We’ve had two major program successes in the year 2015 as we continue our work in 2016:
First, we played a significant role in persuading both of Oregon’s U.S. Senators to support the historic agreement to assure that Iran’s nuclear program remains strictly civilian for the foreseeable future. Peace House regarded this agreement as the most important war-and-peace challenge since the Bush Administration took us into the disastrous war in Iraq. The alternative to diplomacy was surely war, so we went all out, educating the public and mobilizing grassroots lobbying. We are elated by the outcome.
Second, three years of work culminating in 2015, under our auspices has resulted in the creation of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, a City of Ashland-sanctioned representative body to guide continuous peace-building in Ashland. The vision of a city in which the relationships among all its residents and between them and the environment they depend on are characterized by mutual respect and care is now official. Peace-building has moved from the periphery to the center of civic life.
Huge challenges remain.
Our economic justice work, which we do in coalition, scored significant victories in the state legislature this year. Unfortunately, raising the state minimum wage to a living wage was stymied. This is a priority as we prepare for the short session in early 2016 and a ballot measure in the fall.
Our work to bring single-payer health care coverage to Oregon (Medicare for Everyone) is long-term. We had a victory in the 2015 session when the legislature passed and properly funded a study bill to determine which mechanism for universal care will be most cost-effective. The results of the study will be a huge help in the final push for single payer.
And we are launching a statewide educational effort about the Republican-led ten-year plan in Congress to destroy every federal program that lower income people, as well as seniors, depend on, all in the name of balancing the budget. Meanwhile, they wish to give new tax breaks to the very wealthy. It is the ultimate expression of oligarchic control of federal policy. We shall resist.
Uncle Foods Diner continues to feed 100 or more people every week. And our bi-weekly calendar continues to serve the entire progressive community in the Rogue Valley.
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