NASW's Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) staff and volunteers were planning to reach out to members until the final days of this year's energized and historic race for the presidency.
PACE is the political action arm of NASW. As a political action committee, PACE endorses and financially contributes to federal candidates from any party who support NASW's policy agenda.
Earlier this year, PACE trustees endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In an effort to assist social workers in understanding the difference in platforms between Obama and his challenger, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, NASW PACE posted on its Web site an issue comparison chart.
The issues discussed are those identified by NASW PACE as important to the social work profession. The topics range from the economy to civil rights to children and families. The information was gathered from Obama's and McCain's official presidential campaign Web sites.
Regarding children and families, McCain's Web site had no specific information on the issue. Obama's Web site noted that he would work to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination. Obama also pledges to pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Regarding health care, McCain's Web site stated he will reform health care by making it easier for individuals and families to obtain insurance. An important part of this plan is to use competition to improve the quality of health insurance with greater variety to match people's needs, lower prices, and portability. Families should be able to purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines, McCain stated.
Obama stated on his Web site that he will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.
The comparison chart of the two candidates also covers the topics of civil rights, disabilities, the economy, education, immigration, poverty, social security and women's rights.
PACE trustees have also endorsed 219 candidates in the U.S. House, 32 of whom are challengers; as well as 16 for the U.S. Senate, 8 of whom are challengers.
A list and a map of endorsements per state can be found at the PACE Web site. NASW has been sending e-mail to members in specific jurisdictions, alerting them to PACE-endorsed candidates who they can help elect to office. Since September, the national office has hosted phone banks through Election Day during which volunteers have been contacting members in key battleground states and districts.
At press time, NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark, on behalf of the association, planned to send an e-mail reminder to members at the end of October, reminding them to vote. The e-mail will also contain a link to view a special video message from Clark.
Shortly after the Nov. 4 election, the NASW PACE Web site is expected to post a list of how the PACE-endorsed candidates faired in their states and jurisdictions.