Muslim ban, Russian ties, school funding, healthcare, Paris Agreement, poverty assistance, public lands, etc, got you upset? Do something about it.
Many people are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the sheer number of issues upsetting them on an almost daily basis. The scale of many of these issues individually can seem intimidating, and taken together they can feel insurmountable. Furthermore, summer has arrived, bringing with it the desire to take a break, go on vacation and forget about the policymaking decisions that impact our everyday lives. Absolutely take a break and schedule time for self-care and rejuvenation. But do not let your enthusiasm for civic engagement wane.
We ordinary people have great power when we speak up and get involved in the issues that matter to us. We can be most effective when we have a Civic Engagement Plan. That means identifying all the places where you can have a voice in shaping policy, picking the issues you want to focus on and committing to a sustainable civic engagement routine — the same way you commit to exercise or other activities in your life.
Action Utah makes it all the easier for you to get engaged by bringing you vetted information and meaningful actions you can take via our Weekly Emails (subscribe here) and daily and urgent actions listed on our Website, Facebook and Twitter. Here are some tips for creating a sustainable civic engagement plan that keeps you active in taking meaningful actions:
1. Prioritize. Everybody has at least one issue that they care about more deeply than the rest. Zero in on 1-3 issues that you feel most passionate about and truly commit to them. If you have 3 issues, make sure at least one of them is something that does not affect you personally.
2. Know who your representatives are. Write down the contact information for your Members of Congress, Governor Herbert, your state representative and senator, and keep this helpful tool on hand to look up local representatives like your mayor, city or county council, sheriff, etc. Keep your list of representatives handy or plug the info into your contacts list on your phone for easy access.
3. Schedule time for civic engagement. Make a routine and set aside time — even if it’s five minutes a day or just five minutes a week — for taking part in meaningful actions that raise up your voice to impact the issues that matter to you most. Write down what day(s) and time(s) you plan to be civically active and commit to your plan.
4. Let us help you take your civic engagement to the next level. For some of you, calling your Members of Congress each week is not enough to make you feel like you are making a tangible, meaningful difference. Have a few hours a week to spare for a cause you are passionate about? Join an Action Utah subcommittee to help find and create actions for thousands of people across Utah. No experience is necessary — any ordinary person can be a part of vetting and shaping legislation, building relationships with representatives, researching and communicating about the issues and much more. Join a subcommittee on:
- Health care
- Poverty and homelessness
- Women and Families
- Immigrants and refugees
- Clean air and climate
- Public lands
- Energy policy
- Redistricting and voting rights
- Campaign finance reform
- Ethics and Accountability
Want a broader role at Action Utah? We’re seeking volunteers in Communication, Fundraising, Marketing, Project Management and Technology. Contact us here to find out how to volunteer.
Sat. June 10th, 10:00-12:30p – Unite for Healthcare Rally, City Creek Park to the Wallace Bennett Federal Building, Salt Lake City. Deliver a loud-and-clear message to Utah’s senators that their constituents have concerns and expectations regarding healthcare reform and process transparency in the drafting of the new Senate bill.
1. DEFEND OUR NATIONAL MONUMENTS. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has until Saturday to make a recommendation on Bears Ears. The media has reported rumors that Zinke will recommend a full rescission, but more recent talk points to a recommended reduction in size of the Monument. Bears Ears has already been reduced more than half a million acres from the original Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition proposal when President Obama declared the national monument in 2016 and is now nearly identical in size and shape to the protected area outlined in Rep. Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative. Many of the arguments in opposition to the monument don’t add up, and do not reflect the will of a majority of Utahns and a vast majority of Navajo in San Juan County. In the meantime, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is also under threat, as are 25 other national monuments. The Department of the Interior is accepting comments in defense of these monuments and the Antiquities Act until July 10th.
- Tweet @SecretaryZinke ALL WEEK to remind him that “monuments make us great”. Secretary Zinke agrees that Bears Ears should be protected, he simply disagrees about what is the best way to protect it and what protection means. Keeping Bears Ears just the way it is preserves the only National Monument in the country that specifically honors our Native American citizens, culture and history, that preserves over 100,000 archaeological sites in “America’s Cradle of Civilization”, provides unprecedented economic opportunity for San Juan County and tax revenue for the state, follows the will of the majority of Utahns, 90% of Navajo and an unprecedented coalition of tribes. As Zinke to keep it JUST THE WAY IT IS. Use hashtags: #StandWithBearsEars #BearsEars or #BENM and #MonumentsForAll #mymonuments
- Submit a comment to the DOI in support of the 26 other national monuments on Trump’s “review” list, including GSENM and the Antiquities Act at #MonumentsForAll.
- Share these great articles far and wide on social media:
– Deseret News op-ed: “Bears Ears is a place for healing, not conflict” – Get a glimpse at the perspective of the vast majority of Navajo and other tribes through the astute eyes of Willie Grayeyes, board chair of Utah DinÉ BikÉyah, about what was truly behind the proposal for Bears Ears National Monument and what rescission or reduction would mean to the Tribes.
– History News Network (George Washington University) op-ed: “The Trump Administration’s Review of Monuments Smacks of Paternalism” – Professor of History, Adam Sowards, makes the case that Secretary Zinke should learn from historical paternalism in the Department of the Interior’s dealings with Native Americans, not ignore it.
– National Geographic: “What you need to know about Trump’s national monuments rethink” – A well-researched account of the history, facts and disinformation around Trump’s monuments review.
2. SPEAK UP FOR ROOFTOP SOLAR IN UTAH. Rocky Mountain Power proposed three new fees on rooftop solar customers last fall, which would result in some of highest solar fees proposed by any utility in the country. The proposed charges are disincentives for rooftop solar at the very least and could put an end to the growth of rooftop systems in Utah — reducing our energy choices and freedom to produce our own electricity. That’s exactly what happened in Nevada in 2015 when net metering rates priced solar rooftop out of the market, all but killing the industry and resulting in loss of jobs and great public outcry. The Nevada state legislature is now working to amend the net metering situation through a bill this legislative session. The Public Service Commission will make the final decision on rooftop solar net metering fees.
- Contact the Public Service Commission and Governor Herbert to oppose these fees and voice your concern for the future of rooftop solar in Utah. Reference “Docket 14-035-114: Rooftop Solar PSC Docket”. Find more talking points here.
1. STAND WITH THE PARIS AGREEMENT. Donald Trump officially withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change last week. Since then, 9 states and 211 cities (and counting) have signed on to the Climate Alliance to commit to the terms of the unprecedented international climate change agreement created by 195 nations in 2015. Hundreds of American businesses and universities have joined them. Besides the overwhelming and unprecedented consensus among scientists worldwide, the Pentagon, the U.S. military, National Intelligence and even Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis, have all asserted that climate change is real and poses a threat to humanity and to America.
- Call your mayor and ask them to join your city in the Climate Mayors alliance by committing to the emissions reduction standards set out in the Paris Agreement. Tweet the suggestion with hashtags #ClimateMayors and #Cities4Climate. Thank SLC Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Park City Mayor Jack Thomas for already committing to the terms of the Paris Agreement. MOAB, OGDEN and LOGAN – we’re hinting to you in particular!
- Call Governor Herbert at (801) 538-1000. Remind staff that governors around the country have expressed their support for the Paris Agreement and are fulfilling their duty to protect the environment of their states. Ask if Governor Herbert is planning to join these leaders and express his support. If yes, when? If no, express your disappointment that Governor Herbert is putting politics over planet and depriving current and future generations from clean air and water, which are basic human rights.
- Call Senator Hatch and Senator Lee and give them your feedback on being 2 of the 22 senators that signed a letter encouraging Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, making climate change into a partisan issue when it never was historically and where it continues not to be for scientists, our national intelligence, our military and our national security advisors. Remind them that 71% of Americans support climate action.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
- Call on CEOs to step down from Trump’s advisory council – Many of the CEOs on Trump’s Advisory Council have spoken in favor of the Paris Agreement, yet only two have stepped down in the aftermath of Trump’s withdrawal from it: Elon Musk of Tesla and Disney’s Rob Iger. Call on the other CEOs to stand up for climate by stepping down as well. Use this great tool from Wall-of-Us to find out who the CEOs are, what statements they have made on climate, and how to contact them.
- Call on businesses and universities to join the Climate Alliance by publicly committing to the terms of the Paris Agreement. Call your alma mater. Call executives in businesses you admire that can make an impact.
- Become an Action Utah subcommittee member to find and create actions for ordinary Utahns to take to impact this issue at the federal, state and local level. No experience necessary, just a minimum commitment of 4 hours/week. Simply contact us if you’re interested.
- Join our Clean Air Action Team. Sign up to receive notices delivered directly to your inbox about specific actions you can take to improve air quality in Utah and to impact state and federal emissions policies, then commit to spreading the word to activate at least 5 other people. Contact us here to join.
2. KEEP CALLING ABOUT HEALTHCARE – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office summed up how devastating the House Republicans healthcare bill would be, cutting health insurance for 23 million Americans and leaving millions more unable to afford it. Most of these Americans reside in red states like Utah. The AHCA also cuts Medicaid — the program for low-income Americans that Trump promised on the campaign trail he wouldn’t cut — by a shocking $839 billion. This is IN ADDITION to cuts of an additional $610 billion proposed in the federal budget. Our two Utah senators are in the unique position as part of the small group of all-male, all-Republican senators charged with writing the Senate’s new healthcare bill. However, the discussions have been entirely lacking in transparency and there is widespread talk about circumventing the committee hearing and markup process entirely, effectively cutting out all opportunity for debate and public commentary.
By contrast, before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2009, Democrats in the House held a series of public hearings, posting a public discussion draft in between, and held 3 committee markups. In the Senate HELP Committee held 14 bipartisan roundtables and 13 public hearings, and during their markup accepted over 160 Republican amendments.The Senate Finance Committee held an additional 17 public hearings, roundtables and summits, plus a markup. The independent Congressional Budget Office’s ‘scores’ were available prior to each vote at each stage of the process.
- Call on our Senators to work on this bill in an open and transparent fashion. Ask our Senators to allow for feedback from key stakeholders like American families, women, health care providers, disability rights groups, small businesses, children’s rights groups and the people who’s health and survival hang in the balance.
- Join the United For Healthcare rally this Saturday in Salt Lake City, starting at 10:00a in City Creek Park and marching to the Wallace Bennett Federal Building for a rally at 11:00a.
Keep your chin up – you’re doing great!
No matter how bedraggled you may get by politics at times, please remember that you are making a difference every time you take an action — big or little — and every action counts.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah
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