Pennsylvania

Still Marching for Justice, Health, and Black Women’s Lives

Guest post from Reverend Dr. Geraldine Pemberton, Assistant Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia and member of PFAW Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council. 

As a 74 year old retired nurse, I can remember the original March on Washington well.  I wasn’t able to be there in person that day, but many of my family members were.  After marching with Dr. King and more than 200,000 other Americans, they were inspired to come home and fight for justice.

I myself am of the Jim Crow era.  The injustices that Dr. King described that day as the “chains of discrimination” were injustices I faced first-hand.  My father, who was born in North Carolina, would take my family down from Philadelphia for visits to his home state.  He would try to prepare us as much as he could, but it was always overwhelming.  I remember that once we passed the Mason-Dixon line, we couldn’t use most bathrooms.  We would have to use outhouses behind gas stations instead.

Today I can see how far we’ve come, but also how much further we still have to go.  I have spent much of my life fighting the injustices that drove the first March on Washington, especially health disparities facing women of color.  Justice, I have learned, is a very big umbrella that must include equality for women.  A just society has to be one that values women’s voices and fights back against health disparities that threaten black women’s lives.

Twenty years after that march, I went to another major event that inspired people from all over to drop what they were doing and travel across the country – the 1983 Spelman College conference on women’s health, which birthed what is now the Black Women’s Health Imperative.  My friend and I saw a flyer for it but didn’t think we could afford to go.  We maxed out our credit cards and drove down to Atlanta. Thousands of women showed up for the conference – young women, older women, women with children, women who had hitchhiked there.  We just showed up - we had to be there.

That conference unfolded into a lifetime of work in pursuit of improving the health outcomes of African American women.  As a former Director of Nursing and a current Health Committee Director for an alliance of Black clergy in Philadelphia, I know that women of color need improved access to care and greater provider sensitivity.  Women need more information on the diseases that affect us most.  And as a 74 year old Philadelphian, I’m still fighting for women’s health and justice.  This year I am organizing health forums at churches throughout the city to give women more information about diseases, healthy living, and greater access to health services though the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act commonly known as “Obamacare.”

The first health forum is this weekend – fifty years after the March on Washington.  In so many ways, we are still marching.

PFAW Foundation

Pennsylvania’s Tea Party Governor at War with Public Schools

The Philadelphia school system, which is under state control, is facing a catastrophic opening...
PFAW

Pennsylvania Congressional Democrats Call On Governor Corbett To Drop Electoral College Rigging Bill

Five members of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Congressional delegation, led by Rep. Mike Doyle, are calling on Gov. Tom Corbett to immediately speak out against an Electoral College reapportionment bill sponsored by state Republicans, calling the bill a “gross betrayal of all Pennsylvanians.”

In a letter to the governor, Rep. Doyle, Rep. Robert A. Brady, Rep. Chaka Fattah, Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz and Rep. Matthew A. Cartwright warn of the potential damaging consequences of passing the bill, including the reduction of Pennsylvania’s influence in national elections and loss of revenue related to Presidential elections.

“It’s hard to imagine state legislation capable of doing more damage to the economic well-being and political power of the residents of Pennsylvania than Senate Bill 528,” Congressman Doyle said today. “Enacting S.B. 528 would be like shooting ourselves in the foot. That’s why we urged Governor Corbett to actively oppose this malicious legislation.”

“The governor has avoided questions on his support for this plan for too long. As the chorus of voices against the bill grows louder, his silence only gets more deafening. This bill is a transparently partisan attempt to rig the Electoral College in favor of Republican presidential candidates. Instead of trying to appeal to Pennsylvanians with sound policies, they’re rigging the game at the expense of Pennsylvania. With more and more voters and their representatives voicing strong opposition, we’re confident the governor will be forced to drop this shameful attack on Pennsylvania’s interests,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way.

The letter adds to a growing list of prominent opponents to the bill, from gubernatorial candidates to Republican state senators. People For the American Way has been fighting this bill since it was introduced, delivering more than 100,000 petitions to Gov. Corbett, knocking on over 5,000 doors, and hosting press conferences with a number of local leaders and elected officials to show the widespread opposition to this bill.

The letter can be found at: http://www.pfaw.org/sites/default/files/PA-Electoral-Rigging-Bill-Letter.pdf

Pennsylvania AFA Head: Existence of Gay Elected Officials Means There's No Employment Discrimination

Philadelphia Weekly recently interviewed Diane Gramley, head of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Family Association, about an employment nondiscrimination law working its way through the state legislature. The interview was so good that today they decided to publish a transcript of the whole thing.

After lamenting that the gay people don’t want to be just “accepted,” but instead “want us to celebrate their sin,” Gramley goes on to argue that employment nondiscrimination laws aren’t needed because Pennsylvania has openly gay elected officials, so “where’s the proof that they’re being discriminated against?”

OK. So, we have two openly-gay members of the state House currently, Brian Sims and Mike Fleck. Are you worried about the work that they’re doing in Harrisburg—not just HB 300, but, say, the anti-bullying bill?

It’s the same type of situation. The anti-bullying bill is not necessarily about anti-bullying. To me, an anti-bullying bill does not have a list of protected classes. All students should be protected. I know the U.S. Department of Education is pushing this anti-bullying thing with sexual identity and orientation.

As far as being concerned, I know when Mike Fleck came out in December, he said nothing had changed. But down deep, I knew that things had changed, because most of those legislators, no matter where they’re at, or what level of government it is, who are open homosexuals, will be pushing their agenda.

And that’s the evidence right there. They both signed onto HB 300 and I know that Fleck was part of Equality Forum in April. I am concerned. But they’re saying they’re being discriminated against. One of the main mantras is that being gay can get you fired.

Right. That’s true. It can.

I’ve been to many local township or borough or even county meetings where that’s one of the main lines they use. But where’s the evidence? We have two open homosexuals who are state legislators. We have Dan Miller, who ran for mayor in Harrisburg, an open homosexual. He’s the controller right now, you know. So, where’s the proof that they’re being discriminated against?

OK, but that’s them. That’s three people. Wouldn’t it be easier for people who are gay to have laws in place to say they couldn’t be fired or couldn’t be refused staying in a hotel, just for their own sake?

But where’s the proof that it happens? That’s my whole thing. Where’s the proof that such happens?

Are you saying it doesn’t happen at all?

I’m not saying it doesn’t happen at all, but as far as the need to pass a law that you get into a situation where a homosexual is—if this law passes, if a homosexual is not hired or maybe fired from their job simply because they’re not doing their job properly, then their excuse could be, ‘I’m going to sue the company because I was fired because I was a homosexual.’ You could set up scenarios like that.

I guess that’s a possibility. But you could say that about anything, about the Civil Rights Act.

Which has nothing to do with homosexuality. The civil rights fight was dealing with an immutable characteristic. No one can change their skin color. No one can change from where they—their nationality. With the homosexual rights—quote, unquote, rights fight—they’re talking about something that can be changed. Homosexuality is not immutable. And I know a number of ex-gays. So, it is not something that cannot be changed.
 

Gay Legislator Blocked from Speaking in 'Rebellion Against God's Law'

Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, an openly gay legislator, was blocked from speaking on the floor of the state House on Wednesday by a colleague who believed Sims’ plans to speak about the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision would be in "open rebellion against God’s law.”

According to WHYY, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe raised a procedural objection to stop Sims from speaking during a part of the House session in which legislators often give wide-ranging remarks.

"I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God's law," said Metcalfe, R-Butler.

Metcalf is a far-right legislator who has sponsored a marriage amendment to the state’s Constitution and “birther” legislation, and called for overturning birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment in order to “bring an end to the illegal alien invasion.”

Sims, who said he appreciated the apologies and support he received from other Republican members of the House, has asked the legislature to reprimand Metcalfe for his comments. 

First Lesbian Latina Confirmed as Federal Judge

Judge Nitza Quiñones Alejandro broke an important glass ceiling this week, becoming the first openly lesbian Latina confirmed to a federal judgeship.  The Senate confirmed her by voice vote to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania yesterday. Previously Quiñones served for more than two decades on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. 

The Washington Blade notes that Quiñones is only the seventh openly LGBT person in our country’s history to be confirmed as a federal judge.

PFAW has advocated for more diversity in the judiciary, applauding President Obama’s push to bring qualified judges from many backgrounds to the federal bench.  Issuing decisions that affect all communities, the federal bench – and all benches – must reflect the diversity of our nation. 

Last year President Obama said he was committed to ensuring that “the judiciary resembles the nation it serves.”  This week’s confirmation is an important step toward that goal. 
 

PFAW

Calling Out Corbett: PFAW Press Conferences in Pennsylvania

The pushback against Pennsylvania Republicans’ electoral vote-rigging bill continues to grow, as more and more public officials and average voters call on Governor Corbett to dump the hyper-partisan scheme plan.

On Monday, People For the American Way held a press conference in Philadelphia with state Senator Anthony Williams and a representative from the office of U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, who said that he fears this legislation represents “more of the same” partisan tactics that we saw with last year’s voter ID bill.

Yesterday in the state capitol of Harrisburg, state Auditor Eugene DePasquale and state Treasurer Rob McCord added to the calls for Corbett to put aside partisan politics and “stand up and say, ‘This isn’t right.’” McCord warned that the bill would mean millions in lost economic activity, and called it a “shame.” DePasquale said that the bill would greatly reduce the influence of Pennsylvania in national elections by limiting the number of electoral votes in play to 3 or 4, similar to small states like Wyoming. “When was the last time you saw a major policy announcement from a president in Wyoming?,” he asked.

With the chorus of voices against the bill growing ever louder, from both Democrats and Republicans, it’s becoming harder and harder for Corbett to maintain his tacit support for this scheme. If Pennsylvanians keep speaking out against this bill, Corbett won’t be able to act like he can’t hear us for much longer. 

 

PFAW

MEDIA ADVISORY: National, State, Local Officials to Call on Corbett to Denounce Election-Rigging at Press Events in Philadelphia and Harrisburg

Top Pennsylvania elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, state Treasurer Rob McCord, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and state Sen. Anthony Williams, Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla, along with J. Whyatt Mondesire, Philadelphia President of the NAACP, will hold two press events next week calling on Gov. Tom Corbett to denounce his party’s plan to rig Pennsylvania’s electoral vote.

Brady, Williams, Squilla and Mondesire will speak at a press event in Philadelphia on Monday, June 3. McCord and DePasquale will hold a press event in Harrisburg on Tuesday, June 4.

Gov. Corbett has evaded questions about a plan proposed by state Sen. Dominic Pileggi that would dilute Pennsylvania’s influence in Presidential elections. In April, People For the American Way delivered over 100,000 petitions urging the governor to reject the plan.

PHILADELPHIA EVENT

WHEN: Monday, June 3, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia, 1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
SPEAKERS: U.S. Congressman Robert Brady, State Senator Anthony Williams, City Councilman Mark Squilla, NAACP Philadelphia President J. Whyatt Mondesire, People For the American Way Political Director Randy Borntrager

HARRISBURG EVENT

WHEN: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Soldier's Grove, Harrisburg, PA
SPEAKERS: Treasurer Rob McCord, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, People For the American Way Political Director Randy Borntrager
 


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Wolf Calls On Corbett to Drop Electoral College Bill: PFAW Press Conference

This morning, gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf became yet another in a long line of prominent Pennsylvanians of both parties to speak out against the Republican electoral college rigging proposal. At a People For the American Way press conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this morning, Wolf and Sally Lyall of the Lancaster County Democrats called on Governor Tom Corbett to denounce the electoral vote rigging scheme drummed up by State Senator Dominic Pileggi. Wolf denounced the scheme as a “bad idea,” saying:

"There is such a thing as a bad idea. This is it. It’s a bad idea because it’s not fair…it’s not democratic. But it’s also a bad idea because it’s not smart. It puts Pennsylvania at a great, great disadvantage. I urge Governor Corbett to oppose this law as the bad idea it is.”

Governor Corbett has so far refused to denounce the bill even after more than 100,000 petitions against the scheme were dropped off at his office and hundreds of volunteers went door to door successfully mobilizing Pennsylvania voters in key districts to oppose the bill. Corbett continues to kowtow to the narrow special interests and Republican Party leaders like Senator Pileggi instead of standing with the people of Pennsylvania.

“Since Governor Corbett refuses to state his position on this scheme, we can only assume he sides with state Republican leadership and against Pennsylvania voters. Instead of focusing on growing the state’s economy, he would rather push a plan to disenfranchise millions of voters, gerrymander legislative districts and make Pennsylvania irrelevant in presidential elections. That is not  the kind of leadership Pennsylvania needs,” said Randy Borntrager, political director of People For the American Way.

It’s been clear for a while now that the Republican strategy on this bill has been to say it isn’t a priority, or just entirely avoid the question, not to actually defend its merits- because they know it doesn’t have any. They know it isn’t popular, fair, or right for Pennsylvania, but that won’t stop them from trying to sneak it through. Every day that we wait for an answer from Corbett is another day that this bill threatens the rights of Pennsylvanians. But People For the American Way isn’t going to wait quietly. With our partners in Pennsylvania, we’re asking the governor to stand up and be honest about his position on this bill.

 

PFAW

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Just Can't Find ANY Latinos

Sometimes, Governors ‘say the darndest things.’  In a roundtable discussion hosted by the Al Dia Spanish language newspaper at The Union League of Pennsylvania Wednesday, PA Gov. Tom Corbett let it slip that he didn’t ‘have any’ Latinos serving in his administration.

MODERATOR: Do you have staff members that are Latino?
CORBETT: No, we do not have any staff members in there. If you can find us one, please let me know.
MODERATOR: I am sure that there are Latinos that…
CORBETT: Do any of you want to come to Harrisburg? See?!

Could Gov. Corbett really not “find” any Latino Pennsylvanians to serve on his staff? The latest numbers indicate that there are 719,000 people in Pennsylvania who identify as Latino or Hispanic according to the Pew Research Hispanic Center.  That’s just over 6% of all Pennsylvanians, and growing. 

While talking about representing all Pennsylvanians, Corbett and Pennsylvania Republicans continue to overlook the Latinos all around them. Really, Governor, you couldn’t ‘find’ any qualified Latinos to serve on your staff?  Or is it that you aren’t really looking?

PFAW

Larry Pratt on Immigration Reform and Ted Cruz's Loyalty

Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt spoke May 11 at a rally in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, in support of an unconstitutional measure that would nullify federal gun laws in the state – a favorite cause of extremist gun activists.

In his off-the-cuff remarks, Pratt diverged from his primary topic of opposing any and all gun laws to discuss immigration reform. Gun activists should be interested in blocking immigration reform, Pratt said, because, “If you bring in a whole bunch of Democrats into the country, most of them are going to vote to take away our guns.”

I know it’s not a, per se, a gun issue, but it’s a freedom issue. We began to see that if we were able to beat the president on this flagship issue of his, gun control, then the rest of his agenda was likely to falter. And you know what? That’s exactly what’s happening. Even the immigration bill, which tactically I think they should have led with, that might have passed if that had been first, I don’t think it’s going to pass now. It’s probably not going to get out of the Senate because it might be that we can filibuster.

Why do we care about an immigration bill? Well, frankly, it’s a matter of numbers. If you bring in a whole bunch of Democrats into the country, most of them are going to vote to take away our guns. And in a few years, that’s exactly what would happen. So, we don’t want the other problems that come with that, but just from a Second Amendment point of view, we have a dog in that fight and it’s important that we keep that bill down.

Pratt added that he is hopeful “that we’ve got an agenda that’s set to take off” thanks to his primary allies in Congress: Rep. Steve “If Babies Had Guns” Stockman and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Of Cruz, Pratt said, “I’m so happy that we made a major effort to support his campaign when he was a candidate.” Gun Owners of America contributed over $9,000 to Cruz’s primary campaign and Cruz touted the group’s endorsement.

“He has not disappointed us and I’m certain that he’s not going to disappoint us,” Pratt added.

Pratt’s confidence in Cruz is apparently well-founded: according to The New York Times, Cruz is Gun Owners of America’s “key ally in the Senate.”

That Pratt is “certain” of a U.S. senator’s loyalty is troubling, to say the least. After all, he is an avid conspiracy theorist who thinks the Aurora movie theater shooting might have been an inside job, warns that President Obama is building a private army to overpower the U.S. military, claims that liberals were happy about the Boston Marathon bombings, thinks that President Obama is a “Marxist” who stole the 2012 election and thinks it’s “not stretching” to say that the president is instigating a race war between white Christians and black Muslims.

So I think we’ve got an agenda that’s set to take off. We’ve got them down and if we keep the pressure on offense, thankfully we’ve got people like Rep. Stockman and Sen. Cruz in the Senate, we’ve got people that will fight. And because of that, we’re going to see a lot of action during the rest of the year, and especially in the Senate, where the rules are more favorable to what we’re trying to do. And Sen. Cruz has shown that he may have only been there for four months, but he knows how to run circles around just about everybody else in that Senate. We’ve got a real hero there that’s ridden into town from Texas. And I’m so happy that we made a major effort to support his campaign when he was a candidate, and he has not disappointed us and I’m certain that he’s not going to disappoint us. This guy is the real deal.

A Wake-Up Call for Governor Corbett: GOP Lawmaker Opposes Electoral College Plan

We already knew from our canvassing these past few weeks that the Pennsylvania GOP’s electoral vote-rigging plan is unpopular with Pennsylvania voters. Now, thanks to a People For the American Way video, we know that this opposition isn’t just coming from the voters -- it’s also coming from crucial Republican state senators. At a town hall meeting in New Hope, state Sen. Charles McIlhinney told constituents that he thought the electoral college scheme, sponsored by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, was “poorly thought out” and that he wouldn’t support the bill. Senator McIlhinney pointed out that it would “set Pennsylvania back” by diminishing its significance in the electoral college, putting its influence on a level with smaller states.

This should be a wake-up call for Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett. He’s already facing a tough re-election battle, and it’s clear that this electoral college scheme is not a winner for him -- the comments from Sen. McIlhinney are just further evidence of this.  But clearly, it seems like Gov. Corbett thinks staying silent on the issue will mean that no one will notice. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t work like that: we know his silence reveals his tacit support for the plan, and the longer he leaves it, the clearer it becomes. Governor Corbett has been hiding from his own party’s policies for a while now, but with these comments from Sen. McIlhinney -- a prominent member of the committee that would be the first to consider the bill -- the reality’s catching up with him. It’s time to either come out and support the bill or admit, like Sen. McIlhinney did, that his party got it wrong on this one.

Watch our video of the Senator’s comments here:

PFAW

Stepping Up The Pressure: PFAW Press Conference With Joe Sestak in PA

Over the past few weeks, People For the American Way has been busy in Pennsylvania, at the front lines of the fight to stop a Republican attempt to rig the electoral college. We’ve delivered over 100,000 petitions to Governor Tom Corbett; hosted a press conference with African American ministers against the scheme; and organized canvassing trips in key state senate districts.  

Now, we’re stepping up the pressure again. Today in Media, Pennsylvania, People For the American Way hosted a press conference with former congressman Joe Sestak to demand answers from the scheme’s sponsor, state Sen. Dominic Pileggi. Admiral Sestak denounced the scheme, and called on Senator Pileggi to end his campaign to rig the election. We also heard from the Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman David Landau, who called on the Republican co-sponsors like state Sen. Edwin Erickson to remove their names from this bill. Finally, we heard from our own Robert Weaver, who talked about the “enormous dissent” we’ve been hearing about from these state senators’ constituents.

Again and again, we’ve heard Senator Pileggi and the Republicans try to avoid criticism of this bill simply by saying that the bill isn’t moving right now. That isn’t good enough. We know, and Joe Sestak knows, and even Dominic Pileggi knows the reality: a bad bill that’s not moving is still a bad bill, and it can start moving anytime. Senator Pileggi and his co-sponsors need to stop trying to hide from the debate and either stand up for this bill or remove it from consideration, instead of just waiting until they think Pennsylvania voters aren't looking. As Rob said today, we will not stop until we know that Pennsylvanians’ electoral votes are safe.

PFAW

Anti-Choice Group Using Gosnell Trial to Push TRAP Laws

The anti-choice group Americans United for Life is using the trial of Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell – accused of infanticide and causing the injury and death of several women in his care – to push for “TRAP” laws meant to shut down safe abortion clinics.

TRAP – “targeted restrictions on abortion providers”—laws are a favorite tool of anti-choice activists trying to work their way around Roe v. Wade. Passed under the guise of improving care for women, they are in fact aimed at shutting down abortions providers by burdening them with onerous and unnecessary regulations. A TRAP law in Virginia forced a respected 40-year-old abortion clinic to close this month. Last year, Mississippi passed a TRAP law aimed at shutting down the state’s only abortion clinic.

And this is exactly what Americans United for Life wants more of. In a press release today, AUL president Charmaine Yoest presents two model state-level TRAP measures, falsely claiming that her group “has led the nationwide effort to combat the reality of legalized ‘back-alley’ abortions”:

"For more than a decade, Americans United for Life has led the nationwide effort to combat the reality of legalized 'back-alley' abortions, advocating for meaningful and comprehensive regulation and oversight of abortion clinics.  And legislators across the country are responding to AUL's call to protect women from substandard abortion clinics and providers.  Over just the last three years, eight states have enacted new comprehensive abortion clinic regulations or made significant improvements to existing regulations.

"Commonsense regulations must be a national priority. Enacting medically appropriate and comprehensive abortion clinic regulations is a critical and sensible solution to the on-going problem of unsafe, legal 'back-alley' abortions, which is now better understood as a result of the horrific revelations in the Gosnell trial.  These regulations are designed to safeguard against unsanitary conditions, inferior equipment, and the employment of unsuitable and untrained personnel.  They are also intended to put an end to substandard medical practices that injure and kill untold numbers of women each year."

Of course, these laws do nothing to prevent back-alley abortions or “safeguard” women’s health. Instead, they serve to force safe clinics out of business, forcing women into unsafe practices like Gosnell’s. Gosnell’s squalid and dangerous clinic was the last refuge for many low-income women in Philadelphia. Yet AUL and its allies are trying to exploit the Gosnell story to make it even harder for women to access safe abortion care.

PFAW Delivers Over 100K Petitions to Corbett Urging Him to Reject Electoral Vote-Rigging Scheme

HARRISBURG -- Today, People For the American Way and allies in Pennsylvania delivered over 125,000 petitions calling on Gov. Tom Corbett to reject a Republican scheme to rig the way Pennsylvania apportions its electoral votes. 108,000 of the petitions were from People For the American Way members and supporters. The plan, introduced by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, would split Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, thus diminishing its influence in presidential elections.

People For the American Way volunteers have knocked on over 3,000 doors in key Senate districts in the past three weeks, educating voters about the Republican plan. In addition, Pennsylvania members of PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action denounced the scheme at an event in Philadelphia yesterday.

“People in Pennsylvania and across the country are speaking out against this plan,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way. “Voters know when politicians are trying to pull a fast one on them, and Sen. Pileggi and his allies are not going to get away with it. Gov. Corbett should listen to his fellow Pennsylvanians and reject this scheme to diminish the influence of Pennsylvania voters.”

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American way. www.pfaw.org.
 

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African American Ministers In Action Urges Pennsylvania Republicans to Drop Electoral Vote Rigging Plan

PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania civil rights and faith leaders held a press conference today to urge Pennsylvania Republicans to drop their plan to change the way the state apportions its electoral votes.  Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine, pastor of Berachah Baptist Church in Philadelphia and co-chair of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action, made the following statement:

“Last year, African Americans in Pennsylvania stood up to suppressive voting laws and turned out to vote in great numbers. Now, Republican legislators are trying to diminish the power of our votes and our voices by watering down Pennsylvania’s electoral influence. This plan is unfair and it’s short-sighted. Instead of trying to rig the rules of the game to benefit their candidates, the Republicans should be working to win votes with their policies and values.”

People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action represents a network of 1,500 African-American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.
 

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Keeping the Pressure On: PFAW Canvassing in Pennsylvania

This weekend, our Pennsylvania volunteers had their best canvassing trip yet- and not just because of the beautiful weather. 20 volunteers met in State Senator Lloyd Smucker’s district, spending their Saturday afternoon talking to 700 Pennsylvanians and collecting signatures for our petition to Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania. We weren’t surprised to hear the same things we hear every time we talk to Pennsylvania voters about the Republican electoral college plans: shock, confusion, and disappointment that Republican lawmakers like Senator Smucker are trying to make Pennsylvania less important to national elections.

Again and again, we’ve seen these Republican lawmakers avoid discussion of this bill by saying it isn’t a priority- but we know this is just another attempt to pull the wool over voters’ eyes. We know they’re trying to get these plans through quietly and without debate. And we know that Pennsylvanians won’t stand for it. We’re keeping the pressure on, and we need your help to do it. On April 10, we're delivering more than 100,000 signatures of PFAW supporters against the electoral college rigging at the Pennyslvania State Capitol Rotunda. If you haven't done so already, it's not too late to add your name to our petition to Republican lawmakers in PA and other states telling them to abandon this effort. Or donate to support our campaign here.

PFAW

People For the American Way Pennsylvania Members Campaign Against Election-Rigging Plan

Pennsylvania members of People For the American Way (PFAW) will canvass in the district of state Sen. Lloyd Smucker on Saturday, urging him to reject a plan to rig the way the state apportions its presidential electoral votes. Smucker, who represents Lancaster and York counties, is the chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, which will be the first to review a bill that would split the state’s electoral votes in order to benefit Republican presidential candidates.

This weekend’s canvass will be the latest in People For the American Way’s grassroots effort to defeat Pennsylvania Republicans’ election-rigging plan. Over the past two weekends, PFAW Pennsylvania volunteers knocked on more than 2,700 doors in the districts of state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, the sponsor of the election-rigging bill, and of bill co-sponsor Sen. Stewart Greenleaf.

A People For the American Way petition calling on legislators in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to drop such election-rigging plans has garnered over 100,000 signatures nationally.

“Pennsylvanians see this election-rigging plan for what it is: a cynical attempt to undermine Pennsylvania voters in the hopes of short-term partisan gain,” said Jodi Hirsh, Pennsylvania Coordinator for People For the American Way. “This plan would dilute the power of Pennsylvanians’ votes in presidential elections and it would deal a blow to the state’s economy. It’s simply a bad idea, and Pennsylvanians know that. We’re standing up to Sen. Pileggi, Sen. Smucker and their allies to tell them they can’t get away with rigging our elections.”

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American way. www.pfaw.org.

Turning Up The Heat: PFAW Canvass in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Republicans’ strategy to rig the Electoral College rests on their pushing their plan through quietly, without voters realizing what they’re up to. They know they can’t win if people are paying attention, because rigging the game isn’t fair, it isn’t popular, and it isn’t right for Pennsylvania. We’re not going to let their deception defeat Pennsylvanians’ democratic rights. We’re turning up the heat on the State Senate Majority Leader, Dominic Pileggi, who introduced the bill to rig the Electoral College. Last weekend, we led 14 Pennsylvanians on a canvass in Pileggi’s district to show him that Pennsylvanians know what he’s up to, and that he can’t get away with these underhand tactics. 

Our volunteers knocked on over 1500 doors and talked to hundreds of voters- but we’re just getting started. More canvassing and phonebanking shifts are scheduled this week, and we’ll keep this up as long as state Republicans keep trying to rig the game. We’re showing Dominic Pileggi that Pennsylvanians know what he’s up to, they know what his plan would do to their state, and that they won’t stand for it. 

Sign our petition to GOP lawmakers in PA and other states telling them to abandon their efforts to rig the Electoral College>>

If you can, donate to our campaign here>>

PFAW

Gaming the System: How the Republicans are trying to cheat their way to the White House

Republicans have a new plan to win in 2016: rig the Electoral College.
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