The Jason Chaffetz Issue
Welcome back Runners,
Sorry to spam your faces with that awful header picture. Who wants to look at Jason Chaffetz more than necessary, right? I am finally recovered. I felt like I was slogging through an endless sea of snot, but I have reached the horizon, and I am BACK!
I am kind of loathe to write this issue in a way, because the man in question, known by many as Jason Chaffetz, Representative of Utah’s 3rd District, makes me furious, and I don’t think he deserves too terribly much of our time and energy. However, unfortunately his actions have merited some of said time and energy. Chaffetz is a threat to democracy here in DC, and we have to do something about it so here we are. But first, let’s look at your small acts of resistance for the week.
Small Immediate Acts of Resistance
That are never calling your Senator or Representative
I’ve got a whopping six things you can do this week, each of which will take approximately 2–20 minutes. Pick your top three! Or do one a day until next time. Save some for next week (I will probably repeat a couple) if they aren’t as time sensitive, and then tell me what you did!
- Call the Department of Homeland Security to ask for the release of Daniel Ramirez Medina from ICE detention. Daniel Remirez is a twenty-three year old father who was detained in an ICE raid on February 10th and has been in ICE detention ever since. He is a participant in the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) enacted by President Obama, but ICE authorities say that his arrest voids his DACA status. His case is being heard before a judge as early as this week, and could set a precedent for how all DACA immigrants are treated under President Trump (who has claimed he is not targeting these individuals). Daniel wrote a piece for the Washington Post which you can read here. Call DHS at 202–282–8495 and use the following script (but please personalize): “Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling to support the release of DACA recipient Daniel Ramirez Medina from detention. ICE should prioritize deportations for criminals who have committed violent crimes.”
- Follow Kim Weaver of Iowa on twitter and/or donate to her campaign. Kim Weaver ran against Republican Representative of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, Steve King, in 2016 and lost. She wants to run against him again in 2018, but needs the funds to do so. For those of you who missed the news this week, Steve King tweeted a blatantly white supremacist comment, and he has said even worse things before: “This is not the first time King has trafficked in white supremacy. His portfolio of bigotry and racism includes claims that white people have “contributed more to civilization” and that others constitute some type of racial “subgroup.” Not surprisingly, he has also defended the American swastika — that is the Confederate battle flag.” Support Weaver as his 2018 opponent by following her on twitter or other social mediaand spreading the word of her campaign — maybe to someone you know in Iowa? — or donating to her.
- Send a letter to any Republican member of the House Oversight Committee, including Chaffetz, and tell them Hands Off DC. Just recently, a bill that continues DC’s School Voucher Program, known as the Oportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), passed the House of Representatives. DC’s school voucher program is unique in the nation in that it is funded by Federal dollars without the participation or desire of DC’s government or citizens. In fact, Eleanor Holmes Norton, at least 8 DC Council members, and numerous DC residents oppose the OSP. My friend Lauren, who is a teacher in the DC Public School system wrote a few weeks back for us about how the OSP has shown no measurable success at increasing student achievement. Additionally, DC already has more school choice than almost any other jurisdiction thanks to our public charter schools, AND 80% of students who use the vouchers go to private schools which are not subject to federal non-discrimination laws for, for example, LGBTQ+ students. When Democrats tried to add amenmendts to the voucher program that would make the private schools in the program comply with these non-discrimination laws as well as with Federal reulations like IDEA (which provides accomodations for disabled students), all of the amendments failed along party lines. So, write a letter or send a tweet to any Republican on the House Oversight Committee. Tell them DC neither wants nor needs a forced school voucher program and that they should be ashamed for not enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the District. You can (and should!) do this even if you’re outside DC. We’d love your suppport.
- Hound the LPGA’s corporate sponsors to move the US Women’s Open off of Trump property. A couple of weeks ago I wrote an action item to write to the LPGA to ask them to move their national event off of a Trump-owned golf course. Donald Trump makes untold amounts of money from events like this being held on his property, and he is using the Presidency to promote his golf courses and other properties. I also wrote before about a campaign called AdStrike which targets Breitbart News by politely hounding corporations to pull ads from their site, depriving them of revenue. Well, now combine the two strategies, and join the campaign to tweet, write, etc to sponsors of the LPGA tournament to pull their sponsorship if the event remains on a Trump golf course. Use this resource, again provided by Wall of Us, to tweet or write the top corporate sponsors of the event. Corporate pressure gets things done.
- Tell the White House how great the Affordable Care Act is. The current administration is seeking feedback on the White House’s website on how the ACA has impacted YOU or your friends or family. The framing of the question clearly states that Donald and friends are looking for negative feedback, so let’s turn it around.
- Sign this petition to urge Mayor Bowser to #fixallschools in the DC Budget. The Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO) has been leading an effort to get the city to ensure that all of the schools that have not been modernized to date get included in the next Capital Improvement Plan. Not only should we fully fund the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for schools, but we should also make sure that the 12 schools in DCPS that have never had modernization also get on the CIP. To urge our city leaders to #fixallschools PLEASE SIGN this letter BY MARCH 19th. The letter and signatures will be delivered to the Mayor and Councilmembers the last two weeks of March.
Topic 1 (and only): Jason Fucking Chaffetz
This week I only have one topic, and that topic is Jason Motherfucking Chaffetz. This guy needs to go, and there are lots of noteworthy efforts already starting up to make that happen. But first, a little background.
Jason Chaffetz is the Representative from Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, and Chair of the House Oversight Committee. He is a thorn in the side of the District of Columbia in particular, but is also ridiculously useless at his job, which is supposed to involve investigating the Trump administation for wrongdoing. This Washington Post headline from February sums it up quite nicely:
As for DC specifically, Chaffetz has been messing with us for years. In 2012, Washington City Paper ran a piece on him mentioning his opposition to gay marriage, the fact that he thinks DC autonomy is unconstituational, and his idea that the District should be retroceded to become part of the state of Maryland, so his ideas are not new ground for us. In 2015, Chaffetz threatened to jail the Mayor of DC for enforcing DC’s decriminalization of marijuana. But, empowered by a Republican majority in both houses of Congress as well as a bigoted President, Chaffetz has taken his anti-DC crusade to new levels in the last few months. Since January, he has led the charge on reinstating an unwanted DC school voucher program; tried to overturn DC’s death-with-dignity law, which was approved by DC voters (though he was ultimately unsuccessful); and suggested that Federal operations be moved outside the District.
Whether or not you agree with any of these individual measures (I hope you don’t), I think it’s fair to say that for a Congressman elected in a state over 2,000 miles away, he is spending an awful lot of his time, and by extension your tax dollars, on policies in DC, rather than on doing his job of EITHER 1.) representing the people of UT-03, OR 2.) investigating Trump. At this point I will take either of the two. Can’t ask for too many miracles. And this guy has been elected five times. O_O
While that may be true, Titus, we CAN potentially fix The Chaffetz Problem (TM) specifically. And there are lots of way to go about it. People in Utah are starting to notice Chaffetz’s preoccupation with DC and are getting pissed about it. Several Utah residents or former Utah residents have submitted op-eds to Utah papers wondering why Chaffetz, an elected Representative of Utah, has spent so much of his legislative time on DC, or to oppose his specific stances on issues here. Utah physicians penned a piece opposing his attempts to overturn Death with Dignity in DC. There are already two declared opponents for Chaffetz to deal with in his 2018 race: Damian Kidd, a Republican, and Kathryn Allen, a Democrat.
You may remember Damian Kidd from my action items a couple of weeks ago, when he tweeted the following:
He is also holding a Town Hall in Arlington tomorrow evening where he wants to talk to DC residents specifically about Chaffetz, so he is really playing the DC self-determination angle. Normally I’m not one to promote a Republican, but at the very least supporting Kidd verbally ought to give Chaffetz pause. Anyone who is diverting his ad dollars and time can be a boon for us. Kid has said publicly that “when in Congress [he] pledge[s] to never meddle in DC affairs and to be vocal against any congressman/woman who does”, and also points out that UT-03 is a very red district. Since the district’s creation it has only had one Democratic Representative, from 1991–1997. So another Republican who is a marginal improvement may be our best shot, and one I am willing to fight for.
Kathryn Allen is a Democrat and a physician from Utah who has officially declared her candidacy against Chaffetz, thanks in part to his “poor people shouldn’t buy iPhones so they can afford health care” statement. Allen has stated that her ow platform will include:
“ …providing every American with health care, combating climate change, advocating for public education and promoting science.”
That sounds like someone I can get behind. If you’d like to donate to Dr. Allen’s campaign, you can do so here.
Here in DC, a local has started a Political Action Committee (PAC) with the specific goal of ousting Chaffetz from the House. The DC Council has also increased their focus on Chaffetz, doing everything from putting an empty chair at the Council table to Chaffetz’s name on it to calling him when their trash is not collected. Charles Allen of Ward 6, joined by many other Councilmembers has begun an effort called #handsoffdc, which has a Facebook group and posts actions on Twitter. All of these efforts may be worth your time and attention. I would also encourage you to engage in your own acts of “gentle trolling”. Feel free to tweet at Chaffetz, call him, show up at his office physically, or write op-eds for your local papers on him. Send him mail, and ask your out of state friends to do the same. Always remember if you’re calling or writing that you are contacting an overworked and underpaid staffer, not Chaffetz himself, so be polite, but feel free to keep up the volume.
Most especially I’d urge you to keep an eye on the primary and the subsequent House race. How likely is it that Chaffetz will be ousted from his district’s seat? At this point it’s hard to say, but like with special elections, sometimes a determined group on a focused issue can have a large impact. Many people don’t vote in midterm elections, so if we here in DC can keep the pressure and the money on, we could have a significant impact on the outcome. As we get closer, don’t let up.
I’d like to remind everyone once again, especially those outside DC, how important it is that DC residents be self-governing. We are a progressive city that Republicans in Congress frequently use as a pincushion for their own agenda. They don’t need to build support for conservative measures in DC like they do at home, because we are no threat to them, so they often try to pass even more conservative measures here than they normally would. DC paid more in Federal taxes in 2014 than 22 states, including Utah, and we have 680,000 residents who don’t have voting represenation. We deserve at the very least not to have the things we are permitted to vote on messed around with by Congress.
Good Night and Good Luck
This is my weekly political news roundup
-45’s Muslim Ban 2.0 was halted by a Federal judge in Hawaii, followed quickly by one in Maryland on the grounds that it was discriminatory
-The House Republican health care plan (aka the Paul Ryan Desperately Wants to Give Tax Cuts to Millionaires Plan), continues to face broad opposition from moderate Republican Senators, moderate Republicans in the House, the American medical community, the Heritage foundation, liberals, and Americans……..with opposition gaining ground after the CBO released numbers stating 24 million people would lose coverage under this plan by 2026
-Read up on 45’s budget on The Washington Post or by reading the actual budget document itself. Basically he is proposing to cut everything not related to the military or border security, with the EPA and the State Department taking the biggest proposed hits.
-Um, Kellyanne Conway thinks that microwaves have cameras in them?? I don’t even know. Enjoy the memes though:
-On Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow interviewed the head of a group dedicated to getting 45’s tax returns about two pages from 45’s 2005 tax returns they had obtained. These pages didn’t tell us much, to put it lightly, but hopefully will be the start of more pages being released. As many people pointed out, Watergate didn’t actually break in a single flood of information. It was a boring piece of journalism here, a tiny fact there, over a long period of time.
And we’re done! Reply to this newsletter with gifs or hatemail or whatever gets you through the day anytime you want. Let me know if you did any of the things I recommended or found anything useful or informative. I ❤ feedback! Check out my Medium page if you’d prefer a blogged version of this newsletter or would like to read any of my previous issues. Last week there was no letter, but the week before I wrote about the DC Budget and Tom Perez, the new Chair of the DNC. Follow me on Twitter at @speaknojessica. And definitely, definitely get your friends to subscribe to The ForeRunner at http://tinyletter.com/theforerunner. Every time someone new subscribes another kitchen applians spies on Donald Trump after hours.
Event link round up (local to DC unless otherwise noted):
March 16: Movement for Black Lives General Assembly, hosted by Black Lives Matter DC
March 17 (Arlington): DC Meet and Greet, hosted by Damian Kidd for Congress, who is running against Chaffetz in the primary
March 18: DMV Spokes Council, hosted by DisruptJ20, RSVP required, this event will gather local resistance groups into a single place
ADDED EVENT NOT IN NEWSLETTER March 19: Swing Left/Turn it Blue DC Meetup, hosted by SwingLeft
March 19: Rise Up! Brunch Can Wait, hosted by fundraising efforts for the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and DC Vote, an instead-of-brunch donation/letter writing event, RSVP required
March 20: DCReInvest from Wells Fargo Rally / Closing Accounts, hosted by DCReInvest (a coalition of local groups including SURJ-DC and Black Lives Matter DMV)
March 20: National Organizing Meeting, hosted by Neighbors United for DC Statehood
March 21: Why Noy You? How to Run for Office (Or Help Another Woman Run), hosted by WIN (the Women’s Information Network), RSVP required
March 21 (NATIONWIDE): Facebook Live Interview with John Ossoff, who is running in Georgia’s 6th District to fill Tom Price’s vacant seat in April, hosted by Flippable
March 23: Fight Back to Save Healthcare and Protect Families Rally/March, hosted by CPD Action
March 23: Beyond Tolerance: Muslim, Immigrant, Black, AMERICAN, a panel discussion on religion and identity hosted by the Critical Race, Gender and Culture Studies Collaborative