Letter to the Editor:
Senator Mary Abrams was most impressive in the recent candidate forum. She offered a positive vision for Connecticut and specific, credible plans for continuing to move us forward. In contrast, her opponent’s message was just “doom and gloom.”
Senator Abrams shared my viewpoint that Connecticut is the state that we are proud to call our home. Moreover, she is endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, a tribute to her commitment to keeping Connecticut an environmentally healthy and attractive place to live and raise a family. Her record of real accomplishments makes Mary Abrams the outstanding choice in this election.
By Cindy Jenks
President National Federation of Democratic Women
Stunned, and extremely saddened, we have learned of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
She has been fighting for all of us for so long that a world without her just doesn’t seem possible. Ginsburg began her professional career as an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union and she successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court. During this time, she made gender equality her priority. One of her first cases was representing a man who was being discriminated against because of his gender.
Justice Ginsburg is without a doubt one of the most important justices to ever serve on the Supreme Court. She was first appointed to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. District by President Jimmy Carter. President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court in 1993, and she faced a daunting interview by three conservative senators, who then voted against her.
When one asked her about Roe v. Wade, Ginsburg said, “This is something central to a woman’s life, to her dignity.
"It’s a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she’s being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices."
Interestingly, Ginsburg found her voice when writing her dissenting opinions.
When the Supreme Court ruled against Lilly Ledbetter, Ginsburg wrote the dissent. When President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter, Fair Pay Act into law, he autographed a copy of the bill and presented it to Justice Ginsburg. She framed the bill and kept it in her office.
One of Justice Ginsburg’s most famous opinions was written in 1996 when she wrote for the majority in U.S. v. Virginia. The Virginia Military Institute’s 157-year tradition of admitting only males to the institution came to an end when Ginsburg wrote that the practice was unconstitutional. She is also quoted as saying that if she could add anything to the U.S. Constitution it would be the Equal Rights Amendment.
Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer and a monumental jurist that will likely never be matched in comparison to her work ethic, her wit and her dedication to fairness and justice for all persons.
She will be missed.
By Senator Mary Abrams.
On Sept. 10, Connecticut reported 222 newly discovered infections of COVID-19. With those 222 new cases found amid 16,602 tests administered, the state saw a positive test ratio of 1.3 percent.
Connecticut Approved For Two Additional Weeks Of Employment Assistance. The Department of Labor announced the state received approval for an additional two weeks of Lost Wages Assistance supplemental funds, the federal program recently put in place to provide an additional $300 per week to anyone with a weekly benefit of at least $100 and who has become unemployed or partially employed due to COVID-19. While the program will only be in place for five weeks, meaning its benefits will be temporary, it will provide additional support to those in need. Anyone who has already received or claimed existing pandemic unemployment assistance do not need to do anything to receive the additional benefit; those wanting to self-certify can log into their unemployment accounts, where they’ll have a new option to “certify for lost wages assistance.” Claimants are expected to receive between three and four total payments, with the first payment of $300 coming mid-September and the remainder following. Roughly 250,000 claimants in Connecticut may be eligible for the funding.
FEMA Extends Approval of Non-Congregate Sheltering Program through Oct. 1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a 30-day extension of the non-congregate sheltering authorization under the FEMA Public Assistance program through Oct. 1. This program provides non-congregate housing to certain high-risk individuals, including those who have COVID-19 or have been in contact with individuals who have the virus. The program covers non-congregate housing for people who are at high risk of exposure in public service, individuals in at-risk facilities, such as group homes, nursing homes, long-term care sites, and alternative care facilities, first responders and health care workers who have been exposed and cannot return home, homeless individuals in congregate shelters, and individuals in domestic violence shelters.
Additional SNAP Benefits. The Connecticut Department of Social Services provided over $16.5 million in Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits to nearly half of Connecticut’s SNAP participants on Thursday. Authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, the extra food benefits will go to nearly 109,600 households that are not currently receiving the maximum benefits allowed for their household size. This means that all households enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum food benefit allowable for their household size, even if they are not usually eligible for the maximum benefit. The average emergency benefit amount a household will see in its electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card on September 17 is $153. All participating households also received their normal SNAP benefits on the first three days of each month as they normally do. For more information about SNAP benefits, you can click here.
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NFDW Call to Action: Jenks urges citizens to call U.S. Representatives, Senators to stop Trump from ending Census a month early
By Cindy Jenks
President, National Federation of Democratic Women
Donald Trump has struck again.
He is ratcheting up his attack on the Census in a way that will impact marginalized communities that are difficult to reach. President Trump has “dramatically escalated his attacks on a fair and accurate count – with last week’s announcement that the Census will end one month early.” (Common Cause August 11, 2020)
By ending the count a month early, the final count will be incomplete.
From day one, Trump has tried to remove undocumented people from the Census. He tried to have a citizenship question added to the Census that would have had a chilling effect on immigrant participation. The Supreme Court ruled against that Trump tactic, but Trump then took another direction by asking all U.S. Departments to send their information on undocumented workers to the Commerce Department that runs the Census.
Once the Census is complete, the data will be used to drive redistricting for legislative seats.
These districts will be final for another 10 years when the next Census is taken. Federal dollars will be allocated based on this data. An undercount means fewer funds for the areas with the greatest needs. By ending early, a possible recount could be ordered by the Courts because of the inadequate information recorded.
We must protest against Trump’s egregious attempt to hurt those in our country who need help the most.
Call your Representatives and Senators and demand that they stop Trump’s attack on getting a fair and accurate Census. Do not stop the Census count early. There is too much at stake here to allow Trump to get his conniving way on this. Call today and ask your colleagues to call, too.
A blog from the Democratic National Committee War Room
Trump continues to downplay the risk of children spreading coronavirus and threatens to take away funding that schools need now more than ever, as he pushes to reopen schools without ensuring it can be done safely.
In his Fox News Sunday interview that aired yesterday, Trump doubled down on his threat to defund schools that don’t reopen, despite schools saying they need more funding to reopen safely.
TRUMP: “Young people have to go to school, and there’s problems when you don’t go to school, too. And there’s going to be a funding problem because we’re not going to fund – when they don’t open their schools. We’re not going to fund them. We’re not going to give them money if they’re not going to school. If they don’t open.”
Trump also continued to downplay the risk of schools reopening without ensuring it is done safely.
TRUMP: “Chris, let the schools open. Do you ever see the statistics on young people below the age of 18? The state of New Jersey had thousands of deaths. Of all of these thousands, one person below the age of 18 – in the entire state – one person and that was a person that had, I believe he said diabetes. One person below the age of 18 died in the state of New Jersey during all of this – you know, they had a hard time. And they’re doing very well now, so that’s it.”
A new study showed that children and teenagers can spread the virus at least as well as adults do.
New York Times: “A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do. The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned.”
As Trump pushes for schools to reopen, he is blocking the CDC from sharing vital information on how to safely reopen schools.
USA Today: “The White House blocked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield from testifying before Congress this week on how to safely reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, multiple outlets reported.”
Despite the White House’s claims, Trump’s plan to reopen schools is not supported by science — but Vice President Biden’s plan is.
Washington Post: “Late last week, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: ‘When [Trump] says open, he means open in full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this.’ A few seconds later, she said the ‘science is on our side.’ Actually, the science that is known today about the coronavirus — and there is still a great deal to learn — would not suggest the Trump plan to open schools regardless of local conditions. It would favor the Biden plan — to allow local conditions and school resources to dictate decisions — which follows the advice of experts, including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”
National Federation of Democratic Women
Remember Georgia Congressman John Lewis
The passing of Georgia Congressman John Lewis is riveting.
His leadership has been a moral compass for our country for more than six decades. In 1961, this civil rights icon was one of the original Freedom Riders, and was the youngest leader to speak at the 1963 March on Washington. He then became one of the longest serving members of Congress having served his Atlanta district for more than 30 years.
Lewis was brutally clubbed during the 1965 March on Selma and a steel plate had to be inserted into his head because of the way he was beaten. He had dozens of arrests and was jailed 40 times during his civil rights non-violent work. “Good trouble” is how Lewis referred to his protests and activism.
He once said, “What we found, as we pushed our protests deeper into the heart of segregated society, was that our nonviolent actions were met with increasingly more violent responses.”
Video of Lewis being beaten in Selma was viewed throughout the nation and the horror and shock of seeing this led President Lyndon Johnson to push for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
When President Barack Obama awarded Lewis the Medal of Freedom in 2011, he said, “When parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind – an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”
President Obama also told John Lewis that his civil rights work led to the opportunity of Obama being elected President.
On learning of the passing of Lewis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history: Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress.”
In 2017, Congressman John Lewis visited NFDW’s National Convention that was taking place in Atlanta. He was gracious and warmly greeted NFDW members as he welcomed NFDW to his district.
NFDW President Cindy Jenks said, “We deeply grieve the loss of this great American. His service to America changed lives. He has left a tremendous legacy that will shine until the end of time.”
NFDW DNC Representative Virgie Rollins said, “We are so sad today as we remember Congressman John Lewis. Today we will dedicate getting into Good Trouble and make sure that we get the highest ever voter turnout in this election. We will miss him. We visited his office during Women in Blue. It was just awesome.”
E.J. Maher, A personal introduction: Democratic candidate state representative in 89th district (Cheshire, Bethany, Prospect)
By E.J. Maher
Democratic candidate for State Representative
of the 89th district (Cheshire, Prospect, Bethany)
I am 40 years young and I am a lifetime Connecticut resident. I grew up in Stratford, went to high school in Milford and have lived in many of the surrounding towns since graduating from New York University in 2004.
I have been married to my beautiful wife Sandy for 13 years and we have lived in Bethany since 2013 with three incredible young ladies we are proud to call our daughters. I have been a firefighter for the City of Norwalk for over 10 years. Prior to that I was the production controller for an aerospace component manufacturer in New Haven.
After attending NYU, I worked in film production and for an Internet start up. I also have a deep understanding of the construction business having worked in various capacities on numerous construction projects. I have also worked in the retail and food service industries.
I formerly sat on the Cable Television Advisory Council for the City of New Haven and I am a former Vice-President of the New Haven Chapter of the CT Young Democrats. I am currently serving in my elected position as a member of the Bethany Community School Board of Education. I also serve as Bethany’s representative to the ACES Regional Governing Board.
I have always strived to be of service to my community. Running for State Representative of the 89th district is an opportunity to expand the reach of that service. To be able to serve the communities of Bethany, Cheshire and Prospect at the state level will be a privilege that I will not take for granted.
The status quo in Hartford isn’t going to cut it anymore. For far too long our problems been have ignored. What’s more, we have failed our most vulnerable, underserved citizens and communities. The COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid epidemic have cemented my resolve to ensure that healthcare is within reach of every single resident of my community and in the State of Connecticut.
The education of our children needs to be equitable and rigorous for all students, regardless of where they live or what personal obstacles they may have to overcome to learn and thrive. I further believe that our vocational preparation is failing to reach the students that need it the most. We need a pipeline to apprenticeship for non-college bound young people.
Vocational training should be accessible to any individual and we must guarantee that a full week of work will provide the income necessary to support a family. I will fight to ensure all workers, male, female, LBGTQ and minorities are treated equally and alike and that they receive a living wage for their honest time and labor. We must ensure businesses pay their fair share of taxes. We also need to examine the tax-exempt entities in this state to ensure compliance with current laws while reexamining existing laws to ensure the spirit and intent of tax exemption is not being at best misinterpreted or at worst outright abused.
We need strong unions and easy access to union representation for all workers.
Investing now in our state’s infrastructure, our roads, bridges, historical buildings and tourist attractions can provide good paying jobs now to those who need them most while recovering from the losses caused by measures taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Our residents and our businesses will need help to recover from the COVID 19 pandemic, I want to make sure state resources are distributed fairly while ensuring there is no abuse.
I believe we can protect our state’s resident’s 2nd amendment rights while doing more to keep guns out of the hands of those who would seek to do harm with them.
Finally, I believe indisputably that black lives do matter. I steadfastly and unequivocally support our public safety officers and the good work they do every day, often without thanks, but we can no longer tolerate the undeniably disproportionate impact of law enforcement on communities and citizens of color. Any complaint of abuse at the hands of law enforcement needs to be examined and recorded by an independent panel assembled for this sole purpose and any death within police custody must be investigated and prosecuted at the federal level as many national leaders have demanded. For far too long we have ignored the impact of years of racism. I will fight for racial equality and help bring an end systemic racism.
We have so much good work to do in Hartford in the coming months and years. We must meaningfully engage the groups and communities that we will be working for; Black, Latino, Women, LGBTQ and those living in poverty to identify short and long term goals and to immediately implement the best strategies and plans to meaningfully and quantifiably move toward a better future for all of Connecticut’s residents. From the moment the next class of senators and state representatives are sworn in next year I will work hard to bring equality to all Connecticut residents and to ensure that no one is held down again while they are begging to breathe. We cannot elect leaders anymore who show up and list the reasons why we cannot do all of these things. We must show up to fight for progress that has heretofore stalled without making any more excuses.
By Breina Schain
On a beautiful spring day last Sunday (June 7th), several of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee members were present to accompany the peaceful and successful Protest March organized by the Cheshire High School students. It appeared that at least five hundred people or more were gathered. Noticeably, there was a large police presence, many being young policewomen and policemen on bicycles. I mentioned to one of them that I thought their entire police force was there and they smiled and agreed. All the side streets were appropriately blocked off with ropes and patrols at each corner.
We were so enthused and impressed to meet candidate E.J. Maher running against Representative Lezlye Zupkus for the 89th District. We all had a great opportunity to speak to him and get to know one another. He is an avid young volunteer for many good causes, a father of three daughters, a fire-fighter, youth leader, Board of Education member and the list of accolades continues. (I urge you to read the bio previously sent out by Dan Nowak). He mentioned that he has a farm but used to live in New Haven. Some of us offered to support him against Zupkus, including myself and I said he could gather people at my house if needed. He has some good ideas for his Treasurer to include his father who is an accountant.
After we initially gathered at Bartlem Park to muster our group with spirited calls by the Cheshire High School protest organizers, we proceeded to chant and march to the Town Hall where there were a few speeches from guests and students that commenced after everyone knelt on one knee for an extended period of silence. The speeches included an elderly black gentleman sharing the history of racism, and an emotional white woman, equally passionate. Andrew Jones, a friend of some Cheshire students, recited a provocative poem entitled "The Crying" that he was inspired to write in the middle of the night. It was all so appropriate and meaningful.
Most everyone wore masks and respected social distancing with one exception of a family of four protestors, who I alerted the police about. However, after a short while of combative yelling at the speaker with adverse language, they left. Everything else was peaceful and well organized. The numerous signs were well composed with one that said, "If you don't respect our existence, there may be resistance".
I especially wanted to be present to support the students and share my outrage at the brutal killing of George Floyd. Racism and inequality have NO place in society, where respect, dignity and compassion should prevail. This protest march was an opportunity for us to unite and express our feelings in our home town. Thanks so much to our wonderful high school students and kudos to you all!!!