Democrats

Blog

Black History Month
  • Maryland needs federal unemployment insurance

    As our economy is continuing to recover, and new jobs are being created every day, President Obama reminds us that we still have much to do, as millions of Americans are working every day to find jobs. Until recently, people had been able to rely upon the safety net of federal unemployment insurance to help put food on the table and pay the rent.

    However, Republicans in Congress have refused to extend unemployment insurance, leaving 1.7 million Americans without benefits, including more than 20,000 Marylanders. Approximately 70,000 more Americans lose their unemployment insurance each week that Congressional Republicans don’t choose to do what is right.

    Once again the GOP is putting partisan politics over struggling American families. It is sad and disappointing that these lawmakers do not realize these are real people that rely upon this essential benefit as a lifeline. 

    In 2012 alone, unemployment insurance lifted 2.5 million Americans out of poverty, and since 2008, 17 million children have been supported by unemployment benefits. Failing to extend benefits could slow our recovery and cost the economy 240,000 jobs this year. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office found that funding for the unemployed was one of “the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of budgetary cost.”

    And in communities of color, the need is ever greater. The unemployment rate for African-Americans – while on the decline – still remains higher than the national average. This is not acceptable. President Obama knows this, and Democrats across the country know this. Nationally, the unemployment rate among African-Americans has remained above 11% for more than four years. Renewing unemployment insurance will provide the crucial safety net that these families need to succeed.

    Join me in calling on Republican Members of Congress to renew unemployment insurance. It is time to put an end to partisanship, work with Democrats and help our citizens who are searching for jobs.

    Yvette Lewis is the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party.

  • Freedom Day

    On January 23, 2014, an image of my father appeared on the front page of the Hattiesburg American, a local paper in Mississippi. The solemn picture shows an older African-American man recreating the city’s 1964 Freedom Day, when he was a 14-year-old civil rights activist demanding voting rights for all. He joined with hundreds of others across the beleaguered city.  He was a child, unable to use the very powers he sought for others, who nevertheless risked his own liberty to demand justice.

    There will be elections all across the country this November, and like my father 50 years ago, we will be called to participate and vote; in the process, we will be standing for those who will remain voiceless if we do not. Our response to that call will be our legacy half a century from now. Did we balk at the difficult beginnings of a transformed health system that will give millions the ability to live better without fear of economic ruin?  Have we ignored the attempts to cut the fabric of our social safety net, distracted by stereotypes and rigid ideology? Did our votes go uncounted because we refused to secure the unnecessary - but required - identification?

    The power of the vote is more than a right or an obligation. It is a powerful tool. In the proper hands, our votes alter the nature of our communities and our nation, much as my father’s protest helped change Mississippi. 

    I live in Georgia now, a frontline for civil rights and the right to vote. Each Election Day is a call from my father’s 14-year old self across the lines of race and class and geography that might separate us. It is his call that I urge each of us to honor in 2014.

    Let’s call Election Day by its rightful name beginning this year – for if we are willing to act, every Election Day has the chance to be our very own Freedom Day.

    Stacey Abrams is the Georgia House Minority Leader and represents the 89th district, which includes the city of Atlanta.

  • Today in 1965

    Forty nine years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the White House to discuss the importance of the Voting Rights Act. Six months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation into law.

  • The power of your vote in Ohio

    Do you remember 2004?  I do. And so do most Ohioans.

    We remember waiting hours to vote using antiquated punch cards or broken machines, and a complete failure of our election system to work on behalf of us, the citizens. It was a failure of the promise of enfranchisement. 

    Now Ohio Republicans want to return to those days.  They want to undo all of the progress that we have made as a state - by limiting early vote and eliminating “Golden Week”, by ending voting the weekend before Election Day, by making it more difficult to request a ballot, and by making it harder for those who want to exercise their right to vote in person. Republicans are not proposing these measures because there is something broken in our voting system – they are proposing these measures because we’re doing things right!

    We have fought hard to expand and protect the rights of every Ohioan – often having to go to court to defend our right to vote from the Republicans holding office in our state.

    But we can protect our vote by registering our neighbors, demanding an early vote period that helps working families, and by showing up in November for candidates that support access to the voting booth.

    Tell the Republican Legislature that we will not go back to 2004. Join me and the Ohio Democratic Party to make sure that we keep moving Ohio forward.

    Nina Turner is the Minority Whip of the Ohio Senate, and represents District 25, which includes the city of Cleveland. She is running to become Ohio’s next Secretary of State.

  • The power of your vote in South Carolina

    South Carolinians are known for our strong opinions -- on sports, weather, politics, even BBQ. As a native of the Palmetto State, my friends, family, and neighbors share their opinions with me just about every day. And that has been my favorite part about traveling around the state as I run for the United States Senate -- hearing directly from the people.

    Unfortunately, South Carolina Republicans have repeatedly tried to make it more difficult to hear the opinions of us citizens. They are attempting to silence our voices by playing politics with our most fundamental right -- the right to vote.

    In few states has there been a harder fight for the right to vote than in South Carolina. The Department of Justice has intervened in over a hundred election laws through the Voting Rights Act over the years, including a voter ID bill. Thats why, when the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act, many attorneys thought the court got it wrong.   

    But after my initial disappointment in the Supreme Court decision, I quickly remembered the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement and what comes naturally to all South Carolinians -- to organize our neighbors, to mobilize our communities, and to make our voices heard. I decided that I was going to share my opinion with anyone and everyone who would listen.  And I want you to join me.

    Contact your state Democratic Party today and find out what you can do to help register and educate voters in time for this year's election. It is too important to wait.

    Rick Wade is a small business owner and former Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to the U.S. Department of Commerce. He served as the Director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services from 1999 to 2002, and is currently running to represent South Carolina in the United States Senate.

  • Load more
{/if}