Thursday, August 31, 2006

NY-24 Highlights for late August

The Working Families Party in New York's 24th Congressional District is working to Take Back Congress by electing District Attorney Mike Arcuri to an open Congressional seat. Here's an update from the field:
Take Back Congress volunteers campaigned at the Trumansburg Fair and got a good response. Phonebanks are starting up soon in Ithaca, Auburn and Utica and lawn signs are coming next week.
If you want a lawn sign or want to volunteer then email me or volunteer online.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sweeney reelect below 50%

A Sienna Poll in New York's 20th District (crosstabs here) shows incumbent John Sweeney's reelect number down to 48%. An incumbent with a reelect number (that's the percentage of people polled who think he should be reelected) below 50% is in trouble.

The poll shows the race at Sweeney 53% to Gillibrand 34%. That's a marked improvement for Gillibrand over a June poll that had her at 27%, while Sweeney's standing still (he was at 51%).

Gillibrand leads among Democrats 67% to 23%. Sweeney leads among Republicans 73% to 13% and he currently leads among independents 49% to 37%.

The challenge is to reach more people with Kirsten Gillibrand's positive message of change and increase her name recognition. As more people get to know Kirsten Gillibrand, the trend we're already seeing in the polling will increase and her support will grow. A recent MSNBC article lays out some of the opportunities and challenges in this race. The article also talks about Sweeney's worries in the race - particularly his fear that his blind loyalty to George Bush will be exposed. We need to take this chance and run with it.

I'm not going to kid anyone: there's a lot of work to do here. These races aren't going to fall into our laps, we're going to have to work to win them. But Sweeney's low reelect number shows that if we raise the money and do the hard work to get our message out then we can win.

Now is the time to get involved - volunteer or donate!

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina Townhall Meeting update

Here's a report from Alexandra Tager on Monday night's Katrina Townhall Meeting.
It was apparent last night at the event commemorating Katrina that the level of need folks in New Orleans still face continues to go unaddressed. The lack of a coherent plan for helping people put their lives back together is a day to day insult to a population that has already endured endless trauma.

Survivors who have come to New York are struggling to keep it together, either emotionally or financially, sometimes both. The trauma sustained does not just melt away like a flesh wound, it festers and debilitates long after the fact.

WFP State Co-Chair Bertha Lewis (pictured at right), also executive director of New York ACORN, gave a detailed accounting of the dearth of a coherent government response, even to this day. The public school system in New Orleans has been decimated, a majority of the teachers fired, and most of the schools operating today are charters - read privately run. Funny, didn't the Bush administration want to do this with vouchers? People have lost their addresses and thus their ability to receive their Social Security checks, so they have been cut from the rolls. Funny, didn't the Bush administration want to do this too?

Jeffrey Volk (pictured left), a former Bush fundraiser, came to speak. He's on a rampage against the current administration, after having been caught in the eye of the chaos while depositing his daughter at Tulane and witnessing the horror. He told of his Jewish grandparents being rescued by the US Army at the end of World War II, and his incomprehension at the fact that the same US Army couldn't be marshalled to rescue it's own people.

He was not present last night to tell a personal sob story he said, he was there because he had vowed to go anywhere, to talk to any audience, to decry "the disgrace" that is the Bush administration. Talk about an epiphany.

There's a tremendous amount of disillusionment about government, a corrosive lack of faith in politicians, which illustrates the loss for all of us, whether we lived in New Orleans or not. People just don't believe that politicians can or will do anything for them.

One of the most consistent remarks among survivors however, and the most heartening, is that even though they don't believe in government, they believe in people, the goodness of nameless individuals who jumped at the chance to help, and have continued to do so. It's a solid lesson for all of us.

The Working Families Party has a big challenge ahead of it - as does any one of us who cares about having a collective conscience - to restore faith in government or, rather, restore government to an institution that deserves our faith. Maybe the way to start that process is by putting those same good people in government.

Maybe we need to look to ourselves, look to our neighbors, join proverbial hands, and work together to improve government. There has never been a more crucial time to come together with one of our most powerful weapons - the power of the multitude raising their voices in tandem - to hold politicians accountable to the concerns of poor and working people and change the politicians we have for the ones we want.
More pictures below:

Kevin Powell, one of the event's organizers, riffed on Fannie Lou Hamer's famous quote "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired."

City Councilmembers Tish James and Charles Barron fired up the crowd with their take on Katrina, economic injustice and what we can do about it.

Thanks again to everyone who came.

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Images by Michael Scott Jones

Poverty is Up in NY. Does Anyone Care?

The WFP issued this press release earlier today.

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2006
New Census Data: Poverty Up in NY
WFP Urges Candidates (including Our Own) to Focus on Issue
NEW YORK, NY -- Reacting to the release of new census data that shows poverty up in New York State in 2004-2005, the Working Families Party called on candidates for state office, including those that it has endorsed, to address the issue of poverty in New York.
According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate increased again in New York State, rising from 14.6% in 2003-2004 to 14.8% in 2004-2005.
"It's a stinging reminder of the class divide here at home, on the first anniversary of Hurrican Katrina, to learn that poverty is rising here in New York. More than 2.5 million New Yorkers living at or under the official poverty level, and millions more struggle to make ends meet. Voters should be hearing more from the candidates, including those we've been endorsed, about their plans to ensure that every New Yorker has access to a living wage job," said Dan Cantor, executive director of the WFP.
The Working Families Party has endorsed Eliot Spitzer for Governor, David Paterson for Lieutenant Governor, Alan Hevesi for State Comptroller and Andrew Cuomo for State Attorney General.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Katrina Townhall Meeting tonight in NYC

The Working Families Party, ACORN and Kevin Powell are holding a Townhall Meeting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and why we need to Take Back Congress. Admission is free and no RSVP is needed.

Monday, August 28th, Doors open at 6:30 PM

Hanson Place Central United Methodist Church
15 Hanson Place, between Ashland and St. Felix in downtown Brooklyn

Take the B, D, M, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, 5, or LIRR to Atlantic Avenue Station

Seating is on a first come first served basis

No one alive today will forget Katrina and what it revealed about our society. Nor should we.

What can we do in New York a year later?

Tonight, we'll gather together to grieve at the anniversary of our nation's loss and talk about taking back Congress - which is this year's battle in the long march for progress.

More here:

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Gillibrand speaks out on Iraq

Kirsten Gillibrand is taking incumbent John Sweeney to task for his unwavering devotion to the Bush agenda. She's running a TV ad, called "Disagree", where she disagress with the idea that "we're making good progress in Iraq." Gillibrand says, "I'll stand up to this President when he's wrong."

Gillibrand, like a growing number of Americans, is calling for a real timeline for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. She's willing to debate Sweeney on the issue and let voters make up their minds.

But Sweeney keeps quoting Karl Rove's talking points and hiding from a debate. You've got to ask, if Sweeney actually believes what he's saying then why is he afraid to debate?

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

New York 24 is #11

The Congressional race in CD24 is drawing national attention:
"National Journal, an online magazine that covers national political issues, rates this race the 11th most competitive in the nation.

'Most recent numbers we've seen have Arcuri up by a few points over Meier . . . where are the GOP [poll] numbers to respond?'
President Bush's sagging popularity has hurt Republican candidates, particularly in this region of the nation."
So how is campaigning going for both candidates?

While the most recent poll in the race shows Mike Arcuri leading by four points, his right-wing opponent Ray Meier has admitted he's having a hard time relating to voters. Here's Meier in his own words:
"People around here are anxious and concerned not just about the national state of affairs, but also their personal state of affairs. As a Republican candidate, the challenge is to show you have even a clue about what their lives are like."
But Meier and the Republican Party hierarchy aren't worried; they're counting on their stealth candidate sneaking into office with help from other right-wingers in the district:
"Ray will bring a huge base of conservative voters"
We need to get the word out so Meier can't steal this race with his phony double-talk. Let's Take Back Congress - volunteer or donate

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

1,000 Google ad ideas

Last week I put out a call for ideas for what Google ad keywords people searching for election information will use (Micah Sifry has more - thanks for the kind words!). The idea is to use those keywords to buy Google ads that support WFP-endorsed House candidates running for Republican-held seats here in New York.

The response from people emailing me ideas was overwhelming - I got over 1,000 ideas for election search terms!

So now we're moving to the next step: raising the money we need to start running Google ads. After Labor Day - the traditional start of the campaign season when more people start paying attention to the candidates - we'll start running Google ads to test the keywords everyone sent in and see what works best. As we move closer to the election, we'll focus on the most popular search terms.

If you want to help Take Back Congress than please make a donation to put these Google ads online today!

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Election roundup for mid-August

In the newest National Journal ranking of competitive House races, the Arcuri race in CD24 has moved up to #11 from #16, the Gillibrand race in CD20 has moved up to #24, and the Mejias race in CD3 has been added to the list. That means - once again - that New York is the swing state, with more competitive House races than any other state in the country. If we're going to take back the House, we need to win here in New York.

And we can win. Polling on a generic House ballot continues to show Republican candidates decidedly behind as George Bush's unpopularity drags his Congressional allies down with him. Larry Sabato is now predicting that House Republicans will lose 12-15 seats - and the momentum is on our side.

The fundraising numbers bear this out. This quote is from a Washington Post article on the success challengers are having in running for Republican-held seats:
"Of this year's 27 most vulnerable incumbents, 14 face challengers who have raised at least $1 million, according to FEC reports. At this point in 2004, no Democratic challenger had raised $1 million. What's more, all but one of the 27 Democratic challengers has raised at least $400,000 -- a figure that many election experts consider a minimum price of entry for candidates hoping to mount a credible campaign. Taking into account all House races, 36 Democratic challengers have cleared the $400,000 threshold.
For political finance experts, the data are striking because they show that the usual fundraising advantage of incumbents -- who tend to have more access to special-interest money -- is durable but not impervious to competing trends. This year, these include a highly motivated base of Democratic activists and low approval ratings for President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress."
You can see more FEC numbers online.

But we haven't won yet. You can expect to see a lot of Karl Rove-style attacks as embattled Republican candidates open up a barrage of negative attacks and say anything to smear their opponents.

It's going to be a hard fight, but working together we can do it. Let's Take Back Congress - volunteer or donate

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Gillibrand gains ground in August

WFP-endorsed candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is gathering support and momentum as she campaigns across the 20th District.

Gillibrand has been endorsed by the state AFL-CIO and the New York State United Teachers. She's got a new ad out. And she's got a plan to cut our country's dependence on foreign oil.

As Gillibrand campaigns on the issues, her opponent, Republican incumbent John Sweeney, is resorting to more negative campaigning. Gillibrand's a fifth generation upstate New Yorker, while Sweeney didn't live in the district when he was first elected to Congress. But the Karl Rove playbook says attack your opponent's strengths, so Sweeney is smearing Gillibrand with a radio ad that pretends he doesn't know where she lives.

And a Republican firm is doing a round of push polling, so expect more negative attacks from Sweeney.

Sweeney's being investigated for violating House ethics rules and Sweeney's connection to GOP fixer Jack Abramoff is coming to light, so expect a dirty campaign as he tries to distract voters.

But Kirsten Gillibrand isn't sitting still while Sweeney smears her; she's defending herself - you can hear her online, here's the script:
"Have you heard Congressman John Sweeney trying to beat up on Kirsten Gillibrand? His attacks aren't true. The Albany Times Union calls Kirsten an Albany native and said, 'Ms. Gillibrand and her family live in Columbia County and nowhere else.' The Glens Falls Post-Star called Sweeney's claims false and disingenuous, and said, 'It's a non-issue. Get past it.'

So why is John Sweeney lying? Maybe because he doesn't want you to remember that he's been one of President Bush's biggest supporters in the Congress. He doesn't want you to know about his lockstep support for the Bush energy plan that rewards big oil companies instead of reducing the price of gas at the pump.

And maybe Sweeney doesn't want to talk about the fact that he supports the president's failed 'Stay the Course' strategy in Iraq. A rubberstamp for the failed Bush agenda on gas prices and Iraq. Now we know why John Sweeney would rather tell lies about Kirsten Gillibrand than tell the truth about his own record."

Let's Take Back Congress - volunteer or donate

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sweeney plays dumb

John Sweeney is playing dumb, hoping that voters won't know any better:
"Sweeney has said he would have preferred legislation that dealt exclusively with the minimum wage issue, but Democrats as well as Republicans were not willing to support that."
John Sweeney knows that's a flat out lie - progressives in the House want to raise the minimum wage without any payoffs and introduced legislation to do just that.

What Sweeney's trying to hide is that he didn't support raising the minimum wage unless he got a political payoff.

Ray Meier is trying to pull the same trick - Meier, a right-winger in the mold of Dick Cheney, opposed raising the minimum wage as a State Senator, and now he thinks that before you raise the minimum wage you first need to give the 8,000 richest families in America a $260+ billion inheritance tax cut.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle deserves the last word:
"Voters shouldn't be fooled by Republicans on the congressional campaign trail who claim that they tried to raise the minimum wage this year. What they did was tie a wage increase to a doomed bill that included a controversial and unwise cut in the estate tax.
It has not escaped voters that, since the last federal minimum wage increase in 1997, members of Congress have raised their pay by more than $31,000 a year. Republicans, who have blocked Democratic efforts to raise the minimum wage, know that a vast majority of Americans favor an increase. A Wells Fargo-Gallup poll taken in March showed that even 84 percent of small business owners, whose struggles are often cited as a reason not to raise the minimum wage, said that the minimum wage would have no effect on them.
Americans want to see working people earn a fair wage. Republicans, who are fighting to retain control of Congress, should stop playing politics and provide one."
Let's Take Back Congress - volunteer or donate

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Peter King's Profile Must Go

Newsday reports today:
House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King has endorsed requiring people of "Middle Eastern and South Asian" descent to undergo additional security checks because of their ethnicity and religion.
NY NAACP president Hazel Dukes calls it right:
"We are all concerned about safety but to target any group for nationality or religion is unconstitutional. African-Americans understand racial profiling. We won't support any targeting of a group. The practice is just un-American."
It's time for Congressman King to go.

Long Islanders have a choice. His name is Dave Mejias.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What would you google?

If I asked you to look something up, how would do it? If you're like millions of Americans the answer is simple - you google it!

Finding out about candidates running for offices is no different. Thousands of people will be googling the election this fall before they vote.

We want to bring our advertising online with Google ads, and we want help shaping our strategy. We need to know what phrases people are likely to use when they search for election information.

So here's the question - if you wanted to know more about the Congressional race where you live, what would you type into Google?

Post your ideas in the comments section or email them to me.

What are Google ads? Google ads are the text advertisements that are displayed to the right of Google search results. To see what I mean, look at the "sponsored links" on the right side of the page for Google searches on "John Kerry" or "John McCain". Google sells those spots based on the phrase being searched on; so you purchase certain phrases, and when someone does a Google search on that phrase they see your ad.

As the election draws closer, people are going to go online to find more information.

They'll go to Google to search for information about the local candidates and who they want to support - and if we figure out the right search phrases they will see an ad telling them who the Working Families Party has endorsed. They'll find out more about the WFP and our endorsed candidate, and we're one step closer to winning the election.

This is the fastest-growing, and some say the most effective, form of online advertising. That's why Google ads are emerging as a key way to reach people looking for more information about the Congressional election.

This is an ad war we need to compete in.

The more people we have thinking about this, the more and better ideas we'll come up with. The comments section is open for your ideas, or you can email me.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Republican incumbents abandon sinking ship

It's not just Republican voters anymore, now Republican candidates are turning away from their party. Step 1 is to disown the Republican Party. Here are a few of the Republican incumbents in New York who are trying to recast themselves:
And there's more: a quick search for the word "Republican" on John Sweeney's campaign web site comes up with 7 mentions. The same search of Kirsten Gillibrand's site finds 28 mentions of the word "Democrat."

That's one way to tell who's feeling confident.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Arcuri edges Meier in August poll

A new poll in New York's closest Congressional campaign for an open House seat in CD24 shows Working Families candidate Mike Arcuri edging Ray Meier. Arcuri holds a four point lead over Meier, with the poll also showing that 68% think the country is on the wrong track, compared to 21% who say the country is on the right track.

These poll results fit in squarely with nationwide polls showing that Republicans are going to lose seats this election, and are in danger of losing control of Congress.

But if that's going to happen we need to win the close races here in New York. This poll is good news, but winning a House seat from another party is never easy. The Arcuri race and the rest of New York's Congressional races will go down to the wire.

Make a donation or volunteer to help us Take Back Congress.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Congressman Sweeney's Fib Watch

I was thinking someone should do this, and who better the Capital District's premier blogger, DIA:
Not surprisingly we haven't heard many public comments from John Sweeney in the past few months. But his spokesperson Maureen O’Brien Donovan (known to friends and foes as Morod) has been hard at work "spokesing" for her man. Which is good. That is what she is paid to do. However, she has a problem of pretty much lying every time she opens her mouth. I may have some time on my hands (thanks to John Sweeney and George Bush's economy...things are a bit slow) so I'm thinking of counting up all the Lies of Morod. The latest installment.
Sweeney campaign spokeswoman Maureen O’Brien Donovan, who earlier this week insisted to me that the congressman’s campaign doesn’t use trackers and accused Gillibrand’s tracker/intern of stalking Sweeney, didn’t deny these two guys are connected to the campaign.
So we'll start the count at one Morodism. Feel free to join in the fun.
That's it: the counter is started. We'll watch it rise, and please go post at if you catch the Congressman and his staff in a lie.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cringe-worthy: Republicans debate

Ohmigod. Didn't watch but just read the wire story of the McCarland-Spencer (uh, that's John Spencer and K.T. McFarland, two New Yorkers who apparently want to become U.S. Senator) debate.

Holy cow. This must have been unpleasant. If anyone watched it (not expecting a lot of comments here) please confirm whether it was as awful to watch as it is to read:
Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland, a former Ronald Reagan-era Pentagon official, immediately accused Spencer of engaging in adultery and nepotism and said it spoke to his lack of credibility to serve in office.

"That's something that, in 1998, the Republican Party impeached President Clinton for exactly the same behavior," McFarland said to gasps from the audience. "If you'd been in the military, you would have been court-martialed. If you worked in the federal government, you would have been subject to indictment."

Spencer angrily shot back, saying McFarland had unfairly insulted his children and lied about his record.

"You have no way of knowing my private life," he said. "I say to you, Mrs. McFarland, shame on you. Shame on you as a mother of children and a woman yourself for talking about my wife and my family that way."
So much time was spent discussing Spencer's private life that Carter finally turned the tables, asking McFarland whether disclosures about her own messy past _ she accused her father in 1992 of sexually abusing her as a child _ were relevant to her fitness to serve.
When asked to pose questions to each other, McFarland cited instances when Spencer had threatened to kill Gov. George Pataki and had used ethnic slurs against Italians and Chinese.

"Is this how you plan to conduct yourself?" McFarland asked.

Spencer said he'd apologized for using crude language and for making jokes that fell flat
Uh boy. Fortunately, it's their only debate.

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1199SEIU endorses Mike Arcuri

In CD24, 1199SEIU has endorsed Democratic/WFP candidate Mike Arcuri. 1199 is well respected for their active members who campaign hard for the candidates they endorse and turn out to vote on election day.

New York's closest Congressional race just got closer.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Election roundup for early August

Even over the last week, the chorus of pundits predicting that Democrats will take back Congress has grown.

From the Cook Report:
"The political climate will be extremely hostile to Republican candidates. . . . All of the traditional diagnostic indicators in major national polls taken in the past 10 days show numbers consistent with an electoral rout. . . . In a very large tidal-wave election, as this one appears to be, it would not be unusual to see all toss-ups go to one party, along with a few out of the leaning column as well. Republicans might lose their House majority just in the seats in which they are behind or in which their edge is within a poll's margin of error."
From Larry Sabato:
"Indicators are now suggesting that Republicans are headed for their most serious midterm losses in decades. . . . To be certain, the 2006 midterm election cycle promises to feature the most strongly anti-incumbent mood since 1994 . . . . At this stage, the Crystal Ball is shifting its outlook from a Democratic gain of 6-8 to a Democratic gain of 12-15 seats in the House."
From the Wall Street Journal:
"'It is likely that Republicans lose control of the House,' says Bernadette Budde of Business-Industry Political Action Committee. The biggest danger for Republicans: 'clumps' of defeats in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, submerging incumbents who don't now appear vulnerable."
From the Washington Post (poll results here):
"Most Americans describe themselves as being in an anti-incumbent mood heading into this fall's midterm congressional elections, and the percentage of people who approve of their own representative's performance is at the lowest level since 1994, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll."
New York is the swing state, with as many competitive House races as any other state in the nation. And Mike Arcuri's race in CD24 is shaping up to be the closest of the bunch.

From Roll Call (no link):
"With Boehlert out of the picture, Democrats are upbeat about their chances, citing a strong nominee and a favorable environment, including likely November landslides for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and gubernatorial hopeful Eliot Spitzer . . . Arcuri, who will run on the Democratic, Working Families and Independence party lines, presents himself as a moderate who is 'similar to Boehlert.' Like the retiring Republican, he opposes Bush's position on federal funding of stem-cell research, is pro-choice, favors increasing the minimum wage and opposes a ban on gay marriage. . . . If the national political environment were completely neutral, the GOP almost certainly would retain the seat. And Arcuri would have an almost impossible task against Boehlert, if he were seeking another term. But the open seat and the possible Democratic surge in the state and nationally make this a very competitive race. Meier still has an edge, so a Democratic win there definitely would mean GOP control of the House is in deep trouble."
I'll wrap it up with another blurb about our work to Take Back Congress, this one from Crain's Insider (no link):
"Paris Hilton has entered New York politics. A Working Families Party radio ad supporting Democratic congressional hopeful Mike Arcuri blasts a Republican bill in the House that ties a minimum wage hike to a cut in the estate tax, saying the provision is for 'heiresses like Paris Hilton.' Arcuri's opponent, state Sen. Ray Meier, has said he supports the bill. The two are battling to succeed Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford, who is retiring. The Cook Political Report calls it the state's most competitive House race but rates Meier a slight favorite."
It's going to be a tough fight, but this is our year. Together, we'll win. You can get involved by making calls to support Mike Arcuri (email me to volunteer), making a donation so we have the money we need, and making sure you're on our email list.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

WFP radio ads in the news

From Hotline (no link):
Hotline: AD WATCH: First Ad Tying Paris Hilton To A Minimum Wage Hike?

The Working Familes Party launched a radio ad 8/3 attacking GOPers for "playing more political games" on behalf of Oneida Co. DA Michael Arcuri (D).

Full Script, "Raise": There they go again. Instead of just raising the minimum wage, the Republicans in Congress are playing more political games. Last week they said they'd raise the minimum wage but here's the catch: it has to be coupled with a big inheritance tax cut for the very rich. Make that the very, very, very rich. Because only the 8,000 wealthiest families in America qualify. While Congressional salaries keep going up and up, it's been nine years since Washington increased the minimum wage. And the Republicans still refuse to raise it unless heiresses like Paris Hilton get a tax cut. That's just not right. This November, vote your values. Vote for Democrat Mike Arcuri on the Working Families Party line. Arcuri supports raising the minimum wage. Health care we can afford. And Social Security we can count on.
Listen to the ad here.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Radio ads air this weekend

If you're in CD20 or CD24 be sure to listen to our radio ads (or follow the link to listen online). The ads have started airing and will continue through the weekend.

A big thanks to everyone who donated money to air the ads.

Read more over at Capitol Confidential.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Launching minimum wage radio ads

Instead of simply raising the minimum wage, Rep. John Sweeney and the rest of the Republicans in Congress chose to play political games. They want to tie a big estate tax cut for the 8,000 wealthiest families in America to any increase in the minimum wage. That's just not right.

We're rushing radio ads on the air to expose the truth about this travesty. We'll run the ads in the highly competitive 20th and 24th Congressional districts on country and talk radio to support our candidates, Kirsten Gillibrand and Mike Arcuri, who support raising the minimum wage.

We think these ads are important. This wasn't in our original plan, but we need to be in this fight and so we're asking for help to pay for these pro-minimum wage ads. To air an ad once will cost $50 on average. If we raise $500 then we can run an ad 10 times - and the more money we raise, the more often the ads will run.

Listen to the ads and then make a donation to put them on the air today!

The ads will run in two of the districts where Democratic-Working Families candidates are waging strong campaigns to win Republican-held seats. In the 20th Congressional district, WFP-endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand is running a strong challenge to Republican incumbent John Sweeney. While Sweeney's salary keeps going up and up and up, it's been nine years since Congress boosted the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour. And the Republicans still refuse to raise it unless a bunch of a multi-millionaires get an $800 billion tax cut. They ought to be ashamed. When we send Kirsten Gillibrand to Congress, she'll vote to raise the minimum wage.

We also want to run an ad in the 24th Congressional district. In the 24th, longtime Congressman Sherwood Boehlert is retiring, meaning this is an open House seat. Open House seats can be the political equivalent of Halley's Comet, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. WFP-endorsed Mike Arcuri, Oneida County District Attorney, has already announced that he'll vote to raise the minimum wage when he's elected to Congress, while the Republican in the race, Ray Meier, is a longtime opponent of raising the minimum wage.

These ads will run on country and talk radio stations and target unaffiliated voters (those not registered in any party) and independent-minded Republican voters. Research and experience has demonstrated that the WFP is able to persuade these voters to vote on the WFP line. These ads are a first step in that effort.

Listen to the ads and donate now

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pass a real minimum wage increase

Plenty's been said about the latest effort by House Republicans to use a minimum wage increase as a Trojan Horse to pass a $260+ billion inheritance tax cut for the 8,000 wealthiest families in America. (But if you're interested in reading more, check out this post by Rep. George Miller exposing the Republican strategy and this post by Nathan Newman explaining how the Republican bill will actually cut the minimum wage for workers who work for tips).

If Republicans like John Sweeney and Randy Kuhl think this transparent ploy gives them political cover, they're wrong. The American public is smarter than minimum wage opponents give them credit for, and they see through this travesty. One thing that is plain to see: if we want a real minimum wage increase (without paying an extortion to the wealthiest 0.3% Americans in the form of a further rollback of the inheritance tax), we first need to take back Congress.

More on this tomorrow.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Why We Fight: Day Care Workers

This year's legislative session didn't end completely the way we hoped, but, of our five legislative priorities, the legislature:
  • gave home day care workers the right to organize (requiring an override of Gov. Pataki's veto),
  • amended Healthy New York so that more working families can access affordable health care, and
  • required disclosure of state spending to subsidize health care for large companies like Wal-Mart.
We just received this kind letter from Gladys Jones about the day care workers bill and wanted to share it:
To All parties that have helped Childcare Providers,

The following is titled "Why I want a Union!"

The reason I want a union is quite simple (WE) need it. We are professionals without the tag that usually comes with work done of the highest value. The beginning of the future of our children.

Our forefathers fought for the rights we have today. Using any measures necessary to accomplish equality and humane conditions. The fight continues with organizations like THE WORKING FAMILY PARTY, to insure that people like myself are able to utilize the right to organize. The people that have made social and economic justice their goal in life deserve and should have all RESOURCES, that are available to help people to achieve the DEMOCRATIC DREAM. That is and should be available to ALL in America.

I have to thank WFP for the support that has been given to legislation override.

The struggles still exist hence making organizations like WFP one of the most important means to pave justice for today and tomorrow in my world of CHILDCARE.

Sincerely and passionately submitted,

Thanks Gladys, we're proud to be in your corner.

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