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Vol. 77/No. 8      March 4, 2013

Omaha: Socialist Workers Party files
for ballot in mayor, city council races
(front page)
Militant/Candace Wagner
Fox 42’s Curtis Casper interviews Maura DeLuca, SWP candidate for Omaha mayor, Feb. 19.

OMAHA, Neb.—“It’s about building a movement of working people. We need to organize independently of the Democrats and Republicans,” Maura DeLuca, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor here, told Curtis Casper, who interviewed her for Fox 42-TV Feb. 19 as she filed more than 2,200 signatures to be placed on the ballot.

“It’s the only way workers have won anything in the past—from the Civil Rights movement to the fight for the 40-hour week,” she said.

“Working people need to fight for a massive, government-funded jobs program to put millions to work building roads, schools, hospitals and other things workers need,” DeLuca’s running mate, Jacob Perasso, told Fox TV. Perasso is the SWP candidate for City Council District 4.

The candidates filed 2,205 signatures for DeLuca and 260 for Perasso with the Douglas County Election Commission. The requirements are 1,000 signatures of registered voters for mayor and 100 for city council. The two top vote getters in the April 2 primary election for each office will face off in the general election on May 14.

“We wrapped up the petitioning effort Friday, with more than double the number of signatures needed for DeLuca and myself,” Perasso told the Militant. Most of the petitions were collected on the street outside shopping centers and other busy areas.

“The next morning a dozen campaign supporters—from Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., as well as Des Moines, Iowa, and New York City—were out on the streets again,” Perasso said. “This time we were going door to door in working-class neighborhoods across the city, campaigning for the Socialist Workers Party ticket and introducing working people to the Militant newspaper and socialist books and pamphlets.”

On Saturday evening, campaign supporters and friends—including several who had recently been introduced to the campaign—gathered over a dinner prepared by volunteers to celebrate the successful completion of the petition drive. Candidates said a few words about the effort.

“I enjoyed listening to the candidates explain the reaction they got campaigning,” said Lelanie Long, who works with Perasso at a electronic assembly plant and subscribed to the Militant at the dinner.

“The petition effort puts us in a good position to meet and talk with thousands more workers over the coming weeks and months,” DeLuca told the Militant. “This weekend 19 people bought subscriptions to the paper. Several commented proudly that they had signed to put Perasso or me on the ballot in the preceding weeks.”

“On one block the team I was on met three meatpackers from two different factories. All of them said that they and many coworkers are working short hours,” Perasso said. “They were interested in our explanation that the economic crisis was the result of the normal workings of capitalism and that working people, who have the opposite interests from the bosses, need to break with the Democratic and Republican parties in order to effectively fight in our own interests and for working-class political power.”

Nebraska has one of the lowest official unemployment rates in the country, second only to North Dakota. But even according to government statistics, there are still nearly 40,000 workers who cannot find work here.

“I was laid off from my job at an insurance company last October and haven’t been able to get another one,” Yajaira Valles told Maggie Trowe and Joe Swanson when they came to her door. “I watch kids at my home, now.” She signed up for a subscription.

“Chuck Guerra, from Des Moines, and I stopped by to visit Michelle Hollie, as we were taking the Militant door to door in her neighborhood,” DeLuca said. Hollie, a catering worker, has been reading the paper since December.

“I like the Militant because it lets you know what’s going on all over the world, not just here in America,” Hollie said. “It’s encouraging.”

“I already can think of two people I know who will want this paper,” Hollie added, taking a couple of subscription cards. “I was talking to my cousin in Minnesota last week and he said he just subscribed to it up there.”

“These books all look good,” Hollie said, looking over the Pathfinder Press books offered on special with a subscription. (See ad on p. 3.)

She invited us to come back Saturday when she’s having a cookout, DeLuca said. “She told us to bring the books and more papers.”
Related article:
‘His goal is not to tally votes, but plant seeds of revolution’
‘LA Times’ interviews SWP candidate for mayor
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