Monday, February 28, 2011

Union Members Meet with Speaker Bosma

Several Union leaders had an opportunity to meet with House Speaker Brian Bosma today. Local 4 Indiana Kentucky Bricklayers President Ted Champ said, "We got a lot of our points out, you know right to work, common construction wage. A lot of talk about education and the vouchers, and charter schools. Was a lot accomplished? I don't know if a lot was accomplished because we believe what we believe and they believe what they believe." Here is video about the meeting from WLFI.

Union members meet with Speaker:

"Care Package" for Legislators

Heather Maddox, our Party chair, will be taking a "care package" for our legislators over to Urbana on Wednesday. If you would like to contribute items for it, please contact Heather ">here.

Klinker Doesn't Expect a Quick Return

Sheila Klinker would rather be at home in Indiana than in the Comfort Inn in Urbana. "We are very eager to get back home and very eager to get back to work," she said. "We're not taking pay while we're gone, but we're still working together to find a resolution. . . . We have people reaching out and supporting us, and I appreciate it, but frankly I'd rather be back at work doing my job."

How much longer can the walk-out last" Klinker doesn't see it ending quickly: "We're sitting around trying to think of a way to end this. It's tough and it may be another week. I don't see the resolution happening overnight." Read more about the legislators' stay in Illinois here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Democracy Looks Like: Lafayette

Yesterday 200+ supporters of teachers and public education in Indiana came out for a chilly rally in the parking lot of Happy Hollow school. Most of the speakers were teachers from Lafayette, west Lafayette, and the surrounding area. A features speaker was Jaimie White, a student at Southwestern Middle School, who spoke eloquently about how new testing procedures distort the educational process. Jim Ogden of the IBEW expressed the Union's solidarity with teachers. Rep. Sheila Klinker was in Illinois, but sent her best wishes. And a firey Sen. Ron Alting railed against the Governor's so-called reforms:

"Why is it that we have worked to cut thousands of teachers across the state of Indiana? Why is it that we have experienced larger class sizes? Why is it that in this reform, 90 percent of it is an unfunded mandate to our school corporations? And why is it that the remaining 10 percent is that of evaluating the teachers that put the haves and the have-nots against each other? . . . I simply say to you in closing that I do not consider this education reform. I consider it education deform."

Alting's remarks drew the loudest applause of the day, and his support elicited a chant of "Thank you Senator Alting!"

Here is the Journal and Courier coverage and belwo is video from WLFI.

Two notes: The J&C underestimated the crowd at 100; 200 to 250 seems more accurate. If any readers have pictures or video footage, we'd be happy to post it.

Teachers raise their voices in protest:

What Democracy Looks Like: Madison and Nationwide

Yesterday Madison saw its twelfth consecutive day of demonstrations to protect bargaining rights of public service employees. And it was the largest yet; estimates ranged from 70,000 to 120,000 supporters of workers' rights came out in the snow, despite ominous rumors about "clearing" the capitol and the unspeakable wee-hours passage of the bill in the in House. Here is New York Times coverage.

Across the nation demonstrations of support for collective bargaining were taking place--in Columbus, Washington, New York, St. Paul, and elsewhere. Here is a collection of New York Times photos from around the country.

The chant of the day in Madison was "This will not stand." This is a long way from over.

What Democracy Looks Like: Indianapolis

Here is video footage from last week's demonstrations against the Right to Work bill at the Indiana Statehouse. Expect more of the same next week. Nobody's giving up on this!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

President's Weekly Address for 2/26/11

Here is President Obama's weekly address focused on his travels around the country and deficit reduction.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Voice Your Support of House Democrats on Facebook

There is a Facebook page for Indiana House Democrats where people are expressing their support for the representatives resistance to Republican overreaching. You can visit the site here. (You must be a member of Facebook to gain access.) You can simply click on "like" at the top of the page or you can do that and post a message. As of 2 p.m. today the site has 887 "likes." We'll check back tomorrow.

Education Rally on Saturday

A rally in support of public education in Indiana will be held at Happy Hollow School this Saturday, February 26 at Happy Hollow School at 10:00 a.m. It is being organized by the Lafayette chapter of the Indiana State Teachers Association in partnership with local teacher groups. We need a huge crowd to show people we support our teachers and public education! If you're not sure where the school is, here is a Google map. Please attend!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vote Centers Bill Signed into Law

Here's something good that's come out of this legislative session: on Tuesday Governor Daniels signed the bill that allows any county in Indiana to adopt vote centers, allowing Tippecanoe County to continue to use them. Giving credit where credit is due, the bill was authored in the Senate by our Republican senator, Ronnie Alting. Here is video from WLFI.

Gov. Daniels signs vote center bill into law:

Teachers Speaking Out Against Education Legislation

ISTA estimates that the voucher bill will take $110 million away from Indiana public schools. Here's video from WLFI.

Teachers speak out against legislation:

From Heather: Democracy at Its Best

Dear Friends-

Below is one of the many photos I took while I was at the Statehouse yesterday standing beside our Union friends in support of Hoosier workers, families, and education. It will be a day I never forget. To be there among so many blue collar, working people who have come together as one was a sight to see and a feeling I can find no words for. One thing we can thank this GOP for, is awaking a sleeping giant and uniting working people. These folks are committed and are not leaving that Statehouse--and I thank them for that!

I am writing once again to urge that you show your support. Again--not only are they down there fighting against Right to Work and labor issues that will affect all working Hoosiers, but they are fighting for public education, our schools, teachers and even our veterans.

I know our schedules are busy but PLEASE, if you can, go down and attend a rally-even if it is just for awhile. This is soooo very important. There will be a carpool leaving from the IBEW tomorrow at 7:30.

If you are not at all able to attend a rally, consider going out to the IBEW in the mornings (7:00) and shaking hands or giving words of encouragement to those who are going back every day to fight the good fight--you can even bring coffee, water, snacks, etc

Please consider doing what you can to show support for those who are out there fighting for all of us--I promise you will not be disappointed! This is truly democracy at its absolute best!!


House Democrats at Work Urbana

Sheila Klinker says House Democrats staying Urbana are working on amendments to the budget, immigration bills, and education. "We are breaking quorum, to bring the discussion to the middle and try to get some resolution to these very divisive issues," she says. They are not taking their regular per diem pay while in Urbana.
"At one point you have to be able to stand up and say we're going to try to make a difference here and I would tell my constituents, all of them, both Republicans and Democrats, that we are working very hard here to try to get budget amendments that will truly make a difference."
Read more about the walkout from WLFI here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Democrats' Walkout: What It Is and What It Isn't

In the midst of much heated rhetoric, let's try be clear about what House Democrats are and are not doing. They are not "fleeing." They are not "running away." Neither are they "not doing their jobs."

What are they doing? They are using the rules of the legislature to protect the interests of their constituents and the working people of Indiana. The rules of the legislature provide tools for the minority to protect itself from an overreaching majority. One of these is the requirement of a quorum. As Governor Daniels has conceded, the Democrats are operating within the rules, rules that are in place to prevent abuse by majorities.

Let's get real. Republicans have used the walkout many times and they will use it again. Speaker Bosma's handwringing and talk of "dereliction of duty" is both wrong-headed and hypocritical. In a working democracy the majority must not steamroll the minority. When they do, they can count on the minority using the tools that the democracy affords them. They'd be derelict not to.

This has not been the legislative session the Governor wanted or the people of Indiana deserved; this session was supposed to be about job creation and the budget. Instead Republicans have force-fed the state a diet of Tea Party "hot button" issues: immigration, gay marriage, and union busting. And pretty much without compromise. So where are the job-creating bills? Where's the budget? Who's not doing their job for Indiana?

Ellsworth Won't Run for Governor

“I will not be a candidate for any office in 2012,” former Represenative Brad Ellsworth told the Courier & Press on Monday. Though he did not elaborate on his plans, he said he intends to pursue other opportunities. Read more from the Courier & Press here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Walk Out!

Like their brothers in the Wisconsin Senate, Democratic members of the Indiana House have left the state to protect the rights of Indiana workers to bargain collectively. Their walkout effectively kills the so-called "Right to Work" bill because it denies the House a quorum, and the bill had to be passed by Friday. Interestingly, the Governor said only that the protest was "perfectly legitimate" and, since they'd effectively killed House Bill 1468, urged them to return and continue the session. You can read more here. And here are reactions from Sheila Klinker and other politicians.

Both parties discuss Democrats' walkout:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Trades and Labor Rally at the Capitol

The Tippecanoe County Building and Construction Trades Council will operate two buses going to Indianapolis for rallies against proposed anti-worker legislation. The rallies will be all day on Wednesday (Feb. 23) and Thursday (Feb. 24). Read more about it in a flier found here.

The Right to Work for Less

From Tippecanoe County Democrats Chair Heather Maddox:

Right now thousands of Union workers are rallying at the Indiana Statehouse to protect the rights of working Hoosiers!! The so called "Right to Work" bill is being heard this week and rallies will continue throughout the week to send a message to the Republican controlled House and Senate that working Hoosiers are not going to sit back and be silent and if this goes down, it will not be without a fight.

I was privileged to attend this rally a few years ago when they tried to pass this and it was an awesome sight to see. The House was literally packed inside and out with our Union brothers and sisters and their supporters.

While I cannot be there today, I stand with them in solidarity and am a supporter of their cause. It is shameful how in a time where they should be focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, and the Hoosier economy (not how Mitch sees it, but how it really is), the GOP leadership has chosen to vilify our teachers, our unions, working people, and moved to put hate into our State Constitution.

Please join me in standing by our friends today and in the long days to come.

Weinzapfel Won't Run for Governor

On Saturday Democratic mayor of Evansville Jonathan Weinzapfel announced that he will not run for governor in the next election cycle. Remaining Evansville's mayor allows him to "still have time to enjoy my children, watch them grow up and participate in their lives in a meaningful way. I'm not ready to give that up," Weinzapfel said. He was considered a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination; he had already declared that he would not seek another term as mayor and had a $750,000 campaign war chest. He joins other prominent Democratic non-candidates, former senator Evan Bayh and former representative Baron Hill. Read more about Weinzapfel's decision from the Chicago Tribune here.

Here's the mayor being interviewed by Channel 13 on this subject.

The Upcoming Legislative Menu

The legislative menu for the upcoming days is not an appetizing one. It includes force feeding laws on "immigration reform," "right to work," same-sex marriage, and school vouchers. Here is Sheila Klinker's take on upcoming bills, and Ron Alting's not-too-sympathetic comments on vouchers.

Immigration House bills move to Senate:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

J&C Editorial Urges Delay on Vouchers and Charter School Proposals

Today the editors of the Journal and Courier urged state legislators to defer on a vote for vouchers and charter schools "until they figure out how to implement the system in a fashion that doesn't harm public schools." They say they had urged legislators not to take up this controversial course, but they have.
Studies indicate that charter schools, freed of some of the state's education requirements, are not the panacea some reformers hold them up to be, and in some cases, charter schools might perform worse than their public school counterparts.

And teachers and administrators have made sound points that school vouchers could siphon off money for public schools, diverting the funds into private institutions. This potentially could create separate and unequal schools.

Read the entire op-ed here.

President's Weekly Address for February 19, 2011

Here's President Obama's weekly address, this week at Intel headquarters in Oregon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's at Stake at the Statehouse?: A YWCT Forum

Sunday, February 20, join Yes We Can Tippecanoe's guests Sheila Klinker (State Rep. District 27), and Nancy Guyott (Indiana AFL-CIO President) at the Tippecanoe County Public Library, 2-4:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B for a discussion on the important issues coming up in the Indiana statehouse this legislative session, and how you can have an impact.

Sheila Klinker will speak about Governor Daniels' plans for education reform: what will these changes means for our school children and teachers? Nancy Guyott will speak about the controversial, anti-union "Right to Work" legislation.

There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions. Refreshments will be served. Please help us spread the word about this important event by printing out the attached flier and posting it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Township Government Forum

The Tippecanoe County League of Women Voters will sponsor Township Government and Why it Matters on Sunday, February 20, 2 to 3 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Tippecanoe County Public Library, 627 South Street in Lafayette. For more information, view the event flier here.

New Aluminum Extrustion Plant Brings Jobs to Lafayette

A China-based company will open an aluminum extrusion plant in Lafayette that will bring about 200 new jobs to the area in the next three years. Nashan America Co., LTD will, according to the Journal and Courier, "make aluminum extrusions that are used in the mass transportation, automotive, distribution, industrial and electrical industries. It also will make train-body material for the growing high-speed rail industry." Mayor Tony Roswarski said, "It's a big world, a world with many countries, states, cities and towns looking for a company like this to choose them. And Lafayette was chosen. That says a lot about our community, our readiness for new industry, what we offer and our stature on the world stage." Read about the plant more from the J&C here.

Indiana Senate Democrats YouTube Channel

Did you know that Democrats in the Indiana Senate have their own YouTube channel?  They've been doing short (less than two minutes) summaries of the week's activities.  Early in the sessin they did a series of short videos on how the budget process works.  It's worth a look.

Here's the latest posting from Senator Tim Lananae, noting that at the midpoint of the session the Senate has not passed any jobs bill.

To receive an email whenever there is a posting on the channel, click on the YouTube logo above and then click on the box labeled "Subscribe."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Polles Will Run for WL Mayor

John Polles has announced that he will compete for the office of mayor of West Lafayette in the upcoming elections. "For the past three-plus years, we have seen an administration that has been a caretaker of the previous ones, showing little initiative," Polles said. "I believe that this lack of initiative in leadership is symptomatic of a lack of vision, a vision for taking our community forward." Polles ran for the the 26th District Indiana House seat, losing by only 26 votes. Read more about his announcement here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mayor's State of the City Address

You can read the entire text of Mayor Roswarski's State of the City Address here. Thanks to the Journal and Courier for posting it.