In this election cycle, Conor Lamb, Doug Jones, and others have demonstrated that Democrats can win in deep-red districts if they campaign as Sanders-style economic populists, Hal Ginsberg writes. Assuming Democratic candidates in the mid-terms follow this script, the Democrats could take control of the House in November. Even the Senate may not be out of reach although most of the contested seats this year are occupied by Democrats.
Progressive Maryland is evaluating candidates for federal, statewide and local government offices and making endorsements based on progressive, pro-people principles and records of progressive public activism and achievement, in office or as private citizens. With our two latest endorsements we have announced our backing for about fifty candidates for offices ranging from the US Congress to local county governments.Read more
We don’t hear much use of the term “industrial policy” in current political crosstalk. It’s a worthy program – a conscious orientation of government activism creating viable, sustainable work and healthier communities by creating positive public or public-private enterprises (often worker controlled). Here, the United Electrical Workers (UE) pushes back against the false promise of Trump tariffs to protect US jobs, and instead in favor of a planned program “based on international cooperation, respect for workers’ rights, and environmental sustainability — one that raises living standards for workers across industries and across borders through investment in infrastructure, jobs and social programs.”Read more
Did you know there are fewer than 100 days until the Maryland Primary elections, taking place on June 26th?
So far this year, Progressive Maryland has had over 100 member leaders and volunteers knock on 4,000 doors at 14 different locations across the state!Read more
Progressive Maryland’s folks have been busy during the General Assembly session testifying on, and watching the progress of, the many bills working their way through legislative committees as the Maryland legislature moves into its last month of the 2018 session.
Here’s a roundup, with selections from testimony on bills submitted or delivered at the committees’ sessions. We’re pushing on pro-working family bills that protect local autonomy, raise wages toward a living wage and provide genuine health care coverage, help preserve net neutrality, recover revenue from an ill-conceived tax move, improve voter access and protect pregnant women’s workplace rights.
California's long-serving Senator Dianne Feinstein could be headed for rough waters. She will almost certainly lose the votes of white progressives who favor a socialist economic agenda and a pacifist foreign policy. Feinstein drew jeers at a town hall last year when she declared that she opposes Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan. She is one of the party’s hawks and her less confrontational approach towards President Trump has also cost her support on the left.Read more
Progressive Maryland submitted this testimony to the House Economic Matters Committee March 12 on behalf of bills prohibiting the use of salary history in determining compensation in the hiring process – a practice that disadvantages all working people seeking employment but particularly impacts women and minorities.
Across the state of Maryland, community members are rising up to resist policies that divide and dehumanize us and to advance an agenda that puts people and planet first. They are leading and organizing their communities by knocking on doors, making calls, building relationships, leading issue campaigns, and running for office.Read more
“Without a doubt, union organizing was instrumental in generating the West Virginia teachers’ successful action. But the strike may illustrate the changing nature of union power in the progressive movement," Jeff Bryant explains here. " …. In the meantime, the strike’s results, and the organizing and communications effort that brought the results about, seem to be galvanizing a movement for progressive change that could carry into November elections.” As Bryant points out here, the public at large needs to fight alongside the teachers as regressive legislators try to sneak through offsetting cuts in social services to meet revenue needs.
Senator Rich Madaleno recently proposed a $15 minimum wage bill for Maryland, SB543. A companion bill was proposed by Delegate Shelly Hettleman, HB664. These bills propose a gradual increase in the state minimum wage from its current level of $9.25 to $15 in 2023. After that, the minimum wage will be increased annually based on the consumer price index. My daughter and step-son are both struggling to survive in Columbia on part-time minimum wage jobs. For them, even $0.50 more an hour makes a noticeable difference.
As of this writing, the House bill has 73 cosponsors for a total of 74 votes, ensuring passage of the bill by majority vote. On the other hand, the Senate bill has 20 cosponsors for a total of 21 votes. Since there are 47 Senators, 24 votes are needed for passage by majority vote. So we need at least three more Senators to sign on as cosponsors to ensure passage in the Senate. If Gov. Hogan vetoes the bill, we would need 85 votes in the House and 29 in the Senate to override the veto.
To get contact information for your state Senator, go to <http://www.progressivehoco.org/hoco_sb0543>. While there please sign the petition in support of the $15 minimum wage bill.
We have three state Senators who serve Howard County, Gail Bates (Rep-District 9), Ed Kasemeyer (Dem-District 12) and Guy Guzzone (Dem-District 13.) None of our Senators has signed on as a cosponsor of the bill. I corresponded with Sen. Kasemeyer's office and he expressed some reservations about supporting the bill because of a slow economic recovery of the Lower Shore region. He also expressed concern that raising the minimum wage would encourage automation to replace low paying jobs, eliminating those jobs and ultimately hurting the workers. Both of these are spurious arguments. A study of minimum wage hikes in 137 localities around the country showed no adverse affect on the minimum wage workers. An article referencing the work can be found at:
Similarly the worry about automation in unfounded. Automation is part of our future and will certainly be replacing jobs whether we have a minimum wage hike or not. Some minimum wage jobs are vulnerable to automation, but many are not because they involve human interaction. These include jobs in daycare and elder care where the point is to have people take care of people. And these are some of the lowest paying jobs in the country.
When I called Senator Guzzone's office I asked what his stand was on the bill. They were not very familiar with the issue (there are a lot of bills, they said) and asked what my opinion was. I told them I was strongly in favor of it and that I encouraged Sen. Guzzone to sign on as a cosponsor.
I have not contacted Gail Bates office.
From my interactions with Howard County's Senators, I feel that they can be persuaded to support the Senate bill and to sign on as cosponsors. But they need to hear from you, their constituents. I am sharing the petition and contact information (<http://www.progressivehoco.org/hoco_sb0543>) in the hope that you, the residents of Maryland, will engage your Senators and tell them that you want them to cosponsor this bill. I only takes a call or an email to let them know what you think about the Fight for $15!