Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) is fighting for his political life in the upcoming June 5 recall election, with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) hoping to unseat him. The governor drew widespread ire when he introduced his landmark proposal to curb dramatically the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public employees several months ago. Walker has raised about $31 million since he took office, including a remarkable $5.9 million in the last five weeks. Thousands of Wisconsin Alliance members are expected to join a tele-town hall on behalf of Barrett this afternoon. The call will feature Rep. Gwen Moore, State Senator Lena Taylor, and Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt.
Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R) is also facing a recall election; hers is against Democratic nominee Mahlon Mitchell of Madison, the head of the state firefighters’ union. In addition, control of the state Senate is at stake next week. Currently, there are 16 Democrats, 16 Republicans and one vacancy. If Democrats win any of the four senate races being voted on this Tuesday, they take control of the chamber.
“The Alliance has mailed information to all of its Wisconsin members regarding seniors’ issues in the recall elections,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the national Alliance. “Thank you to Wisconsin Alliance President Leon Burzynski and everyone in Wisconsin and other states who have worked so hard on the recall elections. Please just keep it up for 5 more days!”
Alan Simpson Fallout Continues
Last week’s attack on California Alliance seniors by Sen. Alan Simpson (http://bit.ly/JCtz4B) has sparked nationwide reaction. Simpson, co-chair of the White House’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, has put forward a plan to address the national debt by cutting Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age. Trudy Lieberman, a writer with the Columbia Journalism Review, said that she hopes Simpson’s remarks, “will start sparking some better reporting about his fiscal plan.” (http://bit.ly/L9EtMn) Simpson has accepted a debate challenge from young people associated with the group Social Security Works. To see their video, which features Alliance Senior Legislative Representative Sarah Byrne, go to . Also, watch for a petition to Members of Congress denouncing both Simpson’s comments and his recommended policies, coming soon!
Indiana Alliance Supports U.S. Auto Workers
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) attended the Indiana State Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) convention in Indianapolis on May 24. Speakers included: Ms. Easterling, Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott, and U.S. Congressman Andre Carson (D-IN). Rep. Carson is one of a bipartisan group of 188 U.S. Senators and Members of Congress who sent a letter to President Obama in March to express “serious concern” about China’s massive subsidies and policies to support its auto parts sector unfairly. The letter encouraged the President to “use all existing authority under the law to preserve and protect U.S. production and jobs” in America's auto parts chain. At the Indiana Alliance convention, AAM Field Coordinators Michael Mitchell and Rachel Bennett Steury spoke to attendees about the auto parts campaign and asked them to sign postcards to their elected officials.
Romney Clinches Republican Nomination for President
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finally clinched the Republican presidential nomination with a victory in the Texas primary on Tuesday. The Texas victory gave Romney 1,191 delegates, more than the 1,144 he needs to win. “The Republicans are nominating a candidate who wants to raise the retirement age and privatize Social Security,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Raising the retirement age would be particularly difficult for workers in blue collar, manufacturing, service sector and other physically-demanding jobs. Privatization, meanwhile, would undercut the future financing of the program. Let’s all hope there is no Romney Administration to enact those policies.”
Florida Alliance Protests Corporate and Congressional Wrongdoing
The Florida Alliance has had a busy month. Last Friday, while shareholders of NextEra Energy were approving the company's executive compensation plan at its annual meeting, a small group of activists took off their jackets to reveal protester T-shirts and began chanting, “Pay Your Fair Share!” They were soon ousted by NextEra's security. FLARA President Tony Fransetta, member Leo Solar and others were escorted out and then spoke with the press. NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), is the most profitable corporation in South Florida, reporting U.S. profits of nearly $7 billion over the last three years. “How much did FPL pay in federal income taxes in that time? A grand total of zero,” said Mr. Fransetta. “In fact, during those years, FPL received refunds and tax breaks of $42 million, giving them a negative tax rate of -2.0 percent. As if that wasn't enough, FPL was asking for a rate increase of $690 million annually.”
On Tuesday in Boca Raton, FLARA members protested the Medicare stance of Rep. Allen West (R). West had voted to slash preventive Medicare benefits for 150,000 seniors - nearly 20% of his constituents in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which he currently represents.
Something on Your Mind? Write Letter, Win Pen!
Is there something you want retirees in your community to know about? Take a moment to write a letter to the editor, and if it is published, the Alliance will send you a free, union-made “Retirees with the Write Stuff” pen. “Letters to the editor are free and are often widely read,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “With the wealthy business interests we are up against, it’s nice to have an option that doesn’t cost money.” Most recently, Rich Austin, Janice Ayres, Charlie Balban, Joyce Brown, Mr. Burzynski, Barbara Cunningham, Doug Curler, Robert Dougherty, Robert Foster, Mr. Fransetta, Bob and Joni Lawrence, Joseph Martinez, Ken Sagar, Beverly Saylor, Bill Wallace, and Charlie Williams contributed to their local papers. If you have had a letter published, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a printable version of this document, go to http://bit.ly/LSuttx.