Democratic governor Dan Onorato visited Henry Nicholas and the District 1199c training facility in Center City on Wednesday, and not surprisingly, for a jointly-run union-management school, the talk was about jobs and training. Some in the audience were adults who were training for jobs in health related fields. Others were teenagers involved in a paid work-study program. Most of the teenagers I spoke to had no idea who was running for governor -- had never heard of either candidate, except for the briefing they received earlier that morning. Before Onorato arrived, Nicholas, a longtime labor leader, provided a little tutorial in politics. It was very well done, because it was simple and logical and delivered with the minimum of rhetoric.
"The basis of our system is politics," said Nicholas. "Politics creates everything that happens to us. Some people think politics is a bad word, but without politics nothing moves in our society."
When his training school gets a grant, "it doesn't come because the governor thinks we are special," he said. It comes, he said, in part, because unions, or anyone exercises political muscle and makes a demand, backing that demand up with the right support at the right time. Nicholas said the students in this class should function as "political warriors to get out the vote on election day."