Election 2016: Members Speak Out

Joe Swilley
Local 418


Joe Swilley, 47, of Rosemount, Minn., is an Army veteran who works for 3M in Cottage Grove, Minn., where the company’s primary products include chemicals and specialty materials. A member of Local 418 for six years, he is married with one child.    

"I remember Hillary Clinton from Chicago. My dad was a pastor on the West Side of Chicago. Back in the day, she would go to places in Chicago that nobody would go to whether you are black, white or whatever, and talked about it taking a village to raise a child.

“From time to time her message has gotten convoluted and a little watered down. It seems like she became a little corporate but the Hillary Clinton that we know, that we understand, still reverberates. We know her. We know what she’s all about.

“There are a lot of opportunities that were created by Hillary Clinton behind the scenes. She has always championed a lot of things that a lot of people didn’t see as important.

 “I remember something she said at a rally. She said that stuff about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is real good, but what if you don’t have the straps? What if you don’t have the boots?

“And then she paused. Everybody in the room was looking. She said that’s what they say to you when they don’t want to give you the opportunity. I later went to Fisk University, a black college in Nashville, and one of my professors said that exact same thing.

“I’m a triplet. My family didn’t have health care. We didn’t have a whole lot of anything and I knew what she meant when she said that about the boot straps. Some people had it, maybe they thought about if they didn’t have it. But I was one of those that never had it. And I knew what it meant. The boot would be nice.

“I think Hillary Clinton will be good for union workers and their families. That’s the best way I can say it. I think she will reorient trade to benefit the American worker, which will benefit the American family. Stronger families make a stronger nation.

“I think she is going to empower the middle class. I think she was always going to do that.”

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