Social media helping Southern Illinois unions campaign in state senate race

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STATE SEN. GARY FORBY (left) and IBEW 702 Business Manager Steve Hughart on the campaign trail on a frosty Saturday in February. IBEW 702 photo

West Frankfort, IL — With the help of social media, IBEW 702 is getting unprecedented support from its members and other union members for Saturday morning campaigning for state Sen. Gary Forby.
Forby, a veteran Democratic incumbent, was the COPE candidate in the March 20 primary election.
“We’re usually getting between 80 and 100 members from our local and other unions to walk neighborhoods in towns all over Sen. Forby’s District “ said Tyson Moore, a Local 702 member directing the campaign effort.
The trick, he says, is using Facebook to contact Local 702 members and other union members who are on Facebook. Word gets around the union community, he says, and they have never had fewer than 80 union members show up. Most are 702 members, but a growing number of others are beginning to show up on Saturday mornings. The walks start at 10 a.m. and last about an hour. Everyone can be home by noon.
Union members of all ages are showing up, Moore says, but most are younger members from ages 25 to 45. Everyone seems to be enjoying the experience, he said.
“I think the younger members are getting a good introduction to politics and how it plays out at the grassroots level. Our younger members typically don’t know much about politics and how it affects our livelihoods. This teaches them the importance of electing public officials who understand the importance of unions in helping working families.”

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