Grassroots Efforts Start for PACE

Staff for NASW's Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) are assisting in grassroots efforts to build support for candidates endorsed by members of the PACE Board of Trustees.

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.

While much of the media attention in recent months has focused on the historic presidential race, PACE leaders said it is equally important to remind voters that all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 seats in the U.S. Senate as well are up for election this year.

PACE trustees have endorsed candidates in hundreds of districts and states.

Those chosen contenders need the help of social workers and social work supporters in order to succeed at the polls, said Dina Kastner, NASW senior field organizer.

She said NASW has been sending e-mail to members in specific jurisdictions, alerting them to PACE-endorsed candidates that they can help elect to office. "We also want to make sure members know about the NASW endorsement of Democratic candidate Barack Obama for president," Kastner said. One recent e-mail alert outlined Obama's bold plan for dealing with women and family issues, pay equity and health care for all.

The national office recently hosted a conference call among chapter leaders about the rules and regulations for election activities as well as how to set up phone banks. In September through November, the national office is hosting phone banks at which volunteers will contact members in key battleground states and districts, Kastner said. "We will continue to work with members in these key races," she said.

PACE trustees have selected a wide range of candidates who support the goals of the Social Work Reinvestment Initiative and the Social Work Reinvestment Act (H.R. 5447/ S. 2858), which aims to secure federal and state funds to support such efforts as social work recruitment, retaining current social workers and retraining experienced socials workers, and supporting social work research. PACE Trustees also look for candidates who support major issues important to social workers and the clients they serve such as health care, mental health parity, children's issues and civil rights.