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I don’t know squat about California healthcare. Since I use to live in Texas, ditto unions. I also don’t know much about state politics. And I’ve never written a speech.
But when the secretary to the president of Los Angeles' largest labor union tasked me with ghostwriting her boss’s pitch to the California Legislature, I was determined.
Seems the big guy had just axed the deputy communications director out of a job (at their annual good ole boy retreat).
The stakes were high. If looming budget cuts passed, the union’s home healthcare flock would be in serious peril. No state money, no pay check.
In a day and a half, the upper brass and a bunch of union workers were hopping a bus for Sacramento. Those who could would storm the Capital and watch the union boss vs. the state senate. Press would be in attendance.
I needed input super quick to come up with a concept.
An SEIU analyst gave me a 20 minute debrief. This actually took a few hours because she kept taking phone calls with pesky people between talking to me. Meanwhile I poured over numbers and reams of text from the research dept. It might as well have been written in Greek.
Pacing the halls, an oversized mug shot of Arnold Schwarzenegger came to my rescue.
“Isn’t that the governor… smoking a big, fat cigar…. on the cover of, what is this? Southern California’s Senior Living? Never heard of it.”
But I threw it all together. The union boss loved it. And the people on the bus came back happy.