MN's Electoral Process: Diverse Audience, Excellent Speakers PDF Print E-mail

 

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       MN's electoral process gives all citizens a chance to participate in choosing a party's
       candidates and public policies. Above:  Writing, discussing, and voting on a public policy.

 

joy marsh stephensForum Attendee Joy Marsh Stephens posted in MN's Electoral Process: Minority Influence in 2014
   
9:20pm Jan 16

"If you missed it then you REALLY missed something special. Hats off to all the organizations who sponsored this really valuable educational opportunity. Thanks as well to the many speakers who took time to share their knowledge and empower a whole new base of constituents. I'm glad I was there along with so many of my neighbors."

Points Shared by the Speakers


benjamin kruseBenjamin Kruse opened the forum with an explanation of caucuses as the starting place for MN's Electoral Process.  At the caucuses, precinct chairs and vice chairs are elected, delegates to the Senate District Convention selected, and Resolutions proposed for the Party Platforms.  At the Senate District Convention, candidates for state legislative offices, this year MN Representatives, are endorsed and delegates and alternates elected for the Congressional District and State Conventions.  If you don't want to run to be delegate yourself, you can cast your vote for someone who plans to vote for the same candidates you prefer.

patricia torres raySenator Patricia Torres Ray told the diverse audience that a Caucus was an easy way to become involved in a political party.  It is a way for people to have a big influence because the number of participants tends to be small.  The people who participate become like an extended family.  Senator Torres Ray noted that most of the legislation she proposes has been suggested by her constituents, adding that it is the public that leads on legislation.  Legislators usually support legislation when the public rallies behind it.

 

sarah walkerSarah Walker, President of the Coalition for Impartial Justice, spoke on the large number of black men, one in five, who are disenfranchised in Minnesota.  Due to laws promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, many more people were convicted of felonies in states throughout the nation in the last 30 years.  Most of these convictions are for drug use and do not involve violence.  While drug use is similar in black and white communities, stop and search policies in black neighborhoods have resulted in a far higher rate of arrest for black men. Drug arrest policies carried out since the 1980's have resulted in the U.S. having the highest rate of incarceration of any nation in the world. 

MN is one of the states lowest in incarceration, but one of the highest in probation and parole.  Currently people on probation and parole are not allowed to vote.  Ms. Walker stated that the Second Chance Coalition is advocating restoring the right to vote to people convicted of a felony once they complete their prison sentence.  Restoring the right to vote encourages people to take on the responsibilities of citizenship and helps them to become reintegrated into the community. 

 

devin monteroDevin Montero, Brooklyn Park City Clerk, spoke on the important role of election judges, and the extra help that bilingual judges contribute to elections.  He also brought one of the new voting machines and showed how the machine works.

 

lwv-bpomg tab aalf ais bpdt

 

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Think Again MN Receives African Immigrant Services Award PDF Print E-mail

 

 

ais appreciation dinner 111513             

Think Again MN was given the Award for Community Education and Engagement by African Immigrant Services at the Appreciation and Awards Dinner on November 15, 2013.  Over 300 people attended the dinner including members of Think Again Brooklyns' host team:  Radious Guess, Reva Chamblis, Linda Freemon, and Carol Woehrer.


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Nelson Mandela on Poverty PDF Print E-mail


nelson mandela

 


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Michael Diedrich on Educational Equity (Podcast) PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Farrell   

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Michael Diedrich from MN2020 spoke to the Stone Arch discussion group on October 14, 2013. He talked about educational equity in Minnesota schools.  He has written extensively for MN2020's Hindsight blog on education and achievement.

 

Listen to the podcast

 

Diedrich, born and raised in Rochester, spent two years teaching English at Brooklyn Center High School as a Teach For America corps member. Seeing in his students and colleagues the negative consequences of No Child Left Behind, narrow definitions of achievement, and a punitive attitude towards schools and teachers, Michael shifted his focus to the broader educational system.

 

He is now a Master of Public Policy student at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where he is pursuing a concentration in education policy. He hopes to contribute to the development of a new mindset in Minnesota around education that emphasizes equity and reform beyond test-centered policies and "market-based" approaches.


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IRS at 100 PDF Print E-mail

 

How Income Taxation Built the Middle Class

Across the U.S., new progressive state legislative majorities endorsed the income tax amendment in 1910 and 1912.  Early in 1913, final ratification gave Congress a green light to add an income tax to the tax code. Eight months later Congress passed a new revenue act that featured a modest income tax of up to 7 percent on income higher than $4,000, the equivalent of $94,000 today.

john buenker and sam pizzigatiJohn Buenker and Sam Pizzigati explain that during the mid-20th century, a progressive income tax with steeply graduated tax rates raised the revenue that payed for the new programs and services that opened doors into middle-class life.  These steeply graduated rates sent the message that American society frowned on incomes that towered too high.  As a result of the progressive income tax, the U.S. became the first mass middle-class nation in the history of the world where the majority did not live in poverty.  In contrast, tax reductions in recent decades have defunded infrastructure maintenance and development as well as job training and education; eroded middle class incomes and Americans' quality of life, and increased poverty in the U.S.


Read John Buenker and Sam Pizzigati's article:  IRS at 100: How income taxation built the middle class


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Who works for the minimum wage? PDF Print E-mail

 

minimum wage epi 8-28-2013

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American Workers Shortchanged on Wages PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elise Gould, Working Economics, Economic Policy Institute Blog   

 

working economics epi blog logoEconomic inequality is a real and growing problem in America. Since 1979, workers are working more, making more goods, and not reaping the rewards of their increased productivity. Instead, CEOs and executives—the top 1% of earners—now take home 20% of the nation’s income.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Growing inequality isn’t an inevitability—it was created. It’s the result of intentional policy decisions on taxes, trade, labor, and financial regulation. That's actually good news: if inequality is not inevitable, then it can be fixed.

In honor of Labor Day, the Economic Policy Institute created an excellent interactive tool to explain the growing shortchange in American workers' income.  Take a look, and share it with your friends.  Remember that American workers should be earning more than we are. It just takes a few minutes to find out how economic inequality is real, affects you, is expensive, and was created.  Try out the EPI tool at inequality.is.

 


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Net Neutrality PDF Print E-mail

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Open Internet Protections

 

Internet freedom is under attack. Verizon is using every trick in the book -- spending lots of money to elect friendly legislators, lobbying all over Washington, and bringing questionable lawsuits -- to challenge common sense open Internet "net neutrality" protections.

What's at stake? Open Internet rules prevent Internet service providers like Verizon from slowing down access to competitor sites. Without these rules, your cell phone company could block your favorite apps or hit you with a surcharge if you try to use them . . .  And if Verizon wins, it also could charge customers special fees just to access popular sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Learn about Verizon’s agenda and what you can do to stop it in Common Causes's new online comic, "Big Deal, Big Money:"

internet access

 

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Why American Health Care Costs Are So High PDF Print E-mail

 

Steve Brill's 26,000-Word Health-Care Story in One Sentence

 

Sarah Kliff, Washington Post

 

What is the sentence?  Sarah Kliff states that Steven Brill's well documented April 2013 article in Time can be condensed to "The American health-care system does not use rate setting."  Other countries set rates for what hospitals, clinics, and doctors can charge for procedures.   The Affordable Care Act lowers health care costs by emphasizing preventive care, but it is limited in how much it can reign in health care costs because it doesn't set rates.  As our nation moves toward assuring everyone has health care, a concern with costs is likely to follow. 

Read Sarah Kliff's article.

 

 

 

Ending Price Gouging:  Brill's Time Article and
the Next Chapter in Health Reform

Diane Archer, Huffington Post


steven-brillIn his carefully documented article in the April 2013 Times , Steven Brill makes clear that there is no free market in health care.  Brill points out that "competition" cannot fix the unsustainable rise in health care prices because  there simply is no meaningful competition. Few people understand what medical products or procedures actually cost.  This explains why developed countries that limit health care prices have per capita health care costs that are so much lower.  To a limited extent, Congress allows Medicare to set doctor and hospital rates and this has resulted in slower health care cost increases for Medicare patients.

Deficit hawks' concerns about the deficit, together with their opposition to government regulation and misplaced faith in the free market to bring down health care costs, hide their true agenda - protecting and increasing corporate profits.  Brill points out that the market is under the control of monopolistic players protecting their profits.

Read Diane Archer's article.

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Affordable Care Act has unique proving ground in Minnesota PDF Print E-mail

 

mnsure - choosing health insAccording to Catharine Richert of Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota is the only state that will implement the "big three" components of health insurance expansion:  1) An expanded Medicaid program,  2) An online insurance marketplace, and 3) A basic health program. 

It's the third component that makes Minnesota unique. Only Minnesota has committed to offering a basic health program, which serves as a safety net for people who have too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. It is based on an expansion of Minnesota Care, the state's long-standing subsidized insurance program. Both the amount of care covered and the number of people covered will expand.  The new basic health insurance program will not have a cap of $10,000 on the amount of care that can be received as there is for the current program.  In addition to the 35,000 Minnesotans currently enrolled in Minnesota Care, 112,000 more Minnesotans are expected to enroll in 2014 and in later years a total of 160,000 more.

Read the full article.

Listen to the 4 1/2 minute audio interview:

MPR's Catharine Richert discusses Minnesota's implementation of the Affordable Care Act

 

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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

steve simon

 

Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

 


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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