Letters to My Representatives 6-16-2017

I almost didn’t get my letter in this week. Between our upcoming move and a graduation party in 7 days, I’ve been scrambling for time. So I called my Senators on Tuesday (and I’ll call again in a few minutes) to ask them to vote NO on the AHCA, to demand public disclosure and hearings on the bill, and to fight against it with all they have. Here are some scripts from ItsTimetoFight.com to help you in your own calls:

I know it seems pointless to call, but really, it’s a few minutes out of your day. And here are some good reasons to call:

  • Democratic Senators use the call/email volumes to better argue against the bill; if we call, they can report those numbers to their GOP colleagues to help convince them to vote NO
  • Republican Senators who will vote YES still need to hear that we are displeased. They need to know they may be facing election loss if they do this.
  • Republican Senators who are undecided or on the fence NEED to know how their constituents feel about this issue. The more calls, the more likely we can sway them to vote NO.

Here is the letter I wrote to Representative Mitchell today. It doesn’t highlight any particular issues, but rather my crumbling view of the GOP. Will it do any good? Maybe not, but it is cathartic for me, so I guess there’s the good.

Dear Representative Mitchell,

I was prepared today to send you my usual weekly letter listing all the issues that concern me and how I want you to vote, respond or proceed on them, which you would then ignore and continue with your own party-line agenda. But I decided to go another route today and explain a few things to you.

First, I’d like to say that I have voted for Republicans before. I tend to lean left, but have generally remained centered, giving due consideration to both a conservative and liberal view point. I have even, on occasion, taken the conservative side of an issue. I do believe that both conservatives and liberals have something to add to the discussion and compromises can be reached on many issues to better serve all Americans.

I used to believe that the Republican Party stood for family values and tradition. I believed they upheld Christian ideals and that even though I didn’t agree with 90% of what they stood for, there was still something of value there.

I no longer believe this.

This isn’t a conclusion I have come to simply because of one election. It has been progressing over years and years, though I stubbornly hung onto the hope that there was something good and benevolent left in the GOP. That hope has since been dashed. The GOP, and this includes Trump, though he is by no means the sole perpetrator, have become the villains in American politics. I know you of course don’t see it that way, but I believe you have a very narrow view of what will help America. You are focused solely on what white middle class Christian America “needs” not seeing that by raising the lesser among us, we bring all of us up.

Between cuts to healthcare funding, repealing the ACA, imposing the heinous AHCA on us, proposed cuts to everything from Medicare to NEA to PBS. Pulling out of the Paris Accord, destroying climate change data, and proceeding with the DAPL, the GOP, and especially Trump, have created lasting damage to the fabric of our society that will take generations to correct, if we are able to. They have also demonstrated ignorance concerning matters of science and hypocrisy to Christian teachings. In fact, the blatant hypocrisy displayed has caused me to question my own beliefs, because how can I possibly belong to a religion that doesn’t understand nor follow the teachings of Jesus on such a large scale? It makes me sick.

And the fact that you have stood by and not said one word while Trump spoke dangerously on the campaign trail, inciting violence that continues to plague us, or done anything about the EO Travel Ban discriminating against Muslims, or condemned his inappropriate talk about multitudes of people from the Kahns to Comey to Mueller, or spoke out against his inappropriate remarks about women just goes to show that you wish to go down with his sinking ship. You neither have the moral fortitude nor the courage to denounce this dangerous man who is damaging our country. You didn’t speak out against him during the campaign, you have done nothing about him now, and history will remember those that fought against this degradation of America’s democratic system. They will not remember those who stood quietly by and allowed the erosion of our democracy. History will not remember you, sir.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 6-7-2017

Here is today’s letter to my representatives. Senators Stabenow and Peters received this letter as is, but Representative Mitchell received his weekly reminder that I will be sure to remind his constituents that he voted for the AHCA. Let’s hope it bites him in the ass in 2018.

Remember to check out ItsTimetoFight.com for more information and scripts. It’s where I get much of what I use. Just click on the current issues tab and then select Call List.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

First I’d like to thank you for your continued support of the ACA. It is heinous that Trump and the Republicans want to kill this bill, and cause so many Americans to suffer. Thank you for standing with what is not only morally right, but was is best for this country. Please do not support any attempts to repeal the ACA, especially through AHCA. Please work to convince some of your GOP counterparts not to support this bill. I understand that the Senate is still writing the bill, but I want to voice my opposition to any bill that will repeal the ACA, especially without replacement. And the CBO score estimating that 23 million Americans will lose their healthcare coverage is unacceptable, and the potential for state waivers will negatively affect those with pre-existing conditions.

I am extremely angry and disgusted at Trump’s shortsighted and disastrous decision to pull out of the Paris Accord. I am hopeful that so many individual citizens, corporations and local and state governments have pledged to abide by the accord regardless of Trump’s decision. Please do whatever you can to support those that chose to put the planet’s welfare ahead of Trump’s ignorance.

I ask that you do not vote for the Financial Choice Act of 2017. Many of these safeguards were put into place after the recession of 2008 and helped our economy recover.

I would like to express my supreme concern and anger over the proposed Trump budget. The cuts to entitlement programs are destructive to society, and cuts to Medicaid in particular are catastrophic to many people. I ask that you condemn the budget and oppose it any form.

I ask that you speak out against the Trump Administration’s planned attempts to rollback contraception mandate for healthcare coverage. Women’s healthcare should be considered a private matter, and contraception use is used for many areas outside of birth control. Please defend a women’s right to make their own healthcare choices.

I ask for an independent commission to be formed to investigate Trump, Kushner, Manafort, Flynn, Sessions and the rest of the Trump campaign and administration and their ties to Russia during the campaign. A special prosecutor is a good first step, but the American people deserve a full independent investigation.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 5-31-2017

Here is today’s letter to my representative. I used ItsTimetoFight.com for scripts and info. All three letters were the same except Representative Mitchell’s (R) has a paragraph about me reminding his constituents that he voted for the AHCA coming into the 2018 election and removing the paragraph about judiciary confirmations as that is a Senate issue and the House doesn’t vote on those.

I swear these letters keep getting longer and longer, but that’s because there are always new things to write about, yet the old ones never go away. It may seem redundant to send them the same concerns over and over again, but that;s kind of the point. We need to be squeaky wheels. Very loud, obnoxious, repetitive, relentless squeaky wheels. They may not listen. But we have to let them know we aren’t going away. We will just keep coming back for more and more.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I want to thank you for your continued support of the ACA and ask that you oppose any efforts to repeal the ACA, especially without replacement measures. The AHCA is a terrible bill and I ask that you oppose it in any form and work with your GOP colleagues to encourage them to vote NO on the bill as well. The CBO score estimating that 23 million Americans will lose their coverage is unacceptable and the potential for state waivers will affect those with pre-existing conditions.

I ask that you vote NO for the Financial Choice Act of 2017. Many of these safeguards were put into place after the recession on 2008 and helped our economy recover. The financial welfare of this country will be in danger if this passes.

I am very concerned at the Trump budget proposal. The cuts to entitlement programs will be destructive to the most vulnerable in this country. Without Medicaid paying for the birth of my first child I would have been mired in debt. It helped me make a strong recovery from an unexpected situation at a young age, and I was able to go to college while caring for a young child, ultimately getting a good paying job so I could not only support myself and my child, but pay taxes to benefit all of our society. It may not seem like a lot, but programs like Medicaid and WIC not only ensured that my child had a healthy start in life, but allowed me to become a productive member of society.

I ask that you condemn Trump’s budget and vote against it in any form.

I ask that you speak out against Trump’s proposed plan to roll back contraception mandate for health coverage. Contraception is not only used for birth control, for one thing, but it is ludicrous that health insurance would not cover something that creates the ability for women to choose when to become pregnant and drops the rates of abortion. It is also ridiculous to me the attitude I have heard from many male lawmakers that they should not be responsible for women’s healthcare, i.e. prenatal, maternity, birth control. Too many men are simultaneously saying ‘we need to make choices for you on your healthcare, but we shouldn’t have to pay for it either’. Please defend a woman’s right to make her own choices about birth control.

I ask that you condemn Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. I realize there is little that Congress can do, but we need to be very vocal about this. Ignoring the ramifications of global warming will be permanently damaging to our nation and counter to what all of our science agencies are advising.

I ask that you push for further investigation into Jared Kushner’s apparent attempts to establish a ‘back channel’ communication with the Russians during the campaign, and push to have his security clearance revoked if necessary. Kushner’s actions merit investigation, especially when taken with the many, many suspicious activities of other Trump associates, Trump administration, and Russia. Please push for the truth.

I ask that you take a stand against the change in net neutrality rules. A change in rules will take away our freedom on the internet, and negatively impact individual constituents and small businesses alike. Please speak out against the change in these rules.

I would like to express my concern that Trump revealed classified intelligence to Ambassador Kiyslak and Foreign Minister Lavrov in their Oval Office meeting. I understand it is within his duties to make that decision, but this information was obviously revealed without coordination with our intelligence community. I ask that you push for a release of the transcript and and take any other relevant action.

I would also like to express my concern over the news that Trump asked Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn. If this is true, it is a clear obstruction of justice and interfering into an ongoing federal investigation. That is criminal. I will ask again for an independent commission to investigate all of these apparent ties to Russia from Trump, his associates, and his campaign. A special prosecutor is a good first step, but we need an independent commission.

I want to express my profound concern at the appointment of Sheriff David Clarke to the DHS. Clarke has many questionable obstacles on his record and is not in the best interest of the DHS. I understand his appointment doesn’t require confirmation, but I ask you to speak out against this nonetheless.

 

Please fight for funding for the census and push Trump to appoint a non-partisan person to head the department.

I would like to express my concern at Sessions recent rule changes to mandatory minimums. He is reverting back to a time of excessive incarceration, funded by our tax dollars, and with long term detrimental impacts on families and communities. Please speak out and stand against such policies that will have long standing ramifications.

I ask that you block Trump’s judicial nominees for the 129 vacancies currently in the US. I ask that you make every attempt to block him placing partisan judges in those positions that will affect the country for many, many years to come. Now is not the time for Senate courtesy. We are fighting for their very soul of our Democracy and we can’t give an inch.

Please stand against Trump’s Religious Liberties EO. We need to stop the idea that people can discriminate against others and use their religion as an excuse. This isn’t about religious freedom, it’s about freedom to discriminate.

I am writing to not support any attempts to pass legislation that may help revoke monument status on any of our nation’s already-designated monuments. While the Trump Administration has claimed that the purpose of this review is to stop federal government overreach and return power to the states, we can’t overlook the fact that a lot of the monuments under review are natural monuments that could potentially be negatively impacted, without their national monument status.  Please consider the long-term impact of removing national monument status from an invaluable resource to our state.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

 

Letters to My Representatives 5-24-2017

Here is today’s letter. I relied heavily on ItsTimeToFight.com today. They had some wonderful scripts that made covering all the information much easier and as I’m short on time it’s a life saver. Feel free to copy and paste my words into your letters, or visit It’s Time to Fight for more information!

This is the letter I wrote to Senator Stabenow. All three letters were essentially the same, except the letter to Rep. Mitchell contained the following paragraph to replace the one on the AHCA:

Here is my weekly reminder that I intend to make sure all of your constituents remember in 2018 that you voted for the ACHA and what it will mean for them and their health care. I assume you are aware that Edith DesMarais just won a NH state seat over a GOP opponent in a district that has never seen a Democratic rep., and voted for Trump with 60% of the vote. It can happen. And your attack on Americans’ healthcare and not standing up to Trump’s abuse of power, possible ties to Russia, and obstruction of investigations will be noted in the coming election.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I ask you not to support any attempts to pass legislation that may help revoke monument status on any of our nation’s already-designated monuments. While the Trump Administration has claimed that the purpose of this review is to stop federal government overreach and return power to the states, we can’t overlook the fact that a lot of the monuments under review are natural monuments that could potentially be negatively impacted, without their national monument status. Please consider the long-term impact of removing national monument status from an invaluable resource to our country.

I would like to express my concern and anger over the Trump budget proposal. The cuts to entitlement programs are not only destructive to society, but they are also counter to previous administration promises to protect Medicaid. I am asking that you condemn the budget and vote against it in any form.

I would also like to express deep concern that Trump asked DNI Coats and Admiral Rogers to push back against Director Comey’s statements about the existing Russian probe. His actions were inappropriately trying to influence an ongoing investigation, and also should be considered an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the FBI. I ask that you condemn these actions, and support any efforts to investigate Trump/Russian ties more thoroughly. I also ask for an independent commission to investigate Trump/Russian ties as well as his apparent efforts to obstruct said investigation. A special prosecutor is a great first step, but we still need an independent commission.

I ask that you take a stand against changes to net neutrality rules. A change in rules would take away our freedom on the internet, and negatively impact individual constituents and small businesses alike, and I think it is important that you speak out against this and fight any attempts to change these rules.

I would like to profess profound concern that Trump revealed classified intelligence to Ambassador Kiyslak and Foreign Minister Lavrov in their Oval Office meeting. I understand that it is in his purview to do so, but this information was obviously revealed without coordination with our intelligence agencies. I ask you to push for a release of the transcripts and take any other relevant action. It is also concerning that he then talked about the incident in front of cameras with Netanyahu in order to”clear up” that he never mentioned Israel, except he then did. In front of cameras.

I am very concerned that Trump asked Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn in February. This is an obvious case of Trump interfering in an ongoing federal investigation. Once again, I ask for an independent commission to investigate this entire scenario.

I continue to ask that you do not support any efforts to repeal the ACA. The AHCA bill that passed the House is reprehensible and destructive to so many lives. In fact, the very lives that need ACA in the first place.

I would like to express my horrified concern at the appointment of Sheriff David Clarke to the Department of Homeland Security. Clarke has many questionable obstacles on his record and his appointment is not in the best interest of the DHS. I understand his appointment does not require Congressional confirmation, but I ask that you voice strong opposition nonetheless.

I ask that you fight for funding for the census and that you push Trump to appoint a non-partisan person to head the department.

I am very concerned about the recent rule changes to mandatory minimums by AG Sessions. He is reverting back to a time of excessive incarceration, funded by our tax dollars, and with a long term impact on families and communities. I would like you to speak out against a return to this policy that has long-standing ramifications and has been proven to have little effect on the crime rate.

I would like to express my deep concern and outrage at the “Religious Freedoms” EO. While not as horrible as we thought it might be, it still allows the Justice department and the IRS to play with their interpretation of the Johnson Amendment. It is not a “Religious Freedom” EO, but rather a “Freedom to Discriminate” EO.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

 

Letters to My Representatives 5-17-2017

Here are today’s letters. All three received essentially the same one with a few changes. Here is the one for Representative Mitchell (R).

Dear Representative Mitchell,

Good morning.

I ask (again) for you to call for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the Russian interference into our election, Trump’s ties to Russia and that interference, as well as any of Trump’s surrogates/associates, and also Trump’s financial ties to Russia, and possible obstruction of justice in regards to the Comey firing as well as the Comey memo that was released. I also ask you to call for an independent commission to investigate the items listed above. It is time to give the American people the truth. Trump’s actions concerning Comey both the firing and before raise serious questions about his competency to be president, especially whether he has the basic knowledge required to fill the position. He is veering down the path of authoritarianism and must be stopped now.

I ask that you request a transcript of Trump’s talk with the Russian’s in which he revealed classified code words to them. While I understand that Trump has the authority to reveal classified information, it is another demonstration of his incompetence as president. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is in the best interest of your country. In the words of Paul Ryan, “Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ with classified information should be denied further access to such info.”

I would also like to express my concerns over the recent announcement regarding the intention to roll back net neutrality rules. I believe that rolling back the progress that was made under the Obama Administration, would cause severe harm to the individual consumer.  Net neutrality helps ensure that there is an even playing ground for all consumers. Without net neutrality, telecom and cable companies could very well influence internet searches, news and how we access the internet as a whole. This would influence the ability for individuals to create and communicate openly and freely on the internet. Without net neutrality, telecom and cable companies could also negatively influence services, to their advantage.

Moreover, this uneven playing field would also disadvantage entrepreneurs. Small businesses wouldn’t necessarily have the financial clout of larger companies, to pay into this uneven playing field. Please keep the rules in place.

I would also like to remind you that I will do everything in my power to remind your constituents that you voted for the AHCA and what it will mean for them. I will especially be vocal on this prior to the 2018 elections.

I ask that you fight for funding for the upcoming census and that you ask that Trump appoint a non-partisan person to head the department.

I would like to express my concern over the recent rule changes to mandatory minimums by AG Sessions. He is reverting back to a time of excessive incarceration , funded by our tax dollars, and with a long term impact on families and communities. I would like you to take a stand and speak out against a return to a policy that has long-standing ramifications.

I would like to speak out against Trump’s Religious Freedoms EO and I ask that you publicly stand against it. Though it is not as extreme as I had expected it leaves the Justice Department and the IRS to mess with an interpretation of the Johnson Amendment. It is not a religious freedom EO, it is a freedom to discriminate EO. Which I thought was what this country was against.

I would still like to express my concern for Trump’s repeated visits to Mar-a-Lago on tax payer dollars, the fact that many of those tax payer dollars are funneling directly into Trump’s pocket, and that Mar-a-Lago is featured on the State Department website. This is a clear breach of the emoluments clause and needs to be addressed. Keep in mind, whatever Trump does now, a Democratic president will get to do it in the future. The precedent that you, the GOP, and Trump set now may come back to bite you in the future.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 5-16-2017

Today’s letter is for Representative Paul Mitchell only. I’ll write all three of my reps tomorrow with my usual letters, but today the GOP needs to wake up. I’m tired. I’m tired of their excuses, of their lies, of their vile justifications for damaging the people of this country.

Dear Representative Mitchell,

I was prepared to write a pleasant, dare I say, civil letter today, but I’m afraid that ship has sailed. I have just one question for you and the rest of the Republican Party:

What’s it going to take?

What’s it going to take for the GOP to stand with the Constitution, with Democracy, with the American people?

What’s it going to take for the Republicans to decide the preservation of our union is more important than party?

What’s it going to take for Conservatives to stop the erosion of the very foundation of this democracy instead of clinging to the power that allows them to advance their agenda?

What’s it going to take?

What if Trump lies to the American people, and is proven to have lied? Nope. He’s already done that.

What if Trump accuses a former president of illegal actions, is found to have no proof, and never retracts his statement? Nope. Sorry. That one’s passed too.

What if Trump writes executive orders that are discriminatory? Yeah. Done.

What if Trump threatens a foreign power with naval deployment only to find out those ships were headed in the wrong direction? Yeah. That’s already happened.

What if Trump hires a man to be the National Security Adviser knowing he is compromised, and being advised that he is a compromised individual? Again. This has already passed.

What if Trump fires the woman who advised him that Flynn was compromised after she refuses to uphold something she didn’t believe was Constitutional, which she swore under oath to do? You’re right. He’s already done that.

What if Trump fires the FBI director after the director asks for more money and resources for an investigation into Russia’s interference into our election & Trump’s possible ties to that? Yup. Done. And GOP has done nothing.

What if Trump asks for loyalty from other branches, divisions of the government? Oh, yeah. That happened. Seriously. A sitting president asked for “loyalty”. In case you’ve forgotten, and by the responses from the GOP these days, I’m going to assume you have, we don’t give loyalty to leaders. We give loyalty to country. And Trump is not this country. No president is this country. The country is the people collectively. All of them. Not one. Not Trump. Those are the actions of a dictator.

And what if Trump gives classified information to a foreign power that would be detrimental to this country? WHAT IF TRUMP GIVES CLASSIFIED INFORMATION TO A FOREIGN POWER THAT WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO THIS COUNTRY?!!

I have asked repeatedly for a special prosecutor to be assigned to this case and for the formation of an independent commission to investigate the Russian interference into the election and any connection Trump and his surrogates may have had with the interference. I have also asked that Trump’s financial ties to Russia be thoroughly investigated. I reiterate my request again, and will do so in the future. This matter must be thoroughly investigated by an independent commission for the safety and continuance of our Democracy.

I also ask that you and the rest of the GOP put this country ahead of your party. Trump is detrimental to the very core of our union. The longer the GOP stands by and allows him to erode our democracy, the more damage we will have to undo in the future. If we will even have one at this rate.

I ask that you take a stand against any change to the net neutrality rules. A change in rules would take away our freedom on the internet and negatively impact individual constituents and small businesses alike, and I think it is important that you speak out against in advance of May 18th and fight any attempts to change the rules.

I would also like to remind you that I will be making every effort in approach of the 2018 elections to not only remind your 10th District constituents that you voted in favor of the AHCA, but also let them know how this has and will affect their lives.

I ask that you increase funding for the upcoming American census. It is important that we have adequate data to help us plan for the future.

I am opposed to Sessions decision to pursue harsher maximum sentences against drug offenders. The drug problem in this country is not one that will be solved by filling up our prisons and ruining lives even further than they are already ruined. We should be looking at rehabilitation, job training, decreasing poverty, education, and many other avenues. We need to provide assistance and a way out for drug users, dealers, and those who could potentially be caught up in that situation.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin