Want to Know Which Legislator​s Are Delaware ADA Heroes?

The Delaware ADA chapter has finished and released the 2014 Legislative Report Card! The report card serves as a guide for judging which Members of the 147th Delaware General Assembly act as champions for social and economic justice issues, as well as which ones are not working to move forward progressive legislation to benefit the State of Delaware.

The Report Card bases scores on whether Legislators furthered 17 selected pieces of legislation (e.g. increasing the minimum wage,extending civil marriage to same-sex couples, and decriminalizing marijuana) that Delaware ADA believes propel social and economic justice through their co-sponsorship, committee votes, and floor votes.

 

Susan Meany, chair of the Action Electoral Politics working group, noted, “It’s important to identify what our elected representatives sponsor and vote for when they get to Dover. This report card allows the public to decide which politicians are fighting for just causes and who deserves our vote to stay in office.”

A few findings:

  • The report card names 13 legislators “Delaware ADA Heroes” – legislators who excelled at promoting social and economic justice through co-sponsorship, committee votes, and floor votes.

  • Senators Karen Peterson, Margaret Rose Henry, Dave Sokola, and Bryan Townsend, along with Representatives John Kowalko, Paul Baumbach, Debra Heffernan, Mike Barbieri, Kim Williams, and Gerald Brady return as “Delaware ADA Heroes” this year!

  • Representatives Helene Keeley, Charles Potter, and Bryan Short made their debut this year as inaugural “Delaware ADA Heroes!”

  • The report card also names 10 legislators “Delaware ADA Zeroes” – those legislators who did little to promote the 17 pieces of legislation.

  • Representative John Atkins was the only Democratic legislator in the state who is on the list as a “Delaware ADA Zero”

 

“It’s an honor for our organization to be able to recognize such excellent work on behalf of Delawareans,” said Mike Matthews, President of the Delaware chapter of ADA. “At Delaware ADA, we focus a great deal of attention on social and economic justice and these “Delaware ADA Heroes” represent some of the state’s best advocates on behalf of all residents.”

Click here to look up specifically how your legislator did this year!

Vote this Tuesday, September 9!

If you are a registered Republican or Democrat, don’t forget to vote in Delaware’s primary on September 9!

Delaware ADA has endorsed 16 candidates, some of whom face a primary.

​Here are our endorsements to date (more will be made in late September before the primary):
Statewide:
  • Brenda Mayrack, running for State Auditor

State Senate:

  • Senator Margaret Rose Henry, running in the 2nd Senate District
  • Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker, running in the 3rd Senate District
  • Claire Snyder-Hall, running in the 6th Senate District
  • Senator Bryan Townsend, running in the 11th Senate District

State House of Representatives

  • Representative Charles Potter, running in the 1st Representative District
  • Representative Helene Keeley, running in the 3rd Representative District
  • Representative Gerald Brady, running in the 4th Representative District
  • Representative Kim Williams, running in the 19th Representative District
  • John Mackenzie, running in the 22nd Representative District
  • Representative Paul Baumbach, running in the 23rd Representative District
  • Representative Ed Osienski, running in the 24th Representative District
  • Representative John Kowalko, running in the 25th Representative District
  • Jonathan Gallo, running in the 30th Representative District
  • Ted Yacucci, running in the 34th Representative District
  • Paulette Rappa, running in the 37th Representative District
Candidates must complete Delaware ADA’s candidate questionnaire to be considered for endorsement; candidate responses and more information can be found here:  http://delawareada.org/advocacy/electoral-politics/
The Delaware chapter of Americans for Democratic Action is a non-partisan community advocacy group dedicated to social and economic justice.  Delaware ADA’s Electoral Politics Action Committee, chaired by Susan Meany, is actively engaged in the 2014 elections, helping facilitate an informed electorate regarding candidates’ positions on the issues and supporting those candidates our chapter believes will move our state forward.  Delaware ADA members and activists live in every state house and senate district in our state.

New Organizers for Delaware ADA

As Ezra Temko goes back to school to pursue a Sociology PhD at the University of New Hampshire, Delaware ADA has two new organizers on the ground to work with our chapter and ensure together we move social and economic justice forward in the First State.  Here’s some information about them:

Apryl Walker--headshot photo

 Apryl Walker

What is your professional background?  I’ve been active in the community organizing field for over 20 years, working to build organizations, raise money, engage volunteers, support electoral campaigns, expand important services, develop outreach/education projects, and direct issue/policy campaigns.  Most recently, I’ve worked with Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement (DACA) as State Campaign Director.  I also have experience in babysitting, fast food, retail, tutoring, research, cultural competence training, and peer counseling.
Why are you excited to work for (or continue to work for) ADA?  I like Delaware ADA members.  I’m impressed with how hard Delaware ADA members work and their level of engagement and commitment. I’m excited to get to know everyone better. 
What’s one of your favorite restaurants in Delaware?  Taj Palace, in Newark, DE (http://www.tajpalacenewark.com/).  I recommend the buffet.  Off the menu, I love their Lamb Saagwala, Keema Kulcha, and Mango Lassi.
What’s an interesting or fun fact about yourself you are willing to share?  I’m good at and enjoy figuring out how to fit items in a car or trunk, especially in situations where it previously seemed that all hope was lost.  I have a knack for eyeing items and knowing where they will/won’t fit in relation to each other and the space available; then I often figure out how to make it all work.  I don’t mind working solo, but it’s even more fun when I’m joined by at least one other person who’s equally engaged and delighted by the whole process.  It reminds me of a non-electronic Tetris game, with higher stakes. 

DrewSerres

 

Drew Serres

What is your professional background? I’m originally from Oregon and have been most involved with community organizing, developing/facilitating trainings, and =research. If you want to know about what I’ve worked on or ideas on social change check out some of my past posts of my now-briefly-on-hiatus blog Organizing Change (http://organizingchange.org/).
Why are you excited to work for (or continue to work for) ADA? ADA’s cross-issue emphasis that ties local to national, is one of the biggest reasons I’m looking forward to working for ADA. Also, I’m looking forward to working with all the other ADA board and staff since those I’ve met have all been incredible!
What’s one of your favorite restaurants in Delaware?  I live in Little Italy in Wilmington so I’m always nearby delicious Italian food! I also enjoy heading down to Catherine Rooney’s.
What’s an interesting or fun fact about yourself you are willing to share? I grew up on a ranch, and my job was collecting eggs from our 300 chickens. They laid 5 different colors of eggs!

July 30 Community Forum on DE Anonymous Companies

forum

Delawareans Tackle Issue of DE Anonymous Companies
International Policy Expert, Panel, and Community Share Concerns & Solutions

WILMINGTON – Over 50 Delawareans came together Wednesday evening for a community forum on Delaware’s anonymous companies put together by the Delaware chapters of Americans for Democratic Action and the National Association of Social Workers.

State Representative John Kowalko began the panel discussion, and shared that he along with 30 other state legislators recently signed a letter to Delaware’s federal delegation asking them to support the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act.  He took umbrage with attempts from the Secretary of State’s office to encourage legislators to remove themselves from the letter.

Special guest Stefanie Ostfeld, Senior Policy Advisor for anti-corruption organization Global Witness, spoke next.  Global Witness has investigated numerous cases of international corruption, and Ostfeld explained that a common thread throughout these cases is that they were enabled by anonymous companies.

Darlene Battle, Executive Director of the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement, shared her perspective on how anonymous companies hurt communities, especially poor people.  Anonymous Delaware companies have been used to buy up tax liens to force foreclosures on vulnerable homeowners.

State Representative Gerald Brady, Executive Director of the Delaware AFL-CIO, explained why this issue is important to labor.  Anonymous companies are used to help evade taxes and contribute anonymously to Super PACs.  Labor unions are fighting for a working economy that creates prosperity for all and believe people have the right to know who is behind a company.

Rick Geisenberger, Deputy Secretary of State and Director of Corporations for the State of Delaware, concluded the panel’s introductory remarks, stating that he believed the Secretary of State’s office agreed with the other panelists on the problem, but not on the solution.  Geisenberger took issue with the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act and outlined his opposition to company beneficial ownership information becoming public.

What followed was a lively and active discussion. Participants asked detailed policy questions about the federal legislation and issue at hand.  The issue of anonymous companies has been a particularly sensitive one in Delaware, as over one-third of Delaware’s state revenue comes from incorporation.  However, panelists were enthusiastic about endorsing federal legislation that would apply to all states.  Many openly challenged Geisenberger, vocalizing their opinions that the public has a right to know who owns companies and that corporations should be accountable.  Currently in Delaware a person has to provide less information to form a company than to get a driver’s license.

Delaware ADA Board President Mike Matthews concluded the evening, calling on Delawareans to take action.  “As a Delawarean, I want our state to be a responsible leader in incorporation,” Matthews said.  “If you agree with what you’ve heard tonight, there are many ways to take action!  Before you leave, sign our petition to help ensure law enforcement has the necessary information to ensure criminals cannot use anonymous shell corporations for terrorism, money laundering, tax evasion, and other nefarious activities.”

Photos from the event can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.748739668498868.1073741845.522724021100435

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Joint Legislator Letter re: Anonymous Companies Delivered to Congressional Delegation

Check out the letter below from 31 Delaware legislators to our Congressional delegation in support of giving law enforcement the tools they need to more efficiently and effectively investigate and hold bad actors who use anonymous companies to launder money accountable.

You can read Delaware ADA’s press release regarding the letter here and Representative John Kowalko’s press release regarding the letter here.

——————————————————————————————————————–

To: U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Representative John Carney
CC: Governor Jack Markell, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, Attorney General Beau Biden, Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock

Dear Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Congressman Carney,

Delaware benefits greatly from our status as a corporate capital.  Our state earns respect and revenue because U.S. and international corporations frequently choose to make and keep Delaware as their legal domicile.

While the overwhelming majority of American and Delaware businesses are law-abiding, some individuals take advantage of our laws by creating and using anonymous shell companies to facilitate money laundering, terrorist financing, drug smuggling, arms trafficking, anonymous campaign contributions, tax evasion, and other criminal activity.

We need to ensure law enforcement is sufficiently equipped to investigate and prosecute cases like these and the many more that remain unsolved due to a lack of information.  That is why law enforcement organizations support the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act (S. 1465 and H.R. 3331), such as the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, and Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This legislation would require corporations and LLCs to disclose their beneficial owner(s) at the time they are formed and for this information to be made available to law enforcement upon a summons or subpoena.  A beneficial owner is a real person who has a substantial economic interest in the business or ultimately controls the company’s activities or assets.

This matter is best handled at the federal level because the law would require all states to collect beneficial ownership information, thereby ensuring that Delaware does not lose any competitive advantage in business incorporation to other states.  Taking action will help uphold a positive image of Delaware as a responsible leader in incorporation and ensure that individuals cannot use our state’s incorporation laws for illicit purposes.

Please support S. 1465 and H.R. 3331 to give law enforcement the tools they need to more efficiently and effectively investigate and hold bad actors accountable.

Sincerely,

Senator Catherine Cloutier
Senator Bruce Ennis
Senator Bethany Hall-Long
Senator Margaret Rose Henry
Senator Bob Marshall
Senator Karen Peterson
Senator Dave Sokola
Senator Bob Venables

Representative Mike Barbieri
Representative Paul Baumbach
Representative Andria Bennett
Representative Donald Blakey
Representative Stephanie Bolden
Representative Tim Dukes
Representative Ron Gray
Representative Deborah Hudson
Representative Earl Jaques
Representative J.J. Johnson
Representative John Kowalko
Representative Joe Miro
Representative Larry Mitchell
Representative Mike Mulrooney
Representative Ed Osienski
Representative Trey Paradee
Representative Charles Potter
Representative Mike Ramone
Representative Daniel Short
Representative Darryl Scott
Representative Steve Smyk
Representative Kim Williams
Representative Dave Wilson

Restoring Democracy & the Common Good


Delaware ADA is co-sponsoring a film series that starts tonight!  Can you attend the Pacem in Terris 2014 Film & Lecture Series focused on RestoringDemocracy and the Common Good?  All programs are at 7pm on Tuesdays at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 W 13th St, Wilmington, in the Meeting Room (brown door).

Click here for more information!

Tuesday, July 8: State of Conflict-North Carolina
Tuesday, July 15: The Best Govt. Money Can Buy?
Tuesday, July 22: Take Action! against money corruption of elections
Tuesday, July 29: Gerrymandering and voter suppression (*ADA has a special role this night!  Come support our chapter, our activism, and our organizer Apryl Walker!)
Tuesday, August 5:  Shadows of Liberty
Tuesday, August 12: Conundrum of U.S. Media: A Review of the Contradictory Forces in the American Media