POLK COUNTY DEC NEWSLETTER
October 2009 Volume 10
The Chair’s Message
Wow! What a month we’ve had. Over the past several weeks, we’ve had visits to Polk County from Congressman Kenneth Meek, Senator Bill Nelson, and Congressman Alan Grayson.
Congressman Meek was in Polk County to attend the wake for Detention Sergeant Ronnie Brown of the PCSO. On very short notice, Meeks office asked if we could get some of our active Democrats together to meet with the Congressman – who is running for the U.S. Senate seat that was abandoned mid-term by Mel Martinez (and is being kept warm by George Lemieux.)
What an opportunity for us. We were able to talk with the Congressman one-on-one, to tell him what we needed to see happen with healthcare reform that includes a strong public option. He shared with us his plan to win the Senate seat and how we can all help him do that. He is a dynamic person and we were all very impressed with his honesty and determination to represent us in the U.S. Senate. If you have not signed a petition to get him on the ballot, please get one at the DEC meeting or see Charlene or Dean.
A few weeks later, the Lakeland Democrats Club Committee for Change held a fundraiser dinner and the keynote speaker was Senator Bill Nelson. However, the surprise of the evening was a quick visit from Congressman Alan Grayson. If case you haven’t heard, Grayson is the U.S. representative from the Orlando/Ocala area and has become the ”hero” of many in Florida for speaking up and telling the members of Congress what the Republican plan is for healthcare reform. “Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick – die quickly!” Grayson received a standing ovation from many guests at the Lakeland dinner. Senator Nelson was warmly received as he paid tribute to Homer Hooks and Lois Cowles Harrison, the honorees of the night.
This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending the FDP 2009 State Conference. All the major candidates were in attendance. Senator Nelson was the keynote speaker at the opening session on Saturday morning. It was an interesting speech, which quickly became target for many participants to begin chanting, “Healthcare reform” or “Public Option.” The Senator avoided the words “public option” throughout most of his talk. He then acknowledged that he heard us, and promised to have a bill on the President’s desk by the end of November. Many people came away from that session feeling less than satisfied with the Senators commitment to a strong public option.
At the conference, Polk County DEC offered a “Meet the Congressional Candidates” forum for our delegates to be introduced to the candidates who want to represent us from FL 12th and FL 5th. Doug Tudor joined us and the newest candidate for FL 12th, Randy Edwards, introduced himself to our delegates. We saw Jim Piccillo and Tom Doolan throughout the day. Polk County DEC also sponsored a separate dinner for those who were not attending the “big” event on Saturday night. Doug Tudor, Tom Doolan and Randy Edwards all joined us for seafood and a fun evening. Over 25 people gathered at Joe’s Crabshack in Lake Buena Vista to talk politics. What a great time we had.
The consistent theme over these past weeks is how important the election in 2010 is going to be. For the first time in 134 years, a U.S. Senate seat and five statewide offices — governor, lieutenant governor and all three Cabinet jobs — will be on the ballot with no incumbents running for the posts. It is up to us! We have the opportunity of a life-time to take the State of Florida back. We did it during the Presidential election and we can do it now for the State of Florida. We are FIRED UP AND READY TO GO!
Polk County DEC Chair
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR
MAN & WOMAN
Hello fellow Democrats,
Well, 2010 is fast approaching and we are seeing more and more candidates throwing their hat in the ring. We ask that you research all of the potential candidates and attend as many forums and meetings that you can, so you can make a wise informed decision when the primary is here.
Congratulations to the LDC Committee for Change for their successful event October 3rd at the Fantasy of Flight They had a wonderful turn out and honored two much respected Democrats, Homer Hooks and Lois Cowles Harrison. The Auburndale Area Democrat Club will be holding a fund-raiser in celebration of United Nations Day, October 24th, from 2:00-5:00. The cost is $20 and please make plans to come and taste the various food samples from around the world. You can purchase tickets from most any Auburndale member. Here is one final reminder to please turn in your Fair Redistricting Petitions to Jean Harden.
As you read this, we will be finishing up our busy time at the State Convention at the Disney Yacht Club. We appreciate the many DEC members who attended, and I am confident that everyone enjoyed the fellowship and the opportunities we had to share and learn from the valuable resources.
Now that the convention will be over, we turn our attention to the upcoming year of elections. We hope to take the information we received at the convention and we want to strategize on filling precinct positions to build a strong democrat base to finally turn Polk County blue once again.
Please keep writing and calling Bill Nelson’s office and let him know that we want a strong public option in the final bill. A daily dose of Polk Democrats is just what the doctor ordered!
Please mark your calendars for November 1, 2009 and January 16, 2010 for some upcoming DEC events………MORE DETAILS SOON!!!!
Thank you for being good Democrats and making a difference in Polk County, Florida.
Dean and Charlene Hypes
All submissions should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Club reports should be submitted by the first weekend of each month, and it is very is important to submit your report to assist in length of DEC meetings. Even if your club is on vacation, please share anything that is going on in your communities
Auburndale Area Democratic Club (Serving Auburndale and surrounding area): Submitted by Richard Isinghood
Lena Vista and Auburndale Central were going to use the funds for markers for the white boards that each student has. Lake Alfred and Caldwell were using their in the school fund for children. Our Fund Raiser will be this month, (Include a copy of the flyer for all to see). We had our luncheon at Luigi's in Lake Alfred. Our next luncheon will be at the Magnolia Room in Auburndale. Jean Reed was our speaker for October's meeting. When it is a political question, we are using the Ledger's Polk Pulse(really a question of the day) to inform our members to get on the phone and vote in that day's poll. Next meeting will be November 3, 6:30 at the Auburndale Library. A speaker has not been selected. We are seeking a medical doctor who had a recent favorable letter to the editor. Also, with a new candidate for the 12 District, we may try to get him as soon as possible.
We will be having a fund raiser October 24, United Nations Day, celebrating the end of summer, coming of ghosts for Halloween and United Nations Day. We will be having our fundraiser at the Auburndale Senior Center. 2 to 5 pm. One of the highlights will be the foods of different cultures. There will be dress, displays and customs and dances depicting many of the world's peoples. Unite with us on this day to celebrate our unique differences and similarities. If you have any unusual item, dress, picture, custom to share, plan to bring and proudly display your treasure of your heritage.
Lakeland: Submitted by Regina Long
The Lakeland Democratic Club met on Thursday, October 1st, at the MacArthur Center in Lakeland. Jennifer Sokol of Organizing for America was guest speaker and she informed the audience that she would have an organizational meeting at the MacArthur Center on Wednesday, October 7th, at 7 pm.
The PAC of the Lakeland Democratic Club, LDC Committee for Change, hosted a Salute to Lois Cowles Harrison and Homer Hooks on Saturday, October 3rd, at Fantasy of Flight. Emcee for the evening was Otis Anthony who is the Senior Director of Diversity Management for the Polk County School System and radio host for WMNF, 88.5 FM in Tampa. A special guest appearance by U.S. Representative Alan Grayson was a true delight! U.S. Senator Bill Nelson graciously presented an award to Lois and Homer for lifelong support of the Democratic Party! Many candidates were present including Agricultural candidate Rick Minton, District 12 candidates Lori Edwards & Doug Tudor, County Commissioner candidate Jean Reed, Lakeland City Commissioner Justin Troller and local non-partisan candidates for the Lakeland city election, Gow Fields & Jim Verplank.
The next Lakeland Democratic Club meeting will be Thursday, November 5th at the MacArthur Center, 811 Lakeside Ave. (off of Cresap which is off of South Florida), at 7 pm. Please remember to bring non-perishable foods for the poor. .
Lake Wales: Meetings are now the 3rd Tuesday of each month. Pioneer Days has been cancelled. The next meeting will be October 20th
Winter Haven: Submitted by Paul Anderson
The Greater Winter Haven Democratic Club met On September 22, 2009. The speaker was Nate Birdsong, Winter Haven City Commissioner. Mr. Birdsong discussed the recent city election. He also discussed the budget, and several city committees and boards, and encouraged Winter Haven residents to volunteer to serve on them, and also to become involved with city government.
Our Club completed the clean-up of our Adopt-a-Road project. Our project is a portion of Cypress Gardens Road. Nine Club volunteers participated in this clean-up.
Mr. Chichetto reminded us to bring items for the Club's food bank for the homeless. The next meeting will be on October 27, 2009.
LOCAL, STATE, AND NATIONAL ISSUES
Submitted by Jean Harden
Want To Elect More Democrats? Sign the Fair Districts Florida Petitions
Fair Districts would require Congressional and Legislative districts to be contiguous, “compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.”
The majority party in the Florida Legislature has the power to gerrymander districts. Despite having approximately 37% of the registered voters, Republicans currently occupy two-thirds of the Congressional and Legislative seats. The playing field can be leveled by passing the Fair Districts Florida ballot initiative. The next redistricting will be in 2012 following the 2010 Census.
There are two petitions, one for Congressional and one for Legislative Districts and both must be downloaded and signed. The signed petitions must be collected by October 31, 2009 to allow time for signatures to be verified by the Supervisor of Elections. Petitions with verified signature must be received by the Secretary of State before February 1, 2010, in order be placed on the 2010 General Election Ballot.
OFA- STATE CONFERENCE INFO:
Submitted by Theresa Gallagher
State Convention - Health Care Town Hall
I had the opportunity to attend the town hall meeting at this weekend's State Convention. This was hosted by Organizing for America (OFA) and the main speaker was Mitch Stewart, OFA National Director. Mitch was the Iowa Caucus Director and then Virginia State Director during the campaign. OFA still falls under the DNC. Their main goals are to support President Obama's agenda and continue the movement to build a grass roots base with training, education and recruitment of volunteers.
President Obama has three main points in his health care reform: coverage available for everyone, affordable cost and choice. OFA believes the best way to build support is person to person contact. They have gathered 1.7 million signatures in support of health care reform. Their focus on health care began June 6, 2009 and since that time there have been 18,000 events across the country. After the 1st week of August, the unruly town meetings and so called "tea parties" OFA has conducted in depth polling and track all town hall meetings. Their polls show 61% of the people with overall support and 39% opposed. Since that initial flurry of disruption, there has been much less news about these groups. OFA believes they have lost much of the momentum because you can not build a real movement based on anger and lies.
Four committees have passed some form of a bill for health care reform (3 from the House and 1 from the Senate) and Tuesday 10-13 the Senate Finance Committee will vote on their bill. Of these five bills, four have some form of public option. The President is on record and supports a public option, but there are different ways to provide a public option. A Health Insurance Exchange is being considered where companies bid to provide insurance. There will be subsidies for low income individuals. The insurance exchange would not begin until 2013, but the subsidies will be fast tracked and available to citizens much sooner.
The White House will begin to call out individuals who spread fear and lies and AARP (on record supporting health care reform, as long as it does not change Medicare) has spent three million dollars in the last three weeks for literature and advertising to provide honest information.
President Obama has said he will not sign a bill that adds one dime to the deficit and if projected savings do not happen, then changes will have to be made but they will not include new taxes.
OFA encourages everyone to confront those who spread lies and rise to the challenge in a respectful way. One thing everyone can do to help is flood the phone lines with calls to support President Obama and demand real health care reform. The phone number for Bill Nelson's office is 888-671-4091 and the phone for the Congressional switchboard is 202-224-3120. There will be a two day training session offered by OFA in Orlando 10-17 and 10-18. Anyone interested is welcome and encouraged to attend. Information is available on OFA website.
CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Submitted by Walter O’Rourke
No report at printing
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION COMMITTEE: Submitted by Charlene Hypes
No report at printing
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE: Submitted by Jean S. Harden
S72 - State Senator Carey Baker, and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture candidate has filed S72, a proposed creation of Section 28 of Article X of the State Constitution, “prohibiting any law requiring participation in any health plan.” S72 is identical to H37, co-sponsored by Mike Horner (H-79), Kelli Stargel (H-64), John Wood (H-65).
S98 – Sen. Baker, has filed the Florida Firearms Freedom Act (FFA). S98 is similar to H21, co-sponsored by Rep. Kelli Stargel (H-64) and John Wood (H-65). This legislation (FFA) was originally passed in Montana and then in Tennessee. It has now been introduced in Alaska, Texas, South Carolina, and Minnesota. FFA is a challenge to congressional powers of the Tenth Amendment. (http://firearmsfreedomact.com/)
Expect these bills to pass in the early days of the legislative session.
H19 MEMORIAL by CO-SPONSORS) Mike Horner (H-79), Kelli Stargel (H-64), John Wood (H-65), “Urges Congress to honor provisions of U. S. Constitution & U. S. Supreme Court case law which limit scope & exercise of federal power.”
S96 MEMORIAL by Baker, ‘Urges Congress to honor the provisions of the Constitution of the United States and United States Supreme Court case law which limit the scope and exercise of federal power.”
S178 MEMORIAL by Evelyn Lynn (S-7), “Urges Congress to cease and desist from certain mandates that are prohibited by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Demands that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed.”
Memorials express the consensus of the Florida Legislature or urge certain action of Congress. Memorials do not have the effect of law and are not subject to the governor’s veto power.
John Thrasher won the SD-8 special election to replace Sen. Jim King who died while in office. Senate President Jeff Atwater (SD-25) and Chief Financial Officer Candidate have just named Thrasher to the Chairmanship of the Senate Elections and Ethic Committee. The committee has a major role in the gubernatorial appointment confirmation process. Committee chairmen determine what bills are heard in their committees. Thrasher will be in charge of campaign reform legislation, reported to be a top priority of the Sen. Mike Haridopolos, Senate President Elect. Floridians should not expect to see an expansion of early voting or stricter campaign finance laws. They should expect to see more restrictions on citizen ballot initiatives and voter registration.
Thrasher was elected to the Florida House in 1992 and served as Speaker from 1998–2000. He is considered a close ally of Jeb Bush. This is the same John Thrasher who sent letters to signers of Hometown Democracy petition asking them to revoke their signatures, claiming that the amendment would put land use decisions in the hands of electors (AKA-THE VOTERS). Since being term-limited in the Florida House, Thrasher has lobbied for Southern Strategies, until his resignation earlier this year.