COPE Corner (Committee on Political Education)
— An update from Fiora Starchild-Wolf
Hi Everyone, my job as COPE Chair is to help everyone understand how policymakers (politicians) affect our membership, and how our membership can affect their decisions. I would love your help in doing this important work. Please send your feedback, suggestions, and of course, if you are interested in working on this together, there are lots of ideas below.
On the AFT site, you will find a Call to Action on the HEROES Act, passed by the House of Representatives, but it still needs to get through the Senate. Please consider signing this and writing your Senator. Even if our Senators are already in favor–which both Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden are–it gives them added power when we stand behind them in numbers too great to ignore. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-the-senate-dont-forfeit-our-future
AFT National Virtual Convention This Week:
One thing to possibly join and watch as you are able is the AFT National Virtual Convention, which runs Tuesday through Thursday. Registration is free.
Tuesday’s (7/28) lineup included the AFT President offering the State of the Union.
Today (Wednesday, 7/29) will include a panel discussion on Black Lives Matter with Rev. Dr. Bernice A.King, New York Democratic Congressional Nominee Jamaal Bowman, and Leslie Redmond, President of the Minneapolis NAACP. There will also be presentations by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Tomorrow (Thursday 7/30) is a lineup I’m REALLY looking forward to, having just watched “Hamilton” on Disney Plus: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, a panel on Public Education, and, finally, Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden.
General Election Less Than 100 Days Away:
We are now just under 100 days until the November General Election. While Presidential politics is outside the scope of our Local, our national organization is fully engaged in the Presidential race, as well as the Senate and House of Representatives. For information, go to www.aft.org.
Our Local Power, and Upcoming Political Work:
Locally is where we can really have a say in our political leadership:
Endorsements: In the coming month, we need to form a group whose members will reach out to candidates for local, regional, and even statewide office, if they impact our Local. We need to create a multi-partisan team, as we want to have a voice for all members as we consider these candidates and measures.
Once filing deadlines have passed, in mid-August/early September, we will discuss which candidates and measures we may wish to consider endorsing, and offer candidates a way to meet with us, virtually, so that our committee can bring our recommendations for endorsement.
Endorsing and getting behind a political candidate can lead to LCCEF getting support for issues that matter to us. Endorsing helps encourage voters who care about LCC and LCCEF to vote for things that help us all. Having our Local mentioned as an endorser in the Voters Pamphlet makes us “visible” in our community, as well.
Voter Registration and Get Out The Vote: Finally, we need to be active during the Voter Registration drive–in a non-partisan way, we will work on helping to get our members registered if they are not, and then, once ballots are out, we will work to help Get Out The Vote!
US Census Deadline Approaching:
One incredibly important thing going on right now is the US Census. The idea is to get a count of how many people live in each area, regardless of age or citizenship status, which then determines the allocation of federal dollars.
“The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. The 2020 Census counts everyone who lives in the U.S. on April 1, 2020. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds will be allocated by state, local, and federal lawmakers every year for the next 10 years.” (From the US Census website)
If you have not yet completed the US Census, there is an easy way to do so online. It takes only about 10 minutes to complete, and it impacts the distribution of federal funds including, among other things, how much our college receives….which impacts our membership, of course. Here is an information page from the US Census: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCENSUS/bulletins/297ad44
This is a critical year, and whatever your perspective is, we have room for you on our team! Politicians affect our daily lives, measures that become laws affect our lives, and how federal dollars are allocated affects our lives. There are political forces at work that are attacking unions and attacking those who work in public education. There are also political forces that want to support us. Let’s educate ourselves and help the latter get the political power to do so. Please contact me.
Reopening Lane’s Campus and LCCEF Involvement:
One additional note: I am one of two LCCEF EC representatives, along with Buck Potter, to the Reopening Advisory Team for LCC. This team worked on developing the Institutional Reopening Plan for LCC, based on Oregon Health Authority guidelines, the plan was amended and approved by Lane’s Cabinet, and it was passed by the Board of Education in the last Board meeting. All department reopening plans must be presented to the Reopening Advisory Team, which is meeting once per week, for our review and approval. One aspect that the Board was sure was included is that this is a “living document”, meaning that changes/amendments are still possible, as the situation with COVID-19 is a continuously evolving thing.
If you have questions, concerns, additions you would like to see, or if your department is developing a plan PLEASE get involved and feel free to reach out to me or Buck Potter for information or support. We are on this team to work to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of LCCEF members!
Thank you for reading
— Fiora Starchild-Wolf, COPE Chair