As a lifelong Republican from a small town in Pennsylvania, I know how tense and exhausting this election has been for millions of Americans like me. I’m a lab technician processing COVID tests at a small rural hospital, and what I want more than anything right now is to move forward and focus on the crises at hand.
Americans came out to vote in record numbers this year. Some of us voted one way, some another. But I know I speak for a lot of healthcare workers when I say, we didn’t really vote for a person. We did our best to vote for our own future. A future where we can make ends meet, where we can get and give the care everyone needs to be healthy, and where we can figure out how to deal with COVID and allow our friends and neighbors to get back to work, safely. I happen to believe that no matter where we’re from or what political party we belong to, we can all agree that’s what we want for our families.
There’s a lot to do, so it’s time for all of us — and all of our elected officials, no matter what party — to get to work.
In Pennsylvania we have now experienced the largest one-day increase of COVID-positive cases, bringing our statewide total to over 367,000 cases and over 10,000 deaths. Nationally, we have lost over 271,000 Americans and experts are calling the next several months “the darkest days of the pandemic.” As an essential healthcare worker, I worry what that will look like for my small community hospital and everyone who lives here. I am so worried for our small businesses. We need to get this virus under control, and we need to move forward together with every newly elected leader for solutions and strategies that protect us and save lives.
At the same time, we must also work toward the economic wellbeing of every American family. COVID has caused a recession like we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. More hardworking people are losing their jobs, struggling to feed their kids, and going into debt just for the bare necessities, while the wealthiest have remained unaffected and even gotten significantly richer. The higher your economic status, the better equipped you are to thrive through a pandemic because you can buy all the supplies you need and take time off to quarantine. Essential workers didn’t have that luxury. Hazard pay was rare and did not last, and too many in power took CARES Act money instead of passing it along to frontline workers or buying PPE. As a proud union member, I want those we elected to make sure it’s easier – not harder – for every worker to form their union to demand fair wages and safe working conditions. It’s the only way to rebuild our Middle Class and succeed as one nation.
The basis of our democracy is that we pick our leaders, and the American people have spoken. The basis of our society is that after the election we all focus on what common Pennsylvanians need. Let’s put aside the politics and move forward and start the next chapter.