Press Release – DELAWARE ADA CONDEMNS MOVE TO SILENCE LEGISLATIVE “HERO”

DELAWARE ADA CONDEMNS MOVE TO SILENCE LEGISLATIVE “HERO”

Organization supports Rep. John Kowalko’s work to bring more transparency to state government

Wilmington, DE, January 12, 2015– Progressive organization Delaware Americans for Democratic Action offers its full support to State Rep. JohnKowalko (D-25) for his unwavering effort to hold state government more accountable and roundly condemns action taken by House leadership last week in stripping Rep. Kowalko from his seat on the House Education Committee and taking away his chairmanship of the House Energy Committee.

“What the House leadership has done to Rep. Kowalko this week is nothing short of an act of retaliation for Rep. Kowalko’s long history of attempting to make the House a more open and transparent body,” said Delaware ADA Chapter President Mike Matthews. “It’s disturbing that Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf would use such dissent-stifling tactics to silence a lawmaker who is one of the most responsive to not only his constituents’ needs, but the state of Delaware’s needs, particularly on education and energy issues.”

In last year’s Delaware ADA Legislator Report Card, Rep. Kowalko was the only member of the House of Representatives who scored a perfect 100%. On issues ranging from minimum wage to support for expanding healthcare to redistricting reform, Rep. Kowalko has been a solid and consistent voice demanding change in how the government holds itself accountable and best serves its citizens.

Educators and families were up in arms when they learned Rep. Kowalkohad been removed from the House Education committee, presumably because of his vocal opposition to the Governor’s “Priority Schools” plan in Wilmington.

“Rep. Kowalko is our highest-rated legislator for one reason: He never gives up fighting for what he knows is right,” said Matthews. “As a teacher who lives and works in the City of Wilmington, I know full well I can count on him to take up the issues that have the most impact on the students in our neediest schools.”

Also concerning to Delaware ADA members was the removal of Rep.Kowalko’s as chair of the House Energy Committee. Rep. Kowalkoplayed a major part in questioning the actions in the State’s pursuit of a power plant in the city of Newark, which could have had negative ramifications for local residents as well as those throughout the region.

“John’s removal from education and the taking of his energy chairmanship for representing his constituents should not be tolerated in a democracy,” said ADA board member and chair of the Action Planning Committee Catherine Ciferni. “This ‘gag order’ imposed by the House leadership is an assault on the open and transparent government Delawareans so richly deserve.”

Delaware ADA roundly condemns the action taken by House leadership last week and offers its full support to Rep. Kowalko.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Drew Serres at 503.507.9135 or email at drew@delawareada.org.

Rally for the Minimum Wage – December 4th, 2014

Food Drive

On December 4th, 2014 about 60 people gathered for the Rally for the Minimum Wage. We had political leaders (Rep. John Kowalko and Rep. Gerald Brady), faith leaders (Rev. Patricia Downing [Trinity Parish] and Sally Milbury-Steen [Newark Friends Meeting]), many workers (from Fast Food and Dollar Store industries) and organizational leaders (Medard Gabel [Pacem in Terris] and Mahkieb Booker [Stop the Violence Prayer Chain Foundation]) all speak out in support of raising the minimum wage.

Apryl Walker of Delaware ADA was a super MC and she rallied the crowd and kept the energy up throughout the entire event. Her comments were quoted in WHYY and the rally was reported at WDEL.

Rev. Downing opening with a moment of silence in light of the jury decision in the homicide of Eric Garner. She continued on that people of all backgrounds deserve a right to a safe and just livelihood. The political leaders pledged to work with their colleagues in the General Assembly to push for a livable wage. Some workers and organizational leaders spoke to the persistence of violence in Wilmington due to the economic injustice of low wages and poor worker rights.

Delaware ADA also organized a Food Drive along with the Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families, which collected over 4 big boxes worth of food.

For more photos click here.

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Delaware ADA Celebration and Anonymous Companies Action Recap

At our next Chapter Meeting On December 10th, Delaware ADA will be hosting a potluck celebration to recognize our legislative ADA Heroes! The following legislators have done a service to our state fighting for economic and social justice, which is why they’re our Delaware ADA Heroes.

To RSVP please click the link and let us know you’ll be there!

Anonymous Companies Action Recap!

On 10/31/2014 Delaware ADA invited Rep. John Kowalko to speak on the dangers of Anonymous Companies in Rodney Square in Wilmington. He illustrated just how dangerous it is to allow criminals to use shadow companies to facilitate crimes. Rep. Kowalko outlined a clear path for how legislators can show leadership and take action.

Rep. Kowalko and Delaware ADA focused on the negative impact of Anonymous Companies. We focused on how these shadowy companies facilitate crimes against the poor and vulnerable (e.g. through enabling predatory lending/debt collection, targeting the elderly with scams, and selling fake health insurance plans).

We dressed up in business attire (ala Halloween) with name tags that read “Hello My Name Is…Anonymous.” Volunteers held signs that described the crimes committed by anonymous companies (as you can see in the video). The ADA volunteers ended the demonstration at 1209 N. Orange St. where nearly 300,000 corporations are “headquartered.”

Upcoming DE ADA Actions!

November 4th is just under 2 weeks away and now is the time to support our Chapter’s endorsed candidates! Two candidates in particular have welcomed ADA Members to come canvass and/or phonebank for them. Below is their information, so just send them an email or call!
1. Claire Snyder-Hall – Democratic Candidate running against incumbent Republican Ernie Lopez.
2. David McCorquodale – Green Party candidate running against incumbent Republican Michael Ramone
Anonymous Companies Action!
This next week on Friday, October 31st at Noon at Rodney Square (Wilmington) we will be having a demonstration about the negative impact of Anonymous Companies. We will end at 1209 Orange St. where there are 300,000 “headquartered” there. Which as Action Planning Committee Chair, Catherine Ciferni notes “Where do you house 300,000 corporations?”
Over this year we’ve built up lots of momentum (as evidenced by 31 legislators signing a joint letter calling for transparency around these companies) so come out and continue to support this work!
Check out the event on Facebook here!
Email Drew at drew@delawareADA.org if you plan to be there or want more details.
Go out and support our Chapter’s endorsed candidates and come to the Anonymous Companies Action on October 31st!

New Report on Poverty in Delaware

Photo: William Hoiles via Wikimedia (Creative Commons)

Photo: William Hoiles via Wikimedia (Creative Commons)

Today, in partnership with the Coalition on Human Needs, the Delaware Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action just released a new report on poverty in Delaware

“Too many Delawareans are still being left behind even as our economy continues to recover, four years after the end of the Great Recession. Data released last week by the Census Bureau show poverty remains stubbornly and unacceptably high, and too many Americans are struggling to find a job, pay their rent, and feed their families.”

The report outlines the importance of anti-poverty efforts such as raising the minimum wage, providing carefully considered Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), and maintaining other programs for hard-working Delaware families (e.g. SNAP).

In addition, the report highlights the damage Rep. Paul Ryan’s (Chairman of the Committee on the Budget) budget cuts will have on poor- and moderate-income families.

“We need more investments, not less, in programs that help people move up and out of poverty. Massive cuts like those in the House budget and wrongheaded policies like those in Rep. Ryan’s plan will not reduce poverty – they would increase it.”

Click here to read the full report.