#NativeVote16 – A letter to the first Native American president

Minn. Rep. Peggy Flanagan. (Ojibwe) speaking ar the Democratic Convention. (C-SPAN)


For those not near C-SPAN, Rep Peggy Flanagan (Ojibwe) speaking at DNC this afternoon. #NativeVote16 Video is here.

Short but eloquent. She read a letter to her future president daughter about the challenges and the promises found in politics & organizing.

“I am a proud citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe,” she said. “Politics is not always fun. Sometimes you run into some pretty mean people who don’t like you for simply being you. Like that naughty guy Donald Trump on TV. The one who says all those nasty things about women. And about Native Americans like us. I’m so sorry you have to hear that, my girl, your name is not Pocahontas. .. Despite everything that’s happened to our people, and no matter what Donald Trump said, we are still here.”

She said she wanted her daughter to grow up “our people’s values, honoring our elders, showing gratitude to our warriors, cherishing our children as gifts from the creator.”

That means having a president who shares those same values and “that’s why we have a Hillary sign on our front lawn. We can trust her to keep our women safe, our veterans well cared for, and keep the promises that the UNited States has made to our tribes.”

Flanagan told her daughter that Clinton, “like your mommy,” worked at the Children’s’ Defense Fund and then later ran for office. “And the bullies did not like that at all, but Hillary did not let them stop her. She never lets bullies stop her and neither should you.”

“You can’t run to be the first Native American president until you are 35,” Flanagan said. “But you can come knock on doors for Hillary with me this fall. I’ll be so so proud to bring you with me to vote for her on Nov. 8. And someday, I’ll vote for you.”

#NativeVote16 – Investing in coal (or better, a transition away from coal)


Quick point:

I thought Hillary Clinton’s conversation with a coal miner was the most interesting moment on the campaign yesterday.
Of course it’s time to “leave it in the ground.” And rethink fracking. But energy policy is far more complicated than a slogan. What will it do to reservation families if an end to fracking pushes gas prices back to $4 or $5 a gallon? How do we at the same time: reduce carbon emissions, keep energy costs affordable, and keep people working?
And how much of an investment will be required to create clean energy jobs (and help the workforce make that transition)? And how do we do that with a Congress that would rather drill & mine?

This will be an election issue in Montana’s House race between Democrat Denise Juneau and Ryan Zinke. The Republican incumbent has made this an issue, recently introducing legislation for a permanent tax credit for reservation mines. Zinke said: “We want to create as few economic burdens as possible, especially since tribal lands are subject to greater regulatory hurdles compared to private, state, or federal projects. Making the tax credit permanent will empower tribal governments by promoting economic and social growth. Coal-producing tribes, such as the Crow Nation, will have a greater capacity to create jobs and invest in critical projects like infrastructure and education.”

But a key part of that plan is the Gateway Terminal Pacific export terminal in Washington state, a project that Northwest tribes oppose because of its impact on the environment and salmon.

My piece on the politics of leaving coal in the ground:

Brookings has another idea: A carbon tax to help mining families. A key point from the piece: “What coalfield communities need now is to move on their transition before things get worse. To do that, they need funding, which a carbon tax is uniquely suited to provide.”