Meet Vivian Figures

running against Rep.Jeff Sessions — GOP


Vivian began her political career in 1984 when she ran as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in which capacity she has served for six consecutive times, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. In 1993, Ms. Figures was elected to a four-year term on the Mobile City Council, attaining the status of the “only council member in Mobile’s history to hold a perfect attendance record.” Due to the untimely death of her husband, Michael A. Figures, she was later elected in the 1997 general election by an 87% victory to the Alabama State Senate to serve the remainder of his term. The victory made her the first African-American woman to be elected to the Senate from Mobile County and the second one in the state of Alabama. Her husband was the first African-American from Mobile County to be elected to the post in 1978 and he was elected overwhelmingly by his Senate cohorts as President Pro Tempore in 1995.  She was re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

In 2008, she became Alabama’s first African American woman to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. Although this was her first statewide run for public office, she garnered 37 percent of the vote while President Barack Obama had 39 percent.

As Senator, she played a major role in helping to author legislation for school personnel background checks for both public and private schools to make children safer. Because of her sponsorship and passage of the Alabama Clean Indoor Act, she was awarded the National Tobacco Award from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Outstanding Advocate Award from the American Heart Association. Senator Figures continues to work for a Smoke-Free Alabama.

Resources : From her website

I did a regular search and found that the NRA rates her 67% and while she is in a red state she backs education and most issues that any left of center does but not much information on reproductive rights with the exception of minors. I am not a one issue voter but admit to wanting to read a lot more about where she stood on reproductive rights. So, unless you have a better democratic candidate choice, she looks good on paper but as always … do your research and vote Jeff Sessions out of office !!!!

Florida: Vote for Charlie Crist

I really want you to see our newest ad:

Watch our new ad

Government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

But under Rick Scott, it’s been government of the special interests, by the big corporations, and for the powerful.

Time for a change.

Iowa deserves this? Republican Steve King in his own words ~~ a reminder

Information from CBS seems to infer that Rep. Steve King is going after President Obama’s Aunt .

Congressman Steve King, an Iowa Republican, today requested that President Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, testify before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law in order to address “the public perception that favoritism played a role in the grant of asylum to Ms. Onyango.

We should all let Rep. Steve King know that Eric Holder stated that we are a nation that avoids talking about race and was in no way was Holders statement shaped or formed the way King stated in his interview

Gov. Christie -did what to Seniors the Disabled and Hispanics of NJ in 2010

Hispanics say N.J. Gov. Christie’s proposed budget cuts would hit them hard
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Last updated: Sunday June 20, 2010, 10:27 AM


another Reminder :

The Record

Hispanic leaders are warning that Governor Christie‘s proposed budget cuts will devastate their communities by leaving little or no funding for programs that assist the unemployed, disabled and the destitute, among others.

Leaders are particularly concerned about the pending elimination of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development, which funnels funds to some 40 agencies that they say serve about 300,000 mostly low-income Latinos annually. The 35-year-old department, they note, is the only state agency that focuses on Hispanics.

The cuts are the latest source of frustration among Hispanics over Christie. They were angered by his decision to drop legal immigrants who are not naturalized U.S. citizens from NJ FamilyCare, a health insurance program for low-income parents, and by the possibility that he would eliminate the Commission on New Americans, a long-awaited initiative by his predecessor to address immigrant issues in New Jersey.

“This is not shared sacrifice,” said Guillermo Beytagh-Maldonado, executive director of the Hispanic Directors Association, an umbrella group, referring to the proposed cuts. “He’s cutting our head off. So many people in New Jersey are talking about how Hispanics are going be profiled in Arizona because of the new immigration law. But right here in New Jersey we’re being profiled, we’re being treated outrageously.”

Hispanics say Christie seems indifferent to the problems and needs of their communities, though Hispanics are now the state’s largest minority group, making up 16 percent of the population. Nearly 30 percent of the state’s Hispanics in New Jersey are uninsured and about 16 percent live in poverty.

Deborah Howlett, the head of New Jersey Policy Perspective, said that about 80 percent of residents will be affected by Christie’s cuts to varying degrees.

“The economic recession has hit minorities harder than other people,” Howlett said. “People in lower income brackets, which include a disproportionate share of Hispanics, are being asked to shoulder more of the burden because they’re more reliant on the social services being cut.”

A spokesman for Christie said the governor was not singling Hispanics out, or acting insensitively toward them.

“No one can possibly say they’re being singled out,” said Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman. “That’s just ridiculous. It’s a wrong assumption. By that logic, we’re targeting every group of every kind.”

“The governor is trying to tackle an $11 billion deficit that he inherited,” Drewniak said. “The cuts must be deep and wide.”

Drewniak said the cuts were not made thoughtlessly.

“We tried to be as careful as we could,” he said. “Everyone is pretty much in the same boat.”

Hispanic leaders say they understand that the governor faces a tough job in trying to deal with the deficit.

“We’re all willing to tighten our belts,” said Lorenzo Hernandez, who heads the Hispanic Information Center of Passaic, one of the agencies that gets funding from the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development.

But Hernandez and other leaders say it is a mistake to slash funding for Hispanic community organizations that serve a group that not only is one of the most needy in the state, but one whose language and cultural barriers make access to services difficult.

“When I lost my job, my employer did not pay me vacation or holiday pay that I was owed,” said Maria Cristina Caballero, a Passaic resident who came to this country from Colombia two years ago. “I tried going for help to public agencies but got nowhere, and I felt I was in a hopeless, dead-end situation.”

Caballero went to the Hispanic Information Center, which provides a wide range of services, including assistance to domestic violence victims, the unemployed and people who need shelter, food and medical attention. The center helped Caballero get the money owed to her by her former employer.

“I would not have gotten it on my own,” Caballero said. “I was truly lost and overwhelmed.”

Many people who turn to the Paramus-based Hispanic Institute for Research and Development, which offers classes such as word processing and English, have lost jobs and are trying to get back on their feet, said Emilio Fandino, the non-profit group’s executive director. Many of the clients of HIRD, which gets about $75,000 from the state, have taken free English and job skills classes elsewhere, but those usually cover only the basics, Fandino said. The institute offers classes in conjunction with Bergen Community College.

“If we stopped getting the funding from the state, maybe about 200 people wouldn’t get the scholarships we give them, and couldn’t take the classes because they can’t afford it,” Fandino said.

Beytagh-Maldonado has met with legislators to drum up support for restoring funds for programs on which many Hispanics depend. Hispanics in New Jersey typically have received inadequate resources from the state government, he said.

“I don’t think the state has ever really adjusted to the reality that Hispanics are the group with the most needs,” he said. “We have the highest dropout rates, highest uninsured, high poverty rate, and the community is growing in New Jersey.”

Of the community-based agencies, he said: “They go with the people to the schools, talk with the teachers, with social workers. These are the people on the front lines who provide preventative services so that problems don’t get bigger and become crises.”

Many of the agencies and programs were set up in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the growth of immigrant residents who lacked the linguistic skills and knowledge about U.S. public agencies to access services on their own.

“So the idea was to have people from the community, who knew the language and culture, to guide these immigrants,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, a professor at Kean University and head of the state Commission on New Americans, an advisory group that has expressed concerns about Christie’s willingness to keep it alive.

Like other Latino leaders, Argote-Freyre and Beytagh-Maldonado called Christie’s decision to drop legal immigrants from the state’s insurance program for the poor a harsh move.

Nearly 12,000 legal immigrant parents are being removed from the program. U.S. citizen parents are also to be denied coverage if their annual family income exceeds $24,000 a year for a family of three.

“They’re taking people from FamilyCare and are going to force them into charity care,” Beytagh-Maldonado said. “When immigrants can’t get access to health care, everyone is affected, everyone’s health is at risk. All these cuts are just going to end up being more expensive for New Jersey in the long run.”



N.J. Assembly fails to override Christie veto of millionaires tax
Monday, June 21, 2010
Last updated: Monday June 21, 2010, 5:01 PM
State House Bureau
TRENTON — Democrats have failed to override Governor Christie’s veto of a tax that would increase taxes on income more than $1 million.The bills, which would devote the proceeds to restoring property tax rebates for seniors and the disabled, died on the Assembly floor Monday when Democrats could not convert any Republicans who voted against it last month, when it passed strictly along partisan lines.Although a majority of Assembly members (47 to 33) voted for the bill, Democrats did not reach the two-thirds majority needed to override it. The override would have required flipping seven Republican votes. Because the override attempt failed in the Assembly, where the bill originated, the Senate will not attempt it.The Assembly and Senate both passed the millionaires tax last month strictly along partisan lines, only to see it vetoed by Christie minutes later.The bill would have raised the tax rate on income over $1 million for approximately 16,000 households. A companion bill, also vetoed by Christie, would have devoted the funds to restoring property tax rebates for the seniors and disabled as well as cuts to state-supplemented senior drug programs that have since been reversed.The Assembly first took up the companion bill, which Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth) said would not help seniors because there is no money to restore rebates.”What can help (seniors) is a hard 2.5 percent cap on property taxes,” she said.


N.J. Senate resolution urges Christie not to join health care reform lawsuit
Monday, June 21, 2010
State House Bureau
The state Senate Monday approved a resolution urging Governor Christie not to join 20 other states in a lawsuit against the federal health care reform law.Christie has faced pressure from conservative activists to join the suit, which argues the law’s penalty on individuals for not buying insurance is unconstitutional. Senate Democrats, in turn, responded with the resolution, which points out that Christie was able to restore proposed cuts to subsidized senior drug programs in part with money allocated from the law.Christie has not said whether he plans to join the suit. Most of the states challenging the law have either Republican governors or elected Republican attorneys general.“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be for the senior citizens and use the Obama health care plan to fund their programs and then challenge it in court,” said state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a sponsor.

The state Senate Monday approved a resolution urging Governor Christie not to join 20 other states in a lawsuit against the federal health care reform law.

Christie has faced pressure from conservative activists to join the suit, which argues the law’s penalty on individuals for not buying insurance is unconstitutional. Senate Democrats, in turn, responded with the resolution, which points out that Christie was able to restore proposed cuts to subsidized senior drug programs in part with money allocated from the law.

Christie has not said whether he plans to join the suit. Most of the states challenging the law have either Republican governors or elected Republican attorneys general.

“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be for the senior citizens and use the Obama health care plan to fund their programs and then challenge it in court,” said state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a sponsor.

Toxic Fashions

Sometime around the 21st  of November in 2012, Greenpeace discovered and exposed Zara as one of maybe many companies using manufacturers that have toxic chemicals in their clothing… 

On the 29th of November,  a statement of commitment from Zara’s manufacturing company to toxic-free fashion ~~ below  Clothes rack

Achieving the Zero Discharge

        Inditex‘s commitment, in connection with the use of chemical substances in the manufacturing process of its products, is reflected in its chemical policy, which establishes restrictions and prohibitions in the use of these substances.

        So far, this policy has been developed and periodically updated in conformity with the most demanding international legislation and in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). The policy regulates not only those “substances whose use is legally limited” and which, if present in the product above certain levels, could be hazardous for human health, such as: Formaldehyde, Arylamines, Phenols (PCP, TeCP), Cadmium, Lead, Chromium (VI), Nickel, Allergenic Dyes, among others; additionally, it limits the use of certain parameters not contemplated by the effective legislation, such as: Organochlorinated Compounds and Isocyanates. In order to guarantee the compliance of said policy by Inditex’s suppliers, Inditex carries out audits and regular inspections of the production processes and continuous reviews of the products.

        INDITEX Commitment to Zero Discharge

        27th November 2012

        In line with Inditex’s long-term sustainability program Inditex recognizes the urgent need for eliminating industrial releases of all hazardous chemicals (1).  According to its approach based on prevention (2) and the Precautionary Principle (3) Inditex is committed to zero discharges (4) of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of all products Inditex sells (5) by 01 January 2020. Inditex recognises that to achieve this goal, mechanisms for disclosure and transparency about the hazardous chemicals used in its global supply chain are important and necessary, in line with the ‘Right to Know principle’ (6). In line with this principle Inditex will increase the public availability and transparency of its restricted substance list and audit process and will set up public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain.

        Inditex also commits to support systemic (i.e. wider societal and policy) change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (associated with supply chain and the lifecycles of products) within one generation (7) or less. This commitment includes sustained investment in moving industry, government, science and technology to deliver on systemic change and to affect system change across the industry towards this goal.

        The 2020 goal also demands the collective action of industry, as well as engagement of regulators and other stakeholders. To this end, Inditex will work with other companies in the apparel sector and other brands it could sell, as well as material suppliers, the broader chemical industry, NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.

        Inditex understands the scope of the commitment to be a long term vision – with short term practice to be defined by the following individual action plan:

        Individual action plan.

        1. Supply-chain disclosure.

        In line with Inditex’s commitment to the public’s ‘right to know’ the chemical substances used within its global supply-chain and the products it sells, Inditex will be taking the following actions:

        1. publish its updated ‘Restricted Substances List’ and audit processes by the end of April 2013, and annually thereafter.        

        2. begin public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain via individual facility level disclosure of chemical use and discharges data, to be achieved via an incremental process, beginning with the following actions:

        i) by no later than end of March 2013 public disclosure of at least 10 Chinese supplier facilities, plus at least 10 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (i.e. 20 facilities in total);        

        ii) by no later than December 2013, at least another 30 Chinese  supplier facilities (in addition to the facilities in i) above), plus at least another50 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (in addition to the facilities in i) above, i.e. 100 facilities in total;

        using a credible public online platform, with full facility transparency (i.e.  location and individual data of facilities) and covering at least the hazardous chemicals within the 11 priority groups of chemicals (8)


        2. APEO elimination policy.

        Inditex recognises the intrinsic hazardousness of all APEOs, and therefore acknowledges it is a priority to eliminate their use across its global supply chain. There are multiple supply-chain pathways for potential APEO contamination (including chemical formulations). Inditex will enhance both training and auditing of its supply-chain in conjunction with other global brands, as well as ensuring its suppliers have the latest information on APEOs,  highlighting where there is a risk that APEOs may enter into the undocumented contamination of chemical supplier formulations.

        In addition to these actions, Inditex will enforce its APEO ban with the following actions:

        i. initiate an investigation into the current compliance to this requirement, reporting the findings to the public and simultaneously strengthening its supplier legal agreement language to ensure only APEO-free chemical formulations are utilized by the end of April 2013,

        ii. work with its supply chain and other global industry leaders, to ensure the most current technological limits of detection are reflected via the lowest detectable limits within its testing regimes.


        3. Perfluorocarbon (PFC) elimination policy.

        In application of the precautionary principle, and recognizing that enough scientific evidence is available pointing towards a recognizable hazard posed by PFCs, Inditex commits to impose a ban on PFOS, PFOA, their salts and derivatives, and  telomeric alcohols by January 2013. This prohibition includes the manufacturing of any products Inditex sells.

        With respect to the use of PFCs, Inditex agrees to the following actions:

        i. Inditex commits to eliminate C8, C7, C6 PFC based substances in manufacturing, and in any of the products it sells no later than the end of 2013.

        ii. Inditex commits to work with suitable technical / scientific partners and stakeholders to find safer, non-fluorinated alternatives in the shortest timespan possible, with the goal of substituting all perfluorocarbon compounds with suitable, non-hazardous, non-fluorinated alternatives.

        iii.    The timelines for the elimination of all remaining PFCs will be as follows: elimination of 50% of all remaining PFCs (from the base of PFCs used as of 2012) used by January 2015; and the total elimination of all PFC use in manufacturing and in products by the end of 2015.

        The elimination of all PFC use by the products it sells will be supported by:

        i. A review of all products it produces to ensure there are no PFCs in the products we sell,

        ii. a rigorous system of control to ensure that no traces of PFCs find their way into its supply chain in line with the above.


        4. Targets for other hazardous chemicals.

        Inditex commits to regularly review the science of the chemicals used in the textiles/apparel industry and periodically update its chemical policy, at least annually, to further restrict or ban chemicals, as new evidence on their impact becomes available.

        In this context, its recognizes the need to not only report to the public the evidence of elimination of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals identified as a priority but also set clear intermediate progress targets on the elimination of hazardous chemicals (beyond these 11 priority chemical groups) and the introduction of non-hazardous chemicals by 2015 on the road to elimination by 01 January 2020.

        Inditex will also ensure that it is part of an industry wide approach to ensure the use of chemicals in the products its sells and that is managed responsibly and in line with the above commitment, and in particular the intrinsic hazards approach. In line with this, Inditex commits to reinforce the work of the sectoral chemical inventory and hazardous substance black list, aiming to establish this inventory, and the black list, based on an intrinsically hazardous screening methodology, by no later than December 2013.

        The individual actions covered above will be reassessed by Inditex at regular intervals – at least annually.


        5. Further Actions.

        Within 8 weeks of the public release of this commitment, Inditex will publish further actions for its Individual Action Plan:

        Including a number of substitution case studies (e.g. where in the past, or currently, Inditex has substituted any of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals as per below (8), with others non-hazardous chemicals) via a credible format (e.g. ‘Subsport system’).

      Download – Further actions included in the Individual Action Plan (updated as of 1st February 2013)


         (1) All hazardous chemicals means all those that show intrinsically hazardous properties: persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT); very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB); carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction (CMR); endocrine disruptors (ED), or other properties of equivalent concern, (not just those that have been regulated or restricted in other regions). This will require establishing – ideally with other industry actors – a corresponding list of the hazardous chemicals concerned that will be regularly reviewed.

        (2) This means solutions are focused on elimination of use at source, not on end-of-pipe or risk management. This requires either substitution with non-hazardous chemicals or where necessary finding non- chemical alternative solutions, such as re-evaluating product design or the functional need for chemicals.        

        (3) This means taking preventive action before waiting for conclusive scientific proof regarding cause and effect between the substance (or activity) and the damage. It is based on the assumption that some hazardous substances cannot be rendered harmless by the receiving environment (i.e. there are no ‘environmentally acceptable’/’safe’ use or discharge levels) and that prevention of potentially serious or irreversible damage is required, even in the absence of full scientific certainty. The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including, where necessary, substitution through the development of sustainable alternatives where they do not already exist. The Precautionary Principle is applied across all products sold by Inditex (and any entities directed by, or licenced by the Inditex “Group” of entities).

        (4) Zero discharge means elimination of all releases, via all pathways of release, i.e. discharges, emissions and losses, from its supply chain and its products.  “Elimination” or “zero” means ‘not detectable, to the limits of current technology’, and only naturally occurring background levels are acceptable.

        (5) This means the commitment applies to the environmental practices of the entire company (group, and all entities it directs or licences) and for all products sold by Inditex or any of its subsidiaries. This includes all its suppliers or facilities horizontally across all owned brands and licensed companies as well as vertically down its supply chain.

        (6) Right to Know is defined as practices that allow members of the public access to environmental information – in this case specifically about the uses and discharges of chemicals based on reported quantities of releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment, chemical-by-chemical, facility-by-facility, at least year-by-year.

        (7) One generation is generally regarded as 20-25 years.

        (8) the 11 priority hazardous chemical groups are : 1. Alkylphenols 2. Phthalates 3.Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants 4. Azo dyes 5. Organotin compounds 6. Perfluorinated chemicals 7. Chlorobenzenes 8. Chlorinated solvents 9. Chlorophenols 10. Short chain chlorinated paraffins 11. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and chromium (VI).

Stay tuned in to see if they are able to succeed … Be a Seed for Change

written 2012