February 16, 2006

Progressive Ideas in Action: Illinois Democrats

In 2006, The Republican Party will use their standard tactic of fear with a dose of ‘Democrats have no ideas’ to rally support for there corrupt and conservative majorities in Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says that Republicans will fight the 2006 campaign by combining 2002-style attacks on Democrats as "weak on security," 2004-ish attacks on "obstructionism" and a new line of argument that "Democrats have no ideas."
To counter this talking points Democrat do not need Frank Luntz to make old ideas sound popular and new. They can turn to the states where progressive ideas are becoming legislation to better improved people lives. The first state they can turn too is Illinois. Nathan Newman has the impressive run down of what a Democratic Governor and Democratic controlled Congress can do.
A new health care program for children was enacted that extended coverage for 250,000 previously uninsured children of working and middle class parents.

To protect patient care and ease the burden on overworked nurses, the state banned mandatory overtime for nurses in the state.

The state raised the minimum wage to $6.50 per hour a few years ago.

Victims of sexual or domestic violence were guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover.

"Sexual orientation" was added to the state civil rights law, protecting gays and lesbians from employment discrimination.

Corporate accountability was increased through a whisteblower law that protects employees from firing or other retaliation if they disclose information to law enforcement agencies about potentially illegal activity by the company.

Limited english speakers were protected in their rights to talk in Spanish or other languages to fellow workers under an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act to combat abusive "English-only" rules in the workplace.

Illinois passed legislation to crack down on abusive and unsafe working conditions in the day labor industry, improving the lives of 300,000 day laborers in the state.

The state also passed legislation to bring all state workers under federal anti-discrimination laws, voluntarily waiving the state's "sovereign immunity" to counteract bad Supreme Court "states rights" decisions.

Protected union rights by providing unemployment insurance benefits when companies unilaterally lock out workers during a contract dispute.

Blagojevich signed an executive order helping day care workers unionize, leading to unionization and better working conditions for 49,000 child care workers in the state.

The state strengthened its bill protecting prevailing wages for public works.
The Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich also proposal universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds in the state. Legislation from labor rights to health care and education Illinois Democrats are putting progressive ideas in action. Democrats in Congress should pick up progressive ideas coming from the States to proposal a national agenda for change.

One more note, Democrat Rod Blagojevich is running for reelection in 2006 and is in the race of this life. The Illinois Republicans main line of attack against the Governor Blagojevich is going to be corruption, pay to play charges. Republican candidates for Governor in Illinois are making corruption, pay to play charges with a straight face while Congressional and Ohio Republicans are getting indicted left and right, they have no shame.

Rod Blagojevich in a new Rasmussen Reports poll trials Republican Judy Baar Topinka 48% to 37% and in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll this approval are blew 50%. Those poll numbers are not impossible to overcome, but it is a very bad place for an incumbent to be in running for reelection. If Democrat Rod Blagojevich wins it is going to be behind strength of progressive legislation which improved people lives.


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