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Source: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union

“Senators won’t get a vacation from voters anxious about cuts to essential services needed to fight the pandemic and get our economy moving” – Lee Saunders

As senators return home for a two-week recess in July, public service workers and community allies are turning up the volume on advocacy, placing ads, calling and emailing Senate offices regarding the urgent need for $1 trillion in federal aid to states, cities and towns.

With the coronavirus causing budget shortfalls in Kentucky, as well as states and localities across the country, public service workers and their allies are turning up the heat with a new ad in Kentucky calling for federal aid for states, cities, towns and schools to keep essential services running. The push comes as several states see spikes in coronavirus cases and the economic crisis continues undermine any chance of a full recovery.

In Kentucky, AFSCME is going on the air starting Saturday, June 27 for several weeks with an ad calling on Senator McConnell to deliver federal funding for Kentucky’s cities, towns and schools.The ad warns Kentuckians that without aid there will be continued cuts to essential public services like trash pickup, and layoffs for teachers, nurses and other essential public service workers who are needed to beat the pandemic and reopen the economy.

A recent poll shows that 77% of Kentucky voters support aid for states, cities, towns and schools, and that 66% oppose Senator McConnell’s suggestion that states should deal with the budget crises by going bankrupt. The new ads are part of an ongoing AFSCME ad buy in multiple states.

“Senators won’t get a vacation from voters anxious about cuts to essential services needed to fight the pandemic and get our economy moving,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “While the Senate leaves for summer recess, our everyday heroes in public service who continue to risk their lives to beat the pandemic and safely reopen the economy are being thanked with pink slips. This aid is not a red state or blue state issue, but a smart investment and the right thing to do. This should be their top priority in July. When trash piles up in the streets, there are longer 911 response times and schools are not able to open safely, voters will know why and who to blame.”

Since May, calls from state and local elected leaders, both Democratic and Republican alike, have expressed growing urgency for federal relief. Calls have also come from within Kentucky, including from smaller communities that have been hit by budget shortfalls due to the pandemic but have not received any federal aid.

In late May, Greenville Mayor Janice Yonts, who also serves as the Director of the Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce, said she worried about economic recovery and businesses opening without federal aid.

“Cities like Greenville also need and deserve federal assistance to keep these services going,” said Mayor Yonts. “Without them, we will not be able to cope with the pandemic or safely reopen the economy. Being the director on the Chamber of Commerce, I am worried about the prolonged economic fallout that will occur if we have to cut public services. How can we safely open businesses without trash collection or clean water or inspectors to ensure our food and buildings are safe?”

Ad Script:

The coronavirus is wrecking Kentucky’s budgets.
If Mitch McConnell doesn’t act, there will be painful cuts to essential public services.
Fewer teachers and nurses, longer response times, dirtier streets.
McConnell’s answer? Let Kentucky go bankrupt.
Text FUND to 237-263 to tell McConnell to fund Kentucky’s essential public services.
AFSCME is responsible for the content of this ad.

MIL OSI USA News