Ten GINY members attended our meeting on June 22. True to our focus on action, our discussions resulted in some concrete next steps that will move us forward to win 21 and benefit our community.
We got a live preview of our new website. Those who were at the meeting please note that we were able to get our calendar of events on the site without the aid of a twelve year old!
Jill Nadolski led our discussion of what’s happening in Health Care. The showing of Fix It at the Greenwich Free Library on June 19 attracted about 30 people. The film was followed by a presentation and discussion led by Dr. Andy Coates, Past President of Physicians for a National Health Program. Andy provided some solid data including that about 58% of doctors nationally support single payer.
We viewed the trailer for another film, Now is the Time that also supports single payer. The focus here is on HR 676, Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act a bill in the House introduced by Rep John Conyers to extend Medicare coverage to all Americans. We agreed to arrange a showing of the actual film and have a panel of physicians to lead a discussion. We also plan to use it in presentations to local government entities, along with data on cost savings, to urge them to pass resolutions supporting single payer. Sara Idleman and Alan Stern will follow up.
Jim Reid led our discussion with Stacie Dina of Elise Stefanik’s staff at her Mobile Office in Greenwich. GINY was well represented with 4 of the 15 or so constituents who attended. The main focus was on health care (about 1 hr 40 min of the 2 hour session). We also discussed immigration and its impact on Washington Co agriculture and expressed concern over Stefanik’s House Resolution on the environment, noting the glaring loophole left open in its statement about “economically feasible.” There was a lot of concern about her inability or unwillingness to provide any data on what her constituents are telling her (supporting or opposing legislation). There is still a strong feeling that she needs to do town halls.
We made three specific asks of the Representative: 1. Take a public stance on the issue of immigration/economic impact in the North Country. 2. Make a strong public statement along with Sen Rubio denouncing the secrecy of the Republican Senate Health Care Bill and 3. Hold public forums.
We will watch for these and keep the pressure on.
MaryLou Stern led our discussion on climate issues. There are two NY State programs, one run by NYDEC and the other by NYSERDA that provide funding to municipalities to work on reducing greenhouse gasses. The programs are similar but focus on slightly different areas. Some of the grants they provide require matching funds and others do not. Some make sense for single municipalities and others work well with collaboration among more that one (such as pooling for the purchase of clean energy vehicle which results in discounts in addition to grants).
The map showing the locations of projects reveals that there are zero grants being taken advantage of in Washington County. We feel there would be tremendous benefit in GINY’s working with municipalities to change this situation. Sara Idleman indicated that in the past the Town of Greenwich discussed this but there was no implementation. MaryLou and Sara will work on re-energizing this effort.
Our conversation about Winning NY 21 had three major portions. First, there will be a canvassing effort on Sunday, June 25. This is being led by NY 21 Votes, a consortium of groups throughout the district. We had little time to get this organized for Greenwich but Faith Perkins will canvass with the group in Cambridge. Washington County Dems are eager to have canvasses happen on a regular basis so we will make sure to be well organized for the next one, including offering training for canvassers.
We then talked about the questions we developed for candidates for 21 at our last meeting to make sure we have not left out anything important. We will add questions on experience with immigration issues and climate and a question on candidates’ strategy for funding, specifically dealing with Stefanik’s large financial base.
Out of our discussion of candidates’ questions we entered a conversation about poverty. We feel this must be a central issue in the campaign for 21. The percentage of households in our district who are struggling is alarming. We discussed a study done by the United Way that paints the picture of households designated Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) – the working poor. In most of these households wage earners make too much to qualify for benefits but, in many, many cases, barely half of what is estimated as a survival budget. We have the statistics for Washington County and for all the counties in 21. Here is a link to the Report http://www.unitedwayalice.org/reports.php
We will invite a representative from Washington County EOC to share expertise on ALICE with us at a future GINY meeting.
Our next meeting will be July 20. We are going to try to arrange a video conference for that meeting to make it accessible to any who may not be able to make it.
If you’d like to download and review the PowerPoint from the meeting, you can get it here GINY 6-22 PowerPointWe