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KDP Newsletter – The Democratic Insider – Dec. 20, 2017

 

Democratic Insider Dec. 20

Welcome new subscribers to this weekly newsletter! Thanks for those that continue to help me grow this list. Every newsletter contain news clips important for Democrats, a “Tools,” section for your personal or county party’s use, “Events and fundraisers,” and “Messaging from DNC to you.”

To new subscribers and current ones, happy holidays from us at KDP to you.

Spearheaded by our own Republican embarrassment, Mitch McConnell and crew gave President Trump the early Christmas present any scrooge could want — the greatest giveaway to the wealthy we’ve seen at least in my lifetime.

We issued a statement today against it and will in the future pass on those issued statements to you, our central executive committee and party chairs. We want you to know we aren’t standing by watching everything ruin under Republican rule.
Here’s to a better year in 2018 for Democrats and the rest of Kentuckians — not just the privileged few. 

Best,
Brad Bowman
Communications Director
Kentucky Democratic Party 

P.S. I will keep including many items in the “Tools” section of this newsletter as we add more people to the mailing list every week. Know members or someone new to add? Email me. 

News for You

Click on the title links below to read more

College that charges no tuition loses out in tax bill

A provision meant to protect Berea College in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home State was scratched Tuesday when Republicans made last-minute tweaks to their tax bill after a procedural glitch.

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday evening on a revised bill that removes a provision that had excluded Berea College in Berea, Ky. from a new 1.4 percent tax on private university endowments. Berea does not charge tuition and enrolls low-income students.

Believe it or not, both Barr and McConnell tried today to blame Democrats for this tax giveaway to the wealthy.

Pension Reform: Few details on proposals discussed during meeting

FRANKFORT — Those waiting for a preview of any proposed public pension system reform coming in the 2018 General assembly are still waiting after Monday’s meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board.

At one point, Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, asked if any member of the board — which includes members of the Republican majority House and Senate — could share information on the status of a proposal which the House and Senate leaders have been trying to hammer out.

Rep. Kay asked Attorney General Andy Beshear’s Office to rule on the legality of altering cost-of-living adjustments for teachers. Beshear ruled the General Assembly cannot.

Beshear says law protects retired teachers’ living increases

Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to suspend cost-of-living allowances for current retired teachers violates state law, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear ruled Wednesday.

Beshear issued an opinion on Wednesday saying that the proposal to suspend the annual 1.5 percent payments for five years starting this July would violate the teachers’ inviolable contract between educators and the state.

Major layoffs announced in western Kentucky coal mines

Bevin and McConnell have lied to Kentuckians for their own game. Our hearts go out to families in western Kentucky — what terrible news for the holidays.

More than 500 employees in Kentucky’s coal sector will be impacted by the latest round of layoffs and terminations.

GOP Lawmakers: Tax Changes Unlikely In Upcoming General Assembly

Republican leaders of the General Assembly are throwing water on the idea that they’ll make major changes to the state’s tax code during the upcoming legislative session.

Lawmakers have to craft a new two-year budget for the state and are hoping to overhaul the pension systems in the session, which lasts from Jan. 2 until mid-April.

Republican and Democratic Party spokesmen debate pensions, tax reform and politics ahead of the session

Brad Bowman, the spokesperson for the Kentucky Democratic Party, and Tres Watson, the spokesperson for the Republican Party of Kentucky, took a deep dive with Pure Politics on a slew of policy and political points ahead of the legislative session.

The interview with Bowman and Watson was taped on Dec. 13, the morning before Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Mt. Washington, took his own life amid allegations of molestation.

With Children’s Health Program Running Dry, Parents Beg Congress: ‘Do the Right Thing

Instead of reauthorizing CHIP, which provides health care for 92,728 children in Kentucky, McConnell, Paul, Barr and the GOP contingency voted to cut the estate tax for the richest Kentucky families.

Calls being made to reinstate Rep. Hoover as speaker of house, uncertainty if Hoover officially resigned

Even though Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, resigned as speaker of the House of Representatives on Nov. 5 in front of television cameras the state Constitution may have a different view of his ability to resign outside of a session, and according to some members of the General Assembly Rep. Hoover is still speaker.

Multiple members of the General Assembly have confirmed to Pure Politics that phone calls are being made among the Republican House caucus members by Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, in an effort to reinstate Hoover as speaker, a position he gave up less than a year into the role amid reports of a secret sexual harassment settlement with a House staffer.

Official revenue forecast shows $156 million shortfall

State Budget Director John Chilton said Gov. Matt Bevin is likely to issue a budget reduction order within the next week or so in the wake of an official revenue forecast that state receipts will fall $156.1 million short of projections this year.

Lawmaker’s Seat Likely to Be Filled by Special Election

A special election will likely be held to fill the seat held by a Republican Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself following sexual assault allegations.

Dan Johnson was a Republican member of the Kentucky Legislature from the 49th district, which includes portions of Bullitt County just south of Louisville. Johnson was first elected in 2016 and was halfway through his first term in office.

Kentucky Voices: Bette Robinson on health care


In case you missed it, I’ve started conducting interviews, writing stories and capturing video on everyday Kentuckians’ stories on issues important to Democrats.
In this installment, I speak with a licensed clinical social worker on how expensive her health care costs are as she is self-employed.

Please, read it, watch the video with her compelling comments and share her story. As Democrats, we believe health care is a right, not a luxury. Stay tuned for more stories on health care, public education and jobs for working-class Kentuckians.

 Tools 

Localizing the pension issue

Here are some basic questions you can ask your members,  local voters or your community as talking points and messaging for local campaigns.

Do you know an employed or retired teacher?
Do you have children in the Kentucky public school system?
Do you live in a rural area where public schools are the largest employer in the county?
Do you have a large number of state employees in your community?
Do you have a large number of retirees in your town, city or county?
How many retirees receive these benefits in your town?
How much would your community lose if retirees’ pensions are not covered? Look below for county-specific numbers.
How many businesses would be affected?
How many less law enforcement officers and first responders would your community have if your county can’t afford their retirement benefits?
How many fewer educators, firefighters, police officers and school employees will you have if pension benefits are done away with or diminished?

The conservative push to abolish state pensions and move participants into a defined contribution plan like a 401(k) is being peddled in canned legislation across the nation.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, backed by the Koch brother network, lists this push as one of its key issues.
Gov. Bevin even borrowed from one of their contributors for his bill campaign calling it “Keeping the Promise.”  
An additional talking point on this matter simply is: The push by the GOP across the nation is to privatize state services and choke funding for public education. By replacing them with for-profit charter schools and driving down wages and benefits for the public workforce, public tax dollars would be funneled to corporations who would employ contract workers for those services.

In 2016, the state pension system paid about $1.9 billion in benefits to a majority of retirees still living in Kentucky. Every dollar paid in pension benefits equates to $1.43 in local economic impact. The stability those dollars bring to our communities would end with Bevin’s proposed pension bill released earlier this year.

Letter to the Editor with pension numbers

Using this form, you can plug in numbers from your county below and send it as a letter to the editor. Notably, I used Henry County as an example.

If you want to write on another subject, we have a Letter To The Editor kit here.

Click on this picture below to download the pdf and see in greater detail the retiree benefit amounts paid into each of our counties. Additionally, grab quick retiree facts from our website.
To see the full 2016 state pension system financial report click here.

What We Stand For:  printable messaging for your county party

All politics are local, but as Kentucky Democrats here are some pdfs of things we all stand for. These pdfs can be used to print on either 4×6 rack cards or we can customize the pdf dimensions for paper size, poster, etc.

 Contact me personally for the pdfs if you need a different size or they can be customized to black and white to minimize printing costs. Clicking on the pictures below will allow you to download a 4×6 pdf version of the cards.

Events and Announcements
Voter Registration

Max Thomas is supporting voter registration drives. He will answer questions you may have, and we have signs and materials that you may use for the drive. If you have questions, please direct them to Max at max@kydemocrat.com.
The deadline to be a registered Democrat who can vote in the primary is December 31, 2017. The counties with the largest percentage of independent/other voters who are likely to support the party are:

Christian – 2.2%, 1,109 voters
Fayette – 3%, 6,910 voters
Hardin – 1.8%, 1,472 voters
Jefferson – 3%, 17,222 voters
Kenton – 2%, 2594 voters

VoteBuilder Training

According to KDP’s Digital Director Harman Droge,  67 people have been trained in recent weeks using Votebuilder,
He believes given that number so far, we should have 250 people fully trained by the end of February.

Bowling Green Training Jan 6th 10 -1 (Location TBD)
Owensboro Training Jan 6th 2:30 –  – IBEW
Kentucky Democratic Party HQ (Frankfort) Jan 13th 10-1
Richmond Training 10-1 Jan 20th EKU Library (Room TBD)
Somerset Training 2:30 – 5:30 Jan 20th (Location TBD)

Fundraisers

Rep. Wilson Stone Holiday Reception and Fundraiser

When: 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017

Where: The Lyric on Main Street

118 East Main Street

Scottsville

Donations can be mailed to1481 Jefferson School Road, Scottsville, KY  42164

Other fundraisers from the House

KY House Democratic Caucus
Holiday Reception & Fundraiser
December 27th, 5 -7 p.m.
Parlay Social
249 W. Short Street
Lexington, KY 40507
(Mail donations to: P.O. Box 4204 Frankfort 40604)

Josh Blair for State Representative – District 63
UK vs UofL & Music City Bowl Watch Party
December 29th, from 12:30- 7:30 p.m
Garzelli’s – 3025 Dixie Hwy, Edgewood, KY 41017
(Mail donations: 3976 Woodchase Dr., Erlanger, KY 41018)

Tina Bojanowski for State Representative – District 32
December 30, 2017, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.,
Kentucky Gymnastics Academy,
1160 Avoca Station Court, Louisville, 40254.
Bring the Family, this is a gymnastics event – see her FB for details

Rob Walker for State Representative – District 33
Home of Prateek and Meena Gupta
January 11th, 6 – 8 p.m.
1100 Bellewood Rd
Louisville, KY  40223
(Mail donations: 12712 Mackinaw Drive, Louisville, KY 40243)

Rob Wiederstein for State Representative – District 11
Campaign Kickoff
Jan 18th, 2018 4 p.m.
20 N. Main St. (Central Park Pagoda) Henderson, KY 42420
(Donations can be mailed to: 600 Gray Stone Ct., Henderson, Ky 42420
or via the website www.robforrep.com)

DNC messaging for you

Republican Tax Plan

The GOP has officially sold out the American people and betrayed working families in order to line the pockets of the wealthiest.

•  Republicans will surely spend the day touting their tax bill as a win, but this a historically unpopular bill that gives most of the benefits to the top 1% and corporations.

•   This Trump Tax bill will raise taxes on more than half of Americans, so it’s hard to see how they can call this a win. This Republican “win” is truly a loss for the working American.

•     Republicans rushed a vote on a tax bill written almost entirely behind closed doors, providing new giant giveaways to millionaires and billionaires at middle-class Americans’ expense.

•   The Trump Tax gives even more tax breaks to the wealthiest, including by cutting the top tax rate for millionaires.

•   70% of middle-income Americans would face tax increases by 2027, as would every income group making less than $75,000 on average.

•  Many individuals, middle-class families, local schools and drug treatment centers, other public services and more will lose under the Republican tax scam.

In order to provide massive giveaways to billionaires and wealthy corporations, millions of Americans will see tax hikes thanks to the Trump Tax.

•   Republicans have tried to claim their tax bill helps middle-class families with changes to child tax credits and other deductions, but these changes are small and only temporary.

The Trump Tax will hurt the same middle-and working-class families Donald Trump promised to help, while Trump, his family, and his billionaire friends stand to make substantial gains.

• Trump and his own real estate industry are clear winners of the Trump Tax.

•   Last minute changes to the final bill added even more windfalls for millionaire real estate investors like Trump. Several Republican members of Congress also fought for provisions that give themselves massive tax breaks.

The Trump Tax doesn’t pay for itself and is projected to add close to $1.5 trillion to the deficit.  Republicans are already looking forward to using the skyrocketing deficits they created as an excuse to slash funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and other programs Americans rely on.

•   Republicans are putting health insurance out of reach for 13 million more Americans: by repealing the individual mandate, Republicans will force double-digit increases to premiums, hurting millions of families across the country.

New Polling

The GOP’s scheming is historically unpopularAmericans know that the Republican tax plan helps corporations and the wealthy, not the middle class. Voters will remember every Republican who supports this blatantly obvious gift to their donors, the wealthy, and big corporations.

•    Only 24% of Americans say the Republican tax bill is a good idea.

•       55% of Americans oppose the Republican tax bill, up 10 points since early November.

•       66% of Americans think the Republican tax bill would benefit the wealthy more than the middle class.

•        Only 7% of Americans say the Republican tax bill is designed mostly to help the middle class.

•        50% of Americans predict their taxes will go up, while just 14% say their taxes will go down.

What Dems Believe

Democrats believe that not one penny in tax cuts should go to giant corporations or the 1%.

•   At a time of massive income inequality and near-record corporate profits, Democrats believe the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations must pay their fair share of taxes.

•    Democrats know that our elected officials are supposed to serve the people they represent.  That’s why we will continue fighting for the economic security and opportunity every family deserves.

•   We will work to deliver tax relief to hard-working, middle-class families being squeezed by rising health care, childcare, education, and other expenses.

ACA Sabotage

The Trump Tax will hike insurance premiums on millions of Americans to pay for giant giveaways to wealthy corporations.

•  For three months Republicans have failed to pass funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, putting millions of children and pregnant mothers in immediate risk of losing their health care.

•  Make no mistake: The Trump Tax is an ACA sabotage bill in disguise and could lead to a double-digit premium increase that will make health insurance unaffordable for 13 million more Americans.

•Trump and Republicans need to stop sabotaging the ACA, destabilizing the insurance markets, and increasing health care costs for American families.

The Trump administration cut the enrollment period in half, slashed millions of dollars from efforts to get Americans covered, and canceled critical cost-sharing reduction payments.

The Trump Tax’s individual mandate repeal will inflict damage that Alexander-Murray will be unable to fix. Under no circumstances can Republicans use Alexander-Murray as cover for sabotaging the ACA while giving handouts to millionaires and billionaires.

DREAM Act

More than 12,000 DREAMers already lost their DACA status since Trump ended the program in September. He’s forcing thousands of immigrants—who only know this country as their home—back into the shadows.

• DREAMers came here as children, sometimes to escape dangerous situations, and have lived in the United States for the majority of their lives.

•This is tearing families apart and making our communities less safe.

• Each day without the DREAM Act, more than 120 young immigrants will lose their DACA protection, risk deportation, and become vulnerable to losing their jobs, drivers licenses, and ability to support their families. That is 850 people each week.

• It’s time for Republicans to put politics aside, pass a clean DREAM Act, and give DREAMers the opportunity to continue making invaluable contributions to America. It’s the smart thing to do for our economy, and it’s the right thing to do for our country.

• Trump’s decision to end DACA without a legislative solution will significantly harm our nation’s economy and nearly 800,000 DREAMers who live, study, and work here. Congress needs to right the ship and mitigate the damage that’s already been done.

• DREAMers contribute to our economy, their communities, and pay taxes, working as teachers, first responders, and service members.

Democrats believe our diversity is our greatest strength.  We will always fight for hardworking families and a smart, sensible immigration system.

•  Congressional Democrats stand ready to pass a clean DREAM Act.  Republicans need to act quickly and do what’s right for our country.

Russia Investigation/Trump Lawyers’ Call For 2nd Special Counsel

Trump’s lawyers have resorted in desperation to calling for a Special Counsel to “investigate the investigation.”

• Trump’s lawyers have praised Mueller and said nothing but good things about their relationship with the Special Counsel’s office for months, but Mike Flynn’s guilty plea has clearly scared them.

Efforts by the White House and its GOP allies to tarnish Mueller’s investigation are a transparent attempt to give cover to Trump as the investigation accelerates and gets closer to the Oval Office.

•  Mueller’s reputation for independence and impartiality is second to none. He was appointed to multiple senior justice department positions by Republican presidents.

•   When Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, Republicans heaped praise on him and called him an excellent choice.  Now that we are seeing indictments and guilty pleas over contacts with Russia, Republicans are getting worried.

Trump lackeys like Devin Nunes and Chuck Grassley have been carrying water for the White House, choosing to attack Democrats and make up wild conspiracy theories instead of getting to the bottom of Russia’s attack on our democracy.

It is past time to stop making excuses for Trump’s repeated efforts to interfere with the investigations into his team’s potential collusion with Russia.

•Democrats will not stand by as our Republican colleagues betray the American people, undermine our democracy, and endanger our national security. It’s time for Republicans to commit to protecting this investigation and preserving the rule of law.