Democrats, Elections, politics, Republicans, Uncategorized

Why Does It Matter?

I read an article today that said that the Secretary of the State of Georgia, Brian Kemp (R), wants to keep newly-registered voters from exercising their Constitutional right to vote in the June 20th run-off election in District 6.

He has declared that these voters are only eligible if they registered by March 20, which is 92 days before the 6/20 election. His justification is that the run-off is simply a continuation of special election to replace Tom Price, who was appointed to the President’s cabinet

However, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 says clearly that the deadline for voter registration for a Federal election is 60 days, whether it be general, special, primary or run-off.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because most of us were raised to believe in fairness — that the process by which a result is produced is as important as the result itself. More and more I’m seeing that our Republican leaders are willing to manipulate the processes to produce the desired result.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because each of us has been Constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote our conscience to choose the best candidate for an elected position. By manipulating the system so blatantly, those in powerful offices are negating our ability to choose and stifling our voices. They’re saying they know better, and we don’t know what we’re doing.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because even though most of us don’t want a lot of government interference in our lives, by voiding our rights to vote, government is interfering and controlling our lives. We as citizens will lose our right to dissent. Already, there are attempts to curtail our rights to assemble (and protest), speak freely, and have a free press.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because there is a systematic eroding of our Constitutional rights, with the end result being that our liberties to gather together, to criticize our government, our freedom to determine our own paths, will be taken away from us by an elitist few who think they are better than us. If Republicans continue to change the rules arbitrarily to manipulate the outcome to suit themselves, I can see them trying to avoid free and open elections completely.

Why does this matter?

This matters because this is not strictly a Democrat issue. Just because you’re a registered Republican doesn’t mean that your freedoms won’t be curtailed too.

We all need to step up and say no.

You need to step up and say no.

We all need to step up and say stop this.

You need to step up and say stop this.

 

 

 

Democrats, Elections, politics, Republicans, Uncategorized, Unionism, Unions

Union is not a dirty word

I went to a union meeting Tuesday night, at the IBEW Local #1 hall. I was one of 400 people in attendance, probably one of a handful of people who were not union members. We met to understand how petition signatures should be collected. The goal is to suspend enactment of Missouri’s “Right-to-Work” law and place it on the November 2018 ballot.

In a nutshell, the law allows for non-union workers to work in union businesses and not have to pay union dues — and on the surface, so what? So what is that the people who don’t want to pay union dues are still protected by and will still enjoy the collectively-bargained benefits negotiated by the unions on behalf of their members.

Missouri’s legislators believe that this will attract new business to relocate to our state, even though a Washington University professor who has studied the matter, says that in other states, the law doesn’t make much impact.

As of August 3, 2015, Business Insider ranked Missouri 47 out of  51 (states and District of Columbia) for condition of the local economy. Add this to wages that have remained relatively flat for over a decade, one realizes that in order to grow the Missouri economy, “Right-to-Work” isn’t even a Band-Aid on a severed artery.

Instead of figuring out ways to get workers to produce more work for fewer wages, both our state and Federal governments ought to be developing ways to modernize infrastructure and develop training centers to produce the highest skilled people on the planet.

As long as businesses engage in “activities” like wage theft, Unions and collective bargaining are still needed. While I would love to believe that businesses and employers can be trusted to do what’s right (this is something that a supervisor once told me — with a straight face), the fact that pro-business is actively lobbying to repeal the prevailing wage law, tells me that they want to keep wages as depressed as possible for as long as possible.

Perhaps unions could also re-examine their message and dues structure. I remember when I came to St. Louis, I was working part-time at a grocery store, a union shop, and was required to pay full dues. On part-time wages, that was a bitter, and hurtful, bite. For a while, it turned me off of the whole union idea. I’m sure others with part-time hours and low wages have felt the same sting I did. I, at least, had grown up with knowing union history. Today things are different — young people aren’t being taught union history and what unions have done to help transform this country..

Unions could develop a sliding scale so that workers making less than a journeyman’s wages would not feel the pinch as much, and their dues responsibilities would be commensurate with any advancement in wages. [If this is already a thing, I would appreciate for a member brother or sister to chime in and correct me.]

As Congressperson for District 1, here in Missouri, I pledge to work for the working people of this area, and develop programs that will benefit not only this district but Missouri as a whole. I have friends all across this state, and my one goal is to make life better for everyone. I need your contributions and support to make this so. Please donate at ActBlue.com.

Democrats, Elections, politics, Uncategorized

Bolhafner: Tough to Say, Easy to Know

I always invite people to ask questions: What would you like to know about me?

GrandmaNina284
Great-grandma Nina was born in Sicily.

My great-grandparents one my dad’s side came from Sicily by way of Naples. My mom immigrated from Korea in 1961. Her growing up years involved parts of WWII and the Korean War — she doesn’t talk much about it.

MeMomSanta2
Mom & me, circa 1964

My first job was as a cashier at my local A&P grocery store, and I’ve continued to work hourly-paying jobs all my life.

Currently I work at a low-income, HUD-subsidized apartment community where, if the tenants are able to work at all, their wages are often $8 or $9 an hour. The program, and the programs attached to low-income housing, seem to be stacked against a person trying to get out of the program and into self-sufficiency (a topic I’ll cover at another time).

Seeing my tenants struggling to meet rent and other responsibilities, I started to think about other people around me — the police officers who monitor the security desk at the building, the maintenance staff, and the people who live around me.

All of us want to live our lives – comfortably, freely, and with dignity.

As Americans, we don’t mind paying our fair share, but it becomes a strain and a burden when we’re asked to pay more than our fair share so that corporations can reduce their taxes on profits. A 12/12/2016 New York Times opinion piece points out that United Technologies (the parent company of Carrier who was/wasn’t sending jobs to Mexico) paid an effective Federal tax rate of 10.3% over a 15-year-period from 2000 through 2014. United Technologies reported sales of $57.2 billion for 2016. (Which may have resulted in a tax bill of $5.9 billion — if we went with the straight math of $57.2 * .103.)

United Technologies, however, is a big, big company. A blog I found, from February 2016, points out that this company has moved $29 billion in profits abroad, where it cannot be taxed by the United States, thereby leaving the shortfall on the backs of people like you and me. For a company that enjoys over $6 billion a year in government contracts, this seems highly un-American.

The people we have elected to represent us in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are no longer connected to us. Doctors. Lawyers. Good professions, yes, but hardly part of the mainstream after a while — especially if they’re re-elected several times.

I have no connections to big business. I have not scratched anyone’s back nor have they scratched mine. I have a passion to serve, and to serve as many people as possible in the time I have left.

I’m asking you to think of me. Remember me. Tell your friends about me. Contribute to the campaign, any way you can, even if it’s $5.00 a month.

I cannot do this without you.

Democratic National Committee, Democrats, politics, Uncategorized

Where To?

“Susan’s strength and integrity are essential parts of her being — currently working at a low-income, Section 8 subsidized apartment community, she connects with her residents by having an ‘open door’ policy: whatever they share with her, stays with her, and she will work to help them within the means allowed to her. She is compassionate, passionate, and understanding. She listens. She has friends and supporters already — in the LGBTQ community, the Union communities, law enforcement, low income — her appeal is broad. She doesn’t talk down to people – she’s able to take complex ideas and simplify them for better understanding. She’s approachable.”

That was the biography that was submitted on my behalf to Brand New Congress, a grassroots organization recruiting people to run for Congress.

I can’t sugar-coat things: we’re a mess, but alienating each other is no longer the way to go. The Democratic Party will continue to be progressive, but for some it won’t be as progressive as fast as they would want, and, by that same token, others people want more moderately paced change.

You can’t please everyone all the time.

To renew the Democratic Party, I think we should first try to define what our values are — are “our” values that much different from “their” values, after all?

People are still poor. Jobs are still underpaid. Education is still needed. Training is still necessary. Can we trust business to “do the right thing”? Is it enough to leave it to each of us to donate what money we can spare to help those who have less?

The other night, I was “interviewed” by several ladies in a Senior Center, and, while their questions were all over the board, I had to take the time to really wonder if running for the 1st Congressional District of Missouri is something I want to undertake. After a bout with a cold, laryngitis, and  major/minor crisis of faith, I can honestly say, “Yes, I do.”

There is no other candidate like me.

Other candidates may have more education, the incumbent may have more connections, but no one has spent time like I have getting to know people in different social strata: Low-income, elderly, disabled. Furry. Kinky. Union. Non-union. Salaried. Hourly. Vegetarians. Barbeque aficionados.

I love getting to know people, and I want to know how I can help you  reach your American dream. I want you to contact me and tell me your concerns — what do you see that needs fixing? Perhaps that’s the crux here — the political elite that is currently in Washington has forgotten that they’re there to serve the people — all of the people, the minority as well as the majority; that their raison d’etre is to make life better for us, not harder…

Let me know what you think —

 

 

 

 

 

 

politics, Uncategorized, Unionism, Unions

Are We Done Yet?

40-hour workweek

Overtime pay

Holiday pay

Employer-based health insurance

Fair wages

Sexual harassment laws

Public education for children

No more child labor

No more sweat shops

Collective bargaining

Workers’ safety

Workers’ compensation

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Americans with Disabilities Act

and many, many more.

(For my Pop, who was walking the picket line at the NY Herald Tribune when I was born.)