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Message from the Vice Chair

GOP is Trying to Rewrite History

The campaign season has started as well as the GOP rhetoric. People are entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. Our Republican friends seem to drive the narrative with made up facts. As Democrats we must stop letting Republicans drive the narrative. If we do not, these lies become truth to many Americans. If Republicans control the narrative, they will control Congress, the Senate and the Presidency, and we will be back to the failed policies of the 2008 Recession.

I want to display a few graphs developed from the Budget of the United States Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2015. First let’s address who added substantially to the budget deficit and refute the first attempt to rewrite historical data.

Deficit

Source: Dave Johnson, “Three Charts to E-Mail to Your Right-Wing Brother-in-Law,” Huffington Post, 2014/10/09,  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/three-charts-to-email-to_b_5664699.html

Note: President Clinton’s last budget posted a $128 billion surplus.

Let’s look at the Republicans’ second attempt to rewrite history. The second graph speaks to spending.

Spending

Source: Dave Johnson, “Three Charts to E-Mail to Your Right-Wing Brother-in-Law,” Huffington Post, 2014/10/09, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/three-charts-to-email-to_b_5664699.html

This sure does not make Democrats look like the party that likes to spend money. I would think that the graph says it all.

So if the above is not enough, let’s take a look at the debt ceiling crisis of 2011. The Republican Party demanded that the President negotiate over deficit reduction (which Bush had a lot to do with) in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling.  The crisis sparked the most volatile week for financial markets since the 2008 market. The stock market trended significantly downward. Later that week Standard and Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States Government for the first time in our country’s history.  The Government Accounting Office estimated that the delay in raising the debt ceiling increased government borrowing costs by $1.3 billion in 2011. We also had a 16 day partial shutdown of government as a result of the crisis. The GOP previously did not have a problem raising the debt ceiling. See the diagram.

debtceiling

Source: PolitiComments.com, 2011, http://i.politicomments.com/ak

Now for those GOP friends that say the stimulus did not work. See the next graphic.

Employment

Source: Dave Johnson, “Three Charts to E-Mail to Your Right-Wing Brother-in-Law,” Huffington Post, 2014/10/09, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/three-charts-to-email-to_b_5664699.html 

We have had 56 months of private sector job growth under this administration. The graph speaks for itself.

In 2008 our country was on the brink of disaster as a result of the poor policy decisions made during the Bush Administration. The auto industry had to be rescued, Wall Street had to be bailed out, the Trickle Down did not work, and many working class Americans were out of a job. Republicans created those problems; Democrats had to solve them. The upper one percent continued to see increases in their wages and the rest of us saw little in the way of wage increases. In fact I saw a Times Magazine article that says since 1979 the one percent saw a 138% increase in their wages while the rest of us saw a 15% increase in our wages. Republicans only give lip service to supporting the middle class.

I ask you, my fellow Democrats, to do the same thing I’m trying to do with these four charts: stop letting GOP drive the narrative and rewrite history. Stand up for our Democratic values because we are on the right side of the issues. When you hear Republicans – friends, neighbors, whomever spreading false information let them know that what they are saying is simply not true and give them the true facts.

Setting the record straight with the facts during this election cycle is so important for our country and the hard working folks like us. We need to ensure we get out and vote, work on the campaigns of our Democratic candidates, and raise donations so our candidates can get our message out. We cannot let the GOP’s falsehoods return us to the failed policies of the past. What’s at stake? The continued erosion of the middle class. So if you believe we deserve better, then fight for a better America. Don’t give this next election away.

Joe Lowe

State Party Vice Chairman

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Minimum Wage Hikes WIN on the Ballot in 2013

What happens when voters get to decide whether to raise the minimum wage? Voters say YES.

We saw that twice on Tuesday, November 6, 2013, on a statewide ballot in New Jersey & on a municipal ballot in SeaTac, Washington, home of the Seattle-Tacoma airport where they raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

NPR covered both ballot questions, and they’ve put together this great article about raising the minimum that deserves reading.

We know that raising the minimum wage shows that we value hard work. Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of hardworking people who’ll spend it on the things their families need everyday. That supports working families, boosts businesses, and grows the economy. That’s why we filed 25,000 signatures to raise the minimum wage in South Dakota – to build an economy that works for everyone.

South Dakotans for Raising the Minimum Wage

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McDonalds and the Minimum Wage

Need another reason why South Dakotans want to raise the minimum wage?

According to a new study produced by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center & the University of Illiniois, 52% of fast food workers with families have to rely on public assistance programs.

In fact, McDonald’s actually provides a private helpline for employees who are looking for food stamps, heating assistance, and other help from government programs.

McDonald’s privately recognizes that public assistance is a necessity for a lot of fast food workers. They publicly admit in “Practical Money Skills” trainings that McDonald’s workers need two jobs to make ends meet.

Here in South Dakota, we value hard work. If you show up, work hard, and play by the rules, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty. You should be able to earn a wage that lifts you out of government assistance. That’s why we’re part of a team that’s gathering signatures RIGHT NOW for our initiated measure to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour with annual cost of living increases.

We have until November 4th to collect 15,855 signatures. There’s still time to make a difference for 62,000 South Dakotans who’ll earn more from our initiated measure to raise the minimum wage. Can you help us?

I support raising South Dakota's minimum wage!

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Where you can find us

South Dakota Democrats are committed to being a part of community events across the state. Want to know a few places you can find us this weekend?

1) Black Hills Powwow – Rapid City: South Dakota Democrats are proud to sponsor a booth at the 27th annual Black Hills Powwow, we’re we’ll be joining our friends across Indian country in celebration of Great Plains indigenous song and dance. We’ll be bringing with us petitions to raise the minimum wage, voter registration forms, and more.

2) Latino American Festival – Sioux Falls: The Latino American Festival is in its 2nd year, and we’re excited to be part of it! Look for our table with petitions, voter registration forms and gear from our friends at the Rick Weiland for US Senate campaign.

3) Webster Area Pumpkin Fest & Night Parade – Webster: And for our friends in northeast South Dakota, look for our compliance director, Jen Rumpca, who’s going back to her hometown to celebrate the 14th annual Webster Area Pumpkin Festival with petitions to raise the minimum wage in hand.

Everywhere we go, we’re building community and a shared sense of commitment for a better South Dakota. But as always, our activities are only made possible by volunteers and contributors like you. Want to see us continue our hard work? You can help.

Be a donor. Make a contribution of $5 or more at the following secure link today: sddp.org/contribute/

Be a volunteer. You can help circulate a petition to raise the minimum wage, staff a booth at future events, or help Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.

I want to be a volunteer!

The South Dakota Democratic Party is volunteer driven organization. Our volunteers spread our message, determine our goals, and help elect Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. Be a South Dakota Democratic Party volunteer today!

Thank you for being part of our team.

 

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A Dream Delivered: Raise the Wage

Yesterday, America celebrated 50 years of progress towards equality since Dr. Martin Luther King delivered Jr. his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. But what did equality mean to King?

Three weeks before Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, he spoke for strikers in Memphis about genuine equality:

“Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?”

Today, I want to reflect on the cause of the March on Washington – for Jobs and freedom – for which march organizers alongside Dr. King like Bayard Rustin called for immediate action towards King’s genuine equality: “We demand that there be an increase in the national minimum wage so that men may live in dignity.”

Genuine equality & dignity in work. Is that a dream we can help deliver in South Dakota today?

As far as I know, Dr. King never visited South Dakota. He never saw our wind-blown prairie, our rolling clouds roaming our endless blue skies, or our beautiful Black Hills with its monuments to Crazy Horse and America’s founding fathers. But I’m sure he’d recognize the modesty of our unassuming family farmers, the unfailing work ethic of our teachers and our welders, the pride of our tribal members in Indian country. And yes, I think he’d also recognize the unease betraying the sunny smiles of South Dakota’s moms holding two low wage jobs to make ends meet or the anguish that comes to good dads who work hard, play by the rules, but just can’t get ahead.

If Dr. King visited today, he might call for a March on Pierre for Jobs and Freedom.

Indeed, at the time of King’s March on Washington, the minimum wage was $8.37 an hour when adjusted for the rising cost of living, a full dollar and 12 cents higher than today’s rate of $7.25 an hour. Even South Dakotans in the lowest cost-of-living county in America say they can’t make ends meet with the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. That is unacceptable.

That’s why the South Dakota Democratic Party is proud to continue Dr. King’s efforts for genuine equality by advocating for an initiated measure to raise the minimum wage.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom recognized that the freedom our founding fathers fought for is limited by low wages, and raising the minimum wage can provide a pathway out of poverty towards the “freedom from want” that FDR spoke of and to which our very own Senator George McGovern dedicated his life.

It’s time to deliver on part of the dream that King and so many others stood up for 50 years ago in Washington. We’ll march across South Dakota – going door to door, standing in front of courthouses and post offices, and passing along petitions among friends at coffee shops and family at the dinner table.

But we can’t do it unless we march together. As President Obama reminded us on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday, “The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.” Be a part of our effort. Learn more about how you can help at http://www.sddp.org/minimumwage/ or request a petition right away at http://www.sddp.org/minimumwagepetition/

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, let us commit ourselves to “genuine equality”: economic opportunity and the freedom it provides working South Dakotans by raising the minimum wage.

Let us recognize this anniversary as the year we marched for a “dream delivered.”

– Zach Crago
Interim Executive Director, SDDP

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Democrats blast plan to add state workers →

Chairman’s Note: South Dakota Democrats are making a clear stand for affordable healthcare. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to let Governor Daugaard get away with any funny business either. In fact, after Governor Daugaard offered his “conservative” and “cautious” budget, our Democratic legislators discovered over 100 newly created state government jobs Daugaard had failed to mention to the public. Let’s be clear about one thing – it’s not a problem to use growing revenues to patch the holes from budget cuts in 2011. But to dump new money into the executive branch before patching up the immense damage from budget cuts to our schools, nursing homes, highways and bridges is an incredibly dishonest way to budget our tax dollars.

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Sen. Tim Johnson: Buffett Rule’s Demise Hurts Middle Class →

Chairman’s Note: Instead of investing in the middle class, Republicans in Washington again protected the low taxes for millionaires and billionaires. The fact is the ultra-wealthy are paying lower taxes than they ever have in modern American history at the same time that investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation that grow our economy are being slashed by Washington Republicans. High taxes on the middle class, low taxes on the ultra-wealthy, and no investments in our future is a recipe for economic disaster. America needs tax fairness. Our middle class depends on it.

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Presidential Proclamation — National Equal Pay Day, 2012 →

Chairman’s Note: Tuesday, April 17, 2012, marked Equal Pay Day: To earn what men did in 2011 alone, women would have had to keep working all the way until this past Tuesday — an extra 4 1/2 months. It’s a reminder that we still have much work to do to make pay more fair.

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Note to Noem: Challenge Accepted

“Point to one policy that this president has enacted that has actually worked.” That’s what Rep. Kristi Noem challenged folks to outline on Fox News yesterday with Greta Van Susteren

Challenge accepted. Here are just a few Obama policies that are working for Americans everyday.

  • Added 4.1 million private sector jobs and seen 25 straight months of job growth. American Recovery Act.
  • Rescued American auto industry, saving more than 1 million jobs and preventing the loss of over $96 billion in personal income as a result. Rescue loans to American Auto Industry.
  • Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”ensuring that no one ever again has to lie about who they are to serve the country they love. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
  • Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, making progress in a decades-long battle for women to get equal pay for equal work. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act
  • Provided 46 million seniors access to free preventive services like annual wellness visits and health screenings .Affordable Care Act. 
  • Closed the Medicare “doughnut hole,” saving the average senior approximately $4,200 over the next 10 years. Affordable Care Act. 
  • Extended more benefits to National Guard members who have performed active service and allow education benefits to be transferred to family members. Post 9/11 GI Bill.
  • Brought the war in Iraq to a responsible end. For the first time in nine years, there are no American troops fighting in Iraq.
  • Doubled funding for Pell grants, making college more affordable for 9 million students a year.
  • Established new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks will nearly double fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, saving American families an estimated $1.7 trillion at the pump.

The policies and their effects are pretty obvious. So either Noem is lying about Obama’s policies that work or she doesn’t see these policies as successes. Either case shows an extreme lack of attention that the issues of our day deserve.

Here’s some advice for Noem: take some time away from high dollar lobbyist fundraisers and Fox News appearances to learn the issues. It’s hard enough when smart legislators make bad decisions. It’s worse when oblivious representatives make terrible ones.

 

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Noem: I’d like to Thank Exxon for This Opportunity

Being the day after Groundhog Day, we hate to be the bearers of bad news. Unfortunately, it looks like Congresswoman Kristi Noem has seen her shadow and nine more months of phantom representation are in the pipeline for South Dakota families. (and yes, the pipeline pun is entirely intentional, for you see kids – Kristi Noem’s latest attempt at being a lawmaker is being brought to you by Exxon Mobil and some very large donations to her campaign last year.)

Called “the worst transportation bill ever,” Kristi Noem and her fellow Republican leaders in the U.S. House are hoping that they can tie highway funding to Big Oil profits, which are in large part a result of their efforts to continue subsidizing an industry that contributes heavily to their campaigns. Let us pause here to note what a great idea Kristi Noem has stumbled upon (with the help of very large checks).

Back to the bill at hand—Kristi Noem wants to destroy the concept of a highway trust fund, the very trust fund that South Dakotans are depending on to fix roads washed out by recent record flooding across our state. Brilliant.

It is also clear, and it must be said, that the only job Kristi Noem is concerned about is her own.  For the construction workers who have built and maintained bike paths, and sidewalks, and roads, and bridges to carry our youngest citizens to school, home, and daily activities, Noem has only one thing to say to you, “You’re fired.”

Well, Big Oil may think that answer is just fine. But here in South Dakota, where we expect our lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives to actually do more than just lip-service, we have just one reminder: despite Mitt Romney’s claim, Exxon Mobil doesn’t vote; we do. And there are 277 days until Election Day.

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