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, Health insurance, politics, Single Payer, Uncategorized

Requiem

For Pat from Paducah, who left too soon.

A few years ago I met a man who lived down in Paducah — it took us a long time to get to know each other. He felt I was too high strung and wound up, and I felt he was just another pompous ass; but we stayed in touch nonetheless.

I visited him just this past Martin Luther King day. He was upbeat and funny, between jobs, but still keeping up with his various contacts. He limped a little and said that his leg was swollen… but if he slept with it propped up, the swelling went down.

We got along great this time, he felt I was more relaxed and I found out he had a wicked sense of humor.

Life being what it is, some weeks went by and we didn’t chat, so I reached out to him.

And reached out.

And reached out.

Finally, I called, and his number was not working (okay, maybe he lost his phone again). The only thing left that I could do at this point was message his daughter via Facebook.

Pat died in his home February 25.

I can’t help but think that if we were a single payer health insurance nation, he might have gone into a doctor or urgent care, and had that leg looked at, but being between jobs, he was without insurance.

I’ve been “between jobs” and without insurance — you walk on eggshells because if you become sick or injured, you could incur doctor or hospital bills that could take years to pay down.

It’s time to seriously look at single payer health insurance for the United States. Physicians for a National Health Program defines single payer as “a single public or quasi-public agency [that] organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands.”

Additionally, “all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs.”

What this means is that even if you’re between jobs, or working part-time, you can still go to the doctor, or the hospital, or get new glasses. You don’t have to risk your life because you don’t have health insurance.

If H.R. 676 is not passed by the time I get to Congress, I’m going to re-introduce it. We have been world leaders before, but we’ve fallen sadly behind. It’s time to be a kinder nation, starting at home.

There’s plenty for all of us.

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, Elections, politics, Uncategorized

Brand New Congress

 

I joined an online group called “Brand New Congress” whose premise is to literally elect new people to Congress. I had decided to run for 1st Congressional Missouri before I joined them, but I thought it would be an interesting adjunct in my quest for knowledge.

I was nominated.

I was not chosen.

The woman Brand New Congress wants to “draft” has an interesting biography that I’ve been thinking about. She’s a mental health nurse, a minister, a mother, and an activist; she primaried against Jason Kander in the 2016 state senate race.

I posted on Brand New Congress’s page that I wish her the best of luck because that’s the seat I’m going to campaign for, and a woman asked what my background was. I answered, “I work in a HUD subsidized low income community; my dad was third generation printer, second generation Union; my mother is an immigrant; lifelong wage-slave; rape survivor.” The woman answered, “Oh wow.”

The “draftee” says, “I am the people I represent,” which is a kind of cool slogan, but what does it mean?

My curiosity led me to Google “What is the average salary for a mental health nurse?”, to which Google quoted NurseJournal.org that said mental health nurses can make in excess of $94,000.00 per year.

Now I know, the possibility of making $94k a year doesn’t mean she actually makes $94k a year, but $43 per hour wages is a hell of a lot more than my $16.71 an hour, which is closer to the wages my tenants make. Even police officers don’t make close to $43 an hour.

That brings me to my next question: Who do you really want to represent you in Congress?

In my last blog, I pointed out that if I’m elected to Congress to represent my neighbors, it will be my only job.

I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a nurse, I’m not a minister — if I fail to do the work my neighbors send me to do, I’m out of a job when I come home.

Regardless of where you live, all 425 seats of the US House of Representatives are up for election in November 2018. Start looking now, start questioning now. This link will take you to the entire 2017 Congressional Calendar, so you can see when your Representative is supposed to be be back in your district.

Call him or her up, meet with them. See what they have to say — they work for 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

Look Out Below

The other day, at work, while worrying about deadlines and waiting lists and TANF letters, I had an epiphany of sorts.

Like many others across America, my nights have been restless; I wake in the morning wary about what I’ll read in the news. Updates through the day aren’t better: legislative bills to sell of public lands (i.e., national parks, etc.), confirmation hearings for people who have never worked in the sector they are being charged with; executive orders signed with no input as to the ramifications.

I voted in my first election when I was 18: Mario Cuomo was running for Lieutenant Governor of New York State. He had spoken at my eighth grade commencement at Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica, Queens, New York — the very same Jamaica, Queens, that our current President hails from. Mr. Cuomo’s children also attended ICS, so I was happy and proud to cast my vote for him, and I am just as happy and proud that his son, Andrew, was elected to the same office.

And now we are here, a million years from yesterday. To quote “The Godfather”: How did things ever get so far?

In one of my friends’ posts on Facebook, someone suggested that we are here now because the incentives to be President should change, and that got my hamster wheel brain turning. I realized that serving the people of this country, in whatever fashion possible, is its own incentive, and so I wrote in response:

“What more incentive does one need than to lead the nation forward while preserving and protecting the values outlined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? The Presidency, and Congress, are not offices to get rich from; they are the repositories of the peoples’ trust in you for their future and the future of their progeny.”

As a nation, what are our values?

I believe our values were clearly outlined for us in the three documents our Founding Fathers drafted for us to follow: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is the soul of our country. Each amendment to the Constitution and Bill of Rights that is ratified by 38 of 50 states (3/4) is an agreement that our culture has changed to a degree and is deserving of acknowledgement.

Elected officials who seek to curtail these rights inherently do not trust their constituents, but the rights this country were founded on has inspired others (“Liberté, égalité, fraternité”), and human nature will always strive for freedom and happiness.

This does not make us weaker.

It makes us stronger.