DJOP Urges Congress To End ‘Humanitarian Crisis’

The Steering Committee of the Democratic Jewish Outreach of PA (DJOP) today urged the state’s members of Congress to demand an end to the “humanitarian crisis” created by the Trump Administration’s taking of children from their parents at the nation’s southern border

The DJOP is a federal political action committee (PAC) formed in 2008 to  support progressive candidates and legislation and sponsor programs on contemporary issues.

“Our Jewish tradition teaches us to welcome the stranger,” the DJOP said in letters to the state delegation.  “The Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents is an inhumane violation of this ideal.  The Steering Committee of the Democratic Jewish Outreach PA PAC urges Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to call upon the Trump administration to demand an end to this policy.”  The DJOP letter added:

“The separation of children from their parents is a humanitarian crisis that goes against both Jewish and American values.  As members of the Jewish community we know what it means to be dehumanized and persecuted.  We call upon the organized Jewish community to join us in our call to immediately end this cruel, horrific policy of destroying families simply because they seek safety and a better life.”

A Successful Evening With Bob Casey

Last Thursday evening we were thrilled to host Senator Bob Casey in the home of Jill Zipin. We raised funds to support his reelection bid in the fall and in addition to giving some remarks, the senator answered a few questions from those in attendance. The importance of youth involvement was stressed along with combating President Trump’s agenda and supporting Israel.

 

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Grassroots: The Key To Winning

By Jill Zipin, cofounder of DJOP and member of DJOP’s Leadership Team

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We were very fortunate to have Congressman Jamie Raskin and Congressman Dwight Evans speak at our recent event. We were happy to see so many old and new faces. Both Congressmen spoke of the importance of grass roots organizing efforts to get out the vote. They agreed if we do not have people working to mobilize the voters then the Democrat’s message will not be heard, even if it is a good one.

Congressman Raskin spoke about his efforts to mobilize high school and college students in the upcoming Congressional races. He noted all progressive change has come from the bottom up—the civil rights movement to LGBTQ rights. His program, Democracy Summer, will immerse students in the history of progressive change, train them in the skills and issues critical to grassroots organizing and deploy them in key Congressional campaigns. Many of those key congressional campaigns will be right here in the Philadelphia suburban region. This program turns the passion of our youth into action, which will help the Democrats take back the House and the Senate. 

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Raskin’s Democracy Summer 2018 Seeking Applicants

Democracy Summer is a formalized political fellowship experience with a comprehensive structure and a beginning, middle and end, including a graduation certificate ceremony. But the relationships participants form are deep and enduring. While benefiting from the students’ idealism and energy, the program invests in their intellectual growth and the development of their political skills.
Fellows will receive practical training in all of the key skills of political organizing and democratic campaigning. They will participate in readings and discussions with leading policy experts, progressive leaders, and organizers. Each six-week session will explore a range of issue areas, such as climate change, reproductive freedom, tax policy, immigration and refugee policy, redistricting and gerrymandering, and voting rights and the spread of voter suppression tactics. Fellows will devote at least 50% of a 35-hour work week to direct electoral work including but not limited to phone-banking, canvasing, donor research, and campaign research.

If you know a college or high school student who wants hands-on political experience, encourage them to apply for the 2018 program. Applications are due March 18. To apply, visit www.democracysummerpac.org; there is a link on the page to the online application.

Statements from Wendy Rothstein and Jeff Saltz, DJOP’s Endorsed Candidates for Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas

On Friday, October 27, Democratic Jewish Outreach PA (DJOP) announced its endorsement of Wendy Rothstein and Jeff Saltz for Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas in the PA General Election being held Tuesday, November 7, 2017. We are taking special interest in this year’s judicial races because of the substantial role the courts have nationally and at the state level in maintaining checks and balances on the executive and legislative branches of government. And even though the Courts of Common Pleas typically receive less attention from voters, they are the courts that state residents are most likely to encounter. Therefore, we decided to make an endorsement in the Montgomery County judicial race.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 50,000 voters in Montgomery County. However, only 7 of the 23 judges currently serving on the Court of Common Pleas are Democrats. With two openings on the court this year, Democrats have a strong possibility of reaching nine seats, especially considering Wendy’s and Jeff’s qualifications.

Wendy, a lifelong resident of Montgomery County and one of the top litigators in the county, has practiced law for more than 34 years. She was honored as a “Trailblazer” for women in law by the Montgomery Bar Association and the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2013. Jeff, who was raised in Montgomery County and lives in hometown of Lower Merion, has spent more than 30 years in the courtroom. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” for seven straight years, and has been named to the “Pro Bono Roll of Honor” by the Philadelphia Courts multiple times.

Both Wendy and Jeff possess the experience, wisdom, integrity, temperament, and commitment to equal justice and fairness that are essential to serve as trial court judges. They are well-respected by their peers in the legal profession, selfless, hard-working, and scrupulously honest. In short, they exemplify the values and virtues that are the core of DJOP’s mission. We urge our supporters who reside in the county to vote for Wendy and Jeff, and to encourage their neighbors to do the same on Election Day.

And now, we offer you some words and thoughts from Wendy and Jeff.

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I am honored to be endorsed by Democratic Jewish Outreach PA for Judge of Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. I am running for Judge because I know that I can make a difference. I have the background and experience—I have worked my entire legal career at Fox Rothschild and have 34 years’ experience as a trial attorney in Montgomery County Courts—to “hit the ground running” as a Judge.

Beyond my experience and the professional recognition I’ve received, I believe it is my view of the kind of judge I aspire to be that distinguishes me. To quote from the late poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve come to learn that people forget what you said and forget what you did. However, they never forget how you made them feel.”  When people leave my courtroom they will feel like they appeared in front of a Judge who was well prepared and unbiased, that they were listened to and respected, and that they had an even playing field to present their case. This is the standard I wish to be judged by.

In addition to the support from Democratic Jewish Outreach PA, I have been endorsed by a variety of other noteworthy organizations, including PA State Education Association, National Organization for Women, PA State Police Pioneer FOP Lodge 37, Montgomery County Building Trades, Teamsters Local 830, Democracy for America, and Montgomery County Democratic Women’s Leadership Initiative. I was also recommended by the Montgomery Bar Association. In addition, I have bipartisan support, in that, in the May Primary, both Democratic and Republican voters elected me to be on their ballot in November.

I ask for your support on Election Day and urge you to come out and vote. Every election matters, and judges matter, perhaps more than ever.

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Jeff Saltz

I am running for Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas for two reasons. First, I think that I would be good at the job. I am an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and have been practicing law for more than 30 years. The Montgomery County Bar Association has rated me as Highly Recommended, its highest ranking, and I have been named a “Super Lawyer” for seven straight years. In addition to receiving Democratic Jewish Outreach PA’s endorsement, I have been endorsed by the Montgomery County Democratic Party, Montgomery County Building Trades Council, and Democracy for America.

I am running for Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas for two reasons. First, I think that I would be good at the job. I am an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and have been practicing law for more than 30 years. The Montgomery County Bar Association has rated me as Highly Recommended, its highest ranking, and I have been named a “Super Lawyer” for seven straight years. In addition to receiving Democratic Jewish Outreach PA’s endorsement, I have been endorsed by the Montgomery County Democratic Party, Montgomery County Building Trades Council, and Democracy for America.

I have also been named to the First Judicial District Pro Bono Roll of Honor for providing free representation for homeowners to save their homes in the mortgage foreclosure crisis. I understand that legal principles are not just ancient writings in dusty old law books, but rather need to be applied with the knowledge that a judge’s rulings have real consequences for real people.

Second, I am running because of the challenge that faces us as the result of last year’s national election. If we have learned nothing else in the past ten months, it is the importance of judges who will be independent and courageous in standing up for individual rights and equal rights. Those rights are under attack from the highest levels of our government, and the courts are our last line of defense. After last year’s election, President Obama went on TV and said that we shouldn’t cry the blues, but instead should grab a clipboard and run for office—and I decided that he was talking to me.

I am grateful for the support of Democratic Jewish Outreach PA. The values DJOP espouses are especially close to my heart. Let’s send a message on Election Day that individual rights and justice for all are to be respected and protected, and that no one is above these bedrock American principles.

The full text of the endorsement announcement is available here. For more information about Rothstein and Saltz, and the Democratic judicial candidates for statewide positions, click here.

 

Progressive Economics and Capitalism Are Allies, Not Enemies

By State Senator and PA-7 Congressional Candidate Daylin LeachLeach Headhsot Cropped

The preamble to our Constitution says that we are to strive to “form a more perfect union.” The key word in this passage is “more.” We are to be in a constant state of improvement. Perfection will always elude us. America will always have problems. It is how we handle them that will tell our tale.

In 2017, our problems seem overwhelming. Climate change, a broken political system, and a President who is hostile to even the most fundamental American values. However, a good argument can be made that the problem that most threatens our cohesion as a nation is economic.

We have the greatest income and wealth disparity in 100 years. One percent of the population controls almost half of our wealth. The bottom 80% of us control only 7%. Over the past quarter-century, while the wealthiest among us have seen their income go up 300%, the average American hasn’t seen their income go up at all. Ninety-eight percent of all new wealth created goes to the top 1%.

Average Americans can’t afford to send their kids to college or save for retirement. The minimum wage hasn’t gone up in over a decade, and those living on it are spending their days struggling to buy even the basics. The middle class has shrunk by 30% over the past 35 years, as more and more people slip into poverty.

All of this is not only tragic, it is unsustainable. Those who are struggling so much are increasingly angry. We face possible consequences ranging from economic collapse to social unrest, if we don’t address this issue. Yet, the current administration in Washington is trying to enact policies to make this bad situation far worse.

There are a few basic steps we can take to stabilize things and allow everyone to live at least a somewhat decent life. We could raise the minimum wage to a livable wage, make health-care a human right that cannot be taken away, enact reasonable family-leave and sick-time policies, and begin treating college like high school and provide a cost-free option for every child with the talent and desire to go.

The problem, however, is that we too often allow partisan and ideological rigidity to get in the way of problem-solving. In the PA Senate, I have personally seen knee-jerk opposition on the part of some to every single proposal that improves the lives of workers in any way. Some of that is simply a morally inexcusable indifference to how people are forced to live.

However, as a progressive, I can say that some of it is our fault. For too long, we have framed the issue as a zero-sum game. “Pay your workers more!” we shout, or “Give them more paid time off!” It is not difficult to see why some in the business community feel like progressives view business as an ATM of benefits, without any concern for the survival of the business itself.

We have to change. I’m not suggesting abandoning progressive values. What I am suggesting is making business part of the conversation and part of our vision for what America could be. I’ve recently spoken to a number of very enlightened entrepreneurs. They recognize that a worker who is living a decent life is a happier, healthier, more productive, and more loyal worker. Employers who already have internal policies similar to what I am calling for as public policies have lower turnover rates and spend less on retraining. Workers who aren’t worried about how they are going to afford dinner can focus on solving work-related problems. Giving employees a paid sick day prevents them from coming into work and infecting everyone else. Workers paid well enough to afford the products their employer sells increase demand for those products and add to their company’s bottom line.

I think we have to make the case that progressive policies don’t benefit workers at the expense of employers but, rather, benefit both workers and employers. We are all in this together, and together, and only together, we can all create a brighter future.

Daylin Leach represents the 17th District in the PA State Senate and is running for the U.S. House in PA’s 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Chester, and Lancaster Counties. A longtime resident of PA-7, Senator Leach won election to the PA House in 2002 and was elected to the PA Senate in 2008.

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