"Socialism is a scareword they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called social security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.” — President Harry S. Truman, speech October 1952
It’s been a busy legislative session, and this month’s newsletter includes updates on several pieces of legislation our representatives are pushing forward (or trying to stop). Crossover Day – when bills die if they haven’t been passed by at least one chamber – is coming, so everyone’s watching their favorite bills and pushing to get them on the floor.
The Mon County Democratic Convention is coming up in March; it’s free of charge and open to all registered Democrats. We’ll elect a whole lot of delegates to the state convention, so if you’re interested, come and throw your hat in the ring! See more below.
You’ll also see a letter from Kathleen Abate, our committee chair, on an upcoming listening canvas and how you can help.
And, finally, we have sad news of a good friend who’s gone much too soon. Emilie Marlier set a constant example for all of us on how to work for change, how to serve society, and how to just be a good human being.
Saturday, Feb. 29 – Empty Bowls Soup and Bread Luncheon, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Mylan Park, Morgantown.
NOTE: We usually post only county Democratic events in this newsletter, but we’re making an exception for this one because so many of our members, elected officials, and candidates will be working at or attending it. Empty Bowls is a major community event that supports many organizations that fight food insecurity. A ticket gets you a delicious bowl of soup, a hunk of homemade bread, and a hand-painted bowl to take home. We sure hope to see you there! Need tickets? See https://ebmon.org/luncheon/
Saturday, Feb. 29 – Smith for WV Monongalia County Town Hall, 6 to 8 p.m., Cass Elementary School, Osage, West Virginia.
Monday, March 9 – Mon County Democrats March meeting, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall, 100 Richard Drive, Morgantown. All Democrats and supporters are welcome, so please join us to help plan for the 2020 election season.
Saturday, March 28 – Monongalia County Democratic Party Convention, 10 a.m. to noon, American Legion Post 174, 3470 Earl L. Core Rd, Morgantown, WV 26508.
Are you a registered Democrat in Monongalia County? Then, you’re invited to attend our county convention, an important event that occurs only once every four years. You’ll not only get to meet candidates seeking your support; you’ll also get to help elect 68 delegates from Mon County to attend the State Democratic Convention in Charleston. We hope you’ll consider being one of those delegates!
Registration for the county convention will start at 9:30 a.m., Sat., March 28, at the American Legion in Dellslow (see details above), but we’re expecting a big turnout, so to avoid having to stand in line while we collect everyone’s information, attendees are encouraged to pre-register online. Pre-registration information will be sent by email and on social media, so keep an eye out for that.
Want more information on the county convention or on what’s involved in serving as a delegate to the state (or national) convention? Email email@example.com. We’d love to talk to you.
Sat., April 4 - #WalkWithMe, 10 a.m., Mountaineer Mall, Greenbag Road, Morgantown. Delegate Danielle Walker invites constituents to her next “walk and talk” on Saturday, April 4, inside the Mountaineer Mall (old mall) on the Greenbag Road. The walk will start shortly after 10 a.m. Enter the mall at the corner by the Anybody Gym; go straight to the main hallway and turn right. Meet Danielle at the OLLI office on the left. Details and to RSVP - https://www.facebook.com/events/2580568858932185/
Friday, April 24 – WVU College Democrats Rhododendron Dinner, 6 to 8 p.m., WVU Mountainlair Ballrooms. $15/student, $20/non-student. Several elected officials and candidates will speak. RSVP or information: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, April 25 – Mon Dems at the Ramp Dinner, 9 a.m to 2 p.m., Mason Dixon Park. Every year, the Mason-Dixon Park hosts its ramp dinner fundraiser. This is a great chance for us to support a local organization, explore a beautiful park, eat local food, and meet people from all over Monongalia County. Wear your MonDems t-shirt and come hungry. http://www.masondixonhistoricalpark.com/events.html
**Submit an event for our calendar – Any Democratic officials or candidates for office in Monongalia County – or organizers of events for officials/candidates for state or national office but taking place in Mon County – may submit events for inclusion in our website and newsletter calendars. https://www.mondems.org/submit-an-event
Stay up-to-date with MonDems-related upcoming events on our website at https://www.mondems.org/events
News from the legislature
The legislative session is approaching “crossover day,” the last day for bills to be passed in one house in time to be considered in the other. Crossover day this year is Wednesday, Feb. 26. Here’s an update on a few bills sponsored or co-sponsored by our Mon County delegation.
Modern Jobs Act – Delegate Evan Hansen again introduced the Modern Jobs (MoJo) Act to allow large electricity users to access solar electricity from solar arrays built on former coal mines. Hansen has joined Republicans in a compromise solar bill, HB 4562, to allow state electric utilities to build 400 MW of solar arrays on former coal mines or Brownfields sites—40 times more than are currently installed in the state. After a debate in the energy committee, legislators decided to run the Senate version of the bill, SB 583. On Friday, Feb. 14, the solar jobs bill unanimously passed the Senate! Now it moves to the House for final passage.
Just Transition Bill – HB 4574, another bipartisan bill Delegate Evan Hansen introduced, will help counties hit hardest by losses of coal mining and power plant jobs. The bill creates an office in the Department of Commerce to come up with plans to help counties that have been most harmed by job losses diversify their economies and create jobs. The bill recently passed out of the House Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee, and now awaits action at the Government Organization Committee before heading to the House floor.
Cap on insulin cost – House Bill 4543 – Introduced by Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, this bill would cap the copay for (most people’s) prescription insulin at $25. The bill has passed out of committee and is scheduled for first reading in the House on Monday, (Feb. 17. It will hopefully pass on third reading by Wednesday, then head to the Senate. Contact your House and Senate members to ask them to support this life-saving legislation.
Access to birth control – A bill to provide women with expanded access to birth control, authored by Delegate Rodney Pyles, has passed the West Virginia House of Delegates with bipartisan support. Pyles said he proposed the measure after hearing from his constituents they had trouble obtaining prescriptions. Now the bill moves on to the Senate! Read the Gazette-Mail story on this effort.
Formula bill – All five (Fleischauer, Hansen, Pyles, Walker, Williams) of our House of Delegates members co-sponsored the Formula Bill, HB4120, which would mandate that the Division of Highways follow an equitable formula in allocating road maintenance dollars, and FIX THE ROADS. Del. John Williams spoke to the press on the issue here and to the state party here. He says the bill is still in committee, but he’s hopeful.
The Crown Act – Del. Danielle Walker sponsored HB 4508 (aka the Crown Act), which protects against discrimination by adding traits associated with race like hair texture and style to the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
"When dress codes reinforce white norms, being black becomes a violation," said Walker. “Too often, people of color are punished for their hairstyles at work, in sports, and at school. This important legislation would forbid such discrimination.”
The bill has been stalled in the House Government Organization Committee since January 23rd. Walker asks supporters to email or call House Government Organization Chair Gary Howell at email@example.com or (304) 340-3192 and ask that HB 4508 be placed on the Government Organization Committee agenda. “We need you,” she said.
Fighting to keep WVNET in Morgantown – Sen. Bob Beach has been spearheading efforts to stop current legislative efforts to move WVNET, which employs 70 people and provides educational and technical service and software to institutions all over the state, out of Morgantown. Beach believes that legislators in other areas are eyeing the jobs and broadband that comes with having this organization, but moving it would come with a hefty price tag, so is hopeful we’ll be able to keep WVNET in Morgantown. Read more here.
May her memory be a blessing
Emilie Marlier, a member of the Monongalia County Democratic Executive Committee, recently passed away after a long illness. Emilie was a force for good in our community and a kind and positive presence in all our lives. Emilie was a union carpenter. Whether it was immigrant rights, environmental justice, or elect pro-union legislators, she never missed a chance to advocate for the issues that she cared about.
As a member of our committee, she showed up to every meeting, volunteered at almost every event, and personally coordinated our largest community service project - the adoption of Morgan Run Road for our highway clean-up.
Despite being so active and touching so many lives, Emilie was kind and humble. She never wanted to be in the spotlight, and consistently brushed aside all recognition for her hard work. She will be deeply missed.
Listening canvas coming up – we need your help!
By Kathleen Abate, Mon County Democratic Executive Committee chair
People often wonder why so many vote for the party that has pledged to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; the party that doesn’t see healthcare as a right; the party that shows little concern for worker safety but gives tax breaks to the wealthy. Often the answer, I believe, is that Democrats don’t seem to be listening.
You can help change that perception. Mon County Democrats are planning a listening canvas in April and May. It’s an opportunity to get out of the echo chamber of your Facebook friends and build some bridges. We want to find out what’s important to voters, let them know we’re listening and care about their concerns. Research has found that in-person contact – not mailers, robocalls, or literature drops – can make a difference in election results.
If you’re willing to help with this campaign, to knock on some doors and talk to people – not to convince them of anything, just to listen to their concerns - please come to our next meeting, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Working together, we can keep our Fab 5 in Charleston. We can keep the Senate seat in District 13 blue by electing Mike Caputo. We can have Democratic senators, delegates, governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. We can do it!
Let us help you share your news!
Are you a Democratic elected official or candidate for office in Mon County? Or a candidate for state or national office hosting an event here? Let us help you spread the word to our growing mailing list. The (fairly strict) deadline by which we need to receive the information is the 15th of each month; it doesn’t have to be beautifully written or edited; we have an editor for that. Send info and pictures to Susan Case, editor, at email@example.com. Also, send to firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on our online event calendar at mondems.org.
Spread the word - Please forward this email to friends who may be interested and invite them to subscribe at www.mondems.org.