TRIBUTE TO KIMBERLY LAWSON
(Senate - March 02, 2017)

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[Pages S1575-S1576]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                       TRIBUTE TO KIMBERLY LAWSON

 Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I wish to pay tribute to a dear 
friend and tireless champion of justice for working people, Kimberly 
Lawson. Kim's dedication to workers and their families spanned more 
than 30 years.
  A proud daughter of northwest Indiana--Gary--and the industrial 
working class, Kim grew up witnessing firsthand the destruction of the 
industrial Midwest as corporate greed destroyed the steel industry and 
manufacturing jobs and decimated good-paying union jobs that built the 
middle class. Daughter of a union factory worker, Kim attended Purdue 
University, where she met the love of her life, Will Kohr.

[[Page S1576]]

  Upon graduation, Kim began her long career in the labor movement, 
moving to California in 1986 to work as a journalist and an organizer 
with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union, UFW.
  Kim and Will moved to Upper Jay, NY, where their daughter Emma was 
born and raised. Six, often seven days a week, Kim, an International 
Representative for the fiercely independent and democratic United 
Radio, Electrical and Machine Workers of America, UE, would drive hours 
in every direction from her family's cabin in Upper Jay, NY, to help 
workers, often against great odds, form their own unions and bargain 
contracts.
  For two decades, Kim has done the hardest and some of the most 
important work anyone can do. Because of her, thousands of people have 
gained the courage to stand up and speak for themselves and for what is 
right. Because of her, many, many thousands of people, in Vermont and 
across the country, live measurably better lives.
  Kim Lawson led the effort to successfully organize workers at 
workplaces in Vermont, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services, Counseling Services of Addison County, Champlain Valley 
Office of Economic Opportunity, NHVAC, Berlin Health and Rehabilitation 
Center, Hunger Mountain Co-op, City Market Co-op, Northeast Kingdom 
Community Action, and the University of Vermont; and in New Hampshire, 
Grafton County New Hampshire Nursing Home and Public Employees, and the 
National Visa Center; and in New York, Adirondack Community Action 
Program. At a time when the wages and living standards of most people 
were under attack, Kim helped people organize collectively for a better 
life.
  Kim was also a founder of the Vermont Workers Center and for years 
staffed the Workers Rights Hotline which, free of charge, has helped 
many thousands of workers learn and protect their rights under the law. 
She has trained, mentored, and led countless young organizers and 
workers who, inspired by her quiet, steadfast and relentless example, 
carry on her pursuit of justice.
  In whatever task she set for herself, Kim worked with her whole heart 
and a deep sense of solidarity for her fellow humanity. I ask my 
colleagues to join me in honoring Kimberly Lawson for her tireless work 
on behalf of our communities and citizens.

                          ____________________