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This week in wins: Cherokee Nation will finally get its first congressional delegate

Wins for voters in North Carolina and California, as well as the first congressional delegate from the Cherokee Nation, are worth celebrating this week.

By Dan Desai Martin - September 06, 2019
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Kimberly Teehee, Cherokee Nation delegate

In addition to the first congressional delegate from the Cherokee Nation, this weeks’ wins include victories on issues like immigration and ways to ensure financial security in a gig economy. A new bill moving forward in California and a court ruling against gerrymandering in North Carolina will help ensure all voters choose their politicians, rather than politicians choosing their voters.

Here is some good news for the week.

Kimberly Teehee to become first congressional delegate from Cherokee Nation

In a historic first, the Cherokee Nation will send a delegate to Congress, utilizing a provision from an 1835 treaty for the first time, NPR reported on Tuesday.

Kimberly Teehee, a former appointee during the Obama administration, was recently approved by the tribe’s council. The same treaty that allows a congressional delegate led to the Trail of Tears, when thousands of Cherokees lost their ancestral homeland and many lost their lives.

“Literally blood, sweat and tears,” Teehee said. “We can’t ignore that history and what it meant for us to have a provision like that put in place given the devastation that occurred and the deaths that occurred.”

As a delegate, Teehee will be assigned to committees and play a role in influencing legislation, as well as be a voice for not only the Cherokee Nation but for other tribes as well.

Court forces North Carolina to draw new, fairer election maps

In a victory against political gerrymandering, a state court in North Carolina is forcing the legislature to draw new maps, ruling the current map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered by Republicans.

The court ordered the Republican legislature to redraw the maps in the next two weeks, vowing to appoint someone to do it for them if they can’t accomplish the task in that time.

“If fairer districts are implemented for 2020, they could put Democrats in striking distance of a majority in one or both chambers,” Stephen Wolf of Daily Kos Elections wrote about the ruling.

Virginia officials finally rename highway, removing name of Confederate racist

A street crew in Arlington, Virginia, was spotted Thursday changing road signs along U.S. Highway 1, which the county renamed Richmond Highway. Previously, the stretch of road was Jefferson Davis Highway, named after the only president of the Confederacy.

“Jefferson Davis had no known connection to this region …. and the very designation … was a direct and antagonistic response to the proposed Lincoln Highway,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said in May.

The highway was built in 1922, long after Davis’s failed attempt to leave the United States.

California parolees could soon get the right to vote

In a bipartisan Thursday vote, the California Assembly passed a bill to give parolees the right to vote. The bill was supported by two-thirds of the Assembly and now moves on the state Senate.

If the Senate approves the measure, voters in 2020 will determine if almost 50,000 parolees in the state will be allowed to vote.

“This comes down to doing the right thing by supporting our fight for voting justice and helping rehabilitate individuals back into our communities,” Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, the bill’s author, said, according to Courthouse News. “Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6 supports California’s values, makes our communities safer and strengthens our democracy.”

Palestinian student finally granted visa to attend Harvard

Ismail Ajjawi, a Palestinian student, will begin classes at Harvard this fall after being granted a visa on Monday, the New York Times reported. Ajjawi was denied entry to the U.S. last month at a Boston airport but has now been allowed into the country, according to Amideast, the group that sponsored him.

Ajjawi was initially denied entry because immigration officials objected to social media posts of his friends.

He made it to Harvard in time to start classes this fall and hopes to eventually become a doctor.

Colorado now has an Office of Future Work

On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order creating a new office focused on the future workforce of Colorado.

The Office of Future Work, which will be housed in the state’s Department of Labor, will research the rapidly changing economy in the state and offer recommendations of how to deal with the rapid pace of change.

“We want to get ahead of the gig economy,” Polis told Colorado Politics. “We want to make sure people in the shared gig economy have a retirement that they can look forward to. Social Security isn’t enough.”

Come back next week for more good news.


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