Monday, September 1, 2014

How I spent Labor Day

Congressional candidate Dave Koller and I discuss the issues.
Wow. A three-day weekend. It doesn't mean so much to me since I retired from the normal working world. I do have my own business, creating things. And that goes on every day. But, this is Labor Day and there are pressing issues out there that involve labor in this country, that won't be fixed with a clever line or two on Facebook. Instead of indulging ourselves in an afternoon of laziness, we went to a Wage War rally  -- a picnic-in-the-park event held by the Hernando County Democratic Party, to support American workers and the need to raise minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. You may have a different opinion, but for us this was the most appropriate way to mark Labor Day.

As billed there was music performed by Jennifer McRae and Louie Palmer who sang and played guitar, and a DJ. There was free picnic food, a line of tables with information and petitions on supporting the vote for Medical Marijuana to protesting strip mining and GMOs.  There was a lot of reminders to vote, please vote.

The point for today's Wage War rally was to protest the despicably low incomes millions of workers in our state are forced to accept. We signed a petition to raise the state's minimum wage rate to $10.10 an hour. Everyone deserves to earn enough to take care of themselves and their families. Raising wages for workers on the bottom of the scale would not have such an effect on large corporations  that they would have to raise prices on their goods -- or at least honest corporations wouldn't find such action necessary. These very large businesses are raking in record-breaking profits, on the backs of their lowest-tier of employees. And in a lot of cases, taxpayers are footing the bill for medical care and food stamps to supplement what these large corporations are not providing.

There weren't a whole lot of people at the rally lots of  apathy going around. Those who were there are genuine in their concerns, including three candidates running for county commission, state house of representatives and U.S. Congress. I applaud all those who took the afternoon  to show their concern and bolster one another in the name of labor and fair pay for every American citizen.

I had a chance to discuss this issue and more with  Dave Koller who is running to represent Florida's District 11 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Koller is running against incumbent (and Tea Party favorite) Richard Nugent, who has never appeared to have had any intentions of serving everyone in his district. In my opinion he points his nose in the air and says crude things about those he doesn't like or those who think differently. There is no thought or consideration for anyone else's view -- he never even pretends to look at an issue in another way before making any decisions.

So, it was refreshing to hear Koller address how he plans to serve our district -- with an open mind, ears and an unbreakable commitment to include every resident's needs in his votes and decisions. Koller had spent his life working with and for the disabled. He says he understands what's needed to serve someone's needs and get tasks done. Koller gets it. He doesn't pretend it would be easy satisfying everyone from Tea Party right to the left leaningest liberal. The way Koller sees it, his job,and the job of Congress, is finding solutions to get whatever needs done, done.

An example is gun laws and the extreme views found everywhere in our country. Koller says he doesn't support the NRA's stand, but thinks the only logical solution is to enforce laws, tighten loopholes and to listen to various opinions, respect the holders of those opinions and try to vote his conscience when hot button issues await the vote of Congress.

He seems to be a moderate in the truest sense of the word -- he's for the give-and-take of politics and not always interested in the so-called party line. At least that's the impression I was left with after chatting with him for about 15 minutes prior to the speech-making portion of the afternoon.

Koller has a lot of great ideas and I really enjoyed our chat. Later, when he spoke to the group about his run for congress and views on raising the minimum wage, he touched on many of the same points. Too bad more residents in this district didn't get a chance to meet and listen.

Koller speaks at Wage War rally.

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