U.S. Poverty Weekly Update October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

I urge our Congressional delegation to put working families first. Don’t raise taxes on the poor and middle class; protect and extend the current EITC and CTC.

—RESULTS Pioneer Valley (MA) volunteer Caroline Roberts in a letter to the editor in the Valley Advocate (9/27/12)

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Join RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET with Guest Speaker Mark Reynolds

Join us this Saturday, October 13 for the RESULTS National Conference Call. With Congress out on recess until after the election, this month is a great time to focus our efforts on strengthening and growing our groups and local action networks. Outreach is vital to any grassroots organization and we know that RESULTS volunteers are always up to the task. On this month’s call, we are pleased to welcome Mark Reynolds, Executive Director of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL). CCL is a grassroots advocacy organization based on the RESULTS model working raise awareness and influence lawmakers on issues of global climate change. CCL has seen a dramatic increase in membership since it began in 2007. Mark will share with us some of the strategies and successes CCL has used in engaging new people in their work. The call will also include a training exercise on inviting people to an outreach event, as well as information about our November call with Barbara Ehrenreich, which we urge you to use for local outreach. It should be a very exciting call.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about this RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, October 13, at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call. You can download the October 2012 Conference Call Overview slides from the RESULTS website, which we will review on the call. 

Got Ten Minutes? Use This Month to Strengthen and Grow Your RESULTS Work (October Action)

The October Action is focused on outreach. With Congress doing no legislative work until after the election — and knowing that once the Lame Duck session starts, we’ll need as many voice weighing in— this is an great time to be reaching out to new people to help strengthen and grow our groups and local action networks. In addition, with all the election activity going on and more people tuned into the issues, people are already “primed” for RESULTS’ type of civic engagement. RESULTS is perfect for those wanting to stay active after November 6.

Just like with lobbying our members of Congress or working to get media published. Outreach takes planning. That’s why RESULTS staff is doing all we can to make it easy for you. First, the October Action sheet has a step-by-step guide for planning your outreach meeting, including ideas for people and groups to contact in your area if you’re feeling stumped on who to invite. Second, this Saturday’s conference call will include insights from a sister organization on their successful outreach efforts as well as information and training on reaching out to new people. Third, RESULTS staff is ready and willing to help. If you need advice on planning your event, who to invite, an agenda for your event, or any other questions about planning and executing a good outreach event, please contact RESULTS staff persons Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]).

Many of you may already have ideas for a good outreach event and if so, go for it. However, for those of you who don’t know what kind of event to plan, we’ve got you covered there as well. We are thrilled to announce that Barbara Ehrenreich will be our featured speaker on our November National Conference Call (November 10 at 12:30 pm ET). Ms. Ehrenreich is a popular author and activist who has written extensively about low-income families in America. In her book Nickel and Dimed (2002), Ehrenreich spent time working in a low-wage job to investigate what life was like for the working poor. She has also written other books and articles highlighting the plight of working America. From 1991 to 1997, Ms. Ehrenreich was a regular columnist of Time. Currently, she is a regular columnist with The Progressive and has also written for the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com, and other publications. We are very excited to have her speak on our call. Ms. Ehrenreich’s appearance on the November call is a great “draw” for people. You can invite people to attend the call and then use that as an opportunity to talk about RESULTS and invite them to get involved. We’ll have more information about the structure of the November call as well as materials to help you get the word out soon.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes this week to start planning an outreach event with your local RESULTS group. Start thinking about people who might be interested in learning about RESULTS. If you are stumped, see the suggested list of contact and other planning resources on in the October Action sheet. Be sure to write down the names of possible invitees (this makes a difference) and plan to bring your list to the National Conference Call this Saturday at 12:30 pm ET.

Once you have your list, go ahead and start reaching out. Even if you don’t know when or where your event will be, simply call and talk to folks about RESULTS. Share about your RESULTS experiences and why you think they would like it. Tell them you’re holding an event in the next few weeks and would like them to come. You can then follow up with details when you have them. The point is to make the connection and get folks interested.

Got Twenty Minutes? Get Face Time with Members of Congress and Candidates During Election Season

The election season most surely upon us with candidates making their case to voters. We must take advantage of this time to voice our opinions on what issues are of most importance. Remember, voting for or against a candidate does not tell why you voted that way. They only know when you tell them.

Many candidates are holding public events this month, which gives the chance to tell them what you want them to do if elected. Face-to-face meetings, town halls, public appearances, call-in shows, and debates all present you with the opportunity to be heard. And it’s important that we do so. As we mentioned last week, Congress is already making decisions about issues that will come up after the election, including how to proceed on expiring improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Don’t waste this chance to get members of Congress and elected officials to publicly state their position on ending poverty in America.

Please note: we are updating our lobby leave-behind materials to make sure our members of Congress speak directly to congressional leadership expressing their support not only for legislation making the current expiring improvements to the  EITC and CTC permanent, but that lawmakers also expressly include a principle that specifically protects EITC and CTC in any deficit reduction framework. We urge you to continue your follow up with Congressional offices until you get confirmation that your senators and representatives have voiced their support for both of these “asks” directly to key decision-makers.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to put in your request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators during the election recess. You can find a sample request in the August Action sheet or use our online request form. Be sure to follow up within a few days to confirm that your request was received and the status of it. Also, check candidate websites and call local offices to find out if they have any public appearances coming up. You can find contact information for Elected Officials as well as information on candidates on the RESULTS website. You can use and adapt our updated Tax Credit Laser Talk: Urge Congress to Protect Low-income Tax Credits to ask a question at these events. Check out our PowerPoint presentation, the August 2012 U.S. Poverty Action, and the recording of the August 2012 national conference call for more resources in getting face time with legislators and candidates.

Once you get a meeting scheduled or if you plan to attend a public event to ask a question, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you plan your agenda and devise the best messaging to use in your meeting.

Keep Pushing for Media on Poverty in America

It’s still not too late to send in letters to the editor, an op-ed, or urging editorials about poverty in America. As noted last week, RESULTS has gotten ten media pieces published using the September Action or our online media action alert. With many candidates seeking editorial endorsements over the next several weeks, more and more people will be following their local editorial pages. Make sure they see pieces talking about the importance of low-income tax credits or Head Start or health care for all when they do so. Submitting a letter is so easy, even a seven year old can do it.

TAKE ACTION: Submit your letter to the editor or op-ed this week urging elected officials and candidates to make ending poverty a priority. Call out members of Congress and candidates by name and tell them that Americans support a strong safety net and oppose misguided efforts to cut it in the name of deficit reduction. If you are shooting for an editorial, contact a local editorial writer and make a pitch for an editorial about poverty in America. If you have already contacted a writer, follow up this week on the status of your request. Find media contacts on the RESULTS website.

See the September Action sheet for helpful resources for letters, op-eds, and editorials. You can also use our online LTE action to submit a letter with just a few mouse clicks. Once your piece gets published, please let the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff  know so we can celebrate.

Tell Debate Moderators to #TalkPoverty

Last week’s presidential debate was a disappointment. Not because of the candidate performances or the undisciplined format. It was a disappointment because poverty was barely mentioned. Moderator Jim Lehrer didn’t ask about it and the candidates only mentioned in passing, mostly as accusation rather than solution. Fortunately, we still have three debates left.

The next debate is Thursday, October 11 between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan followed by two more presidential debates on October 16 and October 22. Thursday’s debate moderator is NPR’s Martha Raddatz  ([email protected]), followed by CNN’s Candy Crowley ([email protected]) on October 16 and CBS Bob Schieffer ([email protected]) on October 22.

TAKE ACTION: With no questions asked about poverty last week, we need to step up our efforts. Join the #TalkPoverty movement by tweeting debate moderators and urging them to ask poverty-related questions during the presidential debates. Here are some sample tweets from our friends at Half in Ten:

  • @NewsHour. 1/5 children in poverty. @MarthaRaddatz ask candidates how 2 reduce child poverty in 1st 100days? #TalkPoverty #VPDebate
  • 1/5 children need @MarthaRaddatz 2 ask candidates how 2 reduce child poverty in 1st 100days? #TalkPoverty #VPDebate

You can also e-mail questions to them directly using the e-mail addresses listed above. Here are some sample questions:

  • There is a lot of talk in the campaign about not raising taxes on the middle class. Yet, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit have proven very effective at helping working families move out of poverty. Please ask the candidates if they support tax credits for low-income working families and what they would do to strengthen them.
  • 1 in 4 children under 6 are living in poverty in the U.S. Studies show that investments in early childhood education can break the cycle of poverty. Please ask the candidates what they would do to support greater access to quality early childhood services like Head Start and child care assistance.

RESULTS Outreach – Upcoming Meetings and Trainings

While RESULTS groups work on strengthening their local RESULTS groups and action networks this month, RESULTS staff is also working to expand and strengthen RESULTS’ network of volunteers. Here are a few events coming up — please forward this information to people you know in these areas:

  • October 10 and 24, New Activist Orientation: For people new to RESULTS, this two-call series is a quick and easy way to ramp up your knowledge of RESULTS and start taking action on the issues you care about. The first call is tomorrow, October 10 at 9:00 pm ET with the second call on October 24. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. To RSVP or to get more information about the training, please contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]).
  • October 14, Greenfield, MA: The new western MA group will begin their new group training this Sunday, October 14 at 12:30 pm ET. They are meeting at First United Methodist Church, 25 Church Street, Greenfield, MA. New people are welcomed to attend. Contact Jenny Martin ([email protected]) for more details.
  • October 15 and 17, Western MA: RESULTS New England Organizer Jenny Martin will be appearing on two radio shows next week to talk about RESULTS. On Monday, October 15th, 4:00-5:00 pm ET, Jenny will be on “Other Voices” On 107.9 FM (WMCB), in Greenfield, MA (streaming online atwww.wmcb.net). On October 17th, 4:30-5:30 pm ET, Jenny will be on “Upfront: Worker Radio” at 91.1 FM (WMUA) in Amherst, MA. Tune in and listen to Jenny talk about RESULTS and urge others you know to do the same.
  • October 19, RESULTS Introductory Call. Urge people you know to join one of these 30-45 minutes calls, which provide a great introduction to RESULTS and our work for people who don’t know much about us. Any and all are welcomed to participate. The next call is October 19 at 1:00 pm ET (we also have calls schedule in November and December). To register for an upcoming call, go to www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.
  • October 24, Lexington, VA: RESULTS staff members Meredith Dodson and Allyson Goldsmith will be doing presentations at Washington & Lee University in the hopes of starting a new RESULTS group on campus there. For more details, contact Meredith at [email protected].
  • October 24, Whitefish, MT: RESULTS Senior Associate for U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn will be in Whitefish, MT to start a new RESULTS U.S. poverty group on Wednesday, October 24, 6:30-8:30 pm MT. The meeting will be at the Whitefish Community Library. See and share about the meeting on Facebook or contact Jos ([email protected]) for more details.

Quick News

New Congressional Scorecard on Inequality Available. The Institute for Policy Studies has released its ‘Inequality Report Card” which shows how individual members of Congress rate on issues of inequality. From IPS, “the report card is based on 40 legislative actions taken over the past two years that relate to inequality. The bills range from legislation to establish a “Buffett Rule” minimum tax rate that all wealthy Americans must pay to a measure that would raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.” It even includes an Action Map showing the actual grade for each member of Congress. As you set up face-to-face meetings or attend town halls this month, use this report card to get valuable background information about elected officials’ track record on reducing inequality.

Fundraising News

We are excited this week because our RESULTS Houston partners are hosting their annual RESULTS benefit dinner this Friday with an “Every Child Deserves a 5th birthday” theme. Dr. Jeffrey Starke of Texas Children’s hospital will discuss his work with us on TB and child survival work with our own Dr. Joanne Carter also addressing our donors. Houston has already collected $55,000 before the event even begins, including several generous sponsorships. If you or someone you know would like to attend this event, contact David Schubert at [email protected] for more information.

In addition, author, activist, and RESULTS Board member Marianne Williamson will be speaking for RESULTS in Detroit on October 19 at an event called “Consciousness and Activism” where she will be giving us a preview of her upcoming SISTER GIANT conference in November. If you would like to attend, tickets are on sale online at http://tinyurl.com/mariannetickets.

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: September 21 – November 12. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, October 10: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the first of two calls in the series; the next call is October 24).

Saturday, October 13: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online. (888) 409-6709.

Tuesday, October 16: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected]. (NOTE: This call may be moved due to the presidential debate)

Thursday, October 18: RESULTS Social Media Rapid Response Team Intro/Training Call, 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (866) 503-7713, passcode: 4091413579. For more details and to RSVP, please contact Laura Ochoa at [email protected]

Friday, October 19: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Wednesday, October 24: RESULTS Montana Group Start Meeting, 6:30 – 8:30 pm MT. Whitefish Community Library, 9 Spokane Ave, Whitefish, MT. For more details, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected]. See event details on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 24: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the second of two calls in the series; the first call is October 10).

Tuesday, November 6: Election Day.

Tuesday, November 13: Congress begins Lame Duck session in Washington, DC.

RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via e-mail to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.

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