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Coming Together to Fix What’s Broken in American Politics

By Ed Wytkind

I had the privilege of gathering with leaders and activists of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, or PASS, at the union’s 2013 convention.  We discussed the challenges we’ve met head-on and sharpened our focus on the fights that remain.

PASS National President Mike Perrone and his team are doing a great job as they focus on more aggressive advocacy on the issues confronting their members across America and the future growth of their union.

PASS is doing its best to work around the austerity politics that have brought us the reckless sequester-imposed transportation cuts and constant political attacks hurled at federal workers.   We understand that these attacks must not go unanswered.  PASS is joining with all of transportation labor to make the case for sensible transportation investment initiatives that would create middle-class jobs and strengthen our economy.

As I said to convention attendees, Washington is stuck in a black hole of inaction and partisanship, and we have to dig our way out.  We have too many elected to Congress who believe they were sent to Washington to tear down the federal government and hollow out important programs.  And along the way federal workers have sadly become pawns and scapegoats in a larger political game.

This toxic environment has now reached into the basic services America provides and Americans need — from quality education and safe food and water, to public health care programs and safe air travel.  That might explain why the House of Representatives, too often held hostage by tea party extremists, is less popular than having a root canal, according to Public Policy Polling.

Nonetheless, I came away from this convention encouraged.  I am encouraged that unions such as PASS can find a way to galvanize Democrats and Republicans around the important, job-creating transportation bills and doing so without attacking the rights, jobs and benefits of federal workers.  And we’ll be there working with them to do exactly that in the weeks and months ahead.

Because in the end, that is the only way to fix what is broken in America.

We will not stop demanding that politicians stop playing politics with our economic future and instead start investing in things that matter like safe and modern transportation systems.

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