Government of the people, by the people, and for the people
The Democratic Party has stood most authentically for the right of every citizen to a free and fair political process, most especially the right to vote.
The principle of prevention
Preventing avoidable tragedies is both more compassionate and more cost effective than ignoring problems until they blow up.
When bad things happen—when a crime is committed, a bridge collapses, or a consumer product is found to be poisonous or dangerous, people regardless of political party look to their government for help. I want to live where our infrastructure is sound, our food and medicines are safe, unwanted pregnancies are prevented, and our children get what they need to become healthy, well-educated and productive citizens.
Today we are living the costs of failing to invest in prevention. Failing to invest in prevention (as in the examples shown below), has led to the exploding costs of incarceration, emergency response systems and medical care we are seeing now. It's like we handed the devil a credit card.
I was interviewed by the wonderful Mary Ann Claytor for her weekly 1-hour podcast - here's the link:
Our only hope is to strengthen and grow the middle class.
After 50 years of fairly equal growth in prosperity after World War II, things started to change with Reagan’s presidency, when he slashed domestic programs and cut funding to cities and states. Since then, the income gap between the wealthiest Americans and everybody else became wider than it was before the Great Depression.
The longstanding gap between the richest and poorest West Virginians has historically had a negative impact on our economy. History has shown that when the income gap rises, the economy becomes more dangerously unstable. Democratic policies have the best promise to bring back good-paying jobs, reverse the income gap and help grow the middle class again.
Politics is personal.
Even a small assist from a taxpayer funded program can make all the difference in a person’s life. I’m an example of that.
When I entered Marshall University during the Carter Administration, I had registered at the last minute after nearly giving up on the idea. I had no college fund, my parents had just divorced and moved away. At the time I could not see a way into college for myself, even though I had consistently made honor roll at Ona Junior High and Barboursville High School.
I was both amazed and thankful to find my government would invest in me and my future through an education grant (what used to be called the Basic Grant, now the Pell Grant program). I understood for the first time that government aid can be a hand up, not a handout. At a time of personal scarcity and insecurity, a few hundred taxpayer dollars not only allowed me to pursue a degree, but gave me dignity and a lifelong commitment to give back.
After Ronald Reagan was elected, federal student aid was cut drastically. I couldn’t maintain my car, had to go on food stamps for a short time, and was very lucky to successfully complete my last year of college through the kindness of a few generous people.
From then on, I realized the potentially life-changing impact of an election.
With West Virginia teacher vacancies already at crisis level, it's hard to understand how anyone can justify the benefit cuts being proposed by the PEIA Finance Board.
Labor representatives were recently removed/replaced on the PEIA Finance Board. The revised board has now proposed an array of measures that put the burden squarely on past, present and future teachers and their families, as reported by WV Metro News.
The board has scheduled only three public hearings this month - with none in Huntington - to get public input on these changes. Do you think this is acceptable?
Giving a raw deal to current and retired educators is no way to reverse the exodus of our young professionals, and is definitely not in the best interest of West Virginia's children and seniors.
Contact: PEIA Director: Ted Cheatham 304-558-7850, ext.52634
Chief Financial Officer: Jason Haught firstname.lastname@example.org 304-558-7850, ext. 52642
(Thanks to Diane Magnone, my sister Legislative candidate from Weirton, for sharing this alert.)
Raising our voices
Issues, insights and day-to-day adventures along the campaign trail