From the Desk of the President (May, 2011)

Normally I try to remain apolitical in my articles but the actions of Governors and legislators across the country over the past few months have hit every last nerve on my political spectrum. The mean spirited proposals made by elected officials that will either drastically cut or completely gut programs for children, disabled adults and the elderly members of our society is a travesty and a very sad reflection on our country. We see legislators rushing to raise the taxes of those of us - both public and private sector - who work 40 hours a week but can barely make ends meet with the rising costs of food, health care, clothing, gas while our wages are either frozen or reduced. We see many of our neighbors working two jobs just to pay the bills. Then we see the wealthiest members of our society walk away from the table paying little or no taxes - or getting refunds because of loopholes in the tax codes.  

This quote is very topical and sums up where we are today: "It is the Republicans who have given us government that has been both corrupt and extravagant; aided the tax dodger and transferred his load to the taxpayer- you and me, made every function of state and national government subservient to the powerful special interests, and now they are shedding crocodile tears for the poor taxpayers." - Governor Floyd B. Olson (Farmer-Labor Party) Oct. 3, 1932.  

This is one weary (but willing to pay her fair share) taxpayer wondering whatever happened to the concept that we all look out for each other with those of us who were doing better helping out those of us who were in need. Growing up in small town Minnesota, everyone would pitch in if a farmer was injured or sick so that the livestock was fed, the fields tilled and the crops harvested. If someone was hospitalized or at home with a long recovery, neighbors brought food, took turns helping to clean, getting kids to school, etc. If someone died, we were there to help the family grieve, to work their way through the system to apply for any possible benefits and to stand with them as they regained their footing.  

That was a society that viewed Social Security as a good program for working men and women to look forward to in their retirement after working all the years of their adulthood. Medicare was another program that was welcomed as way to assist our elders and vulnerable neighbors to access quality medical care so they remained as healthy as possible. The Food Stamp program helped out when times were tough for folks with lower income. Lunch programs ensured that children from low income families would have a good start to their school day. A hungry child is not going to learn as well as a child who has not been fed. Maybe it was because our grandparents and parents were coming off the Depression years that so many of our existing programs were created. Maybe they did not want to see children die from malnutrition when their parents could not find a job and afford to buy food. They were willing to pay their fair share in taxes so that their communities would be healthy and safe.  

 Know that this weary (but still willing to pay her fair share) tax-payer is not pointing fingers solely at the Republican politicians. Democrats, Independents, Green, Tea Party, Socialists - they all hold some responsibility for where we are today. They all need to get past the rhetoric the political posturing - the idea that if they say enough lies and partial lies that voters will respect them and vote for them again - and get down to the real business of why they are where they are - to improve the lives of all members of our society - not just the few individuals and the huge corporations who have enough money to lobby 24 hours a day.

You can do your part by calling your Senators and Representatives at both the State and federal level to express your opinions. If they hear from enough of us weary (but very willing to pay our fair share) tax-payers, we can change the tide. It might be slow but it can happen.  

Announcements

May 4, 2011 General Assem-bly: We will have the installa-tion of officers at this meeting held in Room L15, Health Services Building on the cor-ner of 6th Street and Portland Avenue at 5:30 PM. Food will be provided. We will also draw 20 winning names from the list of members who completed the Local 34 member survey. The lucky 20 winners will receive $20.00 Cub gift cards. You do not need to be present to win.  

Social Media Networking classes are being offered by Labor Education Services on Saturday, May 14th - Twitter and Saturday, May 21st - Face book from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon both days. The Local moved to send up to six members per class who are willing to commit to being part of our Social Media action group for negotiations this year with the election to be held at the May General Assembly. We will pay the $50.00 registration cost, parking and mileage for each member elected to attend the classes. If you cannot attend the meeting but wish to be considered for that election, please send me and e-mail by no later than Tuesday, May 3rd.  

So, I will be out and about looking for those May flowers. Hopefully the snow in April will not have discouraged them from showing their bright colors!! Jean