2/20/2015 Press Conference On Fast Track/Trans-Pacific Partnership

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is saying he will reintroduce Fast Track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this month — right after Members of Congress return from the Presidents Day recess. Now’s the time to make our voices heard in opposition to Fast Track and the TPP, especially in Delaware, because Representative Carney is one of the few House Democrats who has yet to commit against Fast Track!

When: Friday February 20th at 1pm

Where: On the sidewalk in front of Rep Carney’s Wilmington Office, 233 N King Street, Suite 200, Wilmington, DE 19801

Confirmed speakers so far:

  • CWA Local 13100 and 13101 Presidents, Diana Markowski and Jim Ryan
  • Delaware Americans for Democratic Action, Drew Serres
  • United Students for Fair Trade, James Collins
  • Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families, Reverend Bob Hall
  • Public Citizen Global Trade Watch, Ben Beachy
  • Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya K. van Rossum

As you know, leaked documents suggest the TPP would have disastrous affects on the economy, worker’s rights, public health and environment here in the United States and beyond. Fast Track would allow the TPP and other harmful trade agreements to be rushed through Congress, circumventing ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures.

The corporations behind the TPP are now going all-out in support of Fast Track, with teams of lobbyists trolling the halls of Congress and applying as much pressure as they can. When Members of Congress are back home, in-district for the Presidents Day recess (from February 14 to 23) it’s absolutely critical that they hear from you and other constituents.

See you February 20th, at 1pm!

Instant Run-off Voting and January Chapter Meeting Updates!

January 28th Chapter Meeting!

Full Group Photo

Photo by Richard Connell (Thank you!)

We had a great Delaware ADA Chapter Meeting this last week! We had a presentation on Instant Run-off Voting (more info below), talked about a June Delaware ADA Lobby Day in Dover, and kept conversations going awhile after the meeting finished!

We had 20 people come from all across the state, with a collection of new and old faces. Thank you all for coming!

The next Delaware ADA Meeting is our Action Planning Committee on February 25th, at 7pm at the Newark Free Library. We are going to strategize how to continue propelling our work on Anonymous Companies and ramp up our Livable Wage Campaign.

The next Chapter meeting is March 25th, at 7pm at the Newark Free Library. Next meeting is Bring a Friend day! So if you know someone who hasn’t come to a Delaware ADA Meeting, bring them along and let them see if this is the group for them!

Presentation on Instant Run-off Voting

Delaware ADA invited Dave McCorquodale, Chair of the Green Party of Delaware, to come speak to our Chapter about Instant Run-off Voting (IRV), which is a way of voting that “allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference, and then uses those rankings to elect candidates able to combine strong first choice support with the ability to earn second and third choice support” according to Fairvote.

The basic premise of IRV is allow voters a chance to share their opinions of multiple candidates, without only having to give their opinion of one (e.g. which gives people the opportunity to give their opinion on candidates outside the 2 dominant political parties).

Here’s an IRV Flowchart of the process of IRV.

Image from Fairvote

Dave McCorquodale also described other voting systems such as approval voting.

After the meeting Dave McCorquodale mentioned that “Richard Winger, who publishes a newsletter and a website called Ballot Access News, is of the opinion, that Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) is fine.  He said in actuality the theoretical tendency for centrist candidates to be hurt by IRV hasn’t come to fruition.”
“IRV has been used extensively and has been studied and recommended by eight state League of Women Voters organizations. Meanwhile, Approval Voting or a refinement of it termed Score Voting have not really been put into any extensive use.  While I indicated my preference for the latter types of voting at the meeting, if it is true that IRV is fair to all candidates, then the idea that elections would always be decided by a majority is very appealing to me.”
Dave McCorquodal said if anyone is interested in pursuing this issue, he could help setup a presentation from Fairvote to come talk more in-depth about IRV and how it could be piloted in Delaware (e.g. in the nonpartisan elections in the City of Newark).

 

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.

# # #

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.

1656024_312988408904105_2637678896173074611_n (2)

 

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!