“Their handiwork” … “Connect the dots” … “Good for us?”

Those are the names given to OFA-Naples’ published letters to the editor in support of Obamacare this past week.
“Their handiwork” by Lee Vinciguerra (September 4; behind pay wall) called out her elected representatives by name, blaming them for the fact the one out of four Floridians is without health insurance:
“Under the leadership of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Trey Radel, Sen. Garrett Richter and Reps. Matt Hudson and Kathleen Passidomo, Florida achieved the nation’s second highest rate of residents without health insurance, losing out only to Texas.”
They “sound frightened of the Affordable Health Care Act,” Lee wrote, and “their philosophies are barriers to health and life and victimize many innocents, including children who should never be pawns in the game of politics.”
No doubt that got their attention!
In“Connect the dots,”  (September 5; behind pay wall) Meghan O’Neil also wrote about Florida’s abysmal national standing on health insurance, then argued that this should not be a political issue:
“Whatever your political persuasion, I think the majority of us can understand and sympathize with those who struggle to pay for health care or who worry because they can’t afford any. For many it is pay for food, rent, transportation or student loans and hope you won’t get sick.”
Then she pointed out how Obamacare can help:
“Why not see if you can get lower costs on your monthly premium? It’s not just for the poor, it is for everyone. You can go online to www. healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2586 and see if this program will help you.
“As of Oct. 1 you can fill out an application, any time, any day, either online or over the phone. Staff will then do the research and find out what health insurance and its cost is available in the marketplace for you. They do the work and you get the benefit. Why not at least look into it?”
Bernie Kennedy’s letter “Good for us?” (September 7; behind pay wall) told how fear of something happening to his family while he was making a major career move without insurance caused him to lose 13 pounds “on a diet I would not recommend.” He pointed out a possible effect of the high cost of health insurance that is not often talked about:
“I wonder how many entrepreneurs with young families don’t go forward because of fear of a health disaster. Does lack of affordable health care have a depressive effect on the economy?”
These stories and letters and others like them are important.  They are the voices of our community, and our elected officials need to hear them.
You can find facts and information about Obamacare and the insurance exchanges at www.healthcare.gov.
Please take a few minutes to tell your own story.  Write a letter to the editor of any of our local papers at http://www.naplesnews.com/send-a-letter/ 

Immigration Reform: the “Right Thing to Do”

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 5.46.12 PMLetters to the Editor by OFA-Naples volunteer leaders Estelle Rauch and Coby Simerly were published in the Naples Daily News this week. Like Sara Reynolds last week, Estelle and Coby urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, speaking knowledgeably and from the heart.

Estelle’s letter pointed out several ways “we citizens” would benefit if the undocumented people among us were granted legal status. Read her letter here.

Coby’s letter reminded readers of the many ways we already benefit from the work of the undocumented in our communities. In addition, she made a strong case that providing a pathway to citizenship is “the right thing to do.” Read her letter here.

Our elected representatives pay attention to letters to the editor, especially those that call them out by name. It’s one way they find out what their constituents are thinking.

If you haven’t already taken a few minutes to express YOUR support for comprehensive immigration reform, it’s not too late, and we’d really appreciate it. You can easily submit a letter to the Naples Daily News and many other local papers online; just click here or go to www.naplesnews.com/send-a-letter.

“Just Do It!”

Sara Reynold's letter to the editor

Sara Reynold’s letter to the editor

Sara Reynolds’ letter to the editor in Sunday’s Naples Daily News is OFA-Naples’  first letter published as a result of last Monday’s 3-in-1 Day of Action for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

As more of our letters are published, we’ll post them here.

Thank you, Sara, for calling out Rep. Radel and letting him know the #TimeIsNow for Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

It’s Action August!

Road Line 2OFA-Naples will be hosting two events as part of OFA’s national Action August push to bring our message to our members of Congress during their summer recess. The issues we will be focused on and our event dates are:

Across the country on these and additional Days of Action, OFA members will attend member of Congress’s Town Halls or host their own, and hold phone banks, rallies, office visits, letter-to-the-editor-writing parties and more.

Rallying confidence that they’ll be able to get members of Congress to change their positions, OFA Chairman Jim Messina reminded volunteers of how people had dismissed Obama’s chances in 2008 and 2012. “Those same people are now saying change looks hard,” Messina said. “And those same people who were on the campaigns say, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.”’ Politico.com

Let’s prove Jim right!

For more information about our events here in Naples, or to find an event near you, visit www.barackobama.com/events.

Why We Must Do What We Do

Victoria Kirby, State Coordinator for Organizing for Action – Florida, shared two “daily clips” today that, in her words, “truly spoke to the importance of the work that so many of you are doing from around the state.” She wrote:

Our country was founded on the idea that government should be ruled by the people through elected representatives that voted the will of the people. Organizing for Action (OFA) was created to protect that basic idea. Last November, a majority of Americans voted for President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda as the leader of our country. Unfortunately, there are individuals who did not see that vote as a mandate from the people for their representatives to support that agenda. Fortunately, there are Americans all across the country (like yourself) who are standing up to those obstructing the will of the people by taking actions designed to put pressure on them.

The Immigration story below talks about the importance of the August Recess and why we have to “out Town Hall” the Tea Party to win.

The story on the Affordable Care Act explains why the work we are doing to talk about the benefits of Obamacare is so important to the actual enrollment. President Obama is depending on us which is why he is taking time out of his schedule to meet with our volunteer leaders from across the country on Monday.

Please read these articles to learn more. And then let us know at ofanaples2012@gmail.com that you’re ready to help.

Immigration could hinge on August recess
Politico // Carrie Budoff Brown and Jake Sherman

The White House and its immigration reform allies are banking on the August recess as their next — and possibly last — major opportunity to compel House Republicans to act. With the issue stalled in the House, the monthlong congressional break is the linchpin of a campaign that President Barack Obama, Senate immigration leaders and a broad coalition of groups now expect they’ll have to wage through the end of the year. They realize they must make progress in the next month to stand any chance of keeping the issue alive into the fall. “We’re not winning this fight,” Sen. John McCain, a Gang of Eight leader, told POLITICO Wednesday. “They are mounting a better campaign than we are — the opposition is.”

First Thoughts: Trying to sell health care – again
NBC News // Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro and Brooke Brower

Trying to sell health care — again: Today, President Obama makes another attempt at what has become his greatest domestic challenge: selling the health-care law to the American public. Yes, it’s a complex subject. Yes, an entire political party remains adamantly opposed to it. And, yes, the media’s coverage has often emphasized what’s not working rather than what is. But here’s the P.R. reality for the Obama White House: Since health care’s passage in 2010, one side has been lobbing grenades on a daily basis (see yesterday’s symbolic House votes to delay the individual mandate), while the other side has been mostly quiet. That’s a big reason why our NBC/WSJ poll last month showed just 37% of the public thinks the law is a good idea, versus 49% saying it’s a bad idea. In fairness to Team Obama, they have started to respond. The president has delivered recent remarks on health care’s implementation (though those speeches got overshadowed by other stories). And Obama’s Organizing for Action has begun to air TV ads to promote the law (like here and here). But if the White House’s biggest implementation worry is that the law’s unpopularity and complexity could keep Americans from signing up for insurance, it has a lot more work to do.

An important couple of days for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

This week, the Senate is expected to vote on a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. Here’s what you should know and how YOU can help!

What you should know:

The CBO analysis showed that the Senate immigration bill would cut the deficit by $197 billion over the next ten years, $700 billion over the following ten years, and add 5.4% to GDP by 2033.

In a letter to Marco Rubio, the Chief Actuary at the Social Security Administration provided analysis projecting that comprehensive immigration reform would add over 3.2 million new jobs and bolster the solvency of Social Security.

From 2006 to 2012, one in four engineering and technology companies started in the U.S. had at least one foreign-born founder — in Silicon Valley it was almost half of new companies. (Kauffman)

A recent Fox News Poll shows 74% of Americans support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants “as long as they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check.” (Fox News Poll, 6/13)

The Gang of 8, a bipartisan committee in the Senate, introduced the legislation in April. Members are Chuck Schumer (NY), Bob Menendez (NJ), Dick Durbin (IL), Mike Bennet (CO), Marco Rubio (FL), Lindsay Graham (SC), John McCain and Jeff Flake (AZ).

In late May, the Judiciary Committee voted the Gang of 8 bill out of committee with strong bipartisan support.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that a vote in the Senate will occur by July 4th.

WHATS IN THE BILL: The bipartisan bill before the Senate upholds the President’s four pillars of reform by continuing to strengthen our borders, cracking down on companies that hire undocumented workers, holding undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship (this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks), and streamlining the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.

How YOU can help:

FIRST: Call your senators and urge them to VOTE FOR Comprehensive Immigration Reform when it comes to the floor. (Senate Bill 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.”)

The United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 will connect you, or Florida voters can call Senator Marco Rubio directly at (202) 224-3041 or (239) 213-1521.

THEN: Help OFA-Naples call supporters to urge THEM to call Senator Rubio. We’re having a phone bank tomorrow morning in Naples (click here to sign up and for details). You can also make calls from home using our Virtual Phone Bank (email ofanaples2012@gmail.com to request a username, password and instructions).

Stay tuned. Depending on what happens this week, there will be more for us to do!

A Successful Rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

Road Line 2About two dozen OFA-Naples members and five representatives of the Farmworker Association of Florida’s Immokalee office participated in the OFA-Naples Rally in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform this past Thursday. The group gathered on the north-east corner of Airport-Pulling Rd and U.S. 41 East in front of the County Government building that houses the Naples office of Rep Trey Radel (R-Fort Myers).

The event was the result of our May 23 Action Planning Session described here.

Monika Ludwig, co-leader of OFA-Naples’ Comprehensive Immigration Reform campaign, led the rally. Monika’s Guest Column in the Naples Daily News was the subject of our blog post of May 19.

Naples Daily News reporter Victoria Macchi covered the rally and wrote a great article (click here).

Naples Daily News photojournalist David Albers took some great photos. (Click here)

OFA-Naples’ Tina Palmese also got some great photos. (Click here)

And FOX4 News was there, capturing the action and interviewing Monika Ludwig and other supporters, They later caught up with Rep. Trey Radel in Fort Myers and got him to comment on immigration reform.  (Click here)

All in all, a great day for Organizing for Action – Naples. We are driving the community conversation about this important topic!

And stay tuned … we have just begun!

May 23 Update on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

About 25 OFA-Naples members and supporters gathered on Thursday to learn about the Senate Gang of Eight’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) Bill and plan for the Nationwide Day of Action to be held on May 30.

Sandy and VictoriaOFA-Florida Coordinator Victoria Kirby and I (Sandy Parker, OFA-Naples Neighborhood Team Leader) led the event.

We began with introductions, with each person saying where they lived and what role they played in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns and post-election OFA. It was a wonderfully diverse group in terms of experiences and interests!

Victoria and I then took the group through the CIR Update with the help of a PowerPoint presentation you can see here. At slide 10, Victoria shared a powerful documentary called “The Dream Is Now” that really galvanized the group for action. EVERYONE was moved. You can watch it here: http://tinyurl.com/q2qtdhf

After the presentation, we broke up into groups based on which Congressional District we lived in – District 19 (Trey Radel) or District 25 (Mario Diaz-Balart) – and made plans for the May 30 Day of Action. (To see what district you live in, click here.)

District 19 BreakoutDistrict 25 breakout

We are now recruiting people to attend a CIR Rally at 10am Thursday in front of the County Government Building, home of the Naples Office of Congressman Trey Radel. OFA-Naples co-leader Monika Ludwig. is leading the event. Please click here for details and to let us know you’ll be with us. http://tinyurl.com/oleve6z

Thanks again for your interest in Organizing for Action – Naples! We hope to see you Thursday – or soon!

Gang of Eight Immigration Reform Plan Would Benefit SW Florida

So says Monika Ludwig, OFA-Naples Comprehensive Immigration Reform Campaign co-leader, in a Guest Column appearing in today’s Naples Daily News.

TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Ludwig, a German immigrant and immigration lawyer, points out that a scarcely-publicized provision in the bill would allow buyers of real estate in the U.S. to reside here for an extended period. For example, she says, Canadian citizens and their spouses who are over age 55, who maintain a house in Canada and simultaneously rent or own a house in the U.S., could reside in the U.S. for up to 240 days (eight months) in any given year.

She cites other examples as well.

Let’s get the conversation going in SW Florida. Comprehensive immigration reform is good for business!

Mario Diaz-Balart speaks out on the House immigration reform bill

ImageYesterday, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, who represents many of us in Collier County, appeared on the Daily Rundown yesterday morning to discuss the immigration reform bill he and the House Gang of Eight are working on. Watch it here.

While he’s clearly working to achieve a bipartisan bill, he expressed frustration at several failed attempts to reach agreement on what he referred to as a “health care issue.” In the interview, he blames Nancy Pelosi. Other reports in the media, such as “Senate, House ‘Gangs’ at Odds on Obamacare in Immigration Bill” from Newsmax.com today, blame Pelosi as well.

Please take a few minutes to watch the clip and read the article, and let us know what you think by commenting on this post.