[COMM-ORG] Virginia Organizing October 2010 news

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Fri Oct 29 12:36:18 CDT 2010

  From: Virginia Organizing <e-action at virginia-organizing.org>

October 2010                                       News From the Grassroots


With a big election around the corner, we are working to increase 
turnout in communities of color, low-income communities and college 
campuses while improving civic engagement by identifying, training and 
motivating more local leaders. There is a lot at stake this election: 
the health care law, Wall Street reform and tax cuts for the middle 
class and not the wealthy.

But this is unlike any election we have ever seen.  New campaign finance 
laws are maximizing the impact corporate donors can have by allowing 
them unlimited, anonymous donations. A recent landmark Supreme Court 
decision (Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission) has given 
corporations and the super wealthy a greater voice in our democracy than 
ever before. That is why we are working twice as hard to encourage real 
citizens--not corporate "citizens"--to speak out in their democracy!

We will register at least 500 new voters and will knock on at least 
8,000 doors and make 11,000 GOTV calls. As we knock on doors in Central 
Virginia and Southside, we are talking to people about jobs and 
unemployment, issues important to these communities hard hit by the 
economic downturn. This summer in Richmond, we reached out to the 
largest public housing community (Gilpin) with 2,046 people plus 200 
elderly/disabled units.

Canvassers will also distribute at least 5,000 door hangers encouraging 
people to vote and providing their polling place as a "treat or trick" 
near the end of October, in low-income African-American neighborhoods in 
at least 10 different communities. The scariest monsters this Halloween 
are the corporations taking over our elections and the politicians who 
do their bidding. Help us fight back by encouraging everyone you know to 
get out and VOTE!

Implement the Health Care Law

Despite the Attorney General's attempts to block the health care law, 
implementation is moving forward in Virginia. We are asking supporters 
to make their voices heard by contacting Cindy Jones, the director of 
the Governor's Health Care Reform Initiative at: 
mailto:vhri at governor.virginia.gov vhri at governor.virginia.gov

Please ask her to make quality affordable health care accessible to all 
and work to include everyone's voice in the process by providing clear 
channels for public input, and by soliciting opinions from as diverse a 
range of people as possible in the state.

Cuccinelli: Don't Deny Virginia Health Care

Community members directly helped by the health care law voiced their 
opposition to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's attempt to block reform. 
Residents spoke after the hearing on the constitutionality of the 
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Richmond this month. 
Marcus Grimes of Woodbridge shared his story of going blind due to not 
being able to afford the surgery necessary to save his eyesight. "Had 
the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act been the law 20 years ago 
when my health care problems began, my life would have been dramatically 

Janie Williams spoke out after the hearing, sharing her story of 
graduating from the University of Virginia in May and finding herself 
kicked off of her parents' health insurance plan. " I am thankful that 
the bill passed and that I am now back on my parents' plan," said Williams.

After refusing to dismiss Attorney General Cuccinelli's health care 
lawsuit in July, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson heard arguments 
on the constitutionality of the law. This argument follows a Michigan 
federal court decision issued in early October which found that the 
minimum coverage provision (the so-called insurance "mandate") is 
constitutional. "It is a shame that we are standing here today wasting 
time addressing the Attorney General's attempts to block health care

reform," said Jim Lindsay of the Virginia Organizing Health Care Reform 
Committee. "At a time when Virginia is facing tough choices about budget 
cuts, Attorney General Cuccinelli and the McDonnell administration are 
wasting taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit that is bound to fail."

Judge Hudson's decision is expected by the end of the year.  Whatever 
the outcome, the case will likely be appealed to the 4th Circuit Court 
of Appeals, and eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to 
finally resolve the legal questions raised in this and numerous cases 
filed around the country.

Community leaders spoke out on the need to uphold the law and implement 
health care reform as soon as possible. "The law already protects 
Virginia consumers from egregious insurance company abuses, gives 2010 
tax credits to small businesses in Virginia that provide insurance to 
their workers, helps young adults stay insured and sends checks to 
seniors with very high prescription costs," said Jill Hanken of the 
Virginia Poverty Law Center.

"The Attorney General should be working hard to rein in the insurance 
companies for Virginia's consumers," said Rabbi Ben Romer of Richmond. 
"Instead he is appearing on every national news program that will have 
him, putting politics ahead of the health of Virginia's families."

Donate Now

News in Brief

&rArr;Wendell Potter and other experts spoke in Bristol and Kingsport 
this month at Tri-Cities health care forums on the Affordable Care Act.

&rArr;The Charlottesville Chapter is working with a group of law 
students from the UVA to do an Americans with Disability Act survey of 
school facilities in Fluvanna County.

&rArr;The South Hampton Roads Chapter is working on the passage of a 
protective policy in the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach for 
residents of mobile home parks that are targeted for redevelopment.

&rArr;Fredericksburg members wore gas masks and brought signs to a 
Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors meeting to call attention to the toxic 
chemicals stored on CSX rail cars in their community.

&rArr;On Wednesdays in October, crowds of  supporters can be found 
gathered in front of the DMV calling attention to Governor Bob 
McDonnell's anti-immigrant policies including his recent decision to 
make it difficult for legal immigrants to obtain a driver's license. 
Virginia Organizing has helped coordinate protests in Harrisonburg, 
Richmond, Norfolk and Williamsburg.

...Pass it on!

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Are you a state employee? Please support our work! Virginia Organizing 
is participating in the 
Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (for state employees) and our number 
is 3168.

Virginia Organizing Leader of the Month: Deborah Gentry

Deborah Gentry of Charlottesville is one of many community leaders 
engaged in Virginia Organizing's civic engagement activities. Deborah 
has volunteered to make thousands of get out the vote phone calls to 
help reach our goal of getting young people, people of color and 
low-income communities civically engaged. Because Deborah has been 
unemployed for more than a year she understands the way that joblessness 
can fuel feelings of disenfranchisement with government and voting.

Despite this, Deborah finds ways to reach the people she speaks to on 
the phone. "I just try to relate to people one on one and let them know 
how they can make their voices heard. They are just frustrated and I was 
too before I got involved," said Gentry. "Now that I am more involved, I 
see that things are changing but there is so much more work to be done."

�©2010 Virginia Organizing, 703 Concord Ave. Charlottesville, VA 22903 

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