Election-denier Speaker chosen, another mass shooting, texting to increase voter turnout, and more!
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- THE HOUSE IS OPEN AGAIN – 22 DAYS UNTIL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
The House has elected a new speaker at last – Mike Johnson, a former spokesman and lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group Alliance for Defending Freedom who has pushed for radical proposals to slash Social Security and Medicare, a national abortion ban and a national don’t say gay law; opposed Ukraine aid; embraced white nationalist conspiracies; indicated he’d pursue a federal ban on gender-affirming care for kids; has introduced bills to make it harder to seek asylum, criminalizing helping minors get abortions across state lines and stripping the Federal Trade Commission of their antitrust enforcement powers; and led the House amicus brief in support of Texas’ lawsuit to invalidate the 2020 election results – “the most important architect of the Electoral College objections” in the House. His first major task will be government funding, which is set to run out in just over three weeks. He has proposed a continuing resolution through January or April. Let’s reach out to our members of Congress and tell them we want no games – they need to do their jobs and pass a clean continuing resolution at current appropriation levels ASAP.
- ANOTHER MASS SHOOTINGLast night in Lewiston, ME a gunman shot and killed at least 20 people. As of early this morning, the suspect was still at large. Normally, this is where we’d tell you to contact your legislators to have them pass some commonsense legislation that could save lives. However, when every single GOP member voted yesterday to elect a new Speaker who has little experience, is an election denier and a pro-Trump extremist “who is staunchly anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-union, and anti-immigration. He has close ties to the Israeli right wing, and he opposes further aid to Ukraine, saying such money would be better spent at home, but he has also called for extensive cuts to domestic spending programs”, it is not a good use of our time. These situations demonstrate why it is essential that we continue working to get more people registered and then help get out the vote. Let’s sign up to work with Field Team 6 and let’s listen to Jess Craven who tells us she has “resource documents with lots and lots of ways to help in PA here, VA here and Ohio here. There are phonebanks, letter-writing campaigns, texting opportunities, and places to donate.”
- INCREASE VOTER TURNOUT WITH FRIEND-TO-FRIEND TEXTINGAs election season heats up, it is so important to get out the vote and one of the best ways to do that is through our own networks. A Columbia University study showed that texts between friends were over 8 % more effective in getting out the vote than traditional outreach efforts. wow, with the SWIPEBLUE app we have an easy way to to try this for ourselves, increase progressive turnout and win! We can start by downloading the app here, matching our contacts with our local voter files, then swiping and reminding our friends to get out and vote!
- STOP A GOP TRIFECTA IN VIRGINIA
The stakes couldn’t be higher in the Virginia legislative elections. If Republicans win both houses, they could pass abortion bans, book bans, more restrictions on school libraries and elevate their supposedly moderate governor Glenn Youngkin to the national stage – observers warn they could make Virginia the next Florida. If Democrats win both houses, we’ll send a message to the country about the destructive GOP agenda and set the stage for major policy gains after the next gubernatorial election. Let’s get to work! We can sign up to phonebank with Sister District here or Swing Blue Alliance here and split donations between candidates in critical races here.
- MINNESOTA DEMOCRAT THREATENS BIDEN CHALLENGE
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) seems on the verge of announcing a primary challenge to President Biden. While Phillips has suggested the country “wants a competition,” it is unclear what this Problem Solvers Caucus member’s platform is: in the last Congress, he voted with Biden 100% of the time, and his primary concern seems to be Biden’s age and polling numbers. His campaign threatens to offer little tangible difference to the Biden Administration, along with an airing of attacks against the President that would only reinforce similar messages from the Republicans. Let’s contact Rep. Phillips at his congressional (202-225-2871; 952-656-5176) and campaign (952-426-1766, firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell him no one wants competition for competition’s sake and push him to drop this bid and endorse President Biden for reelection.
- COLUMBUS WIPES OUT MEDICAL DEBT FOR 340,000 PEOPLE
On Monday, Columbus, Ohio approved a landmark deal with the Central Ohio Hospital Council to wipe out $335 million worth of medical debt for 340,000 people in their city using American Rescue Plan funds. They’re just the latest in a series of communities to use ARP funds for this sort of relief, joining among others Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Cook County, Toledo and New Orleans. But unused COVID relief funds may be rescinded in this year’s appropriations, so local and state government are running out of time to take advantage of this opportunity. Let’s contact our local elected officials and encourage them to use remaining ARP funds to relieve medical debt burdens in our areas while they still can, and consider a donation to RIP Medical Debt to help them buy and retire debt for pennies on the dollar ourselves if we can.
- BAN SALMON-KILLING CHEMICAL USED IN TIRE MANUFACTURING: Three Northwest tribes are calling for a national ban on 6PPD, a chemical commonly found on tires that has been determined to kill salmon. EarthJustice, an environmental advocacy organization, has joined this call by asking the EPA to strictly regulate the use of this chemical for future manufacturing. California has already instituted state regulations that require manufacturers to “look” for safer alternatives, but until this product is banned it will be easy to get around these requirements. Let’s join this effort by contacting the EPA, and asking our MoCs to introduce and pass legislation that addresses the issue.
- GOTV TO CREATE THE FIRST PUBLIC-OWNED STATEWIDE UTILITY COMPANY
Mainers are about to get the opportunity to vote on creating the first statewide consumer-owned utility company in the nation – Pine Tree Power. This could help lower utility bills, increase accountability and reliability, and make Maine a leader in shifting away from fossil fuels. A win here could have ripple effects across the nation. Opponents are being heavily funded by the foreign-owned parent companies of the current private utilities. We can sign up to phonebank here and for GOTV weekend here, and can find more ways to help and a place to donate here.
- LET’S SEE IF WE HAVE ELECTIONS COMING UP IN OUR AREAVote 411, a project of the League of Women Voters Education Fund, has a tool that lets us look up whether we have an upcoming election. Let’s use it. We can also use this checklist to make our plan to vote. And we can sign up for election reminders at TurboVote.
- HELP TURN ARIZONA FROM PURPLE TO BLUEFrom a reader: Arizona is still purple, but with your help, it could become blue. In 2022, Democrats won the Arizona Attorney General’s race by 280 votes out of 2.5 million ballots cast. Governor Hobbs won by only 0.56%. Arizona is also home to the fastest growing swing state legislative district (AZ 15) in America where a small handful of local Democrats decided to organize for the first time. They put together a team and began recruiting volunteers and organizing local events, which has been very successful. However, the district has more than 23,000 unregistered households, and about 2,000 new home build permits are being issued per week in the district. They need to build capacity very quickly to get thousands of new blue-leaning voters registered in time for 2024. No matter where we live, we can sign up for D15’s Dem2Dem program to help them contact local Democrats who are targeted as likely volunteers to build their capacity to register these much-needed blue-leaning voters. Let’s learn more and sign up here wherever we live!
- RAISE ASSET/SAVINGS LIMITS FOR SSI PROGRAM RECIPIENTSS2767/HR 5408, The SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act is a bipartisan bill that would increase the assets a person on SSI disability could have in savings from $2000 to $10,000 for an individual and from $3,000 to $20,000 for a couple (eliminating the marriage penalty). The asset limits have not been updated since the 1980s and increasing them is not only necessary to address inflation, it would encourage more people to participate in the labor force to the extent they are able and be able to save money for housing. Let’s tell our MoCs we want them to pay attention to this bill and bring it to the floor for a vote.
- NEW GOP SPEAKER CANDIDATESNine (now eight as Rep. Dan Meuser has dropped out) GOP members have thrown their hats in to become the new Speaker of the House. Only Tom Emmer (MN) and Austin Scott (GA) did not object to certifying the 2020 election; all the others did. They also voted in favor of the stop gap measure to avoid the government shut down in September. However, all nine of them joined in the amicus brief to the Supreme Court to consider overturning the election. Their voting history is what we’d expect it to be. (thanks to DemCast for the spreadsheet) We need a functioning House led by a Speaker who can work on creating alliances across the aisle. Let’s kindly reach out to our reps reminding them of the work that needs to be done (avert a government shut down, pass bills, wars overseas, climate issues) and there is no time to waste on political shenanigans.
- CAN WE FORCE AN UPSET IN MISSISSIPPI?
Mississippi is as red as ever, but there are continued signs the governor’s race will be close. The Democratic Governors Association has released a poll suggesting incumbent Republican Tate Reeves leads the Democratic nominee, public service commissioner Brandon Presley, by just one point, justifying their historic investment in the race. Reeves is particularly vulnerable due to multiple corruption scandals and his refusal to expand Medicaid, and Presley is balancing his forced birther social conservatism with heavy outreach efforts to Black voters, an emphasis on his working class background and a platform of ethics reform, expanding Medicaid, eliminating grocery taxes, investing in HBCUs and ending punitive policies towards Jackson. Let’s do what we can to help get out the vote – we can volunteer to make calls with the Presley campaign here and join Black Voters Matter’s texting campaigns here.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT MATTERS!We’re often inundated with media coverage of national elections, and maybe we get some news about big state elections, like those for governor. But local elections matter—a lot! Let’s learn why it’s important to pay attention to elections for school board, sheriff, prosecutor, city council, mayor, and other local offices, and let’s test our knowledge by taking this fun, informative quiz.
MI – GUARDIANSHIP FLAWS ADDRESSED
We all know there are widespread nefarious guardianship practices going on all over the country. On Wednesday, the Michigan House approved several bills, with bipartisan support, to address these issues in the state. House bills 4909-4912 institute long-awaited reforms to Michigan’s guardianship statutes, as well as HB 5047 which would create the Office of State Guardian. The bill, HB 4909, HB 4910, HB 4911, HB 4912, and HB 5047 now move on to the Senate. Let’s reach out to our senators and ask them to vote for these bills to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.
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