What can concerned voters do?

This article was submitted by Jamie Sorrentino, who can be contacted at nydistrict23@gmail.

Many voters in NY’s 23rd district are concerned about what might happen to this country in an incoming Trump administration:

  • Will ACA be repealed without a sensible plan to take its place?
  • Will freedoms of the press be protected?
  • Will the President-elect continue using Twitter as a forum for policy statements or making personal attacks against citizens?
  • Are hard-fought gains in civil rights under threat?
  • Will regulations that protect the environment and consumers be rolled back?

These represent a small fraction of the questions being asked. Many voters in the 23rd district – from all sides of the political aisle – see our incoming President as unfit to serve, and even dangerous. How will voters withstand FOUR years of President Trump shaping issues critical to district 23? Four years is a long time and this prospect can feel daunting and hopeless.

What can concerned voters in this district do, and do now? Think national, act local!

NY-23’s concerns are represented in Washington, DC, by Congressman Tom Reed (R). In fact, Congressman Reed was recently appointed as Vice-Chair of President-elect Trump’s transition team. This means that Mr. Reed will play a major role in supporting the Trump administration’s efforts.

NY-23 voters cannot change the fact that Mr. Trump will soon be the 45th President of theUS. However, in the short term, NY-23 voters can vote out politicians, like Mr. Reed, who support and defend the policies and behaviors of the Trump administration. Even though Mr. Reed was just re-elected in November, he is already up for re-election again NEXT year – in 2018! A House of Representative only serves a two year term. These mid-

United colors 16

year elections are a golden opportunity for voters in the district to be heard. All too often, voters sit out the mid-term elections and wait around for the national election cycle. Any campaign to unseat Rep. Reed next year would need to start mobilizing as soon as possible. It is not too early to start.

This effort can take any number of forms:

  • Call a planning meeting among like-minded voters in your community. The NY-23 is vast so reach out to local voters first to gain some steam.
  • Become active in your local Democratic or Republican parties to support a candidate who better represents your concerns.
  • Attend Mr. Reed’s town hall meetings and visit his district offices to express your concerns and challenge him on positions with which you disagree.

Whatever you do, don’t sit idle. As a citizen, it behooves all to be active participants in governance. As President Obama said the other night in his farewell speech in Chicago, voters must be “anxious,jealous guardians” of democracy for it to prosper.

Feel free to reach out to this writer at nydistrict23@gmail if interested in forming connections to this end across the district.

Posted in 2018, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What Rep. John Lewis actually said

636200117602256566-JohnLewis_1484458157460_7688351_ver1.0.jpg“I continue to say it to people today and I’m going to continue to say it during the next few days as we celebrate and commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. That when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something. You cannot afford to be quiet or to be silent. We have to continue to work, continue to speak up and speak out.”–Rep. Lewis

Rep. Lewis said what he said because he regards it as a moral obligation to speak out. He didn’t speak out because:

  • Trump is a Republican.
  • He doesn’t like Trump.

Lewis spoke out because he sees the election as unfair due to Russian interference. This concern, and others including voter suppression and gerrymandering, are shared by many.

http://www.11alive.com/news/politics/transcript-rep-john-lewiss-appearance-on-nbcs-meet-the-press/386235062

Posted in 2017, Trump | Tagged | 3 Comments

Two views on the budget

home-loan-for-property-taxes-resized-600.jpgRep. Capulano (D-MA) writes:

Today the House took the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with S. Con. Res. 3, the Fiscal Year 2017 Republican Budget Resolution. As you know, House Republicans have been voting for years to repeal or weaken the ACA but have never proposed a replacement. They still don’t have a replacement plan but that didn’t stop them from once again acting on repealing the law. S. Con. Res. 3 is nothing more than a framework that directs four House and Senate Committees to draft legislation using a process called reconciliation to reduce the deficit by $2 billion over ten years. By using reconciliation, legislation will need just a simple majority in order to pass the Senate. Without the reconciliation process, 60 votes are required in the Senate.

This is the legislative vehicle that Republicans will use to repeal the ACA. It also will INCREASE the deficit, adding more than $9 trillion in debt over ten years. Repealing the ACA without a replacement would result in 30 million Americans losing health care coverage. It would jeopardize coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and prohibit young people from remaining on their parents’ insurance until they are 26. Despite this reality, Congressional Republicans are unconcerned about repealing the entire ACA without any plan to replace it. I voted NO.

Rep. Amash (R-MI) posted this:

The House will vote on this atrocious, massive, wasteful budget TODAY. There’s still time to contact representatives in Congress!

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House Liberty Caucus statement on #SConRes3, the budget resolution for fiscal year 2017

January 12, 2017

The House Liberty Caucus urges opposition to S. Con. Res. 3, the budget resolution for fiscal year 2017.

This may be the worst budget ever seriously considered by Congress. It never balances, and it grows the national debt by more than $9 trillion over the next decade—to nearly $30 trillion—dwarfing debt increases proposed by even the most far-left budgets. Recent Republican budgets have reached balance in as little as eight years; this budget continuously increases the annual deficit, adding more than $1 trillion to the debt each year by 2026.

We know how this story ends because it’s the fiscal path we’re currently on, which legislators and economists across the political spectrum recognize as unsustainable. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has written on this trajectory at length, warning that the “burgeoning amount of debt . . . would have significant negative budgetary and economic consequences.” By the end of the decade, productivity and wages will be depressed, federal payments on the debt will more than triple, and a fiscal crisis will be increasingly likely.

Some people allege that this budget is necessary to begin the repeal of Obamacare. That is false. “Reconciliation instructions” to begin that process can be included in any budget.

Budget resolutions reflect congressional priorities and provide a blueprint for subsequent action. Congress should reject this head-in the-sand proposal that pushes us toward the worst fiscal crisis in our country’s history and instead adopt a budget that actually addresses excessive spending and the national debt.

Matt Weibel
Executive Director
House Liberty Caucus

Rep. Amash voted NO.

Deficit spending is inevitable when the economy is weak as it was during the Great Recession of 2009. But now that the economy has recovered, we ought to continue shrinking the deficit. It isn’t necessary to cut spending–Congress could raise taxes especially for those who can afford to pay more.

Read more here:

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/republicans-obamacare-subsidies-233618

Posted in 2017, Congress, Political | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Should there be exceptions to public laws?

Internet-Spy2 We are changing Washington, both within our party and in Congress, and working the Trump administration to get things done,” Reed concluded. “It’s about using our influence to change Washington to make lives better for all Americans.–Tom Reed

Should there be exceptions to public laws? If the laws are good, shouldn’t they apply to all? Consider these cases:

Jarod Kushner–should Kushner be able to flaunt the intent if not the letter of nepotism laws?

General Mattis–If it is good that military officers not move directly from military service to Secretary of Defense, why should General Mattis be an exception?

Donald Trump–Even if conflict of interest laws can’t be enforced against a President, why should DT flaunt them? Should such laws apply to everyone else but not him?

Civil Service–Civil Service protections replace the “spoils system.” If civil service protection for federal employees is important, why did Congress revive the 1876 Holman rule allowing arbitrary dismissal of Federal workers?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/house-republicans-revive-obscure-rule-that-could-allow-them-to-slash-the-pay-of-individual-federal-workers-to-1/2017/01/04/4e80c990-d2b2-11e6-945a-76f69a399dd5_story.html?utm_term=.c54ed077766b

 

Posted in 2017, Congress | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Organize locally to create resistance to Trump’s policies

voting_handsOn Wednesday, January 4 The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) had a segment about a group of former progressive congressional staffers who created a guide to help small local groups create resistance to the Trump/GOP agenda. They incorporated the strategies used by the TEA Party to weaken (a very popular) President Obama in his first term.

We are reminded that in 2009 the president was a democrat, the Senate and House were both controlled by democrats. Opposite of what it is today. The movement that became known as the Tea Party began as small, vocal, dedicated groups of constituents who worked at holding their representatives accountable. They were locally focused. They were almost purely defensive. Their party  had no power to enact their agenda, but they were able to stop the Democrats from fully enacting theirs.

“Indivisible” points out what influences Members of Congress (MoC), and what does not. Politicians  respond to factors that affect if they get re-elected. Grass-root issue-based petitions signed by 100’s of their  constituents are more meaningful to the representatives   than on-line petitions signed by tens of thousands of Americans. Personalized statements (letters) handed to the representatives are well more important than form letters cluttering up their in-box.

The authors suggest the following activities:

  • attending Member of Congress’  Town Hall meetings question his version of the issues 
  • making phone coordinated calls to the MoC office on specific issues, organize events (rallies. etc) at the representative’s office
  • go to ‘non-town hall meetings’ that the representative attend (photo-ops, etc.) and ask him policy questions or about Trump’s latest tweet.
  • pass petitions to residents of your congressional district stating your opinion on current issues and present them to your representative’s office in person. 
  • meet with staffers and have a specific “ask” (Vote against X), leave a brief clearly written summary of your request
  • Advertise what you are doing

The guide is more than a list of strategies. It discusses how to create active groups, how to organize them and what works. It is a work in progress. It provides the group email and personal Twitter accounts and they ask for questions, recommendations feedback and stories.

Rachel’s segment below starts with three who were part of a recent sit-in at Sen. Jeff Session’s Roanoke, Virginia  office. They mention the “Indivisible” guide. Rachel explains it, then talks with one of the authors. It takes 5 1/2 minutes. You can read/download the guide from  https://www.indivisibleguide.com.

Two days after this segment, Rachel announced that over 1,550 Indivisible groups started, and it is growing.

The key is to start.

Rep. Reed’s Offices Phone numbers

  • Washington (202) 225-3161
  • Corning–(607) 654-7566
  • Olean(716) 379-8434
  • Jamestown (607) 654-7566
  • Geneva (315) 759-5229
  • Ithaca (607) 222-2027
Posted in Protests, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Is Kushner’s appointment legal?

conway.jpgThe President has the right to appoint who he wants if you look at the law. Kellyanne Conway

You can look at the law (5 U.S. Code § 3110 – Employment of relatives; restrictions) yourself. Most observers see more ambiguity than Conway does. However, the intent of the law is clear. If it doesn’t apply to Kushner, it should.

The nepotism law was passed after President Kennedy appointed his brother, Robert, as Attorney General. It was clearly intended to apply to the executive branch, but perhaps only to Cabinet Officers. If a nepotism law is a good idea, it should apply to all; there is no cause for exceptions.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/3110

http://nypost.com/2017/01/10/why-anti-nepotism-law-might-not-apply-to-kushner-appointment/

http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2017/01/kushners-appointment-brings-attention-to-anti-nepotism-law/

 

Posted in Political, President | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Tom Reed’s priorities

worriedseniorwoman_resized

Reading about Republican healthcare proposals, evidently

THESE (healthcare and insurance) ARE TWO MARKETPLACES THAT NEED TO BE SUPPORTED AND CREATED AND BRING IN MARKET PRESSURE AND EMPOWER THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE TRANSACTIONS TO MAKE INFORMED CHOICES THAT WILL DRIVE COSTS DOWN.–Tom Reed

(Heath care and insurance aren’t luxuries that people can do without if they are too expensive, but necessities. Market forces have never been sufficient, and it is an idle dream to suppose that they ever will be.)

Today I got a postcard from Tom Reed, mailed at public expense, explaining how he has fought for “your” priorities in 2016. Whatever Tom may mean by “your priorities,” he clearly hasn’t fought for my priorities in 2016 or any other year. I believe he is interested only in his priorities.

In 2016, Tom claims to have:

  • Supported Local Communities
  • Improved local infrastructure

He supported local communities with a pork barrel water resources act. He improved local infrastructure by securing funding for unspecified local projects. Even if these efforts were worthwhile, they weren’t among my priorities.

For 2017, Tom offers to:

  • Provide economic opportunity
  • Create a simple, fair, and competitive tax code
  • Protect access to health care

To provide economic opportunity Tom offers to promote high-tech jobs. He proposes to reduce taxes for all without explaining how the bills would be paid. He proposes to protect access to health care by repealing Obamacare throwing his constituents under the bus.

Tom wasted public money with this self-promoting mailing. After examining it, I am even more convinced that his priorities are wrong, that he isn’t acting responsibly in the interest of his constituents.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?420723-4/washington-journal-representative-tom-reed-discusses-house-republican-agenda

http://www.observertoday.com/news/local-region/2017/01/reed-lauds-local-accomplishments-during-year-in-review/

Posted in 2016, 2017, Constituents, Economics, Health Care, Political, Reed's Views, Taxes | 4 Comments