Stem Cell referendum in New Jersey offers hope for many

By Stephen Yellin

In my last diary (on New Jersey's 39th legislative district), I briefly discussed how New Jersey has the potential to be what Wisconsin was under "Fighting Bob" LaFollette 100 years ago - a progressive laboratory for the United States. To do this will require in part the election of more Democratic and progressive leaders to serve in both the state legislature in Trenton and on the county and municipal levels. However, there is another factor apart from elections that can make a state truly progressive: the support of the public for a progressive vision for their state and country. LaFollette introduced the concept of the initiative, the referendum and the recall to Wisconsin, and some states still follow that legacy. Now, New Jersey's Democratic leaders are trying to make New Jersey a progressive bastion as well - through a ballot referendum this November on Stem Cell Research.

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167 Union Volunteers in Action Across Kentucky

167 Union Volunteers in Action Across Kentucky [BLOG.AFLCIO.ORG]   

In one of the largest statewide labor walks ever held in Kentucky, 167 union activists walked door to door Saturday to talk with union members about the upcoming election in which Steve Beshear is challenging anti-worker Gov. Ernie Fletcher for office.  

Despite Beshear's 20-point lead in the polls, union members in Kentucky are not sitting back. Fletcher has canceled bargaining rights for state employees, privatized Kentucky's Medicaid program and pushed to repeal the prevailing wage law and implement anti-union "right to work" for less legislation. Beshear opposes so-called "right to work" legislation and has affirmed his support of safeguards for the prevailing wage, employee bargaining, the need for affordable health care and good jobs.

After our state kickoff walk last week in which more than 400 volunteers went door to door in Jefferson County, we continue to knock on thousands of union doors across the state, with walks this weekend in Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Paducah and Pikeville.

In Paducah, where 34 volunteers turned out, Jeff Wiggins, Northern Kentucky AFL-CIO Labor Council president, notes:
"I've been the Northern Kentucky Central Labor Council President since 2000, this is the largest labor walk we've ever held in Paducah."

Union members taking part in the Paducah walk include: AFSCME, AFT, Alliance for Retired Americans, Fire Fighters (IAFF), IronWorkers, Operating Engineers, Painters and Allied Trades, UAW and United Steelworkers (USW).

Tim Smith, coordinator of the area that includes Owensboro, said the walk there was "larger than any Labor 2004 or Labor 2006 labor walk--and it is only the first one so far this year."
Members from the Electrical Workers (IBEW), Operating Engineers (IUOE), the Kentucky Education Association, Mine Workers (UMWA), Sprinkler Fitters, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA), UAW and USW took part.  

Donnie Colston, coordinator for the area that includes Louisville, said, "Despite more than 400 walkers last week for our kickoff, nearly 60 more union volunteers showed up this week to walk with us again." Colston concludes:
Union members refuse to take anything for granted.  
Those union members are part of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), IBEW, Laborers (LIUNA), Machinists (IAM), UAW, USW, Working America and more.

Meanwhile in Lexington, where 42 volunteers turned out, area coordinator Mike Donta said:
"This is the one of the largest walks we've ever had in Lexington."

Members of AFT, Carpenters, CWA, IAFF, IBEW, Iron Workers, LIUNA, Office and Professional Employees, UAW, USW and Utility Workers (UWUA) all took part.

Pikeville's 10 volunteers were part of history, said coordinator Eddie Bowling:
"This is first time we've ever held a labor walk in all Eastern Kentucky. "

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The NJ-39 Series: Show Some Love to Dispel Some Hate

Hello all,

Up until now, I haven't made any financial pleas for New Jersey's 39th Legislative District. This is because I feel as if "getting the word out" about the district, its out-of-touch Republican incumbents (Gerry Cardinale, John Rooney and Charlotte Vandervalk) and the Democrats taking them on (Joe Ariyan, Esther Fletcher and Carl Manna) was more important. In fact, it still is, because turning NJ-39 blue - with your help - will not only be a tremendous victory for New Jersey and its Democratic Party, but will serve as a textbook example of how to turn the suburbs and exurbs of America Democratic as well. We Democrats in New Jersey are working hard to turn State Senator Cardinale and his Assembly running mates out of office - and now we need your help.

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Biden's Political Solution Passes the Senate

Joe Biden's political solution for Iraq passed the Senate today with a veto proof majority of 75 Senators supporting it. No other Senator has worked as hard or as long as Joe Biden to try to find a political solution to this quagmire of a mess in Iraq. In fact no other American politician has proposed a political solution. Not a single one. When the conventional wisdom was that he should give up because no one was listening Joe Biden continued to press forward demonstrating how to lead while other sit on the sidelines, criticize, stall and doubt. He fought against nearly impossible odds to push for his plan to make sense of the mistake he helped create. That is what a real leader does and I salute him. Joe Biden is the kind of leader we need for President. Someone that solves problems and is willing to work their ass off every day to make it happen. Someone who leads. You really can't ask more out of anyone. He deserves our utmost respect and gratitude. And a large round of applause.

Thank you Senator Joe Biden.

I believe in miracles!

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The NJ-39 Series: meet Joe Ariyan, Democrat for State Senate

-  By Stephen Yellin

In my last two articles on New Jersey's 39th Legislative District, I discussed why the Republican incumbent, Gerald "Gerry" Cardinale was too extreme to represent a rapidly changing district (towards the left, I might add), and why it's time to fire him. Today, I want to introduce you all to his Democratic opponent, and why he should be hired to serve in the New Jersey State Senate. His name is Joe Ariyan, and he'll be an excellent State Senator for New Jersey. His life and credentials will tell you why.

My previous articles on the subject: 59/993 8/9971 5/5033

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