News You Can Use – March 23, 2022
Wow, it’s still light outside at 7pm? Ah, the magic of Daylight Savings Time and some surprising news that the US Senate unanimously agreed to reclaim our time?!?! Apparently that was a surprise to most of the senators as well. In the political movement, we spend a lot of time fighting desperately for basic rights and literally begging our representatives to cosponsor things that will help our communities thrive. So watching a resolution pass with such speed seems like a letdown for the things that could have been added. We know that many of our issues are much more complex than resetting our sundials, and they are often opposed by lobbyists for enormous corporations with a lot to lose.
As a people with a lot to lose, we’re proud to stick by our members through the long, difficult fights to make sure #AllOfUs come out on top. Even if it is an hour earlier.
Ashleigh, Onah, Lev and the PA Stands Up team
What’s happening in Pennsylvania?
Whole Home Repairs Week of Action
On Monday, PA Stands Up joined with Senator Nikil Saval and many movement partners to launch a campaign for Whole Home Repairs. The newly introduced legislation will provide funding to families that badly need to repair their homes as well as provide funding for job training and apprenticeship programs to create home repair jobs. Notably, the legislation has already garnered bi-partisan support – dramatically increasing the likelihood of passage in the Republican dominated General Assembly.
Our sponsored events in Lancaster and Philly are driving the groundswell of real community backing for this initiative. You can find more Lancaster coverage here, here, and here. You can still attend our events in Reading and Allentown this week and become a community cosponsor!
Moving from Offense to Defense for Cartwright
At the federal level, states across the country are finalizing their redistricting processes based on the 2020 census. The results of this process has changed the math for the two parties jockeying for control of the US Congress. For the most part, the trend has been to create districts that are less competitive – leaving only a scant number of “swing districts” that are winnable by either party. One of the most important of those is the new PA 8th Congressional district. Currently held by Democrat Matt Cartwright, Trump won the district by 3 points in 2020. Although many Democrats in conservative districts have claimed that they need to vote conservatively in order to win (see: Joe Manchin), Cartwright has instead joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-sponsored Medicare for All Legislation. While he’s certainly not a champion for our causes, he has clearly demonstrated that you don’t need to be a “Republican-lite” to win in competitive districts.
The race for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in PA is heating up. Holly Otterbein reports in Politico that allies of Conor Lamb are looking to knock down front-runner John Fetterman by criticizing him for being “too liberal.” Specifically they seek to attack him for being a “socialist,” supporting medicare for all and defunding the police. Notably – Fetterman isn’t a socialist and his policy platform falls short of calling for Medicare for All or for defunding the police. These issues are likely to take center stage in two weeks when Muhlenberg College hosts a debate between the three leading candidates: Fetterman, Lamb and Malcolm Kenyatta.
What’s happening nationally?
Supremes Confirm Hearings
While Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was widely supported for the seat she now holds, Republicans in her hearing over the last few days are still baring their teeth at her confirmation. While the Democrats control the Senate and her promotion looks like a sure thing, Republicans are using the moment to grandstand against her on a platform of “soft on crime.” We’re surprised anyone can hear the questioning over all the high pitched dog whistles.
As they work to reshape the narrative around crime and punishment, we remember the path it took to get us here, paths forged by brave people like Anita Hill, but also by people who just “really like beer.” Justice still isn’t just for everyone yet, but having such a strong candidate as KBJ on the bench will help maintain the processes we are fighting to change.
What’s happening locally?
We talked last week about the incredibly short turnaround that state candidates have to turn in their petitions. Their final day to turn in the petitions is Monday March 28th. If there’s someone running for State Senate, State House, or State Democratic Committee, this is your time to sign their petition and make sure they make it onto the primary ballot! Some of our chapters are hosting petition parties to gather as many moist signatures as possible on paper before Monday. Join us, and become a member to be a part of the endorsement process!
More Cops in Temple? No thanks.
Speaking of people who keep trying to give the police more money (ahem, ahem, Cartwright), Temple University in Philly has proposed doubling the size of their safety force by the end of the year. Mass Liberation Reclaim organizer A’brianna Morgan pushed back in this article that ran in the school’s paper, stating that, “You cannot police your way out of gun violence and that is basically what this plan is meant to do.”