Meet Alison Grimes


running against mitch McConnell who stated …

 His only job was to make sure PBO had only one term …ignoring Working Families, Seniors, Students, Vets, Minorities, GUNS, Health Care, UI benefits, Unemployment, Immigration Reform, Climate Change, Regulations for wall street etc. to make sure our financial system doesn’t collapse again ~~ Nativegrl77

Alison Grimes is an Advocate for Women and their Families

Just as she has throughout her life, Alison Lundergan Grimes will continue fighting for women as Kentucky’s first female United States Senator.  Alison learned the value of public service at an early age, and her passion has always been increasing opportunity for every citizen of the Commonwealth.  She entered public service to give a voice to the voiceless – experience she gained as an attorney for victims of domestic violence.

As Secretary of State, Alison championed the first-ever address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence to ensure their safety and security are not compromised when they exercise their right to vote.  Alison has also ushered in new laws that maintain the integrity of the democratic process and protect the voting rights of our men and women in uniform and absentee voters.  She is committed to guaranteeing that every eligible Kentuckian has access to the ballot box.

ALISON’S VISION
When elected to the U.S. Senate, Alison will work to create good-paying jobs, fight to close the gender wage gap and raise the minimum wage to ensure middle class security for women and their families.  She is committed to:

  • MAKING CHILDCARE MORE AFFORDABLE: Affordable childcare is out of reach for many Kentucky families.  Over 140,000 working Kentucky mothers have a child under 6[1], positioning them as increasingly likely to need childcare services.  Alison strongly believes that we must begin addressing this problem by providing additional tax breaks to Kentucky businesses that create on-site child care centers or help their employees find child care services.  We must also develop federal and state partnerships to improve access to quality childcare for rural areas, where working parents often face unique challenges.Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell has actually repeatedly voted to slash funding for childcare services in Kentucky.  Under a proposal supported by McConnell, approximately 1,700 fewer Kentucky children would have child care through the Child Care and Development Block Grant[2].
  • EXPANDING ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION: Alison will also work with families, educators and schools to ensure our children have access to quality education and are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to succeed.  Education is the passport out of poverty, and every child has the right to a quality education.  A good education is an economic necessity and should not be a luxury.  Education is the gateway to good-paying jobs, economic growth and a strong middle class.Mitch McConnell negotiated a Washington budget deal that caused 1,100 Kentucky children to lose access to early childhood education[3] and cut an estimated $31.8 million from Kentucky schools[4]. He also opposed legislation to hire and preserve jobs for teachers[5] and blocked legislation to preserve low interest rates for students[6].
  • PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: As Secretary of State, Alison championed the first-ever address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence to ensure their safety and security are not compromised when they vote.  In the Senate, Alison will continue to be a voice for victims of domestic violence.  According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, “a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds”[7] and one in six women in the U.S. will be victims of domestic violence over the course of her lifetime[8] – troubling statistics that must be addressed.    

Despite political attempts to disguise his real record, Mitch McConnell has repeatedly opposed the Violence Against Women Act[9] and even blocked an effort to vote on the bill to protect women[10].

  • KEEPING PROMISES TO KENTUCKY SENIORS: An estimated 600,000 Kentuckians rely on Social Security[11] and nearly 800,000 Kentuckians depend on Medicare[12]. Alison will protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare as Kentucky’s next U.S. Senator.  Protecting these programs is critical to the economic well-being for the Commonwealth’s women and families.  Women rely more heavily on income from Social Security than men do, and the majority of Medicare recipients are women.

Women have more health care needs, live with chronic conditions and have higher life expectancies than men. Therefore, women are especially reliant on the health care services provided by Medicare. The promise of a secure retirement is one we must keep for our nation’s seniors and make sure these programs are still intact for our children and grandchildren.  Alison is focused on spending smarter, reducing waste in the Medicare system, and improving coordination of care.

Instead of strengthening and preserving these critical programs, Mitch McConnell wants to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it, increasing seniors’ out-of-pocket costs by nearly $6,000 per year[13].

  • ACHIEVING PAY EQUITY: Women are half of the labor force in this country yet still make 77 cents for every dollar – 23 percent less than their male counterparts[14].  In Kentucky, women lose nearly five billion dollars in wages each year[15] – a statistic that is staggering and unacceptable.  With that money a working woman in Kentucky could purchase 78 more weeks of groceries, pay 14 more months of rent, make 8 more months of mortgage and utilities payments or buy 2,477 additional gallons of gas[16].In contrast, Mitch McConnell has called equal pay for equal work just another “special interest vote”[17] and voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act[18] and the Paycheck Fairness Act – not once, but twice[19][20].
  • INCREASING MINIMUM WAGE: In order to grow our middle class, we must raise the minimum wage to help hardworking Americans achieve a basic standard of living.  An overwhelming majority – two thirds – of minimum wage workers in the United States are women.  Consider a single working mother of two who makes the current federal minimum wage who brings home just $14,500 annually – nearly $4,000 below the poverty line[21].

Rather than forcing our own neighbors to choose between putting food on the table, getting to work and paying the rent, all Americans deserve a living wage that is consistent with our values.  Raising the minimum wage would increase incomes for more than 30 million workers in the U.S.[22], and is an important step to ensure workers see the benefits of a growing economy.

Earlier this year, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy pointed to a report detailing the impact a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour would have in Kentucky.  According to this report, doing so would:

  • Lift the wages of over one in four Kentucky workers.[23]
  • Increase annual earnings for the nearly 30 percent of Kentuckians who make minimum wage or just above by $2,369 on average and $863 million in total.[24]
  • Grow Kentucky’s GDP by $546 million by 2015 and create 2,200 jobs.[25]

Mitch McConnell has voted against raising the minimum wage at least 16 times[26], while voting in favor of raising his own government salary[27].

As Kentucky’s first woman Senator, Alison Lundergan Grimes will continue being a staunch advocate for women and their families.  She will seek common ground and work across the aisle for solutions that put Kentucky and our country back on the right track.  The contrast with Mitch McConnell could not be starker.

Energy

Developing Kentucky’s energy will provide financial security to families across the state. Kentucky is leading the way in domestic energy development and the industry holds tremendous potential to grow our economy, create middle-class jobs and lower energy costs for families across the state. But Washington’s regulatory barriers and burdensome taxes threaten this critical development in Kentucky.

I strongly oppose President Obama’s attack on Kentucky’s energy industry. This Administration has taken direct aim at Kentucky’s coal industry, crippling our state’s largest source of domestic energy and threatening thousands of jobs. Washington Democrats and Republicans need to be realistic about what powers our nation and recognize that developing Kentucky’s supplies of coal is crucial.

We must secure America’s energy independence and reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Our nation’s energy approach should rely heavily on coal, oil and natural gas, along with alternative sources of energy.  Kentucky will lead this effort through continued coal production and exploration and development of natural gas. While our nation is running a $45 billion trade deficit, Kentucky’s natural resources remain underdeveloped.[28] In 2011, Kentucky contributed 7 percent of the nation’s total coal exports, but we can do more to develop these and other resources and reduce our trade deficit.[29]

Protecting Social Security and Medicare

I am running to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security. I believe in keeping our promises to our nation’s seniors while preserving these programs for our children and grandchildren. But rather than pushing for privatization, vouchers, or simply shifting costs to seniors, we should be looking for ways to spend smarter. We should focus on reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, improve coordination of care between doctors, hospitals and patients, and allow Medicare to better negotiate prescription drug prices.

Instead of strengthening and preserving these critical programs, Mitch McConnell plans to end Medicare as we know it. Under a proposal backed by Mitch McConnell, insurance company bureaucrats would be put in charge of making seniors’ health care decisions, and seniors would see their out of pocket costs increase by nearly $6,000 per year. Thousands of current seniors across Kentucky would be forced back into the prescription drug “donut hole,” costing them approximately $13,000 more between 2014 and 2022 than under current law.[30] I believe we’ve got to balance the budget, but we’ve got to do it the right way, and that means protecting the benefits and programs seniors have paid into over a lifetime of hard work.

Jobs

As a Senator, my number one priority will be putting Kentuckians back to work in good-paying jobs. Kentuckians lost more than 118,000 jobs at the worst part of the recession[31] and they are still struggling to provide for their families. Mitch McConnell failed to put Kentuckians back to work. To increase family incomes, I will work to ensure that all Kentuckians and all Americans can earn a living wage for their work, and make sure that women get equal pay for the same work as men.

We must cut red tape and allow businesses to grow and create new jobs. As Secretary of State, I worked with both parties to create a one-stop shop for Kentucky businesses to interact with multiple state agencies through one point of contact, reducing tape and making it easier for business to grow and create more jobs. There are currently 854 federal regulations affecting small businesses.[32] We must reduce this regulatory burden. Our federal government shouldn’t prevent small businesses from succeeding and creating jobs in Kentucky.

We must target burdensome federal regulation of Kentucky’s energy sector, allowing our state to create new middle-class jobs across the state. Kentucky is leading the way in domestic energy development and the industry holds tremendous potential to grow Kentucky’s economy, creating middle-class jobs across the state, but the federal government stands in the way. I will fight to reduce this regulatory burden on Kentucky’s energy industry.

We must encourage manufacturing to return to Kentucky. I’m encouraged that companies like General Electric are opening manufacturing plants across Kentucky, but we must do more to create these new investments in our state. We should end tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas and expand tax credits for companies to invest in research and development and in new machinery and equipment here at home. We should also invest to develop an advanced manufacturing workforce in Kentucky.

Cutting Spending

The Federal deficit is out of control and it threatens the long-term strength of our nation. In 2001, the budget was in balance and the nation was projected to be debt-free by 2011.  Now – after a decade of unpaid-for spending and the worst downturn since the Great Depression – this country owes $16.7 trillion.[33]  The debt impacts our ability to make investments critical to growing our economy, including education, infrastructure and workforce training.

Mitch McConnell has failed to address our nation’s out-of-control spending. With him in Washington, Kentucky has repeatedly witnessed threats of government shut downs, gone to the brink of default and listened to overheated rhetoric that has done nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians. We can’t afford for Washington and Mitch McConnell to continue to play the same old political games with the budget.

I believe that there is a responsible path to balancing the budget. We need to start by going line-by-line through the budget to cut waste, fraud and abuse and we must ensure that tax dollars are being used smartly and efficiently.  Nearly 680 renewable energy initiatives across 23 federal agencies and their 130 sub-agencies costing taxpayers $15 billion is certainly not an efficient use of taxpayer dollars. [34] I also believe that we can make our Medicare and Medicaid programs more efficient without slashing coverage. Medicare spending is unsustainable.  But rather than pushing for privatization, or vouchers, or shifting costs to seniors – supported by Mitch McConnell – we should be looking for ways to spend smarter on our entire health care system.  And to ensure our country never goes into debt again, I will fight in the U.S. Senate to pass a balanced budget amendment.

Veterans

Our veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice. We owe them the care they were promised and the benefits they have earned. As Secretary of State, I have worked to ensure that members of the military never have to ask, “Does my vote actually count?” I traveled to the Middle East to meet with deployed soldiers to learn how to improve voting procedures for military personnel stationed overseas.  My recommendations formed the basis of a bipartisan bill that was signed into law that will allow military members and their families to register to vote and update their registration online, ensure that military voters have sufficient time to vote in special elections and extend existing protections to state and local elections and National Guard members.

Washington has fallen short of honoring our commitment to our veterans. Our veterans should not struggle to find jobs or access care. Kentucky is the home of over 350,000[35] veterans, the fourth largest in the nation.  It is a disgrace that so many veterans across Kentucky have compensation claims pending, more than 6,000 in the Louisville VA backlog alone.[36]  I’m shocked that Mitch McConnell opposed plans to reduce this backlog and voted against veterans jobs legislation.[37] This is wrong.

I’m committed to serving Kentucky’s 350,000 veterans and I will fight for the quality health care, benefits and treatment they have earned. We must expand education and training opportunities for service members and veterans, facilitating public/private partnerships that help them translate their military skills for the civilian workforce. We must improve access to health care services, including mental health, prosthetic care and wound regeneration. And we must improve collaboration between the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring that veterans receive the benefits and medical care they deserve in a timely manner.

Resource: Alison’s website

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 !!!!

“First Amendment ONLY for Christians,” Says Republican Alabama Chief Justice


Sign the petition to Ecuador’s president: Save the Amazon from another Big Oil disaster!


“As concerned global citizens, we stand in solidarity with these indigenous nations and urge you to immediately stop plans for new oil drilling in Ecuador’s rainforests!”Add your name:
SierraRise petition box test button PNG

 

Take Action

Jaime Vargas, an Ecuadorian tribal leader, stood proudly in the howling wind and rain to send us this urgent plea: “Big Oil will stop at nothing to destroy our sacred rainforest home. But with your help we can save it!” [1]

Jaime and his Achuar people are guardians of a spectacular land teeming with one-of-a-kind plants and animals. But Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, is racing to sell off the Achuar’s rainforest home and the neighboring Yasuni National Park to greedy international oil companies.[2]

The president is determined to put profit ahead of his own people — even though they’re still suffering from Chevron’s decades-old oil disaster. [3]

More than 1 million people have stood up to save Ecuador’s threatened rainforests [4] — now it’s time for the SierraRise community to join the fight. Let’s stand with Jaime and all Ecuadorians and flood the president’s inbox with 50,000 messages!

Tell Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa: The world is watching — protect the irreplaceable Amazon and halt all plans for oil drilling!

Big Oil can’t be trusted to operate safely in the rainforest. For three decades, Texaco, now part of Chevron, dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic oil waste into the beautiful Ecuadorian Amazon. [5]Thousands of people are still suffering a plague of deadly cancers and devastating birth defects. [6]

This land is not only crucial for wildlife, but also to the seven vibrant indigenous communities that call it home. Jaime says it best: “For us, the indigenous people, the rainforest is life. There we are in touch with everything.” [7]The Amazon can’t afford another deadly oil disaster like Chevron’s.

Last November, hundreds of everyday Ecuadorians protested the proposed oil drilling. President Correa and his government, feeling the pressure, shut down Pachamama, a local nonprofit fighting the oil drilling, stifling his people’s free speech. [8] It’s clear — President Correa is feeling the heat.

Carmen, will you stand with Jaime and his tribe to save the Ecuadorian Amazon from another Big Oil catastrophe?

In it together,

Ashley Allison
SierraRise Senior Campaigner

P.S. Five signatures are even more powerful than one — after you take action, be sure to forward this alert to your friends, family, and colleagues!

The State of Social Security and Medicare ~ a repost


a repost

By

What You Need To Know From The Latest Social Security Trustees Annual Report

The latest annual report from the trustees for Social Security and Medicare came out today. It provided some very good news on the health care front: the report extended Medicare’s solvency by four years from 2026 to 2030. This improved financial health can be attributed in part to the Affordable Care Act, which is helping to reduce costs. Just a few years ago, before the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented, the trustees predicted that the Medicare trust fund would run out by 2016. Another reason to be thankful for the ACA.

On the Social Security front, some news reports are focusing on the financial shortfall that the program faces in the next 75 years. But it is both expected and manageable. Here are the four key takeaways, from a post by Center for American Progress experts Rebecca Vallas and Christian E. Weller:

1. Social Security can continue to pay all promised benefits for the next two decades. As was the case in last year’s report, the Trustees continue to estimate that Social Security will be able to pay all scheduled retirement, disability, and survivorship benefits through 2033. Social Security has two trust funds: one for the retirement and survivorship benefit programs, and one for the much smaller Disability Insurance (DI) program (although experts generally consider the two funds together due to the interrelated nature of Social Security’s programs). Individually, the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund is projected to deplete its reserves in 2035, and the DI trust fund will do so in 2016. After 2033, the Trustees project that Social Security income from payroll taxes will be sufficient to cover 77 percent of promised benefits after 2033, unless policymakers implement changes before then.

2. Social Security’s shortfall is modest. The Trustees project that the entire Social Security shortfall for the next 75 years will be about 1 percent of GDP, or 2.88 percent of taxable payroll. The bulk of this shortfall, 2.55 percent of payroll or 88.5 percent of the entire shortfall, is attributed to OASI. The Trustees have long projected both the OASI and DI shortfalls. While an aging population is frequently discussed as the driving factor, recent analysis by Monique Morrissey at the Economic Policy Institute finds that as much as half of the shortfall is attributable to rising inequality and wage growth that has lagged behind gains in productivity.

3. The fact that action will soon be needed to address Disability Insurance’s finances has long been expected. As with last year’s report, this year the Trustees continue to project that the DI trust fund will be exhausted in 2016—something that has been expected for nearly 20 years.

4. A routine step would ensure that Social Security can pay all benefits in full through 2033. Rebalancing—an adjustment in the share of payroll taxes allocated to each of the trust funds—has occurred in a bipartisan manner 11 times in the program’s history to account for demographic shifts or other changes. About half the time funds have been reallocated toward OASI, and about half the time toward DI.

BOTTOM LINE: The trustees for Social Security and Medicare brought the good news that Medicare’s financial health is better than expected. And the predictions it makes for Social Security are both expected and manageable–permitting our elected officials can take action to strengthen this program that is a bedrock of economic security for working Americans.