By Nancy Churchill
A Progressive Visionary
According to OccupyDemocrats.com, between 2008 and 2010, Boeing didn’t pay any taxes, made $9.8 billion in profits, received rebates of $178 million, laid off 14,862 workers, and increased executive pay 31 percent. Since 1998, Boeing has been tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate “bill mill” where corporate lobbyists and special-interest reps create “model” bills for state legislatures (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ALEC_Corporations, http://www.prwatch.org/, http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed).
ALEC’s agenda is “to advance free markets, limited government, and federalism.” The Guardian disclosed that last year ALEC first drafted, then ditched, a plan to compel its legislative members to sign a loyalty pledge putting “the interests of the organization [ALEC] first.” That such a pledge would violate legislators’ oaths of office may explain their second thoughts.
Regardless, their agenda appears to be succeeding. Recently, the Farm Bill, with $8 billion in food stamp cuts, passed the Senate, having earlier passed the House. As it becomes law, 850,000 families — nearly 2 million people — lose an average of $90 a month in food assistance, “on top of an $11 billion cut to food stamps in November that cost 48 million people an average of $38 a month,” according to Daily Kos.
Meanwhile, bankers received $91 billion in bonuses after rendering 10 million Americans homeless.
It’s clear that ALEC’s “bill mill” doesn’t work for “We the People.” And neither do the legislators. The answer? Elect new legislators!
First, become a citizen co-sponsor of Congressman John Sarbanes’, D-Md., “Government by the People Act” (H.R. 20) [http://campaigns.dailykos.com/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=749&tag=20140205DailyKos].
The act stipulates that, instead of depending on big donors, candidates will raise large numbers of small contributions from grassroots backers. Contributions of $1 to $150 would be matched 6-to-1 by a public fund, paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes and giveaways. Contributors would get a refundable “My Voice” tax credit of $25. Each candidate’s public funding would be capped at a certain amount, and there would be strict enforcement of campaign finance laws, including disclosure of all donations.
Second, elect legislators that would sign onto Sarbanes’ bill, plus endorse the American Anti-Corruption Act (http://anticorruptionact.org/). Such candidates will do right by the middle class in today’s extreme, ALEC-controlled corporate “bill mill” world.
Matt Becker and Randall Olsen are two such candidates. They’re supportive of both acts, and deserve our support. Matt is running as a write-in candidate in Illinois’ Representative District No. 90. “I am from the middle class myself,” he says, “and I want to serve the hard-working people in our district who make Illinois great.”
Randall Olsen is candidate for U.S. House District No. 16.
Early voting for the March 18, 2014, primary has already begun. Please choose a Democratic ballot and write in “Matt Becker” for Illinois State Representative in District No. 90, then check “Randall Olsen” for the U.S. Congressional District No. 16.
We need these lawmakers to represent “We the People” of Illinois.
Nancy Churchill was raised in the D.R.C. (Congo), raced stock cars on short dirt tracks for 25 years, and is a proud, lifelong member of “We, the People.” She lives in Oregon, Ill.
From the Feb. 19-25, 2014, issue