United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
28 June 2012
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STATE SENATE CANDIDATE AT TOMORROW'S CHAPTER MEETING
At tomorrow's chapter meeting, we will have a guest who is running for the state legislature. Dr. Wes Johnson, retired USF professor in Neurosurgery (and formerly affiliated with three USF Engineering departments) will be speaking about his candidacy for Florida State Senate, District 17 (largely northwestern Hillsborough and southern Pasco). All USF faculty and professional employees – UFF members and non-members alike – are invited to the UFF USF Chapter Meeting tomorrow, Friday, 12 noon, at CDB Restaurant at 5104 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa, just west of the USF Tampa campus; salad, pizza, soda and beer will be provided by the Chapter. Come and check him out.
NOTE ABOUT MEETINGS
After tomorrow, there will be two more regularly scheduled UFF USF Chapter meetings this summer. On Friday, July 13, at 12 noon, we will meet in the Marshall Students Center, room TBA. And we will meet at CDB Restaurant on July 27. All USF faculty and professionals – UFF members and non-members alike – are welcome. Come and join the movement.
JOIN UFF TODAY!
Download, fill in, and mail the membership form. Benefits of membership include the right to run and vote in UFF chapter and statewide elections; representation in grievances (UFF cannot represent a non-member in a grievance or litigation); special deals in insurance, travel, legal advice, and other packages provided by our affiliates; free insurance coverage for job-related liability; and the knowledge you are supporting education in Florida. AND YOU CAN JOIN NOW AND PAY NO DUES UNTIL AUGUST UNDER THE FEA'S THREE FOR FREE PROGRAM. IN ADDITION, JOIN NOW AND AFTER A TERM AS A DUES PAYING MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE A $ 100 REBATE. Come and join the movement.
CONTRIBUTE TO UFF PAC!
UFF needs your help to fight for you in Tallahassee. We need to help reasonable candidates get elected this fall, and we need to build relationships with legislators we will be dealing with next spring. Thanks to the U. S. Supreme Court, that means campaign contributions. BUT DUES MONEY DOES NOT GO TOWARDS CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS, so the UFF Political Action Committee needs donations! Download, fill in, and mail the UFF PAC donation form to donate to the UFF PAC fund. We need all the pull in the legislature that we can get.
IN THIS ISSUE
DON'T SKIP THE PRIMARIES
Many elections are actually decided in primaries. Several quite different candidates can compete for the same party's nomination, and it is the primary that will determine which one runs in fall.
"Silence betokens consent," the old maxim goes, and not voting is equivalent to silence. So this coming primary election, be sure to be heard.
- The Importance of Primaries. Many electoral decisions are made in the primaries. But you need to vote to influence the outcome.
- Voting Details. The primary election is on August 14, and the deadline to register to vote (and thanks to recent laws, re-registration can be necessary) is July 16.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRIMARIES
People often complain about the choices they face in the general election. Those choices are made in the primary elections, when the two major parties choose their nominees. While party leaders can encourage their favorites to run – and provide them with resources (over or under the table) during primary campaigns – for many offices it is the party members who bother to vote who decide what the choice will be in the fall election.
The primaries make a difference. After all, in 2008, it was during the presidential primaries that the Democrats decided to nominate Barack Obama, and not Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, or Tom Vilsack. And it was during the primaries that the Republicans decided to nominate John McCain, and not Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Rudolf Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, Fred Thompson, or Tommy Thompson.
The 2012 presidential primaries are over, but the Congressional and state legislative primaries are coming in August 14. This will be the election when the Democrats and the Republicans decide who they want to decide educational funding – including financial aid – in Washington and Tallahassee.
For education, the primaries are critical. The old post-WW2 bipartisan alliance that supported education and infrastructure has frayed, and one of our priorities is rebuilding it.
In the next Biweekly, we will look at what's coming up in the primary. For example, one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination for Florida State Senate District # 17 – a race on which the union has not taken a position on yet – will be attending the Chapter meeting tomorrow. That's Friday, at 12 noon, at CDB Restaurant; and all USF faculty and professionals – UFF members and non-members alike – are invited to come talk to him over lunch.
- The Democratic Party – the party that launched the New Deal and much of the financial aid for our students – cannot be taken for granted. For one thing, as FDR once told an advocate, just because the party is convinced doesn't mean that the party will do it: only by participating can unions get the necessary commitments. For another, anyone can run for a Democratic nomination: being pragmatic, a union will work for a genuine supporter of education with a realistic chance.
- The Republican Party – the party that created both the land grant college system (under Lincoln) and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (under Eisenhower) – is now entranced by radicals advocating a return to an imaginary past before big spenders like Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. The union's election strategy is to work towards building support for the pillar-of-the-community policies that helped make America's higher education system the envy of the world.
But first, some critical logistics.
The primary election is on August 14. You must be registered to vote by July 16 in order to vote in the primary election.
For more information, contact your county supervisor of elections: there are links to the Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota county supervisors of elections on the UFF USF Politics Webpage.
- If you are a citizen of the United States of America, if you are at least eighteen years old, and if you have never had your right to vote taken away in criminal or competency proceedings, then you have the right to vote. In addition, if you are a resident of the state of Florida, you have the right to vote in the precinct you live in. This is one of your most important rights, so insist on it. The AFL-CIO maintains a page on
Voters' Rights, where you can get more information.
- If you have never registered, you must register in order to vote. If you were registered, but have since moved or changed your name (e.g., as a result of getting married), you will have to update your registration, and you may do so using the
Florida Voter Registration Form. Notice that your supervisor of elections must receive your registration form by July 16 for the August 14 election. For more information, see the Florida Division of Elections web-page on Voter Registration.
- If you are uncertain about your registration status, you may check it using the Check Voter Status form.
Once you are registered, you have three options on how to vote, which can vary from county to county.
You may vote by mail using an absentee ballot. Historically, requests for an absentee ballot tended to rollover from election to election, so that a voter could have in effect a standing request for absentee ballots. This is no longer true: requests for absentee ballots readily expire, and if you want one you should contact your County Supervisor of Elections. You can check the status of any request for absentee ballots by checking your voting status.
You may vote early. Early voting opportunities vary from county to county, so check the web-page of your County Supervisor of Elections. Again, there are links to Tampa Bay region county supervisors of elections on our UFF USF Politics Webpage.
You may vote on election day at the polling site listed on your (up-to-date) Voter Registration Card. You can also find this site by checking your voting status. The polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm, and the Division of Elections advises that they are "less busy" in mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
If you vote in person, either early or on August 14, you will be asked to show a picture ID with a signature on it; valid IDs include driver's license or Florida DMV ID card, U. S. Passport, and military ID; see the Division of Elections for a more complete list of acceptable IDs.
If anything is wrong, you may be asked to cast a provisional ballot. Considering the history of provisional ballots in Florida, UFF strongly recommends taking precautions to make sure that you cast a regular ballot.
Next Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, at 12 noon, at CDB Restaurant, 5104 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa, just west of the USF Tampa campus.
Pizza and beer will be provided by the Chapter, and all UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.
Membership: Everyone in the UFF USF System Bargaining unit is eligible for UFF membership: to join, simply fill out and send in the membership form.
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