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NEARO Does GOTV Print E-mail
Written by Moira Saucedo   
Saturday, 27 October 2018 10:46

Your NEARO colleagues are engaged in Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) activities nationwide in preparation for the midterm elections. When the DC-based GOTV team (currently Moira Saucedo, Mary Faber, and Rafael Rivera) took a quick survey to find out what folks are doing, we discovered retired life hasn’t slowed our NEARO colleagues down one bit.

Rachel Hendrickson (Maine)
I've been Democratic Chair in Cumberland County (Metro Portland out to the New Hampshire border) for four years now and am considering another retirement from this--my new career after I retired from NEA--after the election. I'm having fun mentoring a crop of young political organizers and developing training for municipal candidates and town and county chairs. Two of our candidates have been endorsed by Obama, and we're electing the first female governor in Maine's history.

Husband Steve & I also act as host family for various out-of-state organizers or interns during election season. We've met some wonderful young activists.

Christine Maitland (Vancouver, Washington)
I am volunteering with the VEA to canvas for candidates on Saturday. I am also phone-banking for the Democrats in October. Congressional candidate Carolyn Long has been endorsed by NEA. She is running in the 3rd District against an incumbent Republican.

We are also working to keep the Democrats in the state legislature. We hope to elect some Democrats to the County Council here in Clark County.

Kate Mattos (Virginia)
I'll be canvassing for Jennifer Wexton in Sterling, VA. (Democratic challenger Jennifer T. Wexton in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is running against the incumbent, Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock).

Mary Gaul (New Hampshire)
I am working for our candidate for Governor, Molly Kelly. I have known Molly for years as the state senator in our region. She frequently came to our regional council meetings and interacted with members so she could take our message to the Senate and the governor. I also support our DC Representative Annie Kuster.

Shirley Wilkinson
I have participated in GOTV activities in the past and look forward to more in the future.

Deborah Mitchell (Maryland)
Deborah works with the League of Women Voters in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Moira Saucedo (Alexandria, Virginia)
Moira works with Indivisible Arlington, a group that picked a slate of three Virginia districts and one local Arlington County Board candidate this voting season to support in their midterm races with postcard parties, fundraising, and canvassing efforts. She also works with Spread the Vote, a non-partisan group that helps eligible voters obtain the photo IDs they need to sustain jobs, housing, and the right to vote.

Update on EducationVotes.nea.org
There are state-specific actions on EducationVotes.nea.org. If you currently go to the state pages for MI, MN, PA, AZ, and NH, there are opportunities for virtual phone-banking and in-state actions such as canvassing. Other states will continue to come online as the website matures.

In the near future, NEA is planning to offer NEARO the use of a new technology called “Hustle for GOTV”, a messaging platform that helps candidates, staff, and volunteers like us communicate with each other and voters in our communities. Hustle’s platform has proven to be a valuable tool for elections. And it means we can be involved with NEA’s GOTV activities from the comfort of our own homes. Stay tuned to this website for more information on Hustle for GOTV soon.

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 October 2018 11:52
 
Stepping Up Big Time Print E-mail
Written by Charles T. Williams   
Tuesday, 28 August 2018 08:00

Charles T. Williams, retired in 2007 from NEA Research. He previously served NEA as director of Human and Civil Rights and of Teacher Quality. Chuck is a long-time volunteer with the Meridian (Michigan) Democratic Club where he has contributed analyses of political parties and elections, protest actions and votes, and union history. His motto is “Never go to sleep at night NOT having confronted injustice.”

Rarely has there been a time in our history that the American people so desperately need a political party to step up big time to provide experienced and quality leadership, restore the principles of democracy, and advocate for and achieve social and economic justice for the working class.

Stepping up means dealing with a multitude of problems: the dismantling of our public schools through the semantic fraud of choice, charters, and vouchers; the conflation of the interests of big business with that of small business, causing real harm to families and workers in those small businesses; the hypocrisy and disrespect for the Constitution’s separation of church and state by the empowering of select, right wing Evangelical leaders and others who impose their brand of Christianity on women; the callous disregard for reproductive freedom; and the embezzlement of our democracy through voter suppression and extreme gerrymandering.

Added to these are the proliferation and use of weapons in the US and games of chicken with other countries that have nuclear weapons; the trillion-dollar tax cut for corporations and the rich and the struggle to save the social safety net from being cut to pay for it; and the extreme protectionism of the Trump tariffs that have boomeranged, with retaliatory tariffs harming American industry and agriculture. In addition, racist and discriminatory immigration laws continue, and the plight of the Dreamers worsens. And susceptible Americans are being insidiously manipulated to exhibit their darkest fears and worst demons: racism, sexism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, and elitism.

So, given all these problems and given that we’re getting so close to the mid-term election, how shall we manage our time and energy to restore democratic processes and advance the prospects of the middle class and working class

The answer is Get Out the Vote.

Chuck Williams’s Go-To List for Getting Out the Vote

  1. Give your name and contact information to the local Democratic Party and, if you are so inclined, to progressive community organizations that have GOTV campaigns. These include RedforEd, Fight for $15, and women’s, civil rights, and education and other union groups.
  2. Participate in the phone-banking and canvassing training that is offered and then do those things in the precinct. You could also help set up a committee to prepare and deliver food to volunteer workers and paid temporary staff at campaign headquarters.
  3. Help to prepare, assemble, and distribute voting packets that contain pre-checked sample ballots and literature about Democratic Party-endorsed candidates and supported ballot issues.
  4. Help to organize and/or participate in a car pool to take residents to the polls on election day. In a large urban area, help to raise funds to buy bus and metro tickets to enable residents to get to the polls.
  5. Attend the post-election debriefing to find out what worked and what didn’t in your local mid-term election operation so you’ll be even better prepared for the next election.
  6. As an addendum—Be aware, as you speak and interact with your neighbors and other residents in your precinct of the expressed intention by some to register protest votes. These are not protest actions, such as in the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter, and the 2018 Women’s March in which people demonstrated against behavior and actions that harm particular groups of people. Rather, those who cast protest votes are really expressing their disdain for one candidate by voting for his or her opponent. Or they express displeasure by not voting at all. This type of voter is susceptible to manipulation as by the NRA to vote for one candidate because the other favors gun control near schools or an assault weapons ban, or by the Republican Party to vote for one candidate because the other supports the Affordable Care Act or Roe v. Wade or immigrant families separated at the border or public over private schools.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2018 08:20
 
Obituary of Phillip Moeckli 1943 - 2018 Print E-mail
Written by Lynn Coffin   
Friday, 26 October 2018 18:50

Phillip Arnold Moeckli, 75, passed away Tuesday, October 16, 2018, with family and close caretakers at his side. Phil was born on July 6, 1943 in Owensville, Missouri, to Arnold and Marjorie (Barnett) Moeckli.  His quick wit and clever mind did not help him scholastically – he graduated from Owensville High School in 1961 near the bottom of his class – but did enamor him to his teachers, his classmates (he was the student body president), and Karen Bledsoe, his on-again, off-again high school girlfriend.

After graduation, Phil served in the United States Air Force, 7405th Support Squadron (7499th Support Group (USAFE)), receiving his honorable discharge in 1965 as the rank of Airman First Class.  Trained to operate and maintain bomb navigational systems on B-52 and B-47 aircraft, he was assigned to Royal Air Force Station, Sculthorpe, England, then to West Germany at Wiesbaden Army Airfield.  He traveled throughout Europe, the Canary and Ascension Islands, and West Africa. In October 1964 Phil was one of ten from the 7499th to be assigned to Leopoldville, Republic of the Congo to provide direct passenger and cargo support for operation DRAGON ROUGE, USAF’s most ambitious airlift in the DRC to recover nearly 2,000 Western hostages seized by rebels in Stanleyville.

On June 13, 1965, Phil and Karen married.  Their first home was in an apartment above the funeral parlor in Owensville. Phil graduated Magna Cum Laude from Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg, Missouri in 1970, with a BS in Education and a MS in Administration and Supervision.  Phil and Karen moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1970, where they had Jane in 1972, and Phil began his 35-year career as a teacher and teacher advocate.  After teaching several years at Buena Vista Elementary School, Phil became president of the Colorado Springs Teachers Association and in 1975 he led a teachers’ strike in Colorado Springs School District 11, one of over 200 strikes across the nation during the 1975-76 school year fighting for professional respect, better pay, and smaller class sizes.  Phil was offered UniServ Director positions in Idaho, teaching local Idaho Education Association affiliates how to bargain, grieve, and advocate from 1976-1982. He then worked for 2 years as the Executive Director of the Spokane Education Association across the state border in Washington.  In his final column prior to retiring as Colorado Education Association’s Executive Director, Phil wrote how blessed he was to have worked with and for wonderful people throughout his career, but especially the first staff he worked with in Idaho.  They were an exceptional team and great friends.

Phil was State Executive Director in both Missouri, his home state, and Colorado, where he began and would end his professional journey.  When teachers’ unions saw widespread decline in membership in the 1980s, Phil successfully reorganized and reenergized regional and state affiliates to build membership, become fiscally responsible, and be innovative in their approach to advocating for education.  His colleagues characterized him as thoughtful, reasonable, and calm, yet gutsy when necessary.  Phil worked especially hard to build coalitions during a time of deep political divisions in Colorado.  In between those two positions, Phil made lasting contributions to the National Education Association as the Western States Regional Director and the Midwest Regional Director during the 1990s.  He was Interim State Executive Director in Ohio and Virginia, providing “knowledge, courage and wisdom” to organizations experiencing difficult transitions.

After retiring in 2005, Phil volunteered as a sound engineer at KRFC, Fort Collins Community Powered Radio station.  He transitioned into “retirement golfing” – weekdays instead of weekends – and traded his Colorado Rockies season tickets for a training camp vacation with longtime friends and the MLB satellite TV package where he could follow the St. Louis Cardinals, too.  In anticipation of their first grandchild, Evelyn, Phil and Karen moved to Iowa in 2010.  Phil applied his past experience with building organizations (he was a Charter Elder of Faith Presbyterian Church in Hayden, Idaho) to support opening and volunteering at the Solon Community Pantry, a partner of the Johnson County Crisis Center.  Phil enjoyed watching Evelyn and her younger brother, Wyatt, grow, time with Fox Ridge neighbors – especially on the golf course, and trips to Missouri to visit family.  Above all else, Phil was dedicated to Karen and Jane, and they to him.

Phil was preceded in death by his father, Arnold, and his mother, Marjorie (Niederer), nephew Jerry Aufdenkamp, and brother-in-law Ronald Bledsoe.  His family includes his wife, Karen, daughter, Jane (Christian Mozena), grandchildren, Evelyn and Wyatt, his siblings, Stanley Moeckli (Loralee), Judy (Moeckli) Borutta (Robert), Patricia (Aufdenkamp) Gillespie (Brian), Charles Aufdenkamp, Deborah (Aufdenkamp) White, and Christopher Aufdenkamp (Wendy), numerous nephews and nieces, sisters-in-law Glenda Fuchs and Lois Bledsoe, and brother-in-law Donald Fuchs.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, at the Palmer House Stable, 200 E. Main St., Solon, IA, 52333.  Visitation will occur from 4:00-5:00 pm, followed by a memorial service and light dinner.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made through Gay & Ciha Funeral Services to the Solon Community Pantry, Pathways, or the Memory Care unit, Solon Retirement Village. To share a thought, memory or condolence with Phil’s family please visit the funeral home website @ www.gayandciha.com. Burial will be at a later date at the Salem Methodist Church Cemetery, Bland, MO.

Phil’s family would like to thank Pathways Adult Day Health Center and the Solon Retirement Village – especially the Memory Care unit – for their compassionate, respectful care of people with dementia.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 October 2018 18:56
 
THE FIGHT FOR VOTING RIGHTS! Print E-mail
Written by Joel Packer, NEARO President   
Tuesday, 28 August 2018 07:37

Joel Packer, NEARO President

As we approach election day, it’s important to remember that, for over two hundred years, Americans have been lobbying, litigating, demonstrating, rallying, marching, and sometimes dying for the right to vote. It’s been a long, slow process to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or disability can exercise their right to vote.

The Constitution as drafted in 1787 left voting issues to the control of individual states. Most states allowed only white, property-owning males to cast a ballot: not African Americans (most of whom were enslaved), not women, not those between 18-21 years of age, not Native Americans.

The first group of Americans to gain voting rights were actually white men—specifically working-class and poor white men who did not own property. By 1856, white men were allowed to vote in all states regardless of property ownership.

However, it took the Civil War to expand voting rights to nonwhites.

In 1868, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution granted full citizenship rights, including voting rights, to all men born or naturalized in the United States. Then in 1870, the 15th Amendment mandated that U.S. citizens could no longer be denied the right to vote based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Tragically, discriminatory laws, poll taxes, literacy tests (along with grandfather clauses that exempted white, male voters), and violent intimidation were adopted by most southern states which all but completely suppressed Black participation in elections until the 1960s.

The women's suffrage movement began alongside that of poor whites and African-American men, but it took decades longer to achieve. The 19th Amendment, which is completely identical to the 15th except that it includes women, officially become part of the Constitution on August 18, 1920, when the Tennessee legislature narrowly approved it.

Between the Civil War and World War I, Native Americans were forced to give up their tribal affiliations or join the military in order to vote. The 1924 Indian Citizenship Act redefined the language of the 14th Amendment to include Native Americans and granted full U.S. citizenship to nearly 300,000 indigenous people (about a third of the native population at the time). However, some Native Americans who were granted citizenship rights under the 1924 Act did not have had full citizenship and suffrage rights until 1948, due to restrictions imposed in seven states.

Other key voting rights expansions prior to the 1960s Civil Rights movement include the Magnuson Act (also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943), which gave Chinese immigrants the right to citizenship and, thus, the right to vote; the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, which granted all people of Asian ancestry the right to become citizens, and thus vote; and the 23rd amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1961, which granted citizens of Washington, DC the right to vote for President (although DC residents still do not have voting representation in Congress).

Although African-Americans technically gained the right to vote after the Civil War, only a small percentage of southern African-Americans were allowed to perform their civic duty until the 1960s. In 1964, the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, eliminating poll taxes nationwide. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 included some voting rights protections. But, the key piece of legislation was the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits every state and local government from imposing any voting law that results in discrimination against racial or language minorities. Since its original passage, the Voting Rights Act has been amended five times to broaden its scope of protections, such as the 1975 requirement for districts with high non-English-speaking minority populations to provide bilingual ballots and voting materials.

The 26th Amendment, ratified in July 1971, lowered the minimum voting age for federal, state, and local elections to 18. And in 1984, The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act required polling places to be accessible to people with disabilities.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as the Motor Voter Act), mandated that citizens be offered a chance to register to vote when renewing their driver's license. The 2002 Help America Vote Act addressed improvements to voting systems and voter access that were identified following the 2000 election.

Today, advocacy groups and public officials are making strides to improve voting accessibility to homeless voters, those with physical disabilities, and former felons. Nationwide, about 6 million Americans can’t vote as a result of a felony conviction. About half have fully completed their sentences, another quarter are in the community under probation or parole supervision, and a quarter are still incarcerated.

Sadly, several states are moving backward by having enacted or trying to enact new restrictions on voting, including expanded purges of voting roles, more restrictive voting ID requirements, making it more difficult to register, limiting or eliminating early voting, and closing and consolidating voting places. Overall, since 2010, 23 states have new restrictions in effect.

The fight goes on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2018 08:14
 
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