This email list started as a convenience for a few friends who wanted suggestions for sensible things to do, knowing we need to keep it up for the long haul. It’s still that, but it’s also a shared exploration of what participatory democracy looks like. 

My friend Sallie Westheimer sent this note after last week’s email:

“I am more than a bit shocked by all the kudos I received on my FB page for simply walking a few blocks to Portman’s Cincinnati office for a protest and heading up the elevator to see his staff. I thought that was the kind of thing we were all supposed to be doing. It should not be so praiseworthy. I wonder if people are feeling “done” when they hit “send” on a petition or attended one (women’s) march. What are your thoughts on how to amp up the action just a bit? Calls & emails are necessary but not sufficient. For many people, even that is new and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone by implying they must do more, but I would like people to know they CAN do more.”
Yes we can! Let’s amp it up just a bit. This is Congressional break week. Wenstrup announced he wouldn’t be back here weeks ago. Chabot has been MIA for ages. Portman is learning how to make fast getaways. Nevertheless, here’s what we can do:
Tuesday, Feb 21, 9:45a: Visit the Un-Representative. Steve Chabot’s Carew Tower office, 441 Vine Street. People will deliver petitions to request town hall meetings.
Tuesday, Feb 21, 5:00p: Take the Town to Portman. Rob Portman’s downtown office: 312 Walnut St. 
Thursday, Feb 23, 10:30a: Welcome Mitch to NKY. Rally outside when guest of honor, Mitch McConnell, addresses the NKY/Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. Hotel Covington, 638 Madison Ave., Covington.  
Rob Portman wants constituents to write about their experiences with Obamacare. The language on his site makes it clear that he only wants disaster stories. Let’s make him hear from all of us. If you aren’t covered by the ACA and don’t have a story, maybe your daughter or nephew or bother-in-law has a positive story you can write about. After you submit your story, find others to submit theirs.
Since our members of Congress (MoCs) aren’t spending their break with us, call their offices. Talk about: 
ACA. A new, improved plan must:
– Cover at least as many people as are currently covered (32 million); it should be designed to increase coverage.
– Ensure Medicaid remains a fully-funded state-federal partnership, which guarantees access to all eligible low-income families and people with disabilities.
– Maintain the consumer protections in the ACA, including prohibitions against insurers from discriminating against the 133 million people with pre-existing conditions.
Tell the staffer you are not fooled by the term “universal access” to health care. As Bernie Sanders explained, he currently “has access” to buy a $10M house. But he doesn’t have $10M.
Trump’s Tax Returns: Representative Bill Pascrell (9-NJ) is circulating a sign-on letter that would instruct Congress to use its authority to get Trump’s returns via existing law that has been on the books for 90 years. Our senators and representative should sign this letter. 
Rob Portman:  513-684-3265 or other Portman offices 
Sherrod Brown: 513-684-1021
Brad Wenstrup: 513-474-7777
Steve Chabot: 513-684-2723
Want to know how your Congresspeople vote and where they stand on issues? Check! 
Tuesday Feb 21, 7:00-9:00p, New Riff Distillery, 25 Distillery Way, Newport, KY. Politics 101. A fun and interactive way to learn the basics, ask questions and become a focused/effective activist. All are welcome, but please RSVP. The Facebook link is the only way I found to RSVP. Contact me if you aren’t on FB and want to attend.
The calls are having an impact. Rep. Mark Sanford (1-SC, Republican) agreed to hold a town hall with the Charleston Indivisible group. Brian Mast (18-FL, Republican) announced he would hold a town hall after his constituents wrote a song asking him to listen. So, keep the calls going. But for those who are able, let’s do more.
The McConnell rally is sponsored by the N Ky. Women’s Network, NKY Democrats, NKY Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, NKY Unites!, United We Stand – Cincinnati and NKY Indivisible. I find the their tone inspiring:
“… we are going to rally outside to show Senator McConnell that we are ready to stand up for the rights of all Americans. We would like people to focus on the Affordable Care Act, the EPA, and messages of Inclusion. Our messages should be positive endoresments of our shared values (not anti-Trump messages).”
Thanks for your feedback. As always, let me know if you want off — and please forward to your friends.