Moline Dispatch/Argus: Displaced Maytag worker is Bustos’ guest

Pamela Davidson, of Galesburg, will accompany U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, to the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“Each of us gets one ticket to bring whoever we’d like to attend the State of the Union,” Rep. Bustos said Saturday morning at her office in Rock Island. “We put a lot of thought into this. We wanted to make sure that the person that we invited really personified what we’re in Congress to fight for, and that’s for the middle class.”

Ms. Davidson worked as an assembler for Maytag for 15 years in Galesburg before it closed in 2003 and the “jobs were shipped to Mexico,” Rep. Bustos said.

Now, Ms. Davidson — who also is active with the NAACP and the UAW and is a member of the Knox County Board — is an assembler at John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline.

“It’s truly an honor and a pleasure to be chosen to have your only ticket,” Ms. Davidson said.

Ms. Davidson is someone “who has suffered because of poor policy decisions on the federal level,” Rep. Bustos said. “We just want to make sure that people know that she’s the face of what we’re fighting for every day.”

In the address, Ms. Davidson said, “I hope that the president does talk about some of the upcoming things for us middle class,” and how he plans to “help working people.”

Rep. Bustos said she hopes the president “will address, in a very meaningful way, the importance of helping the next generation end up on a stronger foot than the current generation.”

Ms. Davidson said she’d also like to hear the president discuss plans to keep jobs from being sent overseas, “and how we can bring work back into this country. …

“It’s very important to me, because I am middle class.”

Last year, Rep. Bustos invited Dot Turner, a laid-off Sensata worker from Freeport, to be her guest at the State of the Union. According to a news release, Ms. Turner was one of 170 Illinois workers whose jobs were shipped overseas after Sensata Technologies’ Freeport plant was shut down and its operations moved to China.

Rep. Bustos and Ms. Davidson talked about the other festivities they would attend while in Washington, D.C., and a dinner they would share at a Thai restaurant on Monday night.

“I’m ecstatic,” Ms. Davidson said. “I can’t say anything else.”