Soon the House of Representatives will be voting on a bill to finally do something positive for communities that have suffered the brunt of our fossil fuel economy – those living with abandoned coal mines. HR 2156, called RECLAIM, has bi-partisan support and it’s coming to the floor of the House! Ask your representative to support the RECLAIM act today.

The RECLAIM Act will make much needed updates to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. It will force the release of more than $1 billion already collected for abandoned coal mine site clean-up. These funds can then be used beginning immediately to restore polluted streams, address hazardous erosion, land sinks, underground mine fires, and coal ash ash piles sitting around endangering residents’ health.

This bill is a moral imperative – the least we can do for communities that have borne the brunt of the fossil fuel economy and are still dealing with the waste left by irresponsible coal companies. Furthermore, the funding already exists – collected from the coal companies over decades – and it is simply unconscionable not to use it.  Please take a few minutes to contact your representative right now!

RECLAIM will also put people to work in some of the areas that need it most  – Appalachia and other regions of this country dealing with abandoned coal mines. Part of an inclusive and just clean energy economy must be cleaning up the damage done by the old fossil fuel one. This bill is a good step forward.

Click here to tell your representative to vote YES on RECLAIM.

Our country has been putting polluter profits over people for far too long. Now we have a chance to put our faith principles of restoration and renewal in action for people and communities.

In hope,

Susan Stephenson
Executive Director, Interfaith Power & Light

2019 July General Meeting

July 18, 2019  —   6:00 P.M.


Featured Speaker: DR. ROBERT ZOLTEN on the subject of health care from the medical perspective.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO BE DISCUSSED (if time): ELIZABETH WARREN.  Discussion to be led by Melba Gandy

Bring your friends and neighbors and join us for a great evening of good discussion and just plain fun.  SEE YOU THERE!!!

Dear Gilmer Democrats:

            What I describe below is, to me, one of the most impactful things we, as citizens, can do about the horrors taking place at our border.

            Lights For Liberty is an organization comprised of people dedicated to human rights and the fundamental principle behind democracy that all human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity.

            This organization is partnering with international, national, regional, and local communities and organizations to sponsor Candlelight Vigils to End Human Concentration Camps on July 12.  The Vigils will bring thousands of people to locations worldwide as well as to concentration camps across country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees.

The closest Vigil to us in Gilmer County will be

Friday, July 12, 2019

7:00 p.m.

Fannin County (Blue Ridge) Courthouse and Pavilion

            Please join us in this important vigil, hosted by Fannin County Democrats.  If you would like to go and need transportation, respond to this email and Gilmer Democrats will try to find a ride for you.

            If you would like more information about the sponsoring organizations and locations of other Vigils, go to

            Help us end the despicable practices of ripping children from their parents and caging them.


Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

2019 JUN 26 – TOPLINES: Integrity, ideas, substance, solutions

  • The American people saw leadership on stage tonight. They saw candidates who are laser-focused on the future. And they saw the beginning of the end of the chaos and incompetence of the Trump presidency.

  • The contrast with Donald Trump was clear: this debate focused on the issues people care about. We didn’t hear candidates talk about hand-size. They talked about:

    • Health care

    • Economy

    • Climate Change

    • Immigration

    • Women’s reproductive rights

  • What Americans will take away is that the Democratic Party has their back.

  • No matter which one of our exceptional candidates makes it to the mountaintop, people know they’ll have a leader they can trust.

  • Any candidate on that stage would be a better president than Donald Trump.

Democratic National Committee, 430 S Capitol St SE, Washington DC

Medicare for All: An Answer to America’s Healthcare Problems?

The following slide presentation was presented by Tom White and Beth Williams at the General Meeting of the Gilmer County Democrats on 2019 June 20.  Links for more information are included at the end.

What is Medicare?

A single payer healthcare system in four parts:

  • Part A Hospital Insurance
  • Part B Medical Insurance
  • Part C Medicare Advantage
  • Part D Prescription Drug Insurance

Healthcare Plans of the 116th Congress

  • As of 5/15/19 ten plans have been introduced
  • Both a House and Senate Medicare for All plan
  • Medicare for America, a Public Plan with Opt Out
  • Four other Public Plan Options
  • Two Medicare Buy-In Plans for Older Americans
  • One Medicaid Buy-In Plan

Medicare for All  S. 1129

  • Introduced by Bernie Sanders 4/10/19
  • All Dem Senators (ex Klobachar and Bennett) running for President are Co-Sponsors
  • Replaces all private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP for covered benefits
  • Tax financed, no premiums and limited costs. A true single payer healthcare plan
  • H 1384 introduced by Rep Jayapal parallels S1129 with some minor differences
  • Eliminates ALL private Plans
    • All medically necessary services plus
    • Dental, Vision, Hearing
    • Home and Community based long-term care services and support
    • Comprehensive reproductive services (No Hyde Limitations)
    • Financing

Appropriates current federal health spending offsets (e.g., for marketplace subsidies, tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health coverage, Medicaid matching payments for acute care services and Medicare) to the Universal Medicare Trust Fund.

Medicare for America  H 2452

  • A Public Program
  • Employers CAN offer qualified group plan coverage
  • Opt-Out for Employer to pay 8% of payroll for employees to be in this plan
  • Replaces Marketplace, Current Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP plans
  • No premiums for incomes under 200% of FPL
  • Does away with private insurance except for Qualified Group Plans, Advantage Plans and supplements
  • Includes the 10 ACA essential care
  • Basic coverage similar to Medicare for All
  • Cost sharing for those above 200% FPL
  • Beto O’Rourke’s choice of healthcare legislation

Public Plan Options

    • Keeping Health Insurance Affordable Act
    • Choose Medicare Act
    • Medicare –X Choice Act
    • CHOICE Act
    • Currently 4 plans
    • All are based on the ACA
    • All maintain the Marketplace
    • Subsidies are maintained or enhanced
    • 3 retain current private and public coverage
    • All maintain employer insurance if so offered
    • Provision for HHS to negotiate drug prices for Part D

Medicare Buy-in for Older Adults

  • S 470 Medicare at 50 Act
  • H 1340 Medicare Buy-in and Healthcare Stabilization Act of 2019
  • S 470 Medicare at 50 Act
  • H 1340 Medicare Buy-in and Healthcare Stabilization Act of 2019
  • Both plans – enrollees must be 50+
  • Enrollee must pay for Parts A, B & D
  • Both have subsidies and Cost sharing
  • Enrollees can enroll in a Medigap supplement plan
  • Enrollee can opt for Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicaid Buy-In

  • S489 & H1277
  • State Public Option Act
  • State OPTION to offer public plan based on Medicaid


  • Passage requires super-majorities in the Senate
  • Will have to control the house and have 60 votes in the Senate
  • Financing plans vary from sketchy to complex
  • ACA was instituted because Congress could not get a single payer solution passed when Dems had majorities in both houses

Click Here to download the PowerPoint Presentation.  The links offered at the meeting are below.

Where the Democratic Candidates stand on healthcare

Side-by-side comparison of Medicare for All Proposals

New York Times 18 questions to candidates

New York Times interactive interviews with candidates

Medicare for All Presentation

2019 JUN 21 – For those who might want to review the presentation for last night’s meeting, Beth Williams and Tom White have given permission to post it online.  Click Here to download the PowerPoint Presentation.  The links offered last night are below.

Where the Democratic Candidates stand on healthcare

Side-by-side comparison of Medicare for All Proposals

New York Times 18 questions to candidates

New York Times interactive interviews with candidates


DNC News of the Day

2019 JUN 18 – New Campaign, Same Broken Promises

Background: Trump is relaunching his campaign today with a rally in Orlando, Florida.

  • Trump will spend the next year lying about the promises he’s kept, the deals he’s made, and telling America that he’s made it great again.

  • For the ultra-wealthy, big corporations and D.C. lobbyists, there’s no question Trump has made America great – they’ve made out like bandits while the rest of us are still running in place.

    • He gave huge tax cuts to the rich and big corporations at the expense of working people.

    • He’s flooded the government with special interest lobbyists so that oil companies and big banks have more influence than ever.

  • But the question voters need to ask is: what’s he done for me?  For the middle class, the answer is nothing. He hasn’t done anything.

    • He promised he would make health care cost less – he didn’t.

    • He promised he would stand up to drug companies – he didn’t.

    • He promised he would save manufacturing jobs – he didn’t.

    • He promised he’d make paychecks bigger – he didn’t.

  • Trump shook things up – by rigging the system even worse.  He helped corporations and the top one percent get richer, but he betrayed working Americans who trusted him.

Trump Obstacles To Securing 270 Electoral Votes

  • We take nothing for granted and are building the infrastructure to win  tight races in battleground states across the country. But as Trump launches his campaign he faces major obstacles in securing reelection that Democrats are preparing to capitalize on:

    • Trump’s standing and Democratic victories across “the blue wall.” In 2018 Democrats won statewide elections in PA, MI, WI, OH and MN by significant margins. Public polling shows the challenges he faces in this region: he is 12 points underwater in PA; only 36 percent say they would reelect him in MI; his net approval has dropped 19 points in WI; and he is 16 points underwater in MN.

    • Trump faces challenges in attempting to expand his map. In NV last cycle Democrats won the Senate, gubernatorial and attorney general races (Jon Ralston wrote there is “not one indicator — not one — that Trump could flip NV”); in CO Democrats won every statewide race in 2018; and in VA Republicans have not won a presidential race since 2004.

    • In 2018, Democrats made traditionally Republican states more competitive — Trump can’t take anything for granted. In AZ, Democrats won three statewide races (in addition to flipping 4 seats in the state house); in GA, Democrats came within 2 points of winning the governor’s race; and in NC, Democrats hold the governor’s mansion and broke the GOP supermajority in the legislature in 2018 — in fact “every single Republican in the N.C. House of Representatives from the Raleigh and Charlotte suburbs lost except one.”

    • Florida, Florida, Florida. Democrats are investing earlier than ever before. Through programs like Organizing Corps 2020, Florida Democrats already have 90 field organizers on the ground — and the FDP has announced a multi-million dollar voter registration program along with a year-round voter protection department. In 2018 Florida Democrats elected their first Democratic cabinet officer since 2006, flipped two congressional seats, sent the largest legislative delegation to Tallahassee in over 20 years and flipped county governments in Hillsborough, Orange and Miami Dade.

    • The DNC is laying the groundwork to defeat Trump in the general election. We’ve launched: Organizing Corps 2020 — an unprecedented, multi-million dollar investment to train the organizers across seven battleground states, with a special focus on communities of color; the War Room, a joint effort of the DNC’s communications, research and digital departments that drives rapid response against Trump (the DNC’s research department is home to the most comprehensive research file on Trump); and a state-of-the-art, cloud based data warehouse along with the new Democratic Data Exchange.

Democratic Debates 2019

Debate Announcement

  • The DNC announced the twenty candidates that have been invited to participate in the first Democratic presidential primary debate, and NBC announced who will appear on which night.

    • Night 1: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Elizabeth Warren

    • Night 2: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang

  • The first debate will take place over two back-to-back nights at 9 p.m. ET on June 26 and 27, 2019, in Miami, Florida.

  • The debate will be broadcast in prime time on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo, and will be streamed online for free on a variety of digital and social platforms.

  • The DNC and its media partner have committed to a system for selecting candidates for each night that ensures both nights have equal potential for high viewership.

  • Candidates were divided over two nights through random selection by our media partner. The random selection was divided into two groups – those polling at 2% or above and those under 2%.

More information on qualifying for the debate:

  • The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair approach to setting the criteria for debate qualification, and it has taken unprecedented steps to ensure that this historically large field of candidates gets the opportunity to make their case on the debate stage to a wide audience.

  • The DNC’s qualification criteria is extremely generous – along with a low polling threshold of 1% in three polls, we included a new path for candidates through grassroots fundraising.

  • This grassroots fundraising requirement measures a candidate’s strength with small-dollar donors. It reflects a candidate’s grassroots support.

  • Setting this benchmark for campaigns encourages and rewards them for engaging in work that the DNC believes they absolutely must do in order to beat Donald Trump.

Monthly Meeting 2019 June 20

It’s only a week away – Gilmer Democrats’ first of two presentations on the subject of health care will be the program for our meeting on Thursday, June 20, 6:00 p.m., at Mountain Light Unitarian-Universalist Church in Ellijay. 

Tom White, a retired health insurance executive, will educate us on the fine points of different health care plans being proposed by our 2020 presidential candidates.  I’m really looking forward to learning how each will work.

At our July meeting, Dr. Bob Zolten will round out our knowledge with a look at health care from the medical perspective.

Your Gilmer County Dem Committee will provide sandwiches and beverages.  Bring an appetizer, side, or dessert to satisfy the appetites of our hungry, like-minded compatriots.

Give some thought, too, to the Fourth of July parade and a sign you may want to carry as we go through town and let folks know that Dems are still working in Ellijay!  If a sign-making session is in order, we will send out a notice of when and where it will take place.


DNC News of the Day 2019 JUN 04

House Hearings In Mueller Investigation

  • House Democrats announced that they will hold a series of hearings to continue to examine the contents of the Mueller report and Trump’s obstruction of justice.

    • Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean is scheduled to testify next week. Dean has experience with criminal investigations and White House cover-ups.

    • John Dean was one of more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors to sign on to a letter stating that Trump would have been indicted if he were not president.

  • Hearing from these experts is only the beginning and part of the House’s ongoing work. House Democrats are not wasting any time in beginning hearings, while they continue to work to have Don McGahn and Mueller himself testify.

    • The House will also vote next week to hold Barr and McGahn in contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas.

  • In his press conference last week, Mueller made clear that if the special counsel’s office had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, then they would have said so.

    • Mueller stated that his team operated under DOJ guidelines that a sitting president could not be indicted, and so they did not make a determination as to whether Trump committed a crime.

      • Barr previously claimed that the OLC opinion was not the reason Mueller didn’t find a crime. That wasn’t just spin — it was a flat-out lie.

  • It is clear that Trump, Barr, and the rest of his cronies have been trying to cover up the special counsel’s findings, even if that means lying to the American people or obstructing congressional investigations.

  • It is Congress’s constitutional duty to conduct oversight as an equal branch of government and, despite Trump’s attempts to obstruct House investigation, Democrats will continue to their jobs.