Unions turn out for workers’ protest in Honolulu
Hundreds of protesters representing Hawaii unions and worker advocates marched from the state Capitol to the federal building in downtown Honolulu Monday afternoon in commemoration of International Workers’ Day. Organizations represented included the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Hawaii Firefighters Association, the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the American Federation of Government Employees, Media Council Hawaii, and the Democratic Socialists of America, among others. “The biggest message is unity and power,” said Paola Rodelas, spokesperson for Local Five, the union that represents around 11,000 workers in the hospitality and foodservice industries. Tim Vandeveer, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, spoke as protesters congregated near the Prince Kuhio Federal Building on the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Punchbowl Street. “Unions are under attack across this country, and the Democratic Party has not stood up for working people in this country. It’s time for that to change,” he said. Among the issues Vandeveer highlighted were better wages, equal pay, fair taxation, paid sick leave, and automatic payment of union dues.
Director of Kansas Democratic Party to step down
Kansas Democratic Party director Kerry Gooch will step down, the party confirmed Tuesday. Tom Witt, chairman of the party’s progressive caucus, said Gooch announced his intention to leave on a call Tuesday evening with a core group of party officials. Witt said Gooch would resign within the next 60 days or so. Party spokeswoman Heather Scanlon also said Gooch will step down. An official announcement will be made Wednesday. Gooch became director in 2015 at the age of 24. He joined the party as political director in 2013. “He helped us turn the party around and flip a number of seats,” Witt said. Gooch will be involved in the search for the next director, Witt said. He could not say what Gooch’s future plans are. “He has decided it is time to move on to new challenges,” Witt said.
Michigan Congressman Fred Upton a no on latest GOP Obamacare replacement plan
Michigan Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said he won't support the latest version of legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act Tuesday, on grounds the plan's current form doesn't adequately protect people with preexisting conditions. Upton, the former chair of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, told WHTC News in a Tuesday morning interview that he's not supporting the legislation as is, adding there are other Republicans who feel the same way. Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon said Upton's comments are "a testament to the power of public pressure." "It shows that the people of Michigan are making a difference, making their voices heard, and should continue fighting back against this disastrous Republican bill so that other members of Congress get the message," Dillon said.
Democratic state chair visits Elko
Nevada Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II led a planning meeting with local party members Saturday at Duncan LittleCreek Gallery. McCurdy, who also serves as Assemblyman for District 6, discussed several topics of local and state significance, including Elkoans’ ease of attending state meetings, creating jobs through geothermal resources, and finding common ground with political opponents. “What defines you is how you respond to obstacles in your life,” McCurdy said, after describing dropping out of high school at 17 to raise a child, before finally graduating as Student Body President from the College of Southern Nevada at 24. Local members brought up the difficulties of attending state meetings, whether rural members drive to the city, or city members drive to rural centers like Elko. Even videoconferencing has inherent drawbacks, like the ability to ask questions, as well as traveling to a location with enough digital bandwidth for effective communication. “Everybody has a seat at this table, and we need to see that nobody feels left out,” McCurdy said. “This isn’t an urban versus rural situation.”
Haaland, former Dem Party state chairwoman, running for Congress
Debra Haaland, former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party and one-time candidate for lieutenant governor, filed Tuesday to run for metropolitan Albuquerque’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Success in next year’s elections would make the Laguna Pueblo member the first Native American woman elected to Congress. She joins an increasingly crowded field to replace Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is running for governor in 2018. “I’ve spent my life advocating for the underrepresented, advancing progressive values, and working tirelessly to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot,” Haaland said in a statement. “I want to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, and it would be an honor to be that voice for our communities, our families, and for all of us.”
Democratic Party sets sights on Oregon City School Board incumbents Troy Bolinger, Evon Tekorius
Democrats are targeting two members of the Oregon City School Board running for reelection, Troy Bolinger and Evon Tekorius. Volunteers for the Democratic Party knocked on doors of registered voters throughout Oregon City last weekend, just after ballots arrived on Friday. Tekorius earned the Republican nomination and last November ran unsuccessfully against Mark Meek for State House District 40. She is being challenged by registered Democrat Emily Farrer, director of cyber security and IT infrastructure program delivery at Kaiser Permanente. Bolinger's main opponent, Martha Spiers, said that she doesn't know what Bolinger believes. She wants to give voters a clear "progressive" choice in the May 16 election. (Of the two other candidates in the race for Bolinger's seat, one has endorsed Spiers and the other is campaigning for mandating that the Pledge of Allegiance comes back to every classroom.)
Archie Parnell Wins Democratic Primary In Race To Flip South Carolina District
Archie Parnell, a former tax attorney for Goldman Sachs, easily won the Democratic nomination for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District on Tuesday after receiving the majority vote needed to avoid a runoff. Parnell, 66, defeated Alexis Frank, 26, an Army veteran and homemaker, as well as Les Murphy, a disabled Marine Corps veteran and nonprofit founder. Parnell had 72 percent of the vote late Tuesday to 21 percent for Frank and 7 percent for Murphy, with 84 percent of precincts reporting. Parnell now has a head start on his eventual Republican opponent in the June 20 general election. None of the Republican contenders in the district emerged with an outright majority Tuesday, leading to a runoff on May 16 between top vote-getters Tommy Pope, the state’s House speaker pro tem, and Ralph Norman, a former state legislator. To win the district, Parnell would need both higher-than-normal Democratic turnout and significant support from Republicans, many of whom are likely happy with Trump’s performance.
'Sanctuary cities' bill draws stinging criticism from House Democrats
Texas' so-called "sanctuary cities" bill has drawn stinging criticism from Democrats, who say they are prepared to challenge the legislation in court immediately, but it is expected to take quite a while to see if the battle will help them loosen Republicans' longtime grip on state politics. On a 94-53 vote, the House gave final approval last Thursday to Senate Bill 4, which grants sweeping new powers to officers by allowing them to question a person's immigration status if they have been stopped with reasonable suspicion. Party leaders went on the attack after the vote, with Democrats displaying moral outrage at the legislation they say will turn local police into deportation officials. "Texas' Latino and immigrant communities will never forget what the Republican Party has done this legislative session to their families," said Manny Garcia, the Texas Democratic Party's executive director.