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February 13, 2017

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Weekly Newsletter

February 21, 2017

Kent and Queen Anne’s County Indivisible

Weekly Newsletter, 2/20/2017

 

“Politics determine who has the power -- not who has the truth.” - Paul Krugman

 

 

This week is the first Congressional Recess of the year.  Unfortunately, our District 1 representative, Andy Harris, has made it abundantly clear that he has little interest in actually engaging with his electorate.  Last week he held a “tele-town hall” meeting with residents in the northern portion of his district. He has stated he will be holding more in the future with invitations to residents elsewhere in the district.  

 

One of the regional Together We Will groups has organized a town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act, to which Rep. Harris was invited, scheduled for this coming Thursday, February 23, at 6 p.m. the Queen Anne’s County Public Library on Kent Island.  While our representative will NOT be there, we will be representing! Members of KQA Indivisible are invited to make the trip to see a panel of professionals who have direct knowledge of contact with people and issues related to the ACA will be in attendance to discuss and answer questions about the act as well as the impact of a repeal. We’ll also be asking, “Where’s Andy??,” to put some pressure on our absentee representative. If you’d like to carpool, please go to our website to sign up! www.KQAIndivisible.org

 

While Andy Harris isn’t planning to come see us anytime soon, he did post an invitation on his facebook page for anyone wanting to visit the U.S. Capitol during spring break.  Who is ready to take him up on this invitation?  We’re working on coordinating a trip from Chestertown to DC during the week of March 13th.  Carpooling options and additional details to come...

 

Closer to home, members of KQA Indivisible will be attending the Chestertown Town Council meeting on Tuesday of this week (Feb. 21) to ask questions, share concerns and information, and engage our local lawmakers in dialogue on what the presidential policies regarding immigration mean for Chestertown. Please come join us to show support for these important members of our community! Space will be limited so we encourage you to come between 6:30-6:45pm for the 7:30 meeting. The meeting will take place in the Town Building, 118 N. Cross Street.

 

Attending these meetings are just two of the things you can do this week to educate yourself and others and challenge the dangerous and divisive policies proposed by the current administration.

 

 

Actions For The Week of 2/13/2017

 

REALLY IMPORTANT!

 

  • Feb. 21: 7:30 pm (arrive early--6:45): Chestertown Town Council Meeting, 118 Cross St. Presentation by K & QA Indivisible Immigration Task Force.

  • Feb. 23: 6 p.m. Affordable Care Act Town Hall meeting at Queen Anne’s County library in Stevensville.

 

If you have a busy week: (shorter time commitment)

 

  • There are a few Congressional committees saying they will look into the Russia/Trump/Election mess, but only S.B. 27 calls for an independent commission, however it is languishing in committee since early January.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/27 Contact your senator and tell them to get behind this.  The country needs this to be resolved before we can move on. An independent commission will be the best way.    https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/top-senate-republican-blunt-says-congress-should-probe-flynn-situation/2017/02/14/8abbcad4-f2d5-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html?utm_term=.ba8087a7a7d1

  • Sen. Gillibrand has reintroduced the FAMILY act (S.337): a gender-neutral paid family and medical leave for all workers. The United States remains the only developed nation without paid family leave. Call your members of Congress and ask that they cosponsor and support Senate Bill 337!  Read the FAMILY act press release here:  https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/senator-gillibrand-leads-group-of-27-senators-to-reintroduce-family-act  Follow its progress here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/337

  • Protect the planet at the state level. Call Governor Hogan at 410-974-3901 to ask him to take action to protect our environment since Congress won’t:. Script: Hi! I’m a constituent calling from _ZIP_. I’m concerned about Scott Pruitt’s appointment to the Environmental Protection Administration. Since he will not pursue the planet’s interests, I’m asking Governor Hogan to make a public statement about our climate crisis and support efforts in Maryland to reverse the trend. (source)

  • Give Andy Harris a call! Here’s a script: I’m from _ZIP_ and calling about two issues related to presidential conflicts of interest. First, I support the proposed bi-partisan bill that requires congressional approval of Russian sanctions. Secondly, I would like Representative Harris to make a public statement of support for bills introduced recently in the Senate and House requiring the president to disclose and divest himself of financial conflicts of interest. Thank you.(source)

  • Join the President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States in urging your senators to NOT overturn the federal rule “ -- years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to stop some of the most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management.”  Oppose H.J. Resolution 69. http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html

 

If you have a bit more time: (medium time commitment)

 

  • Support a very special bumblebee:  Write: Rep. Ryan Zinke (nominee for Secretary of the Interior) -- Office locations at bottom of this page:  https://zinke.house.gov/contact  Script: Use a postcard. Draw a bumblebee and add the caption: “Bees are not optional. List the rusty-patched bumblebee as endangered.” http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/trump-administation-delays-listing-rusty-patched-bumble-bee-endangered-species-n719321

 

If you have some extra time this week:
(and are ready for a more significant time commitment)

 

  • Attend the free weekly dinner, The Community Table, every Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church at 105 N. Mill Street.  This meal is an opportunity to meet and talk with a wide variety of neighbors in Chestertown.

  • Maryland is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)—the first regional market-based carbon dioxide (CO2) trading program in the U.S. RGGI has been effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants. Since the program's inception, RGGI states have reduced CO2 emissions by 16% more than other states.

Along with these emission reductions come significant health benefits. For example, since 2009, RGGI has produced $5.7 billion in health savings. Given the political climate at the federal level, ensuring states continue to do all they can to slow climate change emissions is a must.

Physicians for Social Responsibility will hold a webinar on February 23rd at 12pm eastern time on their new RGGI health study, Analysis of the Public Health Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

During the webinar, they will discuss ways the public can engage in state and local advocacy efforts to strengthen the RGGI carbon emissions cap.

http://www.psr.org/news-events/events/health-benefits-of-state-based-climate-action.html

  • Check out this project dedicated to leaving resistance postcards in public places: http://falladaproject.org.

  • Check out the Women's March’s new protect called "Hear Our Voice." See if there is an event near you, or host one yourself! https://www.womensmarch.com/hearourvoice/.

  • Read up on the fact-checking of 45’s Florida rally:  http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/feb/18/fact-checking-president-donald-trumps-florida-rall/

 

Get prepared for these upcoming events :

 

  • March 13: March for Schools

http://action.marylandeducators.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1791&ea.campaign.id=63837&ea.tracking.id=organicFB

  • April 22: March for Science in D.C.

https://www.marchforscience.com

 

 

Recommended Reading:

 

  • “How to Build an Autocracy,” from The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872 

  • “How to Beat Trump,” from The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/how-to-beat-trump/515736/?utm_source=eb

  • “The alt-right does not exist. It's nothing more than white supremacists who have repackaged the hate and served it up in a more palatable form for human consumption.”  https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ex-neo-nazis-explain-whats-driving-the-alt-right

 

Additional sources of information or action items we recommend:

  • Indivisible Maryland: http://www.indivisiblemd.org/

  • IndivisibleGuide has released information and scripts for contacting your members of Congress on specific issues: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resources-2/2017/2/14/investigate-trump-administrations-ties-with-russia

  • Sign up with Rogan’s List for daily action items and background information: https://roganslist.blogspot.com/

  • Check on the legislation being discussed in the DC and Annapolis

    • https://www.govtrack.us/

    • http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frm1st.aspx?tab=home

  • Keep up to date with issues and information on this wiki: https://www.resistancemanual.org/Resistance_Manual_Home

  • We have added a calendar of actions from Indivisible Maryland to the bottom of our Updates page on our website: https://www.kqaindivisible.org/updates

 

Thinking about visit to DC? Why not stop in to chat in the offices of our Members of Congress?

 

Preety Sidhu did this recently and has some insight and words of advice if you want to visit your Congressional Representatives’ offices:

 

In late January, I spent a Monday in DC doing some museuming, and decided to drop in on all three of my Congressional representatives' offices to discuss the action items of the day while I was there. This was a somewhat intimidating proposition at first, since I had no idea how I would be received, but it turned out to be a fun and worthwhile experience, and staffers said it was one of the most impactful actions constituents could take. So, I now share with you a quick guide to visiting these DC offices, should you find yourself in the area during normal work hours on a weekday.

 

1) Go prepared. Over lunch at nearby Union Station, I reviewed Indivisible emails, Jen Hoffman's weekly action items checklist for Americans of Conscience, and updates on where my senators and representatives stood on key issues at that moment. I jotted down 4 or 5 specific things to discuss with each office before heading over.

 

2) All Congressional office buildings are freely open to the public. All you have to do is go through a small, airport-style security screening (comparable to many of the Smithsonian museums) and you're in. Even their dining services are freely open to the public, so you could have lunch there if you wanted. The Senate offices are located on the north side of the Capitol Building in Russell, Dirksen, and Hart (all of which are connected on the inside) and the House offices are located on the south side of the Capitol Building in Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn. Senator Chris Van Hollen is in the basement of Dirksen, B40C. Senator Ben Cardin is on the fifth floor of Hart, 509. Representative Andy Harris is on the fifth floor of Longworth, 1533.

 

3) Constituents who show up in person are treated like royalty. The phones were ringing off the hooks in both the Senate offices, but staffers put the calls on hold and gave me their full, enthusiastic attention for as long as I wanted. They said in-person visits are the most impactful action constituents can take, followed by phone calls, and then emails.

 

4) Where appropriate, it helped to start with one or two "thank you's," then move on to one or two specific "asks," and close with any questions I had. In Cardin and Van Hollen's offices, I thanked them for opposing the "Muslim ban," the ACA repeal without replacement, and certain cabinet appointees. I asked them to oppose certain other appointees and request 30 hours of floor debate on each appointee. I closed by asking what more we could do as citizens to support and encourage our Democratic senators to take strong stands against the current administration. (One suggestion from Van Hollen's office: encourage any friends and family who live in states with Republican senators to phone in frequently. Their offices can easily ignore calls coming from area codes outside the state, but for area codes inside their states, they have to pay attention.)

 

5) I had nothing to thank Andy Harris for, so I started there with questions about when he planned to hold town halls and other events in the district, and moved on to expressing my disappointment in his support for the "Muslim ban," especially given that his own parents were immigrants fleeing oppressive regimes in eastern Europe. It was a little more awkward than the encounters in the Democratic offices, but still very polite all around. I made it clear it was Representative Harris's positions and actions that I disapproved of, nothing personal to the eager-to-please staffer I was speaking to. I noticed I was the only person to have signed the visitor book all day, another hint that these office visits really do stand out in a different way than the flood of phone calls (which are also very important!).

 

Final tip: all the offices have free "state snacks" available for visitors, so help yourself on the way out!

 

Our First Fact Sheet and Infographic

 

  • Data on the impacts of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare was collected from a variety of reputable sources and turned into this infographic that is quick and easy to share.  Thank you to the artistic talents of Jodi Bortz.
     

     

 

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