WASHINGTON — Democrats tapped a teacher from upstate New York to make the case that their party will do more for working Americans than Republicans will.

Jeff Alberici, an eighth-grade history teacher in Auburn, N.Y., was chosen to deliver the Democrats' Saturday radio address — an unusual choice for a weekly task usually performed by elected officials.

Alberici, 37, described how the rising prices of gasoline and food makes it tough for him and his wife, Megan, to pay bills and still save for their three young kids' college tuition.

"We'll be OK, but let me put it this way: On the occasional nights when we used to order a pizza, now we're sticking with grilled-cheese sandwiches," he said.

Alberici said he supports Democrats because they "understand what families like ours are going through, and they're trying to make things better."

Republicans, Alberici said, "haven't offered much of anything. In fact, Republicans are spending their time blocking Democrats from getting anything done at all," including several recent bills that Democrats contend would lower energy costs.

One bill that would have ended tax breaks for big oil companies and imposed a windfall tax on their profits was blocked by Senate Republicans. Days earlier, a bill aimed at curbing global warming was defeated.

"Republicans only want more of the same old ideas that got us into this mess in the first place," said Alberici. "More of the same isn't working for my family, and I bet it's not working for yours."

Alberici ended his address by wishing his father, Gino, "and all fathers a happy Father's Day."

New York Sen. Charles Schumer said Alberici "perfectly represents the average American struggling to get by in these tough economic times."