lobbying elected officials, issue-driven town halls, and site visits to local nonprofits in Mar-a-Lago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. Most recently, in 2018, the Nuns visited 13 Republican members of Congress who supported the unjust 2017 Republican tax law and helped produce 11 Congressional victories in those states in the Midterm elections.
Approximately 23% of the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were by Catholics, and the Catholic vote will play an even greater role in the 2020 presidential election. According to a recent study, 44 percent of respondents said Biden is more kind than Trump, which is the leading cause of defections among Catholics who supported Trump in 2016. The Who We Elect Matters campaign will seek to broaden the tent with a new generation of Catholic voters by calling attention to equally sacred priorities.
About NETWORK Lobby
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice – advocates for justice inspired by Catholic Sisters – educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation. They have a nearly 50-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good. www.networklobby.org