Two weeks ago the people of our state voted to raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour in 2017, and eventually $13.50 in 2020. It’s an important step forward — but just one step. And thanks to a judge in Texas, Washington has some more work to do.
Two of the last five elections for president have gone to the losers of the popular vote. We have turned democracy upside down. State legislatures can rectify this anti-democratic process by passing a multi-state compact that commits their electoral college delegates, no matter who they individually support and no matter what the outcome of the election is in that particular state, to vote for the winner of the national popular vote.
Have you had your ballot on the kitchen counter — for almost two weeks now — and still not opened it up to vote? Or maybe you forgot where you put it? Or maybe you recycled it, and now don’t know where to get your ballot to vote. Or maybe you just want to wait until the last minute to vote. I hope that is the case. Your ballot includes your opportunity to actually make or change the law, by voting on initiatives that more than 350,000 Washington citizens have signed in order to put them on the ballot.
You got your ballot in the mail. Now what? Vote! Our votes up and down the ballot will help shape our state and nation for decades into the future. Among the many important issues and candidates, Initiative 1433 and the Sound Transit measure allow us to directly boost economic opportunity and vitality in our communities.
When your ballot arrives later this week, take a pause and before you vote, consider, what does it mean to be an American? As Americans, we are all in this election together. We are in this country, this economy, this culture, and this government together.
My friend invited my wife and me to celebrate her husband’s 70th birthday. We enjoyed an evening of great food and wine, stories of the past and hopes for the future. The stories of the past were such powerful American anecdotes that we all thought that my friends should write up their family histories. But they are too busy or modest for that. So I am taking a stab.
The campaign for president is getting most of the media attention this year, but we have other important decisions to make as voters this November: about giving workers, especially low wage workers, respect, dignity and a fair chance.
The 2016 elections could go down in history as one of the watershed moments in American history. We could keep up the public agitation and elect a President, Congress, and state legislators who will pass equal pay and paid family leave, fund quality childcare and preschool, end mass incarceration, reform our immigration system, and rebuild our national infrastructure. Or we could let fear and division prevail. It’s really up to us.
As fans, we all stand up for the national anthem. Is that the right thing to do? We can join Kaepernick, if we think this is an effective (or ineffective) protest against injustice in our country, and if we agree (or disagree) with Kaepernick. We could also reframe the question: Why should we stand up for our national anthem, in which the words themselves embrace slavery?
This is the tale of at least two cities: one humming with Amazonian energy and money, another with many people completely left out.
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