Friday, November 22, 2013

Please help provide children in state care with holiday gifts

Last year's Santa's workshop in Tim's basement. CDTC members Suzanne
Ferrio and Regina DeAngelo help Tim sort gifts into gift bags 
Charlestown residents Tim and Bev Quillen have a dream that someday all children have happy homes with loving parents. That they’ll sit before the fireplace on Christmas morning opening presents and drinking cocoa. 

Those of you who know Tim will also know that he had a similar dream about happy dogs romping and playing in a dog park in Charlestown and he helped to make that one come true… but that’s another story.

Unfortunately, the wish for a merry Christmas for all kids is more difficult to achieve. But Tim and Bev started working on this 11 years ago when Bev was a high school teacher and her students formed a service club. She reached out to the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families who places children into group homes or foster care when they are abused, neglected, or unwanted.

Over the years they have organized an effort which has provided thousands of toys, dolls, craft supplies, warm coats, and other clothing to children in South County from infants to age 18 who would otherwise have  little or nothing on Christmas morning. 

The children make a list of requests such as Carmen, age 5 ½ , loves pink, needs a winter coat and clothes, size 7/8, or Jessie, age two months, who needs clothes, musical toys and stuffed animals.

There are 20 children on the list, but Tim and his Santa’s helpers hope to meet their needs and then take on some more names. 

The need is endless. There are also 17 and 18 year olds, some of them single mothers, who, out of necessity. must set themselves up in their first apartment. They need the most basic household things. Gift cards for food from Stop & Shop or Shaw’s are more important than ever because of cutbacks in the food stamp program.

This is the CDTC's second year of partnering with Operators Local 57
to bring some Christmas joy to kids who otherwise would have nothing
These annual efforts are a joint program of Tim’s union, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 57, the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee, and a diverse group of friends and neighbors in South County.

If you’d like to help put a smile on the face of a child this Christmas please call Cathy Collette at 315-0535, or Tim Quillen at 626-2209 by December 14th. They can let you know what specific things are needed (everything must remain unwrapped and will be put in gift bags for each child), and arrange for pick up.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What would President Truman say about this Congress?

A group of extreme Republicans in Congress have opposed the President's legislative agenda at every turn. That's no secret.

But the 113th Congress' obstruction is reaching new levels.
Right now, our lawmakers are in a position to take action on multiple national measures that would help our economy and millions of Americans. That's not an exaggeration: They could vote tomorrow. And they should.

Consider this for a second. If our current Congress simply scheduled a vote on pressing national issues, we could:

Fix our broken immigration system. This past June, the Senate passed a bill to ensure everyone plays by the same rules and we grow our economy. Multiple reports confirm that there are enough votes in the House to get it done. And still: No vote.

End workplace discrimination for millions of LGBT Americans once and for all. This isn't difficult: Nobody should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would make it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and it passed the Senate earlier this year. Once again, no vote in the House.

Confirm a leader of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The housing market is coming back, but we can do more to help responsible homeowners. Congressman Mel Watt, the President's nominee, was endorsed by Senators on both sides of the aisle. And yet, at a critical time for the housing industry, when we’re working to implement the rules that will prevent another "too big to fail," Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block his nomination.

Confirm three well-qualified judges to fill long-standing vacancies on the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Cornelia Pillard, Robert Wilkins and Patricia Millett were all selected by the President as nominees for this critical court. Once again, one by one, Senate Republicans blocked each nomination.

And that's just to name a few.

In the 1940s, President Harry Truman notoriously dubbed the 80th Congress the "Do-Nothing Congress." And yet, even they managed to enact 906 laws, including the Marshall Plan, and the piece of legislation that created the Department of Defense and the National Security Council. It’s time for the current Congress to match up a little more favorably.

Remember: They can still allow these incredibly important measures to come to a vote.

It’s time for this obstruction to come to an end, and for Republicans in Congress to start doing their jobs:

David Simas
Deputy Senior Advisor
The White House

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Something Big!

For the first time in nearly two decades, we're importing less foreign oil than we're producing domestically, and we're using less overall. That's a really big deal. Get the facts below, and pass them on.

Wake up to climate change

OceansPACIt's time to wake up.

Today, I am heading to the floor of the U.S. Senate for the 50th consecutive week we are in session to urge my colleagues and Americans across the country to wake up to climate change. Climate change is a serious problem -- perhaps the greatest threat facing our country today.

Congress is simply not doing enough to address the problem. While I will continue to speak out, we need to continue to grow our ranks in Congress to have any chance of giving this issue the attention and action it demands.

OCEANS PAC helped elect climate champion Ed Markey, and his presence has made a huge difference in the Senate. We must continue electing new members who will join me in my fight against climate change, and protecting allies like Senators Al Franken and Jeff Merkley.

OCEANS PAC is dedicated to supporting candidates who support oceans and environmental issues. Will you join me in this effort?

Science makes one thing clear: Climate change is real.

If we fail to act, there is a real prospect of being disgraced as a country and as a Congress. If Congress doesn't have the political will to take action, future generations will look at our failure with shame.

But I remain optimistic. It is why I will continue coming to the Senate floor, urging my colleagues to wake up. Furthermore, we are making some progress in the fight against climate change, more than people realize.

With your help, I know we can successfully urge Congress to take action on climate change. Here's how: There must be political and electoral consequences for not taking climate change seriously.

That is why I started OCEANS PAC -- to invest money and energy in environmental champions who will help me address one of the pressing issues of our time, and fight against climate change deniers who don't hesitate to put millions of dollars behind their lies.

Thanks for all you do,

Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Senator

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's not right

It’s 2013, yet 29 states have no law that protects a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person from being fired -- simply for whom they love!

This is shameful. That’s why I’m standing with Senators Tammy Baldwin, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Kirstin Gillibrand, Jeff Merkley, and others -- to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and finally provide critical workplace protections for all Americans, no matter who they love.

But we need you to help demonstrate a groundswell of public support for the bill as ENDA heads to the Senate floor this week. Will you stand with us, and urge Congress to pass this commonsense legislation, once and for all?

Allowing anyone to discriminate against qualified individuals based on characteristics unrelated to the job violates the core American values of fairness and equality.

More than 17 years ago, ENDA failed to pass in the Senate by a single vote. We can’t let that happen again.

Right now, we’ve got the support of all 53 Democratic Senators to protect the rights of every worker by standing behind ENDA. We can pass ENDA in the Senate this year -- but we need to make sure our voices are heard. Will you join us in urging Congress to protect all workers’ basic rights?


Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Senator

Petition: Expand Social Security

Social Security is a favorite punching bag in Washington -- anywhere you look, someone is trying to privatize the program or otherwise cut it.

There are plenty of ways to improve the Social Security that nearly 2 million people in Ohio rely on -- like lifting the income cap, or calculating benefits in a way that better accounts for the expenses seniors face. And neither of those involves cutting benefits.

That's why today I'm announcing that I'm teaming up with Tom Harkin and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) to grow a progressive grassroots movement devoted to expanding Social Security -- and I want you to join us.

Support the expansion of Social Security? Say so. Sign the petition today.

There's been talk of tying Social Security benefits to a "Chained CPI." But really, that's a fancy Washington way of saying "let's cut into people's benefits over time."

We need to expand Social Security, not cut benefits.

Our seniors have paid into Social Security all of their lives. And they deserve to see the benefits they've been guaranteed.
This isn't negotiable. Generations of Americans have had Social Security to secure their retirement. It's a promise we make -- and I refuse to see it end with us.

Join the grassroots movement to expand Social Security. Add your name right now.

Thank you for your support.

-- Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Friday, November 1, 2013


Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) issued the following statement in response to benefit cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The cuts, which affect more than 47 million Americans, go into effect today due to the expiration of a temporary benefit increase under the 2009 Recovery Act. A family of three will receive $29 less per month, while a family of four will receive $26 less.

“Why is it that every time we discuss cutting costs in government, it is our most vulnerable citizens who pay the price?” asked Langevin, who is co-sponsoring a bill to extend the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s 13.6 percent temporary increase for one additional year. “SNAP amounts to only 2 percent of the federal budget, and yet it continues to be targeted for additional cuts, buts that will be devastating to millions of families. I was proud to join my colleagues who participated in the SNAP Challenge, helping us to understand what it is like to live on $4.50 per day. I assure you, it isn’t easy. And now, by allowing these benefits to expire, we are asking individuals to sacrifice more, living on an average of just $4.20 per day.

“Eighty percent of the households receiving SNAP benefits have monthly income below the poverty line, and these reductions will serve to push them further into poverty. We are forcing parents to go hungry so that their children have enough to eat. We are forcing families to choose between paying the rent and buying groceries. Those are choices that no American should have to make.”