Vision: Across the Country, People Are Rising Up to Fight for Change
Continued from previous page
Hear what Milwaukee residents have to say about what their state is facing.
Here’s a summary of a few of the other actions you may have missed last month (unfortunately not all important could be included):
-- On January 8, hundreds of Ohioans gathered outside a pre-inauguration event at the Columbus statehouse in subfreezing temperatures to send a message to the newly-elected Republican Governor John Kasich. According to People's World, it was so cold, the bullhorns wouldn't work, but that didn't stop citizens from denouncing Governor Kasich's plans to repeal the state's collective bargaining law for public employees, raise tuition at colleges and universities, and privatize Ohio state prisons.
Citizens chanted, "We don't care about the cold, Ohio can't be bought and sold."
"We're not going to sit idly by and watch our state get sold to corporate interests," said Deb Steele, and organizer with Columbus Jobs with Justice.
Like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Governor Kasich also refused federal stimulus money for a 258-mile high-speed 3C rail project linking Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, calling it "one of the dumbest ideas" he's ever heard.
The $400 million project had the potential to create at least 225 immediate construction jobs over two years, and approximately 8,000 indirect and spin-off jobs, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. The rail service was projected to attract 478,000 passengers a year, and save up to 15,000 gallons of fuel a day by reducing automobile use. Over time, Ohio could have become an interregional rail hub connecting the Midwest and Northeast, which would generate $3 billion worth of economic development and support 16,700 jobs, according to the Illinois PIRG Education Fund.
At his first news conference after the election, Governor Kasich, another Republican climate change denier, said, "Passenger rail is not in Ohio's future. That train is dead."
"It's unbelievable these states would send back $400million and $800 million in free money. It's mind-boggling," said Mike Pracht, CEO of US Railcar Co, a Columbus-based railroad-car manufacturer, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. "The only thing I can compare it to is the interstate-highway program back in the '60s. Where would Ohio be today if it opted out of the interstate highway system? To suggest passenger rail would be any different is naive."
At another action on January 14, more than 400 people attended a candlelight rally outside City Hall in Cincinnati to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and express their support for healthcare and childcare providers. They also condemned Governor Kasich's anti-worker plan to strip them of their bargaining rights and get rid of wage rules, which mandate union-wages for public projects.
"Why is John Kasich singling me out and trying to take away my voice? I struggle everyday to make ends meet in this tough economy," said longtime home healthcare worker Teresa Laws. "I do this work, not for the money, but because I love the patients I take care of. It frustrates me to hear that Gov. Kasich is trying to take away my voice and make it even harder for me to support my family and the clients I assist."
"We want to say to Governor Kasich that these workers and all workers deserve the right to join a union if they so desire and once they have that right, we should be talking about helping them to advance the quality of their life, not diminishing it by taking away their rights," said organizer Pierette Talley in an interview with Fox 19.
Campus Progress reports that "when Republican lawmakers like Kasich deride unions for giving their members lavish lifestyles, they are talking about workers making $60,000 (including benefits) and a difference of $5000 in compensation between the public and private employees. In comparison, Kasich made nearly $1.4 million in 2008, including $587,175 from Lehman Brothers, where he worked until the firm collapsed that September."