Educational Forum on Community Issues
In case you missed it, here is some information of the issues covered in the forum to encourage voting on November 4 Around 60 persons assisted to an educational forum regarding election issues that will affect the community, organized by the Heartland Workers Center last Sunday, September 21. State senators Jeremy Nordquist and Heath Mello were part of the panel, together with Anthony V. Vargas, Omaha Public Schools Board of Education Member, Latino Center of the Midlands Executive Director Carolina Quezada, Dayana Lopez, PR & Marketing Coordinator at HWC, and Abbie Kretz, senior organizer from HWC. Some of the forum topics were regarding the minimum wage initiative, the Wage-theft bill, OPS bond Issue, driver’s licenses for DACA recipients and immigration.
Vote to Raise the Minimum Wage
Senator Nordquist explained the current minimum wage doesn’t allow working families to meet their family’s basic needs, and is leaving thousands of Nebraskans struggling financially. “Raising the minimum wage helps working families, creates jobs and boosts communities and the entire economy,” said Nordquist.
Vote to Protect Workers Against Wage Theft
Senator Heath Mello from Nebraska District 06 said the purpose of the bill LB560 is to provide greater protection for workers against wage theft, by making several small changes to the Nebraska Wage Payment & Collection Act.
LB560-Wage Theft “is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it is a fair issue and it is an economical issue that we have to be in favor, along with the Minimum Wage initiative, explained Nordquist, and that will remind everybody and the government that once they start earning minimum wage like many workers are doing now,” said Mello, encouraging the audience to support and vote for both initiatives.
Vote for OPS School Bond Issue
Anthony V. Vargas, Board of Education Member from OPS, explained the school bond is a lump-sum of money issued as a loan paid from government funds, partly coming from a property tax increase, that will be invested in improving the security, technology and infrastructure of school buildings in the OPS district.
Carolina Quezada, Executive Director at Latino Center of the Midlands, emphasized the need for funds, as most of the school buildings need improvement in infrastructure, technology and security, and encouraged everybody to vote for the OPS School Bond this November 4.
“Now I understand better about the school bond and that part of the money will come from my property taxes,” said Maria Ramirez, part of the audience during the community forum, “but that money is well invested and comes back to me knowing my kids schools are better and safer.”
Vote For Your Family
Dayana Lopez, PR & Marketing Coordinator at HWC, explained that even though Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient have social security numbers thanks to the DACA program and need to renew their work permit every two years, they have not been able to obtain a driver’s license in Nebraska. Although a few states initially announced that they would ignore or alter their own rules in order to deny licenses to these youth, Nebraska is the only state that excludes DACA grantees from driver’s license eligibility.
“Without a license to drive, you constantly face limits on what you can accomplish day-to-day,” said Lopez. “Having a driver's license is essential to taking advantage of opportunities, and in many cases, making a living." Lopez urged the audience to exercise their right to vote this November 4 and to vote for those who support DACA recipients, support our community, support our family and personal interests.
Abbie Kretz, senior organizer from HWC, explained the failed immigration reform through the Obama administration years and how the presidential decisions depend on the election time and political environment. Kretz encourage the audience not only to vote this November 4, but knowing whom are they voting for, especially for those who support an immigration reform.