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Friday, August 27, 2021

Friend,

Welcome to the KDP Weekly Newsletter – the Kansas Democratic Party’s update of the biggest things going on in the state party and the state government. What are we focused on this week? Redistricting, COVID-19, 2022 Elections, Demofest, Climate Change, John Lewis Voting Act, Kansas Hospitals, Fair Wages, Democrats Care, Social Media Updates, KDP Merch and more!

Interested in helping the Party get out our messaging to encourage Kansans to vote blue? Sign up for our new Letter to the Editor program here!  

 

WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY 

101 years ago yesterday, the 19th Amendment of the United States was adopted, giving millions of women the right to vote and amplifying their voices in our democracy. Although it was an important victory, we also recognize LGBTQ+ women and women of color had to continue to fight for this right and to be considered equal in the eyes of the law. Today we celebrate the women who for decades marched, picketed and went to jail for an equal say in our nation’s elections. Without them, we would not have the group of women that currently serve in our federal, state and local governments. Let’s honor their legacy by fighting for a future where the right to vote is protected and all can participate fully in our democracy. Happy Women’s Equality Day!

 

 

KDP PRESENTS: DIGITAL DEMOFEST 2021

The KDP will be hosting a virtual Demofest Reception online on September 18 at 12 p.m. Due to the uptick of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Kansas, the KDP, in conjunction with the KDP Executive Committee, have decided to pivot this year’s event to an online reception. We’ve secured an exciting lineup of featured speakers and you won’t want to miss this year’s programming that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home!

The Keynote Speaker for Demofest will be former Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and we’ll also be hearing remarks from SGOTUS Doug Emhoff, US Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), with virtual appearances by our very own US Representative Sharice Davids and Governor Laura Kelly! This is an event you won’t want to miss.

 

 

VICKI HIATT: THE KANSAS GOP IS TRYING TO DRAW SHARICE DAVIDS OUT OF HER CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Last week, Kansas Republicans leading the committee that will redraw congressional districts in the state rushed through one of the most essential parts of the redistricting process: listening to the people.

The committee crammed all 14 of its town halls into the span of just one week, and conducted the majority of them during the middle of the workday. To make the matter worse — and perhaps anticipating the backlash they’d eventually receive about their sham process — the town halls were announced by Republicans in the waning hours of the Friday evening before the meetings would start.

  • Read more about the news here.

 

UPCOMING KDP TRAININGS

In an effort to ramp up training for upcoming elections in 2021 and beyond, the Kansas Democratic Party, together with the DNC Best Practices Institute, are excited to offer a series of virtual trainings over the course of the next few months. These programs will enhance the skills of progressive activists and volunteers by ensuring comprehensive training is free and accessible for Democrats all over the country. The training and its description are listed below:

  • BPI State Party Leadership and Staff Resources 
    • The BPI’s 9-part DEI Training Course is now available for use by County Parties. Learn more about the process for implementing the BPI DEI Training Course in your state HERE. Those interested should email bpi@dnc.org to schedule a call with the BPI team.
  • National Democratic Training Committee
  • Democrats Care Projects
    • Are you working on a community service project in your area? KDP and the DNC would like to amplify your work as part of the new Democrats care project.
    • To learn about the program, you can read more here.

 

Press Releases

 

 

KANSAS REPUBLICANS REJECT SCIENCE, VACCINES

What’s happening?

(Topeka Capital-Journal) – Praying for oil and comparing climate science to Nazi propaganda, Kansas oilmen remain skeptical — or in outright denial — of what international officials have called a “code red for humanity.”

As expert climate scientists warn of impending crisis, the state’s oil and gas producers question the existence of human-caused climate change and the motivations of climate activists.

“Climate change has been happening since Earth has been around naturally, natural cycles, with stuff that’s more powerful than anything humans can do,” state Sen. Mike Thompson said.

“And so it’s pure hubris to think that we should be spending billions of dollars — or now trillions of dollars — on mitigating climate change for something we have zero control over. And that includes trying to change our energy policy to fit that by going more green, with the renewables, which are not reliable.”

 

KANSAS SUPREME COURT LIMITS GOVERNOR KELLY’S ABILITY TO RESPOND TO COVID-19 

What’s happening?

(Kansas City Star) – Major revisions to the Kansas emergency management law, ruled unconstitutional last month by a Johnson County judge, will remain in place while the state Supreme Court considers an appeal.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday granted Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s request that district court judge David Hauber’s ruling be stayed until the higher court made its decision.

The stay follows more than a month of uncertainty in Kansas as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise and the power of local health officials and Gov. Laura Kelly was uncertain.

The state will now operate under the emergency management rules lawmakers approved earlier this year in Senate Bill 40. The measure subjects many of Kelly’s emergency powers to Legislative review and bars local health officers from issuing unilateral orders on masking, business closures and capacity restrictions.

Where can I learn more?

 

SEN. MARSHALL SPREADS COVID MISINFORMATION, REJECTS MASK MANDATES 

What’s happening?

(The Topeka Capital-Journal) – Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall has taken aim at face masks, especially at school, as COVID-19 surges across the state.

“I’m against mandates,” Marshall said last week during an interview with Newsmax. “I mean, really, no one has convinced me that masks really work, especially for people that have already had the vaccine or natural immunity. The masks might give a little bit of protection to my parents, but I just think that we’re kidding ourselves if we think kids wearing masks helps. It probably even makes it worse.”

The senator also said, “We know that no child in America has died from COVID unless they had a serious underlying condition.”

Marshall is an obstetrician and gynecologist but not a pediatrician nor an epidemiologist. Many pediatricians and epidemiologists don’t share his opinion on the efficacy of masks.

 

REP. HEATHER MEYER MAKES HISTORY AS SHE’S SELECTED TO REPLACE REP. BRETT PARKER IN THE KANSAS LEGISLATURE 

What’s happening?

(Sunflower State Journal) – Johnson County Democratic precinct leaders on Tuesday night picked Heather Meyer, a medical social worker, to replace Democratic state Rep. Brett Parker.

Meyer said she is bisexual, which will make her the fourth openly LGBTQ member of the Kansas Legislature. Meyer will fill the House District 29 seat that Parker is vacating to lobby for the American Atheists, a New-Jersey based group that advocates for religious equality.

“I really want to be able to put myself out there and represent the people well,” Meyer said in an interview Tuesday night. “I deeply care about our community,” she said. “This is just an extension of what I do as a social worker.”

 

CLIMATE CHANGE TO DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECT KANSAS COMMUNITIES

What’s happening?

(Wichita Eagle) – As the climate changes and the world warms, outdoor workers will see an increase in the number of days that they won’t be able to work outside, according to a recent study from the Union for Concerned Scientists.

Outdoor workers will lose wages, and as a majority of outdoor workers are Black, Hispanic or are located in rural areas, these communities will be the most impacted. One-fifth of Kansas’ workforce is outdoors.

“There are limits to how much people can produce and people shouldn’t work if it’s unsafe,” said Rachel Licker, lead analyst of the study and report co-author. “For employers, they should also see themselves in this study. It’s going to affect their bottom line as well, if they don’t have people able to do their jobs and they can’t run their businesses.”

Across the nation, 32 million people are classified as outdoor workers, which includes roles such as farming, construction, maintenance and first responders, such as police officers and EMS.

Where can I learn more?

 

WICHITA MAKES HISTORY AS THE CITY COUNCIL SETS $15 MINIMUM WAGE FOR CITY WORKERS

What’s happening?

(KAKE) – Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple says the city council has voted to raise the base pay for all full time city employees to $15 an hour.

Whipple tweeted the news Tuesday, saying that “those who work to make our city better deserve to earn a living wage, regardless of job title.

Higher minimum wage is something Whipple has long pushed for in his political career. He said during a budget meeting in May that the city currently has about 80-100 positions that pay less than $15 an hour – a gap he said will only cost the city $200,000 per year to close. It was unclear what portion of those 80-100 positions were full-time.

 

CONGRESSWOMAN SHARICE DAVIDS: BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE DEAL CAN BRING US OUT OF THE EISENHOWER ERA 

What’s happening?

(Kansas City Star) – Driving into Kansas’ 3rd District from the east, you see a sunflower-adorned sign that says, “Kansas welcomes you,” followed by another: “Home state of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president.”

Drive a little farther along the river and you’ll see the 102-year-old Central Avenue bridge, which was closed indefinitely earlier this year due to fear of failure. Head south and you’ll find the College Boulevard bridge over Indian Creek, one of the most traveled bridges in Kansas, which is still rated structurally deficient.

Just a few miles from the recognition of President Eisenhower, creator of the interstate highway system and champion of infrastructure, we see crumbling bridges and congestion. It’s clear that the Eisenhower era isn’t cutting it anymore.

 

U.S. HOUSE PASSES HISTORIC JOHN LEWIS VOTING RIGHTS ACT

What’s happening?

(Washington Post) – The House passed legislation Tuesday that supporters said would restore key parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013 in a controversial decision derided by civil rights groups.

Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.) introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act earlier this month amid ongoing efforts by Republican-led state legislatures across the country to put new laws in place that critics say will make it more difficult to vote, particularly for communities of color, people with disabilities and Americans living in poorer areas. The bill was passed on a 219-to-212 party-line vote.

Though the latest efforts from GOP state leaders are largely a response to the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump’s false claim that the election was stolen, activists have been focused on expanding voting rights since the 2013 Supreme Court decision. In Shelby County v. Holder, the court’s conservative majority ruled that the law’s provision for determining voter discrimination was outdated — a decision that greatly curtailed the ability of the federal government to monitor the election processes of states with a history of racism.

 

FDA FULLY APPROVES PFIZER-BIONTECH’S COVID-19 VACCINE

What’s happening?

(New York Times) – The Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older, a decision that is likely to set off a cascade of vaccine requirements by hospitals, colleges and universities, corporations and other organizations.

Within hours, the Pentagon, CVS, the State University of New York system and the New York City school system, among others, announced that they would enforce mandates they had prepared but made contingent on the F.D.A.’s action.

The approval came as the nation’s fight against the pandemic has intensified again, with the highly infectious Delta variant biting deeply into the progress that the country had made over the first half of the year. The Biden administration hopes the development will motivate at least some of the roughly 85 million Americans who are eligible for shots but have so far rejected them to change their minds.

 

 

What’s happening?

Make sure to follow Kansas Dems on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep up with the latest party news, events, and updates!

Here are some of our top posts from this week.

Be sure to view KDP Merch at the Kansas Dems Online Store. Make your voice heard by picking up our new shirt from the KDP Store. And remember each purchase includes a donation to the party to help elect Democrats across the state.

 

 

Onward,

KDP Team

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Paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party, Yolanda Taylor, Treasurer

Kansas Democratic Party
501 SE Jefferson St
Suite 30
Topeka, KS 66607
United States