Sarah Burris of UNITE HERE sends us this update from Arizona. Burris works in online media.
I've been on the ground this week in Arizona to help a campaign UNITE HERE invested in this year called Adios Arpaio. Adios Arpaio was a massive voter-registration campaign, aimed at voting out the notoriously anti-immigrant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, that was led by 2,000 high school students, many of them the children of immigrants. We registered 35,000 new voters, and 70% of them are Latino. I've spent some time here before and many, many weeks since helping with everything I could.
If you live in the Palm Beach, Fla., Treasure Coast area and want to help make Thanksgiving happen for families who might need a boost, you can join the Big Heart Brigade’s Thanksgiving Feast, 2012. Supported by the United Way of Palm Beach County Partnership, which includes the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast AFL-CIO, the Big Heart Brigade is looking for 4,000 volunteers who can help prepare, cook, package and distribute the nearly 100,000 meals for the homeless and disadvantaged.
More than 100 high school students and members of UNITE HERE, Promise Arizona in Action and Adios Arpaio are rallying outside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office to demand the more than 450,000 provisional ballots be counted.
After widespread reports of long lines and problems with voting on Election Day, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) announced that he will introduce legislation that will help address at least part of the problem.
A group of Democratic senators is circulating a letter opposing benefit cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and saying that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should expire at the end of the year. The letter also calls for increasing revenue, cuts to defense and the closing of tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations. The letter was drafted by Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). The Democratic senators are hoping to get 30 senators to sign the letter.
A study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that 400,000 jobs could be lost if Congress fails to extend the federally funded extended Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits program when it expires at the end of 2012. Unemployment benefits not only provide a lifeline to unemployed workers struggling to get by, but also provide critical support for the economy. According to EPI, “economists widely recognize that extending unemployment benefits is one of the most effective tools for generating jobs in a downturn” because cash-strapped jobless workers immediately spend their UI benefits, and this spending generates activity throughout the economy. EPI finds that if Congress refuses to extend UI, the unemployment rate will be 0.3% higher next year than it will be if Congress continues the program.