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Taking on ALEC

[caption id="attachment_1000" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP[/caption] What has deep pockets, tremendous influence in state legislatures around the country and Congress, and an agenda that is diametrically opposed to Catholic social teaching?  If you answered the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) you are correct.  ALEC gets around 98% of its funding from corporations such as the Koch Industries. Concerned citizens around the country are asking state policy makers and Senate and House representatives in the U.S. Congress to raise the minimum wage, enact workplace reform-- including sick days, support the right to organize and address climate change.  Roadblocks across the country continue because of ALEC’s well-heeled members:  Exxon/Mobil, AT&T, Wal Mart, Koch brothers and Coca Cola, to name a few. Right Wing Watch notes that ALEC’s agenda includes rolling back civil rights, challenging government restrictions on polluters, infringing on workers’ rights, limiting government regulations on commerce, and always representing the interests of the corporations that make up its supporters.  Over the last three years, ALEC has promoted several bills to stop the Clean Power Plan (CPP) which establishes state-by-state targets for carbon emissions reductions, and offers a flexible framework that allows states to meet those targets.  ALEC continues to be a powerful force supporting the use of “preemption” laws created to strip local governments of their power to ban fracking, and pass minimum wage hikes.  They pushed bills to stop cities from banning plastic bags made from derivatives of oil refining, and this is made possible through funding from the biggest fossil fuel companies, such as Koch Industries. In the current political campaign one of the strongest narratives has been "the system is rigged."  Wall Street controls Congress through large campaign contributions, therefore doing the bidding of Koch, the NRA, Exxon and hundreds of other corporations.  The system relies on an uninformed public that simply listens to political slogans, those who are one issue voters, and those who respond to the promise of more money in my wallet. The biggest challenge in this political season is to focus on the common good, all that impacts Main Street—from global climate change to a living wage.

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