May 3 Federal Actions: Oppose AHCA/MacArthur Amendment, provide feedback to EPA

Good morning, FAM! I hope you are all enjoying the long-awaited arrival of Spring in the Keweenaw today. But on to less sunny topics:

As you are no doubt well aware, the GOP is renewing its efforts to revive and pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a.k.a. Trumpcare. Here is an excellent overview from FiveThirtyEight of the biggest changes to healthcare in the latest version of the bill, as well as those proposed by the MacArthur amendment. (Spoiler alert: they’re not good changes. They’re bad. Bigly bad).

This week, please call Representative Bergman (DC: 202-225-4735; TC: 231-944-7633; Marquette: 906-273-2227) to voice your strong opposition to the latest version of the AHCA, including the MacArthur Amendment. If you would like a script to follow, you can use this one courtesy of Indivisible and Families USA.

Also, as a result of Executive Order 13777, the EPA’s Office of Water is “seeking public input on existing regulations that could be repealed, replaced or modified to make them less burdensome.” You can join a Public Listening Session that begins today at 11:00, or you can submit comments online. For more information or to submit a comment, visit this page.

Thanks for your good work.

M

April 18 actions: turn out in defense of science, the environment, and Georgia!

There are lots of opportunities for action this week, FAM: let’s turn out to defend our environment, march for science, & make calls to flip a congressional seat in Georgia. You might even consider a spur-of-the-moment road trip to Escanaba tomorrow afternoon…

Local. Don’t forget that the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District vote is taking place at their annual meeting this Thursday, April 20 at 5:00 at the Orpheum Theater (426 Quincy St.) in Hancock. It’s too late now to request an absentee ballot, but if you can’t make their meeting you can also stop by their office to cast your vote: 711 W. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton. Call the office first to make sure someone is there: 482-0214. As a reminder, we are suggesting that you vote for James Tercha and Steven Siira who will keep the conservation district doing the good work we have all come to know and love. See the April 11 FAM post for more information.

Local/National. This Saturday, April 22, join the MarchforScienceHoughton for more details

State (via Michigan Resistance). “Shut down the Enbridge Line 5 Oil Pipeline: The Enbridge oil pipeline Line 5, which is 64 years old, runs underneath waterways that connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. It has a number of problems that can quickly escalate into major environmental issues.”

Michigan Resistance suggests that we call these members of the House Energy Policy Committee, to which the resolution has been referred:

  1. Chair Gary Glenn (Midland): 517-373-1791
  2. Roger Hauck (Mt. Pleasant): 517-373-1789
  3. Tom Barrett (Potterville): 517-373-0853
  4. Triston Cole (Gaylord): 517-373-0829
  5. Jim Tedder (Village of Clarkston): 517-373-0615
  6. Joseph Bellino (Monroe): 517-373-1530

“Hi, I am calling to ask Representative ____ to support House Resolution 51 and urge the governor and attorney general to shut down the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline. The Great Lakes and clean water are among the most precious resources for Michigan families. The highly problematic line, which has shown coating issues, could cause major economic and health issues in our region. I urge you to please support House Resolution 51 and end the Engbridge Line 5 pipelines on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.”

Federal. As I’m sure you know, there is a special election taking place today in Georgia’s 6th congressional district! If you would still like to volunteer to make calls and help to get out the vote for democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in Georgia and help him to earn more than 50% of the vote in order to avoid a runoff, you can sign up here.

Federal. Jack Bergman is hosting a town hall in Escanaba tomorrow (Weds, April 19) from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Bay de Noc Community College (2001 N Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829). I know it’s quite a long drive to make mid-week (it’s almost as though he doesn’t want a large turnout…hmmmm…), but if you can attend please do! If you would like to attend but don’t have a ride go ahead and message the list or post to our FB page; maybe we can work out some carpools. If anyone does attend, we’d love to hear how it went.

Onward,

M

URGENT local action: Conservation District vote

Hi FAM! This Conservation District vote was brought up in our last meeting. Participating in this vote will allow you to make an immediate positive difference in our local community. Here are more details:

If you are registered to vote in Houghton and Keweenaw Counties, you are eligible to vote in this Board of Directors election which will determine the course of the Houghton Keweenaw County Conservation District Board. Some of the candidates running in this election seem to be anti-conservation and are seeking to allow motorized vehicles access to Conservation District land, so if keeping this land in its current state is important to you, please vote! We suggest that you vote for James Tercha and Steven Siira–they will keep the conservation district doing the good work we have all come to know and love. See Jim Tercha’s memo for more information about these candidates and why you should vote for them.

You can vote in one of two ways:

1. Request an absentee ballot from the conservation district by calling 482-0214. This ballot must be received by the conservation district in time for their April 20 meeting (that’s a week from Thursday), so request and send it asap.

2. You can vote in person at the April 20 meeting. This meeting will take place at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock at 5:00 on Thursday, April 20.

Here is a link to the Facebook event with more details about the vote.

Thanks for your good work,

M

March 30 – Federal actions: Supreme Court & climate change

Good morning FAM! This week, political action organizations such as Daily Action, Indivisible, and Michigan Resistance are encouraging us to call our senators to demand that they oppose Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Luckily, both of our senators have gone on record to say that they oppose his nomination, that they support the planned filibuster, and that they plan to vote “no” on cloture.

Federal. Why not call our senators to say thanks for standing up to the GOP and opposing this extreme nominee to the Supreme Court?

Senator Stabenow: 202-224-4822
Senator Peters: 202-224-6221

Federal (via Solidarity Sundays). As you have no doubt heard, on March 28 Trump signed an executive order meant to undo Obama-era climate change policies. The action organization Solidarity Sundays asks that you “call your MoCs and let them know that you do NOT approve of 45’s anti-environment executive order; ASK where your MoCs stand on it; and (optional) share a personal story of how air quality/environmental regulations affect your/your health/your family

‘Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from ______ to say how upset I am by Donald Trump’s executive order on the Clean Power Plan. It won’t create jobs—it will create more pollution. It creates a threat to the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as the public health of millions of Americans, especially children, who live with asthma, heart disease, and more. Can you please tell me what ________ plans to do about this devastating order? [OPTION: Share your own personal story about how air quality/environmental regulations affect your health/your children’s health].'”

When you call Bergman, you could also thank him for his opposition of cuts to Great Lakes funding and suggest that this executive order might also run counter to his stated objective of preserving the “long-term environmental and economic integrity of the Great Lakes.”

Representative Bergman: 202-225-4735

Onward,

M

March 14 – Daily Actions

Hi there, FAM! It’s good to be back with you, even if only virtually. Here are our action suggestions for today. If you only do one thing today, call Bergman to register your strong opposition to TrumpRyanDon’tCare, a.k.a the American Health Care Act (see the federal action below). While you’re at it, you can follow this link to share your story <https://www.whitehouse.gov/obamacare-share-your-story>  with the White House about how “Obamacare” has affected you.

Local (via FAM calendar). The Houghton County Board of Commissioners <http://www.houghtoncounty.net/commissions-board-meetings.php>  Meeting is this evening from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Houghton County Courthouse, 5th floor.

State (via FAM state Facebook group). Call to express your concern about Line 5. A member of the state FAM Facebook page posted that she had succeeded in reaching the Attorney General’s office in Lansing yesterday to express her concerns about the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. See this article <http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/03/enbridge_line_5_ed_timm_psab.html>  for more information about what Line 5 is and why people are concerned about it.

Here is what happened when this FAMmer called the Attorney General Lansing office:

“the staffer there asked for my name and phone number and told me that I was ‘put on the list.’ When I asked what that meant, I learned that the office is tallying everyone who calls about Line 5. She did not give a timeline for the tally. But hey it exists!”

If you are also concerned about Line 5, call the Attorney General to express your concern. Lansing office number: 517-373-1110

Federal (via Michigan Resistance). Call Representative Bergman (DC: 202-225-4735; TC: 231-714-4785; Marquette: 906-273-2227) and demand that he oppose the American Health Care Act – “This bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act and simultaneously cause millions of Americans to lose their insurance coverage. Millions more will see coverage reductions and increased prices.”

Here is a script you can use, courtesy of Michigan Resistance. Sharon says that Marquette FAM is calling today too, so let’s help them flood his phone lines:

“Hi, I am calling to ask Representative Bergman to OPPOSE the American Health Care Act. It is not fair that my family and neighbors will see our prices increase while the wealthiest Americans will gets thousands in tax rebates.

Our older family members will see prices rise, and hospitals will see job losses with the decrease in care coverage. The damage to the economy and my family’s pocketbook is troubling. I am asking that you vote AGAINST this bill. We need Americans to have health care and for everyone to pay their fair share.”

If you are feeling ambitious, you can also call these other Republican Reps:

Justin Amash, (3rd District; Grand Rapids): 202-225-3831

Fred Upton (6th District; Kalamazoo): 202-225-3761

Dave Trott (11th District; Bloomfield Hills): 202-225-8171

Jack Bergman (1st District; Traverse City): 202-225-4735

Tim Walberg (7th District; Monroe): 202-225-6276

Mike Bishop (8th District; Rochester Hills): 202-225-4872

Bill Huizenga (2nd District; Muskegon): 202-225-4401

John Moolenaar (4th District; Midland): 202-225-3561

Paul Mitchell (10th District; Shelby Township): 202-225-2106

March 13 – Daily Houghton/Keweenaw FAM

Hello Houghton/Keweenaw FAM!

Action You Can Take Today & This Week

  • Today there is a meeting about establishing a rotating emergency homeless shelter for the winter in the Copper Country. This is something that does not exist yet, and the weather from the last few days is a reminder of how crucial it could be for some. The meeting is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Hancock (401 Quincy St.)
  • The Houghton County Commission is meeting tomorrow at 5:00 pm in the Conference Room on the fifth floor of the Houghton County Courthouse.
  • The Hancock City Council meeting is Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the City Council chambers at City Hall.
  • Let us know if there are meetings or volunteer opportunities happening locally that should be shared with our group!


Issues at the Local Level
I have attached some images provided on Facebook by Krissy Sundstrom relating to the proposed bond and millage for Houghton-Portage Township schools.

Issues with at the State Level
A bill proposed by Senator Casperson to streamline permitting of small mines has passed the MI Senate, it will move to the house and Representatives Kivela, Dianda, and LaFave all support the measure.

We saw a number of familiar faces at the Count MI Vote town hall. The overall tone of the crowd was positive that change needed to happen to stop gerrymandering (including in our own 110 MI House district!), but it will take a lot of signatures and work to get the MI constitution amended in 2018. Details on the proposal are not yet available, and if you want to have input on the final proposal you can go here or here to learn more.

Issues at the National Level
Call Representative Bergman and say thanks for his seeming reversal from his March 7 town hall position on Great Lakes funding. He has posted that he supports the Great Lakes and has signed a letter to the President in favor of the GLRI funding, but he is going to need both political cover (so call and say thanks), and to have his feet held to the fire when it comes time for voting.

Joe

March 8 – Daily Houghton/Keweenaw FAM

Happy International Woman’s Day Houghton/Keweenaw FAM!

A reminder about some of the things you can do to celebrate International Women’s Day can be found here and here. I’m going to try something different today and place some direct actions up at the top, regardless of their scale, and then include local, state, and federal issues that warrant a phone call or a letter down below.

Action You Can Take Today

  • Houghton City Council meets this evening at 5:30, it would be great to have a member(s) at all of the local council meeting. If you attend let me know what you heard!
  • If you took part in Representative Bergman’s telephone town hall last night I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the questions and answers, I am trying to put together at least a summary of the event.
  • The organizers of the unofficial Town Hall for Rep. Bergman in Marquette on April 13th @ 7:00 PM have sent an invitations to all of the representative’s offices via certified mail, so he knows he is invited. The cost for to advertise, rent a venue, send postage, etc. may reach up to $3000. If you are able and interested the organizers would love a small donation via paypal.
  • Let me know if there are meetings or volunteer opportunities happening locally that should be shared with our group!


Issues with Local Impact
With the budget talks looming in Congress one often overlooked but important federal program that benefits our area is the Essential Air Service, which provides subsidies to small, rural airports that may not otherwise be commercially viable, including Houghton County Memorial Airport. See this column in the Daily Mining Gazette for more info.

Issues with State Impacts
A partnership approach has been proposed by the state Superintendent Brian Whiston to avoid closure of 38 schools. This approach would partner local school districts, ISDs, and the state to develop 18-month action plans for low performing schools.
Critics of bills to change state education standards point to a section in the bill that allows parents to opt their children out of any ‘testing that the parent finds unacceptable with no negative repercussions’.
According to survey data from MSU & YouGov, 59% of Michiganders support protecting the environment over ensuring economic growth when the two are in direct conflict (my two cents: good environmental stewardship will lead to long-term economic growth, which is more important than short-term profits). This is good information to use in conversations with neighbors, family, and political staffers.

Issues with National Impacts
A bill introduced into the Michigan State Senate would require candidates for President and Vice-President to make publicly-available 5 years of tax records in order to appear on the ballot. It is currently in the Elections and Government Reform Committee (Senator Casperson is not a member).

Joe