A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIR, JOHN HASELEY
Mine owner, foremen and safety inspector (with canary) at the Millfield Mine
Our region has a rich history as a birthplace of the labor movement. The Knights of Labor, one of the earliest labor unions in America, was formed next door in Perry County. The American Federation of Labor was later formed in Columbus as was the United Mine Workers.
Why here? Coal mines were major employers in our region throughout much of the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and were also known for injustices toward workers — low wages, predatory company stores, child labor and dangerous working conditions. In fact, the worst mine disaster in Ohio history occurred right here in 1930, when an explosion at the Millfield mine killed 82 men.
Unions have been leading the fight for worker safety at individual workplaces and through government regulation, and more recently in fighting for worker safety measures throughout the Pandemic. Incredible progress has been made.
But far too often, men and women go off to work, and never come home. Thousands of workers are killed each year — and millions more suffer injuries or illnesses — because of their jobs. It’s far more dangerous in so-called Right to Work States where laws discourage unionization and where it’s 50% more likely you’ll die on the job. Thanks to the labor movement in Ohio, we are not one of those states.
Efforts to organize Amazon have been in the news recently. A big reason why that’s happening? Workers at notoriously anti-union Amazon suffered 24,400 injuries on the job in 2020, nearly double the rate of non-Amazon warehouses.
On April 28 at noon, Athens will be holding its Workers Memorial Day to recognize fallen workers at 11 N. Court Street in front of the Worker mural. It’s a brief and touching ceremony followed by a light box lunch provided by Ted Linscott and the Southeast Ohio Labor Council. I hope you can attend this meaningful event. And I hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on all that the union movement has given us — not just a better quality of life — but increased safety for our family and friends.
Workers Memorial Day
Join us this Thursday, April 28 at 12 PM in front of the Workers Mural, 11 N. Court St. in uptown Athens, to recognize fallen workers. The ceremony will be followed by a light box lunch provided by Ted Linscott and the Southeast Ohio Labor Council.
Glouster First Fridays
Bring a chair and join the Athens Dems on Friday, May 6 between 5 – 8 PM at First Fridays, a Glouster community gathering happening through August (June 3, July 1, August 5) at Sedalia Crossing Park located in the middle of town. If you can commit to attending one or more dates, please let Patrice Beard know at 740-707-0643.
Lunch & Learn
Please join us for the always interesting and informative LUNCH & LEARNs each Wednesday from 12 – 1 PM.
- April 27 – Chaz Canter, M.Ed. LPCC., director of the exciting new Crisis Services at Hopewell Health Centers, will talk about the intervention that is changing mental health services in our area. Register here.
- May 4 – Amy Renner, Mayor of Chauncey, will give a Village update. Register here.
- May 11 – TBA
- May 18 – We will host Judge Zach Saunders, Athens County Juvenile and Probate Court. Register here.
- May 25 – TBA
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a meeting link.
VOTE IN OHIO’S *FIRST* PRIMARY ON MAY 3
Take note of these important May 3 Primary Election dates:
- April 30 – the deadline to request an absentee ballot is 12:00 PM noon.
- May 2 – Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by this date.
- May 3 – Primary Election Day #1! Polls are open 6:30 AM – 7:30 PM. Confirm your Athens County polling place here. Absentee ballots that are personally delivered (not mailed) to your County Board of Elections must be received by 7:30 PM.
There’s still time to VOTE EARLY at the Board of Elections on 15 S. Court St.:
- Monday, April 25 – Friday, April 29, 2022 – 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Saturday, April 30 – 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Sunday, May 1 – 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
- Monday, May 2 – 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Find out what is on your ballot at Vote411!
Note: The date for Ohio’s second primary election for the Ohio House, Senate and State Party Central Committees is still up in the air.
FOR THE GOOD OF THE ORDER
Hours: The office is open Wednesdays from 1 – 4 PM.
Spring Cleaning: You may notice us at work refreshing the office including its windows, but don’t let this discourage you from visiting. We are also beginning to schedule meetings at the office.
Central and Executive Committee Meeting Update
Meetings are now on the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 PM. Our meeting was held in-person at the Athens City Building where ideas were discussed for how (in-person? hybrid?) and where (inside? outside?) we will meet going forward. Contact John Haseley with ideas or questions.
ODP IS Hiring!
Lizzie Bjork, Southeast Ohio Regional Organizing Director, let us know that the Ohio Democratic Party will be hiring field organizers on a rolling basis beginning in May. She loved being an organizer because it gave her a chance to work with passionate people and to stand up for democracy. Positions as Campus Organizers and Digital Organizers are also available. Job descriptions can be found here and email Lizzie with questions!
COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE advances our Party’s message and principles through various communication channels and strategies. To find out more or to volunteer, email chair Lauren Dikis.
Have political topics you would like to write about? Solveig Spjeldnes, who monthly prepares our “Talk Like a Democrat” column, will be taking a break during June and July. If you would like to be our guest columnist for one or both Newsletter editions, please email Sara Boyd or Tanya Conrath.
COMMUNITY SERVICE COMMITTEE supports our communities through volunteer projects. To find out more or to volunteer, email chair Janalee Stock.
We were able to do our first litter collection of 2022 on State Route 550 with a small but mighty crew. Thirteen bags were filled with a wide array of fast food packaging, beer cans and plastic containers. We have been participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program since 2017 and can always use more volunteers. If you would like to join our team, you need to watch this video and then email Janalee to be added to the volunteer list. You may want to even consider starting your own team as there are many highways in Athens County that could use it! The process is fairly simple and Janalee can get you started.
NEIGHBORHOOD CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE organizes activities that develop connections, inform residents about democratic values, and help elect Democrats. To find out more or volunteer, email co-chair Andrea Reik.
- Ukraine – Our April 20th Lunch & Learn guest, Anastasiia Kulikalova, is an OU student and one of the founders of the charitable organization “Bobcats for Ukraine.” Donations and suppport in all forms are needed – learn more on the group’s facebook page.
- Thanks to all the volunteers who registered voters at the Athens Farmers Market and Donkey Coffee. We registered 20 new or updated registrations and had many great conversations with voters. Voter registration for the general election will continue as well as canvassing, telephone/texting and creating events to support the Democrat candidates. Please email Andrea if you wish to volunteer.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE organizes our participation in community events, parades and festivals. To find out more or volunteer, email chair Patrice Beard.
- We need 2-3 volunteers for Glouster First Fridays! The gathering happens between 5 – 8 PM at Sedalia Crossing park across from the Unified Bank. We’ll set up chairs and a table and have signs and other campaign materials available. Are you a candidate? This is a great way to meet your constituents! Email Patrice to tell her you’re interested in helping on one or more of these Fridays: May 6, June 3, July 1, August 5.
- Help us kick off the 2022 Parade/Festival season by marching in the June 11 Coolville Founders Day Parade. To volunteer, email Patrice .
LEGISLATION AND REDISTRICTING UPDATES
HB616: Introduced April 4, this is copycat “Don’t Say Gay” legislation from Florida but made even more repugnant with its ban on “divisive concepts.” It would prohibit schools from teaching, using, or providing any materials on sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3rd grades. And, “it would ban other divisive concepts such as the 1619 Project, critical race theory, intersectional theory, inherited racial guilt, diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes and ‘any other concept that the state board of education defines as divisive or inherently racist.'” The bill has not been assigned to a committee and has no co-sponsors at this time. There is a push to get corporations in Ohio to stand up against the bill. Read more here.
State Maps: On March 28, the Republicans on the redistricting commission ignored the work of the independent map makers that they hired and passed a fourth set of gerrymandered maps. The fourth set, which was practically a replica of a previous submission, was ruled unconstitutional again and the Supreme Court ordered the commission to make a fifth submission by May 6.
However, on April 20, a federal court ruled that if new maps are not in place by May 28, the court will implement the set of maps adopted by the commission on February 24 (the “third” set of maps) even though they were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Read more here. “This is a terrible ruling. It rewards scofflaws and gerrymanderers for their egregious delay tactics, brazen defiance of the Ohio Constitution and the Ohio Supreme Court, and total disrespect for Ohio voters,” wrote Fair Districts Ohio.
Pissed off, too? Take action and join Fair Districts Ohio on April 28 at 11:30 for a Fair Maps Rally at the Statehouse to put on the pressure! This may be our last chance to be heard! Find more information here.
Congressional Maps: Despite continued legal challenges, we are stuck with the current maps for 2022. Note that Athens County is now entirely in the 12th District where Troy Balderson has been the representative since 2018 and before that an Ohio state senator for 8 years. It is drawn as a solidly Republican district. To compare the old and new Congressional districts with a partisan break-down, check out this map by FiveThirtyEight.
TALK LIKE A DEMOCRAT
What is Biden doing to help Athens County and other rural areas? We need high-speed internet, better utility infrastructure, and more good paying jobs.
Supporting rural America is a Biden Administration top priority. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) will invest billions of dollars into rural areas across our country. It will work toward the goal of providing affordable, high-speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, transportation, good paying jobs and addressing environmental hazards (e.g., fires, floods, mine cleanup) in rural communities. Many funding options and opportunities are available to meet these needs. Links to agency resources and funding factsheets are on Build.gov/rural to get more information including a list of nearly 100 programs funded under BIL that require no matching dollars to get. On the extensive list of exciting programs are the following:
Broadband and Infrastructure
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program and the ReConnect Program – These two programs provide a variety of funding options to implement projects to deliver high speed internet and build infrastructure to communities and nonprofits in need like Athens County.
- Affordable Connectivity Program – Eligible lower-income households can get up to a $30 per month discount toward internet services AND a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, desktop, or tablet. Wow!
- Oil & Gas Program, Abandoned Mine Land and Reclamation Program – These are two programs that will provide training and well-paid jobs to clean up our environment and improve rural health and safety.
- Formula Grants for Rural Areas – This is one of multiple programs that provide capital, planning, and operating help to support rural public transportation for roads/highways, bridges, transportation safety, railroads, electric vehicle charging networks and more.
Clean Drinking Water
Clean Drinking Water State Revolving Funds – This is one of many programs that will strengthen the nation’s drinking water and wastewater systems, remove lead pipes and service lines, and eliminate harmful contaminants.
Upgrade Electricity & Transmission Infrastructure
- Energy & weatherization Improvement – This will improve reliability, safety, efficiency, and access to energy while reducing costs and cutting pollution.
Let’s spread the word about all the good that Biden is doing for rural counties!
DONATE TO THE ACDP
We are so grateful to everyone who has financially supported the ACDP in the past. The fight to defend democracy and turn Ohio blue is far from over. If you have not donated recently to the ACDP, and have the means, please do so today.
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