#DNCinPHL:Day 5 2nd attempt


Something just happened to my draft blog. I just lost everything from 10 am until 6:30 pm. I’ll post the pictures I took later, but all of the text is gone!

This morning,  my credentials were once again unavailable.  Mitch Kates, PA’s Political Director of the Pa Democratic Party, once again scrambled and found a delegate pass for me by 12:30 today;  I picked it up and headed to the Wells Fargo Center at 2 pm.

On the Convention Floor

So first, I just got a selfie with Madeline Albright!

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Madeline Albright and me!

These are not all of the speakers,  just highlights of the ones that started speaking after 6:30 pm. To make sure I don’t lose this again, I’m  publishing this as I add new content. So please keep coming back.  Thanks.

The Women of the US Senate 

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Madeline Albright and me!

  • Barbara Mikulski – MD.  I was the first. I wanted to have more to have our voices heard. One of them was Hillary Clinton.
  • Patty Murray – WA. Hillary and the Senate women are calling upon the FDA to make decisions based on science,  not politics.
  • Debbie  Stabenow -MI. I was with her in Bejing when she said,  “Women’s Rights ate Human Rights  and Human Rights  are Women’s Rights.”
  • Maria Cantwell – WA. Hillary is for paid sick leave
  • Amy Klobuchar — MN. It was too noisy to hear what she said.
  • Claire McCaskill –MO. She was with me when I was getting cancer treatment
  • Jeanne Shaheen — NH. It was again too noisy to hear what she said.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand  -NY. Hillary believes that if you don’t stand up and fight,  who else will? She’s  continuing to stand and fight.
  • Tammy Baldwin – MO. I am a strong advocate for healthcare and healthy families.  So is Hillary.
  • Mazie K. Hirino – HI.  I’m an immigrant.  She understands our families and us
  • Elizabeth  Warren – MA. Hillary knows how to fight back against dangerous bullies. Śhe fights back
  • Barbara Boxer -CA. We worked together on the environment. And when Ground Zero occurred,  she made sure they (first responders) got the care they needed. And when Super Storm Sandy hit,  she reached out to the people who were affected.  We as the women of the Senate, therefore, we stand with Hillary. 

Andrew Cuomo

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He is the Governor of New York. He eloquently talked about coming together as one. “E Pluribus Unum.” United, we are one.

Nancy Pelosi

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We must be smart and strong.

  • For the sake of the 90+ people killed each day, we must break the NRA gridlock.
  • We need to have Economic  Justice – equal pay for equal work and paid sick leave.
  • The future of America needs to be decided by the voters, not by the monied. Overturn Citizens United.
  • Everyone should pay their fair share.

Onward to victory!

Due to a low battery, I’m temporarily signing off until Chelsea and Hillary come on and will attempt to recharge.  Back in a bit.

I’m  back.

Chelsea Clinton

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Chelsie Clinton!

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Chelsea Clinton, All Grown Up!

Our daughter Charlotte is two years old, and she just loves face-time with Grandma. Our son Aden is 5.5 weeks old.

Whenever Mom was away for a while [when I was a kid],  she left dated messages for me. I treasured then.  At dinner, they’d listen to me first. They cared about my thoughts.  That feeling of being valued is the calling of my mother’s life for everyone.

Another thing she taught me is that public service is about service.

I saw her fight for universal health care. We all know she failed. But she still felt she could make a difference and got back to work.  Because she never forgets for whom she’s working.

  • For first responders
  • For women around the world to be safe.
  • For all in need.

She has a heart full of love.  She’s spent her entire life for us.

She knows that

  • Women’s Rights are Human Rights
  • LGBT  Rights are Human Rights

So everyone watching, she’ll  make us all proud as the next president of the US.

And here she is!

Hillary Rodham Clinton 

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Madeline Albright and me!

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Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton

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Madeline Albright and me!

Thank you, Chelsea, for becoming the woman you’ve become.

On Tuesday night I was glad to see my Explainer-in-Chief was still explaining.  We have heard both from the man from Hope – Bill and from the man of Hope – Barack Obama.

I want to thank Bernie Sanders.  Bernie inspired millions of Americans, particularly millennials. Thank you for your focus on economic justice. We wrote the progressive platform together; let’s make it work together.

Our founders embraced the truth that we are stronger together.

Just as with the founders,  it is up to us.  We need to work together to grow together.

Donald [Trump] has taken the Republican party from Morning in America to Midnight in America. FDR said it best.  “We have nothing to fear but fear itself. ”

[As Democrats,]

  • We will not ban any religion.
  • We have the most tolerant and generous young people in the work
  • Freedom, Justice, and Opportunity.  We should be most proud of these words and ideas.

Don’t believe anyone who says “I alone can fix ít.” Those words are dangerous.  Hasn’t he [Donald Trump] forgotten our troops, our first responders, our teachers, our police, our entrepreneurs…?

Twenty years ago I  wrote “It Takes a Village.” Working together is what I  mean by a village.

My father worked in  Scranton for 40 years. My mother told me to do whatever you can do for however long you can. She taught me that you have to change both hearts and laws.  Like, every child with a disability has a right to go to school. We changed our laws to make this happen.

I focus on policy to make these things happen.

Over the last four days, you’ve met some of the people who inspired me. The child who wore a brace. The first responders who got sick after 9/11. I will continue carrying your stories to the White House.

I will be the President for all – Democrats, Republicans, Independents.

A barrier has fallen today with the first woman elected as the presidential nominee.

  • I believe that the economy thrives when the middle class thrives.
  • We will pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United
  • I believe that Wall Street should never be able to overturn Main Street
  • I believe there is climate change.

If you share these beliefs, this is your campaign. Join us.

If the minimum wage should be a living wage, Join us.

If you believe in affordable healthcare, Join us.

If you want to expand Social Security,  have equal pay, and protect a women’s right to reproductive healthcare, JOIN US.

Whether it’s a trade job or a college education, we should make this happen.

If doing paid family leave or getting quality child care is dealing the “women’s card,” then deal me in!

Keeping our country safe is important.  So I  support the control of Iran’s nuclear weapons program without a single shot. I support Israel’s right to exist.

Our president should respect the service of all of our members of the armed forces, including Tim Kaine’s and Mike Pence’s sons – both Marines. That’s not true of Trump.

I’m not here to take away your guns.  I just want to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.  We need common-sense gun laws.

We also need common-sense treatment of people of all races. Let’s give our support to our police to make them safe as well.

We will protect all rights. Civil Rights. Women’s Rights.  Immigrant Rights. Disability Rights. LGBTQ Rights. Veteran’s Rights…

None of us can do it alone. Progress is possible.  I’ve seen it when people who have fallen who get back up. I’ve even done it myself.

We need to stand up to bullies. We’re drawn together when we work together.

Thank you.

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Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

And finally to end the convention, we had the traditional balloon drop. Balloons large and small.

Hope you enjoyed this week as much as I did!

Picture of Joanne Tosti-Vasey watching the balloons drop from the ceiling of the Wells Fargo Center

Yours Truly watching the balloons drop from the ceiling of the Wells Fargo Center.

#DNCinPHL: Day 4

Yesterday my delegate tickets disappeared.  The PA Dem Party scrambled to find a replacement.  So I  was unable to attend Tuesday morning’s events. This morning, the were able to get me a pass for today and they are working on tomorrow’s pass.

So my first event today is an SEIU “Low Waged and Engaged”panel discussion at Philadelphia  City Hall.

Low Waged and Engaged Panel Discussion

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Luis Figueroa was the 1st speaker. He talked about the 64 million low-wage workers. Many, but not all, work in the service sector. Much of SEIU’s work is focused on The Fight for 15 and unionizing. Several questions were asked.

How do you engage low-wage workers in politics?

Steve Rosenthal did a PowerPoint commentary.

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Low-wage workers are disproportionately concentrated among women, blacks, and Latinos

Using North Carolina as an example, he noted that low-wage workers are less likely to vote.  But when they do vote,  they are more likely to vote Democratic.  The problem is getting them to vote. Reducing their vote via things like voter Id is a Republican focus. Democrats  need to place more focus on low-wage workers and not just on the people who donate money.

Shakira Stewart talked about the airport worker’s strike that was supposed to be held during the DNC Convention.  As a result of the politicians coming into town, American Airlines agreed to negotiate and the airport workers called off the strike – a win.

Nelini Stamp talked about what other types of workers are low-wage workers and what are their issues.  She talked about unfair work hours and lack of access to Workers Compensation. She then talked about how to assist low-wage workers to be politically engaged.  She said you need to talk about raising the minimum wage and ways to fight for decent and fair hours. And you need to deal with the intersectionality of low wages and race; you need to work with the #BlackLivesMatter actions and look at how the criminal justice system impacts these workers.

Susan Ray was then asked, “How do you change people’s behavior?” Her response was accompanied by another PowerPoint. She said you need to speak to their emotions and…

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General outlook on organizing

Where are they coming from?  Common perspective. ..

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So you need to say the personal is political…

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And make sure the goal looks winnable. And make it fun, inspirational and rewarding .

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Finally..

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Q and A followed.

What is the Fight for $15? SEIU says that in some states  it requires state passage. In others it can be done at the town level. So it depends on where you live.

We can focus on the electorate.  How do we deepen the struggle to head into the 2018 elections? Steve Rosenthal talked about  investing resources in communities  so that people are there (boots on the ground); we need to work with allied organizations and to be keep active within communities.

I’ll post this now and keep updating this throughout the day. Keep checking back…

Disability Council

My next session was a seminar on disability. The 1st speaker was Timothy Shriver . His main message was that we need to look at and speak  out about how people with disabilities are talked about. There has been a lot of pushback when we ask people to take down offending material. You need to persist and eventually you can be successful . And that we need to recognize is that everyone has a gift and we need to let the public understand that people with disabilities have a lot to offer. The important fact is that we need to get people with disabilities  registered and get them out to vote.

Zack Baldwin from AAPD spoke next. AAPD is a national cross-disability organization  whose mission is to increase the political power of people with disabilities.  Part of their work is to register people and to get media and politicians to talk openly with people with disabilities. To achieve this, they found it helpful to partner with local groups to make sure that access to voting registration and discussions are based on the idiosyncratic differences in each state. Also, it  was helpful for AAPD to get local municipalities to honor and proclaim that National Disabilities Voter Registration Week is important;  this event helps raise the issue that people with disabilities have a right and a need to register and vote. He noted that if people with disabilities voted at the same rate as the general public, then there would have been 12 million more voters in 2012. Check out their Rev Up program here.

The Americans for Democratic Action commemorate the 1948 civil rights flag with representative John Lewis and Representative Keith Ellison

I’ve been waiting for this event all week. It is so full. I ended up in a seat in the hallway outside of the auditorium.

Here’s what the program book says about the 1948 civil rights plank:

At the 1948 convention, the Civil Rights flag was adopted as a Minority Report to the party platform on a highly contested, late night though. The southern delegation strongly opposed to civil rights Plank and some Alabama and Mississippi delegates walked out when it was adopted. Two weeks after the convention, President Harry Truman, whose civil rights program was the basis of the Civil Rights Act, issued executive orders desegregating the military and providing equal opportunity in federal employment. Southern Democrats responded by replacing Truman on the ballot with Governor Strom Thurmond of the States Rights Democratic Party. These “Dixiecrats” carried four states and 39 electoral votes. None the less Truman won the four-way election with 49.55% of the popular vote and 303 electoral votes. The Dixiecrats continued to oppose and black civil rights and Congress through the 1960s.

In the contentious election year of 1948 comma many Democrats and liberals, including Truman’s orders, we’re concerned a strong position on civil rights in danger the Democratic party’s chances of election in the fall. Republicans had won control of the House and Senate in the 1946 midterm election. ADA Founder, Hubert H Humphrey, at the time the 37-year-old mayor of Minneapolis and candidate for US Senate, was convinced to make the case for the Civil Rights Act. Humphrey rose and delivered one of the great convention speeches of all time in support of the plant that affirmed his reputation as a great orator. Some of his most powerful words:

My friends, to those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, I say to them we are one hundred seventy-two years late. To those who say that the civil rights program is an infringement on states rights, I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic party to get out of the shadow of states rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”

After the late-night adoption of the Civil Rights Plank and the close of the convention in Blue Ball Pennsylvania, Humphrey and the other ADAers retreated to the North Philadelphia home of one of the ADA leaders to celebrate.”

It started about 50 minutes late.The two main speakers are Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) & Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Keith Ellison rates 100% by the ADA, just like John Lewis

Kareem Abdul Jabar was a surprise speaker.  He thanked the Dems & the for their fight for civil rights. He then focused on the need to provide education regardless of gender, color, or orientation.  It is the equalizer from kindergarten through college. We have to reduce the 1.3 trillion dollar debt that students are bearing for higher education. He then thanked Rep. Lewis for his stance on civil rights.

Rep. Ellison then spoke.He summarized the passage of the 1948 Civil Rights plank and Hubert Humphrey’s involvement in this passage. Hubert Humphrey wasn’t concerned about splitting the country; instead, he was concerned about the uniting of the country.  He believed this plank would do that. He showed how Donald Trump is a throwback to the Dixiecrats—touting hate and segregation. He then thanked Bernie Sanders for helping make the 2016 platform the most progressive Democratic platform “ever.” At that point,  he then introduced John Lewis.
Lewis spoke about his history.  About the public library refusing to give him a library card when he was a child; it was almost 40 years later that he got that library card from that same library.

He was proud to say that the segregation signs have been relegated to the history books. But now we are having efforts to bring those signs and behaviors back out on our streets, into our businesses, and  homes. We have to be vigilant and make sure this doesn’t happen.

He then said that voting is the strongest tool for pushback.  We must be the spark plug.  We must be a pilot light for democracy – stay lit and continue to keep democracy alive.

There is no such thing as an illegal human being.  We must respect the dignity and worth of every individual.  Doesn’t matter if we are black, white,  Asian, Muslim, gay or straight— we are all one people.

He then told the story of a rainstorm that occurred at the shotgun-style house he lived in when he was 4 or 5. They were fearful of the house blowing up because the storm was so strong.  His grandmother then said,  no matter what,  never leave the House. Hold it down, even when the wind blows. And if you do it right,  we can change the world.

THANK YOU, JOHN LEWIS for this call to action.

At the Convention 

I have been blogging for the last hour.  Unfortunately,  everything since I arrived somehow disappeared when I started taking some pictures. Hoping this doesn’t happen again.  So onward for the evening.

People from across the country came on stage to show the world our diversity.

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People representing the diversity of America

Jessie Jackson then talked. He said we need to ban assault weapons now. The shootings of young black men must stop. Black Lives Matter.  The shootings of police officers must stop. Ban assault weapons now.

The journey for civil rights started in 1948. When women win, women and children win. When Asians win, all races win.  It’s healing time. It’s hope time. It’s Hillary time. It’s healing time. It’s hope time. It’s Hillary time. It’s healing time. It’s hope time. It’s Hillary time. Keep hope alive. Thank you.

Mayor Karen Weaver, Flint Michigan

Mayor Karen Weaver of Flint, Michigan spoke next. Flint is the city that lost control of their water, resulting in the lead poisoning of the water. They still can’t drink the water. They expect lifelong problems from this disaster.  Many in Flint have joined Clinton because of her commitment to repairing the infrastructure in Flint and across the country.

The  Congressional Black Caucus  then stood on stage…

I’m  going to have to skip a bit of blogging. My phone is running out of its charge. I’m going to temporarily log off and try to recharge for some of the later speakers…

…I’m now back.

Martin O’Malley

At 7:30, Martin O’Malley spoke, saying that Trump thinks too much of himself.

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Governor Martin O’Malley

Climate Change

Climate change was next on the agenda. Rising food prices.  10 million acres of land burned in wildfires last year. Floods. Drought.  The thermometer isn’t Democratic. It isn’t Republican.  There is climate change.

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Renewable energy is the solution to climate change

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Governor Jerry Brown

Gun Violence

Ending Gun Violence is also important. Lee Daniels said 33K people die each year from gun violence. Enough is enough.

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Lee Daniels

Christine Leinonem, mother of one of the 49 people who died in the Orlando gay bay mass shooting. She said the weapon that killed her son shoots 33 bullets a minute.  “How is this common gun sense? This is why I support  Hillary (and not Trump).”

 

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Christine Leinonem leaving the stage with three of her son’s friends

Erica Smegielski, the daughter of the Sandy Hook principal who was killed on December 14, 2013. She said that there are too many legislators who stand behind the NRA. What we need are leaders who will stand up to the NRA.  Someone like Hillary.

 

 

Then former Philadelphia Chief of Police Chuck Ramsey called for common-sense gun laws. To stop the murder of citizens. To end the killing of cops. We need good community policing, comprehensive background checks, and a ban on assault weapons. Vote for the person who will work with communities and police. Hillary will help build this bridge and not an [increasingly violent] wall [between the community and the police].

 

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Former Philadelphia Chief of Police Chuck Ramsey

Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard are two of the  mothers of shooting victims in Charleston,  SC: In summary, they said, “We choose love. Together we can heal.”wp-image-1520613046jpg.jpg

Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard

 

Then we heard from Retired US Navy Captain Mark Kelly. He spoke about common gun sense. Hillary knows we can save lives by keeping guns out of the hands [of violent people].  Then his wife, former Representative Gabby  Giffords joined him on stage…

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Captain Mark Kelly

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Representative Gabby Giffords

Broadway singers and actors then came on stage to sing “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love” in honor of the victims of gun violence.

And another break to charge some more…

And now it’s Vice President  Joe Biden’s turn…

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Vice-President Joe Biden

He congratulated Michelle Obama for her work and her speech on Monday.  He honored his son Bo Biden who died of cancer a couple of years ago. He then honored

  • Teachers who use their hard-earned money to buy her kids pencils.
  • Hillary for her passions – college education, health care, decent pay, elder care

We will all, especially our daughters, be so proud when she walks into the Oval Office.

And Donald Trump?

  • He confuses bluster with defense
  • He belittles everyone
  • He’s dangerous

We have the strongest economy in the world. And if given a chance,  we will endure. We don’t succumb to fear. The 21st century will be the American century because we will empower ourselves and the world for the better!”

Michael Bloomberg

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Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg

TIM KAINE

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Vice-Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine

I “humbly accepted” the nomination for the position of Vice President of the United States.

I was the  70th governor of Virginia. Even my father in law, former  Republican  VA governor Holton is voting Democratic more and more often because “the party of Lincoln has moved too far to the right.”

Issues of concern that he raised during his speech:

  • Quality education
  • Investments in transportation and communities
  • Care for our veterans

We must love our neighbors as we love ourselves. So we need to do all that you can for others/

¡Si se puede! Yes! We can!

Why do I trust Hillary? She’s consistent.

  • She’s consistently worked for kids and families.
  • She delivers too. She battled the Republicans to get healthcare for 1st responders.
  • She was not afraid to stand up to bullies like Osama Ben Laden
  • I trust Hillary with my son’s life (who deployed overseas two weeks ago).

Even Barbara Bush is troubled about Trump. She said, “I don’t know how anyone could vote for Trump after his comments about women.”

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Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton

And finally, President Barack Obama… He was introduced by 80+-year-old Sharon Belkofer of Rossford, OH,  a gold-star mom.

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President Barack Obama

President Obama  highlighted his accomplishments over the last 8 years

  • Healthcare is a right. I got the ACA (Affordable Care Act) passed. [My personal opinion on this: The ACA was  a decent start, but we need to go further so that everyone has healthcare and that means single-payer healthcare / Medicare for All]
  • We are working to save this planet for our children.
  • Marriage equality is now real across the land
  • Education has improved

We need to make:

  • Our streets safer
  • Correct the criminal justice system
  • Create equality for all
  • There are pockets of the country that haven’t recovered.  We must do better.

What’s  right about America. We believe we are stronger together and we reach out to each other.

And it will continue with the next President — Hillary Clinton

And I agree with that hope for the future…

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YES! WE CAN!

YES! WE CAN!

#DNCinPHL: Day 3. It’s Nomination Time

Today’s events started off with honoring the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Call to Order highlighted this.

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Call to order honoring the 26th anniversary of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Then Mike Mollena lead us with the national anthem.

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Mike Mollena

Senator Tom Harkin then spoke about the ADA, his brother, and what the ADA means for America.  He then taught us the sign-language symbol for the United States — fingers intertwined and moving your arms in a circle. United one and all is the meaning of this symbol.

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Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) honoring the 26th anniversary of the ADA. He calls upon Congress to pass the Disability Integration Act that Clinton has said she will sign into law.

The nominations began.

First off was Bernie Sanders.

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Executive Director IBEW Local 2222 seconds Bernie’s Nomination

Then Hillary Clinton’s name was put into nomination.

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Senator Barbara Mikulski, MD placing the name of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President

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Representative John Lewis seconding Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the Democratic candidate for President.

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Na’ilah Amaru, an adoptee and Iraq veteran seconding Hillary’s nomination for President

Roll call:vote followed.

Alabama 59 C, 9 S, 1 abstenstion

Alaska 6 C, 14 S

American Samoa  8 C, 3 S

Arizona 51 C, 34 S

Arkansas 27 C, 10 S including 1 vote by Bernie’s brother

California 330 C 221 S

Colorado 26 C, 41 S, 1 abstenstion

Connecticut 44 C, 27 S

Delaware 23 C,  9 S

Democrats Abroad 7 C, 10 S including one vote by Bernie’s brother

District of Columbia . 39 C, 5 S

Florida 163 C, 72 S, 1 abstenstion

Georgia 87 C, 29 S 1 abstenstion

Guam 9 C, 2 S, 1 abstenstion

Hawaii 15 C, 19 S

Idaho 7 C, 20 S

Illinois 98 C, 74 S

Indiana 48 C, 43 S, 1 abstenstion

Iowa 30 C, 21 S

Kansas 14 C, 23 S

Kentucky 33 C, 27 S

Louisiana 45 C, 14 S

Maine 12 C, 18 S

Maryland 84 C, 36 S

Massachusetts 68 C, 46 S, 1 abstenstion

Michigan 81 C, 66 S

Minnesota 42 C 47 S, 4 abstenstions

Mississippi 33 C, 7 S, 1 abstenstion

Missouri 49 C, 35 S

Montana 14 C, 12 S

Nebraska 13 C, 16 S, 1 abstenstion

Nevada 20 C,  16 S, 1 abstenstion

New Hampshire 16 C, 16 S

New Jersey 90 C,  45 S, 7 abstenstions

New Mexico 27 C, 16 S

New York 181 C, 108 S, 3 abstenstion

North Carolina 70 C, 48 S, 2 abstenstions

Norh Dakota 7 C 14 S, 2 abstenstion

Northern Marianas  9 C, 2 S

Ohio  98 C, 62 S

Oklahoma 20 C, 22 S

Oregon 34 C, 38 S, 2 abstenstions

Pennsylvania 126 C, 82 S

Puerto Rico 44 C, 23 S

Rhode Island 19 C, 13 S, 1 abstenstion

South Carolina 46 C, 13 S

South Dakota 15 C, 10 S

Tennessee 50 C , 23 S, 2 abstenstions

Texas 179 C, 72 S

Utah 8 C, 29 S

Vermont passes

Virgin Islands 12 C, 0 S

Virginia 75 C, 33 S

Washington 32 C, 74 S, 2 abstenstions

West Virginia 19 C, 18 S

Wisconsin 47 C, 49 S

Wyoming 11 C, 7 S

Back to  Vermont 4 C, 22  S

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Senator Sanders asks the convention to suspend the rules to accept Hillary Rodham Clinton as the 2016 Democratic candidate for President of the United States.

Sanders then speaks and moves to suspend the rules to nominate Hillay by acclamation. Clinton is declared the Democratic Nominee. Total is not announced and Hillary will speak on Thursday  evening.

For your edification,  here is the final vote count:

  • Hillary Clinton 2874 votes
  • Bernie Sanders 1865 votes

Governor Tery McAuliffe of Virginia  then speaks on behalf of fellow Virginian Tim Kaine. Also spoke of his friendship with Hillary

Then the women of Congress came on stage.  They are 1/3 of the Democratic Congressional delegation

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A panorama of the diversity of Democratic women elected to Congress from across the country. Several of the women then spoke on how Democrats and the voice of women have changed the conversation in Congress. I estimate that there wer 55 women on stage. About 10 of them spoke.

Following  the women, we had a video from Jimmy Carter.

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Senator Shumer talks about 9/11 and how Hillary championed the need for healthcare for the first responders. America shall  and can break down barriers and shatter ceilings. But this can only be done if we get a Democratic Senate majority.

Others begin to tell Hillary’s  story.

She worked with burn victim children.  She worked with kids with disabilities.  She helped insure that kids in South Carolina  no longer were jailed with adults. As first lady of Arkansas, she played major role in improving education in the stae. She worked on adoption  issues so that older kids could find a “forever” home. She continued her fight for children  when she was in the Senate; she reserved an intern position for a person who was raised in foster care.

Then Donna Brazile  spoke. She’s  Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee.  She spoke about segregation in the South. Then she spoke of Hillary’s work with the Children’s Defense Fund.

Agter several other speeches, Cecile Richards, the Executive Director  of Planned Parenthood. She touted the Supreme Court decision in Whole Womens Clinic v Hellerstedt that TRAP laws are unconstitutional . But if Trump is elected,  then women’s lives will be in danger.

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Cecile Richards, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood

Then a surprise  (to me). Senator Barbara Boxer of California talked about her personal relationship with Hillary. Her son-in-law is Hillary’s nephew. This was a segway into how parenting, families broadly defined, and the right to choose are basic to Hillary’s view of America.

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Then the conversation turned to healthcare for all. For me that means Medicare for All, aka single-payer healthcare.  As a result  of Bernie’s push for single-payer healthcare,  the platform has improved and now advocates for healthcare as a human right.

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Former Presidential candidate Howard Dean, with his background as a medical doctor talked about the view that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.  He talked about Hillary’s support of the public option and why he believes that Hillary will  help expand acces to healthcare.

At this point, my sister — who was able to obtain a guest pass for the day — decided to leave and head back to the hotel. So we ended watching  Bill Clinton wrap up the day. He gave a personal, family-oriental  picture of Hillary  and how she wrapped policy with her family responsibilities.

The 2014 quest to get single women to the polls

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times at  http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-democrat-quest-to-turn-out-single-women-20140716-story.html on July 17, 2014. It was written by Maeve Reston.  She is a political reporter at the paper. She’s been covering presidential election since 2004, first in Pittsburgh PA, then Austin TX, and now in Los Angeles.  She can be reached through Twitter at @MaeveReston.

If you’d like to learn more about unmarried-women voters, you can check out the research that was conducted by the Voter Participation Center and Lake Research Partners.

Please read this great article. Review the research. And help get-out-the-vote. You can help by talking to your unmarried female friends and family  members and helping them to register to vote. And the remind them to vote on November 4, 2014.

 

Central Oregon Coast NOW

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By MAEVE RESTON
July 17, 2014

It has been nearly a month since the Supreme Court handed down its Hobby Lobby decision, yet the issue has remained at the top of the political news now for weeks — a key facet in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

To explain that, look no further than the research by the Voter Participation Center into the voting trends for single women in midterm elections. Though single women make up a growing share of the electorate — nearly 4.2 million became eligible to cast ballots since 2008 — they turn out in far lower numbers in midterm elections than presidential contests.


The battle for female voters in Montana
Related video: Facing attacks in the Montana Senate race on his record on abortion, Republican Steve Daines aired his own female-focused ad touting his support for the Violence Against Women Act.

The dropoff…

View original post 622 more words

Sample Letter Opposing Sick Leave Preemption Bill

Help Stop ALEC

Help Stop ALEC

Yesterday afternoon, the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee forwarded a sick leave preemption bill — HB 1960 — to the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representative without amendment.  I have previously written about this ALEC-initiated bill and a similar one on this blog.

The vote on the amendments and on referral of the bill “as committed” was completely along party lines.  All 15 Republicans voted to limit local control and disallow exceptions to the bill for pregnant women and victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; all 10 Democrats voted for the amendments and against the bill.

Now the bill goes to the full floor for debate.  In Pennsylvania, bills can be amended from the floor ONLY on “Second Consideration.”  And that is expected as early as tomorrow, Wednesday, January 29.

Every legislator—Republican and Democrat—needs to know our concerns about this type of  bill.

So in an effort to assist my readers on contacting their representatives about a preemption bill such as this one, I decided to post my letter to Representative Kerry Benninghoff (R-171, Centre & Mifflin Counties) on this blog. FYI, he is a conservative Republican, but is not a member of ALEC.

If you live in Pennsylvania, now is the time for you to write a similar letter OR call your state Representative(click here to find your Representative).

This bill is also being “shopped” around the country by ALEC. So… if you live elsewhere in the country, keep this in mind, as a sick leave preemption bill is likely to show up in your state.

Hi Kerry,

I’m writing to strongly urge that you oppose and vote NO on  HB 1960 when it comes up for second consideration as well as on final consideration.  Voting and debate on several amendments is expected on the House floor tomorrow, January 29 under the rules for Second Consideration.

I want you to vote NO on HB 1960 because:

  1. Laws that preempt local decision-making strip cities and counties of their right to adopt policies that will benefit their communities, in violation of core conservative and democratic principles;
  2. It represents attempts by national businesses to circumvent policy at its most basic level; and
  3. Local innovation is the lifeblood of progress. Preemption efforts, driven by special interests, should not stand in the way of local innovation or self-rule. Bills like this represent an ominous attempt to remove power from locally elected officials and make the voters mere bystanders in the democratic processes that define the character of their communities.

I’m particularly concerned about its effect on victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.  This proposed law will threaten the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who need this form of leave to receive critical services to protect their and their families’ lives – like medical treatment, counseling, and dealing with all court and law enforcement related business.  If local communities can’t make laws that allow victims who work for employers with less than 50 employees, you will be potentially sending these victims back into the hands of their violent perpetrators because they will be unable to financially stand on their own two feet.

Even if preemption bills seem to have a narrow focus, passage of this type of legislation could result in preemption of a wide range of local ordinances in municipalities throughout the state. These include efforts to expand protections for those who have experienced domestic violence, laws prohibiting wage theft, consumer protection initiatives, and many more.

Based on all of these concerns, I am therefore also requesting that you vote for any amendment that makes this bill less onerous.  I understand that several such amendments will be offered, including ones that

  • Allow municipalities to have paid or unpaid leave programs with respect to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • Allow municipalities to have paid or unpaid leave programs with respect to maternity leave.
  • That grandfather in any existing local ordinance.

Please vote for all of these life-protecting amendments.  And when the bill comes up for a final vote, VOTE NO!  on HB 1960.

Please let me know what you will do regarding this bill. Thank you.

Underhanded Attempt to Pass a Paid/Unpaid ALEC Sick Leave Preemption Bill?

Help Stop ALEC

Help Stop ALEC

In December, I posted a blog about some Pennsylvania legislators’ connections to ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.  Among those legislators is Representative Seth Grove of York County, PA.  In that blog, I focused on his paid and unpaid sick-leave preemption bill that would prohibit any local control over paid or unpaid leave of any type.  His bill – HB 1807 – ran into a lot of opposition after a party-line vote in the House Labor and Industry Committee in mid-December.  This bill has been placed on – and pulled off – of the floor calendar after 14 other Representatives offered at least 24 amendments for floor debate.

So on January 16, 2014, Representative Grove introduced a “new” version of his bill – HB 1960 – in what looks to me like an effort to avoid any changes to his original legislation.  And this bill was introduced without, as far as I can tell from the General Assembly website, any circulation of a “Co-Sponsorship Memo.” I have been reviewing legislation on this website for years.  This is the first time I have ever seen a bill introduced since co-sponsorship memos started being posted that has not included such a memo.  HB 1807 had one; HB 1960 does not.

Differences in the Two Preemption Bills

Upon reading both bills, there appears to be little if no difference at all.  Except for the addition of one new cosponsor (Rep. Fred Keller (R-85, Snyder & Union Counties)), the style of wording to prohibit paid or unpaid sick leave ordinances at the local level is the only change I can see. The result is exactly the same. The original bill – HB 1807 – creates the preemption with a one paragraph “Mandate prohibition.” The new bill – HB 1960 – creates the preemption by changing the prohibition wording to three paragraphs within two subsections titled “General Rule” and “Inconsistent mandate.”  Both bills prohibit any local jurisdictions to pass ordinances that

“mandate requiring an employer to provide an employee or class of employees with vacation or other forms of leave from employment, paid or unpaid, that is not required by Federal or State law.”

Both bills grandfather any currently enacted ordinance but prohibit all future local paid or unpaid sick leave legislation.

So by adding one new cosponsor and reorganizing the way the bill is presented without circulating a co-sponsorship memo allows Representative Grove and his cohorts a “do-over” chance to ram this bill through the House without the current “baggage” of 24+ amendments.

Is there some subterfuge going on here? Is Representative Grove trying to get this ALEC-initiated bill passed under the radar?

If so, this under-the-radar effort doesn’t appear to be working.  Both progressive members of the legislature as well as members of the Coalition of Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces have found out about this bill and are starting to push back.

Status of Bills

Due to the high number of amendments on HB 1807, the leadership of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has apparently decided not to bring forth the bill for floor debate.  So the new bill will be a start-over.  And eleven days after its introduction (January 16, 2014), HB 1960 will be heard AND voted on in the House Labor and Industry Committee (scheduled for Monday January 27, 2014).

This bill has no more leadership backing than original. That’s a good thing.  This means that there is not likely to be a GOP caucus push to have all Republicans vote for this bill.

All legislators – Democratic and Republican — can therefore either vote their conscience OR their constituents’ views without fear of repercussion from leadership.

What You Can Do

As of right now, the focus will be to attempt a majority no vote in the House Labor and Industry Committee.  So if you personally know OR are a constituent of a member of this Committee, please contact her/him by Monday morning at 11 am EST.  Tell this legislator that you are a voter and that you want her/him to vote NO on HB 1960 because:

  1. It violates of core conservative and democratic principles,
  2. It represents attempts by national businesses to circumvent policy at its most basic level, and
  3. It will threaten the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who need this form of leave to receive critical services to protect their and their families lives

For more talking points on this preemption bill, click here.

Here’s a list of the targeted members of the House Labor and Industry Committee. Each link will take you to the legislator’s personal legislative web page where you can find full contact information – addresses, phone numbers, faxes, and email.  And for some of the legislators, you will also have links to either their Facebook and/or Twitter accounts so you can contact them that way as well.

Officers

Scavello, Mario M.

Chair

Keller, William F.

Democratic Chair

Majority

Minority

Thanks for taking time to help stop this bill and to stop this underhanded attempt to ram through a proposed law that threatens, among others, the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who need time off from work to create a safety plan or obtain needed services and protections.

Corbett’s at It Again

This time, Corbett is attacking LGBT couples

“Just Close Your Eyes”

Last year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly was considering passage of a transvaginal ultrasound bill to force women to have an unnecessary ultrasound in advance of going to an abortion clinic if they want to terminate their pregnancy. This bill would have required pregnant women to have the intrusive vaginal ultrasound with a video screen pointed at then and then would have required them to carry that report to the clinic the next day along with a signed form indicating that they had the procedure done.  This report would also have to be placed in their medical record despite the fact that this procedure was not medically necessary.

When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was asked if this was a bill that burdened women, he said that the women who didn’t want the procedure could “Just close their eyes.”

Here’s a clip of that comment (the commentary and the comment start at 02:39 minutes into this video):

This time he says, “I think a much better analogy would have been  brother and sister…”

Now this week, he’s attacking loving gay couples who want to marry just like their heterosexual friends do.  On Friday he responded to another reporter’s question.  He appeared on a Harrisburg TV station program called “Ask the Governor.”  The reporter asked him to comment on the legal argument that his lawyers are proceeding with in a case to stop Montgomery County’s Register of Wills from issuing marriage licenses to gays and lesbians who want to get married in Pennsylvania.

The legal brief compares same-sex marriage to allowing 12-year old children to get married.  His response, just a bit longer than the “Just close your eyes” comment from last year, is just as offensive.  The reporter said to him, “comparing gay marriage to the union of 12-year olds … you called inappropriate.” Corbett responded:

“It was an inappropriate analogy. I think a much better analogy would have been  brother and sister, don’t you? ”

Here’s a clip of this comment:

He later, as with last year’s comment, apologized, saying this time that it’s just a “legal” argument since marrying a 12-year old or having an incestuous marriage, or marrying a person of the same-sex are all illegal.

This is the guy who thinks he represents the Commonwealth?!!?  Women as well as men? I don’t think so! All gays and lesbian couples as well as any heterosexual couple that wants to get married?!!? I don’t think so!

Inappropriate, Offensive, Insensitive, and Hateful

Both of these statements are offensive, insensitive, and hateful.  And, yes just as Corbett later stated they are both inappropriate.  Yet he continues to attack – women, gays, immigrants, etc.  For a sampling of these attacks by Governor Corbett (as well by the Pennsylvania legislature), check out my blog posting earlier this entitled “War on Women in PA: At Least a 20-Year Happening.”

The apologies are not enough.  Corbett has to go.  He needs to be a 1-term Governor in Pennsylvania – something that hasn’t happened since the PA Constitution was amended in 1968 to allow a Governor to succeed himself (or herself, which might change if we ever elect a female governor) with a second term.

The Alternatives (So Far)

We know that Tom Corbett will be the Republican candidate for PA Governor in 2014.  We don’t know who the Democratic (or any other party) candidate will be on the November ballot.  Right now there are at least eight Democrats running: John Hanger, Jo Ellen Litz, Rob McCord, Katy McGinty, Max Myers, Ed Pawlowski, Allyson Schwartz, and Tom Wolf have officially announced and Rep. H. Scott Conklin, Senator Mike Stack, and former Auditor General Jack Wagner are considering a run. We need information on these alternatives.

So I started looking for blogs or commentary on alternatives to Tom Corbett.  So far, there is only one that is not party-based that I could find.  It is written by Cindy Purvis, Treasurer of Healthcare for All PA.  Her blog is titled “Race for PA Governor” and focuses on single-payer healthcare reform.  So check out her blog.

After the fall elections, there should be more websites up that can provide more complete information on the stances of candidates across a wide spectrum of issues, including women’s rights, reproductive justice, marriage equality, and other LGBTQ issues.  One of the best, in my opinion is Project Vote Smart.  Right now there is nothing on any race being held in 2014, but check back later.

Meanwhile, you can let your outrage be known. Contact Tom Corbett by email or phone at 717-787-2500.  Tell him that his wars on women and the LGBT community must stop.  Let him hear your outrage.  Maybe he might reconsider some of his views and actions towards the citizens of Pennsylvania.  I doubt it, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Save Centre Crest: A Public Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility

Here in Centre County, we have a county-run nursing home facility.  It is located in the county seat of Bellefonte, PA.  Centre Crest Nursing Home in Bellefonte has been county-owned and operated for 73 years. On June 18, Commissioners Steve Dershem (R) and Chris Exarchos (R) called for a surprise and unannounced vote (which may have violated Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Law) to transfer the facility to a private organization to be run as a non-profit.  If the transfer goes through:

  • We, citizens of Centre Co., will lose our say in the operation and funding of Centre Crest;
  • Our tax investments could be subsidizing a private company through a rent-free agreement, yet we’d have no say in how Centre Crest would be run;
  • Current Centre Crest employees will have their benefits and pensions cut;
  • The Bellefonte community would lose over $1 million when employees lose benefits and when jobs involving payroll, purchasing, and benefit administration services are outsourced to a private company based in outside of Centre County; and
  • We expect that costs will rise for the residents, most of who are lower-income and cannot afford any of the very expensive private nursing home care that is elsewhere available in the county.

Most of the citizens in the county are opposed to this transfer.  Some oppose the transfer because of the inability for citizens to have a continued say in how the nursing home should be run.  Some oppose the transfer for fear that their loved ones will no longer be able to afford the care and will be forced to move.  Some oppose the transfer because of the expected loss of benefits, including a defined pension plan, should the nursing home be turned into either a non-profit or for-profit nursing home. And some oppose the transfer due to the costs involved.

In 2012, the cost to the average household (not taxpayer, but household) to operate Centre Crest was $25 (5.6% of the county taxes) and it was less than that in each of the four years before that.  The third commissioner, Commissioner Michael Pipe (D) spent several months doing a cost-benefit analysis of either keeping Centre Crest as a fully county-run facility or selling it off.  The cost of Commissioners Pipe’s proposal to upgrade facilities at Centre Crest is less than $11.50 for the average household.  The cost of a suggested subsidy to the county to turn it into a nonprofit is $3 million.  In addition, the proposed plan involves this non-profit receiving the current and proposed new site rent free.  Should the facility be moved, the county could incur an additional cost of $700,000 to $900,000 to acquire the suggested new location (Bellefonte Armory) with no reimbursement from the non-profit.

The current set up, according to Commissioner Pike is a win-win for the county and for seniors.  As he argued before the vote, keeping Centre Crest as an upgraded county-run facility is both an “excellent use of our investments (taxes)” and “provides a home and medical care to our most vulnerable citizens–our seniors.”

The transfer is NOT A DONE DEAL.  Although the initial vote was taken to transfer the home, none of the legal paperwork has yet to be signed and there are some legal actions that are being considered to stop what has happened so far.

There is a better alternative.  Commissioner Pipe presented a plan to keep Centre Crest county owned and upgrade the facility for only $11.50 per year for the average household.

Together we can make this alternative happen.

If you live in Centre County, PA; have family in Centre County; or are concerned about the idea of profit over compassionate care for vulnerable seniors, then you can help stop this decision from coming to fruition.

  1. If you live in Centre County, attend the County Commissioners’ meetings.  They occur at 10:00 am every Tuesday morning. Voice your objection to the transfer during the public comment session at the beginning of each meeting;
  2. No matter where you live, you can donate $5 or $50 to “Centre County Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility.” Mail to: 148 Thornton Rd., State College. PA  16801;
  3. Write a letter to the editor. The local papers include the Centre Daily Times, Voices of Central PA, the Lock Haven Express, the Progress News, and the Centre County Gazette;
  4. Contact the Commissioners directly:
    • Via Letter*: Commissioners Steve Dershem, Chris Exarchos, and Michael Pipe, 420 Holmes St., Bellefonte, PA  16823
    • Email*:  BOC@centrecountypa.gov
    • Phone*:  814-355-6700
  5. Go to http://saveCentreCrest.org, click on “petition,” download, print and then sign it.  You can then, if you desire, you can gather more signatures.  Once your petition is complete, mail it to: Save Centre Crest, P.O. Box 262, Bellefonte, PA  16823

You can also obtain more information and background on Centre Crest, what’s happening, and what you can do by visiting the Save Centre Crest website.

DOMA and LGBTQ Rights in PA

I just finished reading an article in PhillyNOW, a weekly blog that touts itself as an alternative to the mainstream press in Philadelphia to “bring you news and politics with an attitude, whether you like it or not.”  This article, in light of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in UNITED STATES v. WINDSOR overturning the definition of marriage as described in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), calls on the Democratic Party at both the state and national levels to “stand up on LGBT rights.”

I would go even further. Not only should Democrats step forward, but Republicans need to step of to the plate of equal access as well.

It doesn’t matter what party you belong to.

The Declaration of Independence says,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [sic] are created equal, that they are endowed … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The  5th amendment to the Constitution, in part says,

“No person…shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

(FYI, It was this constitutional “due process” amendment that was used to overturn DOMA in yesterday’s majority opinion).

That means equality for all. Including in marriage and an end to hate and discrimination for all, gay or straight.

Our laws need to be changed here in Pennsylvania to live up to the Declaration of Independence and our Constitutional right to democracy and freedom for all. That includes, but are not limited to:

  1. revoking Pennsylvania’s DOMA law;
  2. passing marriage equality;
  3. adding sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as gender, disability, and ancestry (click here and here for current bills) back into PA’s hate crimes law;
  4. adding sexual orientation and gender identity (bill not yet introduced into the PA General Assembly) into PA’s Human Relations Act;
  5. passing the proposed the Pennsylvania Safe Schools (PASS) Act that focuses on bullying and harassment in public schools; and
  6. changing state inheritance tax laws to give the same exemptions to the tax that heterosexual couples have (as far as I can tell, there is no pending legislation in the PA General Assembly to do this).

Let’s do it sooner rather than later. Let’s come together.