Letters to My Representatives: 11-16-2017

Here are today’s letters. There are some really important things on here, so be sure to write your own letters or make phone calls. Resistance doesn’t happen with out participation. Visit It’s Time to Fight for more information and scripts.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I do not support the tax bill, and I want you to vote NO on letting this bill onto the floor for a full floor vote. I also want you to address the addition of the repeal of the individual mandate of the ACA by the Senate GOP in committee. The CBO and independent analysts have repeatedly demonstrated that repealing the individual mandate will ensure millions will lose health insurance. This addition cannot be allowed to continue.

I am calling to ask you to continue to publicly support a clean DREAM Act, and to push for its passage. There has been no movement on any DACA-related legislation since the summer, and we’re getting closer to a point where DACA recipients are running out of options. I am also calling on you to do everything in your legislative power to pressure USCIS to change their rejections of the DACA applicants who had their applications refused, due to USPS-acknowledged problems. Please act quickly on this; the DREAMERs are depending on action.

I would like to voice my support for Senator Wyden and Hatch’s bipartisan bill extending the funding of the CHIP program, and am urging you to call for it to be brought to the floor for a vote. Approximately 9 million children rely on the CHIP program for health insurance, and a number of states will lose funding by the end of the year, if the extension is not passed. Please do not gamble with the health and well-being of our youth. ​

I would like to express concern with potential interference from Trump in the Time Warner merger. Government merger reviews are supposed to be politically impartial, but news reports involving the White House’s interest in the merger suggests it’s anything but impartial. I am not necessarily opposed to the merger, but I do want you to record my concern on this issue, and join Senator Klobaucher in expressing their concern.

I ask that you vote NO for Brett J. Talley’s nomination for a lifetime federal judgeship in Alabama. Not only does Mr. Talley have little to no judicial experience that would be appropriate for the position in question, he also failed to disclose pertinent information about his spouse’s position as White House Counsel Donald McGahn’s chief of staff. As a judge, Mr. Talley would have to show clear ethics and principle, something he has already failed to display. I am calling on you to vote no.

I ask that you support the Murray-Alexander deal to stabilize the ACA. This is a needed step in protecting healthcare for millions, particularly given that agreements adds two years of much-needed subsidy funding, along with potential further steps to help 2018 enrollees.  Please support this agreement, and do everything in your power to encourage your colleagues put their support behind the agreement as well. We need to add quickly, particularly with open enrollment coming up, and the newly allocated $106 million.

Please continue to support and work hard for sensible gun control including universal background checks. And please speak out against the violence permeating our country with more than thoughts and prayers. The time for wishful thinking is over. It is a time for action. Many conservatives have said that immediately after a mass shooting is not the time to talk about gun control, but as they occur regularly, when IS the right time to talk about it? We can’t wait for a “more appropriate time” because by then another shooting has occurred.

I am calling on you to do everything in your power to support the investigations that are currently being undertaken regarding the 10/4 ambush in Niger. I believe the American people deserve answers about what happened to the Americans who died in Niger, particularly what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson. But more importantly, the families of the soldiers also deserve answers.

Please continue to push for more resources and aid for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the wake of their devastation. Only 50% of Puerto Rico has power restored and this is unacceptable. Also, I saw reports of the food being sent to the islands including Airhead candy being listed as fruit, a candy bar as dessert, and very little else in the way of nutritious food. While I have no problem with the victims of the hurricane receiving things like candy (everyone needs a little bright spot in their day) I would hope that FEMA is supplying the people with needed, healthy food, not just junk food. Please look into this.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

 

Dear Representative Moolenaar,

I want you to vote NO to the House’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Not only does it not have bipartisan support, the bill will also increase our national debt by $1.5 trillion dollars. Furthermore, the bill will largely hurt the individual tax payer, with changes to the property tax deduction, changes to business taxes, while concurrently benefiting corporations and the wealthy, including cut and elimination of previous taxes. I know you will vote for it anyway, since you vote party lines every time, but I will be certain to remind your constituents not only that you voted for this, but also to take away their health insurance numerous times. They have the right to know, and I will be happy to remind them, that you have voted against their best interests and for tax cuts for the rich time and time again.

I am calling to ask you to continue to publicly support a clean DREAM Act, and to push for its passage. There has been no movement on any DACA-related legislation since the summer, and we’re getting closer to a point where DACA recipients are running out of options. I am also calling on you to do everything in your legislative power to pressure USCIS to change their rejections of the DACA applicants who had their applications refused, due to USPS-acknowledged problems. Please act quickly on this; the DREAMERs are depending on action.

I would like to express concern with potential interference from Trump in the Time Warner merger. Government merger reviews are supposed to be politically impartial, but news reports involving the White House’s interest in the merger suggests it’s anything but impartial. I am not necessarily opposed to the merger, but I do want you to record my concern on this issue, and join Senator Klobaucher in expressing their concern.

I ask that you support the Murray-Alexander deal to stabilize the ACA. This is a needed step in protecting healthcare for millions, particularly given that agreements adds two years of much-needed subsidy funding, along with potential further steps to help 2018 enrollees.  Please support this agreement, and do everything in your power to encourage your colleagues put their support behind the agreement as well. We need to add quickly, particularly with open enrollment coming up, and the newly allocated $106 million.

Please continue to support and work hard for sensible gun control including universal background checks. And please speak out against the violence permeating our country with more than thoughts and prayers. The time for wishful thinking is over. It is a time for action. Many conservatives have said that immediately after a mass shooting is not the time to talk about gun control, but as they occur regularly, when IS the right time to talk about it? We can’t wait for a “more appropriate time” because by then another shooting has occurred.

I am calling on you to do everything in your power to support the investigations that are currently being undertaken regarding the 10/4 ambush in Niger. I believe the American people deserve answers about what happened to the Americans who died in Niger, particularly what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson. But more importantly, the families of the soldiers also deserve answers.

Please continue to push for more resources and aid for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the wake of their devastation. Only 50% of Puerto Rico has power restored and this is unacceptable. Also, I saw reports of the food being sent to the islands including Airhead candy being listed as fruit, a candy bar as dessert, and very little else in the way of nutritious food. While I have no problem with the victims of the hurricane receiving things like candy (everyone needs a little bright spot in their day) I would hope that FEMA is supplying the people with needed, healthy food, not just junk food. Please look into this.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

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Letters to My Representatives: 11-8-2017

One year ago today I was hopeful of an historic victory. By the same time the next day I was severely depressed and have felt this depression hanging over me like a cloud for a full year. But that darkness also inspired me to become an active participant in my democracy. And yesterday millions of Americans voted to continue that participation and change the status quo by electing Democrats, people of color, and those who represent the LGBTQIA+ community to key seats in our local and state governments. We are poised to continue this into 2018 where we will maintain Blue seats and flip Red to Blue. Today I write my weekly letters knowing that I cannot change the world alone, but rather my small act joins with another small act, and another and another, until all these Liberal Snowflakes become a mountain of change. Find your small act today!

It’s Time to Fight

The Road to 2018

Flippable

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I am not in support of the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Not only does it not have bipartisan support, the bill will also increase our national debt by $1.5 trillion dollars. Furthermore, the bill will hurt the individual tax payer, with elements like the elimination of the medical expense deduction and elimination of the student loan interest deduction. The bill will concurrently benefit corporations and the wealthy, including cut and elimination of previous taxes. I call on you to not support this bill, and wish to be recorded.

I oppose Jim Bridenstein for NASA coordinator. Mr. Bridenstein does not have any formal qualifications in science or engineering – unlike previous coordinators like Charles Bolden – and is also does not believe in climate change. I do not believe he can capably serve in the capacity of this position. If the vote comes to the floor, please vote NO.

Please support Senator Graham and Durbin’s DREAM Act. The majority of those young individuals who are enrolled in DACA, were brought to the country at a young age. They have contributed to society, excelled in academics, and have even had a positive impact on the community. The DREAM Act would give these individuals a way of continuing their positive contributions to our nation. I would like to reiterate, as I have said before, that a person’s contributions to society are not what makes a human being valuable. Their value lies in their status as a human being, and whether they are a college graduate or a hotel maid, Dreamers should remain in this country and be given a path to citizenship.

Please support the Murray-Alexander deal to stabilize the ACA. This is a needed step in protecting healthcare for millions, particularly given that agreements adds two years of much-needed subsidy funding, along with potential further steps to help 2018 enrollees.  Please support this agreement, and do everything in your power to encourage your colleagues put their support behind the agreement as well. We need to add quickly, particularly with open enrollment on going, and the newly allocated $106 million.

I would like to voice my support for Senator Wyden and Hatch’s bipartisan bill extending the funding of the CHIP program, and am urging you to call for it to be brought to the floor for a vote. Approximately 9 million children rely on the CHIP program for health insurance, and a number of states will lose funding by the end of the year, if the extension is not passed. Please do not gamble with the health and well-being of our youth. ​

I am calling on you to do everything in your power to support the investigations that are currently being undertaken regarding the 10/4 ambush in Niger. I believe the American people deserve answers about what happened to the Americans who died in Niger, particularly what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson. But more importantly, the families of the soldiers also deserve answers.

I ask that you do everything in your power, including investigate, why Trump Administration appointees are already working at the departments they have been appointed to, without actually being confirmed. Even if these actions are not an official violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, it challenges the appropriate order of senate confirmations, and lessens the public’s faith in the rule and order of government. Please do what you can to investigate and stop this practice from continuing.

I would also like to know, and encourage you to pursue investigations, into why Whitefish Energy received a contract to restore Puerto Rico’s power. There are a number of “fishy” circumstances regarding this, and I apologize for the pun, but it was hard to resist.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

 

Dear Representative Moolenaar,

I am not in support of the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Not only does it not have bipartisan support, the bill will also increase our national debt by $1.5 trillion dollars. Furthermore, the bill will hurt the individual tax payer, with elements like the elimination of the medical expense deduction and elimination of the student loan interest deduction. The bill will concurrently benefit corporations and the wealthy, including cut and elimination of previous taxes. I call on you to not support this bill, and wish to be recorded.

Please support the Murray-Alexander deal to stabilize the ACA. This is a needed step in protecting healthcare for millions, particularly given that agreements adds two years of much-needed subsidy funding, along with potential further steps to help 2018 enrollees.  Please support this agreement, and do everything in your power to encourage your colleagues put their support behind the agreement as well. We need to add quickly, particularly with open enrollment on going, and the newly allocated $106 million.

I am calling on you to do everything in your power to support the investigations that are currently being undertaken regarding the 10/4 ambush in Niger. I believe the American people deserve answers about what happened to the Americans who died in Niger, particularly what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson. But more importantly, the families of the soldiers also deserve answers.

I would also like to know, and encourage you to pursue investigations, into why Whitefish Energy received a contract to restore Puerto Rico’s power. There are a number of “fishy” circumstances regarding this, and I apologize for the pun, but it was hard to resist.

I see you have signed on as a co-sponsor of HR 620 and I want you to know I am not in favor of this bill. The law as currently written would harm the rights of the disability community by allowing businesses to opt out of Title III. The bill would also put the onus on making sure a business is ADA-compliant onto the individual who is in need of those requirements – with an extensive time delay – which puts undue burden on the individual. I condemn you for your support of this bill. Putting the needs of small businesses ahead of the individual is is unacceptable.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

Letters to My Representatives 9-20-2017

Here are this weeks letters. They are pretty much the same as last week’s with more emphasis on Healthcare as the Republicans want to pass another terrible bill before September 30th. CALL YOU REPS!! I can’t stress this enough. If you can’t call, then write or fax or call after hours so you can leave a message. Even if your representatives have already stated how they will vote, call. We need opposition on record.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

Thank you for your continued stance in saving the ACA and for opposing the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Healthcare Bill. I would like to voice my strong opposition to the GCHJ bill. I am opposed to block granting to states; it would cut deeply into federal funding for the health law programs, likely resulting in millions losing coverage. It would also impact the Medicaid Expansion, potentially resulting in coverage loss for those who were previously covered by the expansions. I am also against the elimination of premium and cost sharing reduction subsidies, and the fact that block grants would provide $239 billion less than projected federal spending for the existing Medicaid expansion and subsidies. Please continue to respect the efforts of the HELP committee, and focus on stabilizing the market place instead and pressure your undecided GOP colleagues to vote NO on this bill.

Thank you for publicly speaking out against Trump rescinding the DACA. It is morally reprehensible that he is punishing people who came here through no fault of their own and have made America their home. Please support Senator Graham’s and Senator Durbin’s Dream Act. Though I understand the rhetoric of pointing out how much Dreamers have contributed to this society, I do not feel that one’s humanity rests on the shoulders of their contributions or economic value. They are human. They are Americans despite what papers might say. They deserve the acknowledgement of their humanity and their deservedness to stay in this country based on the fact that it is morally the right thing to do.

Thank you for speaking out against Trump’s ban of transgender people in the military. There is no justification to revert back to the pre-2016 policy. There is academic research to counter the claims listed in Trump’s memo, including conclusive reporting that transgender officers do not impact unit cohesion. I understand the memo does not go into effect until March 23, 2018, but please take a strong stance against this now, especially in light of upcoming budget talks. Also, I understand Senators are debating the act this week; please support SA 869.

Please reject the nomination of Sam Clovis to be the top scientist at the USDA. He is unqualified for the position, without any form of science background. We need someone who understands the needs of the farming industry, but will also help develop sound food-related policy for our nation. Mr. Clovis has a track record of divisive and racist rhetoric, which is not appropriate for a position at the highest levels. I expect you to do the right thing and vote against his nomination.

I ask that you reject the nomination of Jim Bridenstein to NASA. While Bridenstein obviously has an interest in space, he doesn’t have the scientific background previous administrators have. Additionally, Bridenstein has a proven track record as a climate change denier, which is counter to aspects of NASA’s mission. Please push for the administration to nominate someone who is qualified for the position.

I ask that you issue a statement condemning the pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and to call for an investigation into the Arpaio pardoning. Standard practice for anyone seeking pardons is to wait five years after conviction and to demonstrate remorse/regret for their actions. The lack of either a sentence or demonstration of remorse was a contributing factor to the House 2001 investigation of the Marc Rich pardon: the same standard should be applied to the Joe Arpaio pardon. Please demonstrate that you will not go along with this blatantly political pardon. Do the right thing: challenge this decision.

Thank you for taking a stand against any attempts to unwind Title IX that would harm the current protections that are in place for sexual assault victims. I understand that there is significant discussion over the Dear Colleague letter; I want to be sure that no victims will be impacted as that discussion/public comment commences.

I ask that you continue to pressure the Trump administration to seek diplomatic solutions with North Korea. What we need right now are strategic talks to help influence what steps North Korea might choose to take next. Inflamed rhetoric will only escalate the situation. I ask that you push the Trump administration to not undertake moves that will upset key allies in the region. The Trump administration has indicated that they will withdraw from the South Korean trade deal; to do so is shortsighted and will cause tensions with a key ally needed to address Kim Jung Un’s regime. Please consider long term strategy as opposed to short term moves.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

 

Dear Representative Moolenaar,

I ask that you publicly speak out against Trump rescinding the DACA. It is morally reprehensible that he is punishing people who came here through no fault of their own and have made America their home. Please support Congressman Mike Coffman’s BRIDGE Act. Though I understand the rhetoric of pointing out how much Dreamers have contributed to this society, I do not feel that one’s humanity rests on the shoulders of their contributions or economic value. They are human. They are Americans despite what papers might say. They deserve the acknowledgement of their humanity and their deservedness to stay in this country based on the fact that it is morally the right thing to do.

I ask that you speak out against Trump’s ban of transgender people in the military. There is no justification to revert back to the pre-2016 policy. There is academic research to counter the claims listed in Trump’s memo, including conclusive reporting that transgender officers do not impact unit cohesion. I understand the memo does not go into effect until March 23, 2018, but please take a strong stance against this now, especially in light of upcoming budget talks.

I ask that you issue a statement condemning the pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and to call for an investigation into the Arpaio pardoning. Standard practice for anyone seeking pardons is to wait five years after conviction and to demonstrate remorse/regret for their actions. The lack of either a sentence or demonstration of remorse was a contributing factor to the House 2001 investigation of the Marc Rich pardon: the same standard should be applied to the Joe Arpaio pardon. Please demonstrate that you will not go along with this blatantly political pardon. Do the right thing: challenge this decision.

I ask that you continue to pressure the Trump administration to seek diplomatic solutions with North Korea. What we need right now are strategic talks to help influence what steps North Korea might choose to take next. Inflamed rhetoric will only escalate the situation. I ask that you push the Trump administration to not undertake moves that will upset key allies in the region. The Trump administration has indicated that they will withdraw from the South Korean trade deal; to do so is shortsighted and will cause tensions with a key ally needed to address Kim Jung Un’s regime. Please consider long term strategy as opposed to short term moves.

I ask that you publicly condemn Trump’s comments on August 15th concerning the Charlottesville protests. The remarks were divisive, disgusting and full of hate rhetoric and tacit acknowledgment of the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville. What Trump said are not the words of an elected official who claims to serve all Americans. I would like for you to go on record acknowledging that fact and call for a censure. I demand that you question the capacity of Trump to effectively serve.

I expect you to take a stand against any attempts to unwind Title IX that would harm the current protections that are in place for sexual assault victims. I understand that there is significant discussion over the Dear Colleague letter; I want to be sure that no victims will be impacted as that discussion/public comment commences.

Thank you for your time, your consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

Please feel free to use my words, though most of them came straight from It’s Time to Fight. Be sure to visit that website for scripts and more info!

Letters to My Representatives 8-2-2017

Here are today’s letters. Senator Stabenow & Senator Peters received the same letter, and Rep. Moolenaar’s letter was similar, but instead of thanking him for fighting for the ACA, I reminded him that I will do all in my power to remind his constituents come 2018 election that he stood against the ACA and what that means for their insurance, and I omitted the paragraph about the Dream Act of 2017 because that is in the Senate, not the House.

Dear Senator Stabenow,

Thank you again for standing with the ACA and the American people in the fight to ensure healthcare for all its citizens.

I would like to express my concerns about the White House’s threats to cut off CSR payments for the month of August. These threats are destabilizing the markets and contributing to market uncertainty. I am asking that you make sure that CSR payments are fully funded. I recognize that this is a contentious issue given House vs Price but we cannot accept anymore market instability. I’ll be monitoring the office to see how they choose to handle this issue.

I would like to voice my strong objection, nay, my unmitigated disgust and anger, to Trump’s announcement barring transgender individuals from serving in the Armed Forces. This is bigotry and discrimination. Though Trump claims it is based on monetary issues and “strengthening” our military, he obviously has little understanding of the military budget, and of the strength and professionalism of our military. It is an insult to our people serving, to transgender people in particular, and to the American people. It is a bid to pacify certain segments of Trump’s supporters and not based on any factual evidence that Trump purports. I ask that you speak out against Trump’s decision and affirm to any of your LGBTQIA+ constituents that you respect their courage and their willingness to serve. And I ask that you do whatever you can to fight this decision.

I would like to voice my support for Senator Durbin and Graham’s Dream Act of 2017. I believe that we should help all under 18 young adults who were brought to the US and have fulfilled all the legal requirements instituted by the government, be put on the pathway to legal citizenship. Many of these young adults were brought to the US at a young age and have contributed academically and professionally to our country. I believe helping them achieve permanent and legal status as a citizen can only benefit our country. Please support this bill.

I ask you to speak out against the ongoing changes at the State Department, including the closure of the War Crimes office and the folding of the cyber office into another department. I ask that you go on record in addressing how these changes will impact our diplomatic capabilities globally. Your constituents need to hear you speak out against these measures.

I ask you to take a continued stand against the rollback of Net Neutrality. A change in rules would take away our freedom on the internet and negatively impact individuals and small businesses alike. Please stand against the FCC’s efforts to change Net Neutrality.

I ask that you pressure the White House to use all diplomatic measures possible to resolve issues with the DPRK.

I would also like to ask for the continued investigations into Trump, his son Don, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and well quite frankly the whole crooked lot of them. Don Jr. admitted to collusion, Kushner has omitted important financial ties to Russian influence on his security clearance forms, and others have had meetings and ties to Russia, many of which originally lied about it. Please support the continued investigations, protest Trump’s every move to thwart them, and demand answers to the questions of Trump’s, his surrogates’, and his campaign’s ties to Russia and any collusion in the election.

Please speak out against Trump’s second secretive meeting with Putin at the G20 summit. We need total transparency from this suspect administration and this meeting is highly suspicious as there are no other American witnesses to confirm Trump’s statement on the meeting. It is also highly unusual and concerning considering the suspicion of collusion in the election.

I am livid over the White House’s continued blocking of reporters from recording or broadcasting the daily White House press briefings. Denying the American public the right to hear what is being discussed by our government is anti-transparency and not what a democratic government is supposed to do. Please speak out against and challenge the White House on this practice.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

Remember to visit It’s Time to Fight for scripts and information. And feel free to copy and paste my letter for your own letters to your reps! Keep Resisting!

Letters to My Representatives 7-13-2017

So it’s been FOUR weeks since my last letter! I’m a little angry at myself (and disappointed), but between Sandler’s graduation party and moving, there just wasn’t time. Even now I’m sitting in the new house surrounded by boxes and eking out the time to write a few letters. So, before I go work on the new book, here’s my last letter to Representative Paul Mitchell:

Dear Representative Mitchell,

I’m sorry it’s been almost four weeks since my last letter. I’m sure you missed them. But due to my son graduating high school and a big move, I was unable to set aside the time to write to you. The good news for you, is that this will be my last letter to you. I am now living in the 4th District and will be represented by John Moolenaar. But I had a few last parting words.

I just want to remind you that I will make every effort to remind 10th District Constituents that you voted for the AHCA and what that will mean for their healthcare come the 2018 election. That’s of course not the only issue I will keep fresh in their minds as they contemplate who to vote for in 2018, but it is probably the biggest. And though I don’t know who your opponent will be, I’ll be sure to campaign for them as well. I realize that the GOP has a strong hold on the 10th District, and I don’t expect to break it, but I will do my part to make it more difficult for you or any other Republican to hold office. There was a time I thought that to be Republican was just a slightly different view on spending money, but now I know it is a drastically different view on who deserves to live and who doesn’t. So I’m just going to make sure your constituents know that.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

Here is my first letter to Representative John Moolenaar, Republican from the 4th District:

Dear Representative Moolenaar,

Hello. I am a new constituent. Until recently, Representative Paul Mitchell has had the pleasure of receiving my weekly emails. Now it’s your turn.

First, I’d like to talk about Net Neutrality. I am concerned about Chairman Pai’s recent announcement regarding his intention to change pre-existing net neutrality rules. I am asking for you to take a stand against this change.

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 do whatever you can to help keep current rules in place.

I would also like to encourage you to use whatever resources you have available to investigate (or call for the investigation) into Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump’s denial of the meeting and then lies about the purpose of the meeting (countered by the email from Rod Goldstein) indicate collusion. This is something that must be taken seriously and investigated. Please push for the truth.

I would like to protest the Pentagon’s decision to delay the lifting of the ban for transgender individuals to enlist. Mattis’s decision harms the progress that we’ve made in the military and we shouldn’t go back. Please call on the Pentagon to lift the six month delay and lift the ban now.

I would also like to express my deepest concern over the White House’s decision to continuously block reporters from recording or broadcasting the daily White House press briefing. Denying the American public the right to hear what is being discussed by our government is anti-transparency and not what a democratic government is supposed to do. Please speak out on this practice and challenge the White House on this stance.

I would like to express my concern over Interior Secretary Zink’s recommendation for the Bear’s Ear monument in Utah to be scaled back and for Congress to step in management for some sections. The monument is considered sacred by many Nations (Native American Nations, if you were unsure about my use of the word Nations) and is also home to over 100,000 cultural and archaeological sites. Co-management or separating the sites (as proposed by Zink) simply will not work. Please speak out against any attempts to scale back Bear’s Ear, or any of the other 26 monuments.

Lastly, I want to express my support for a continued investigation, including a specialized commission, to investigate Donald Trump and all of his associates and their ties with Russia. The American people deserve to know if, how, when Trump and/or his associates colluded with Russian officials to win the 2016 election. A special prosecutor is a great start, but I want to see a full independent commission working on this.

Thank you for your time. You can definitely look forward to hearing from me next week, and since I missed a few weeks due to our move, I may just email you every day for awhile.

Oh, and I almost forgot! As I have told Representative Paul Mitchell repeatedly, I want to let you know that I will be sure to remind your constituents during the 2018 election that you voted for the AHCA and what that means for their healthcare. I wouldn’t want them to forget how you sold them out for petty vengeance against “Obama’s legacy” and towing the party line. Or that the Republicans have had 8-odd years to fix the problems with the ACA but would rather fritter people’s lives away rather than do something that’s good for the country if it means giving any credit to a Democrat.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Austin

As always, many of my words come from scripts written on It’s Time to Fight site. Please feel free to use my letter and/or visit It’s Time to Fight for more information. Good luck and keep Resisting!!

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