Friday, December 28, 2007

News roundup: Boyda in Turkey, KS GOP reveals efforts to suppress voters

Apologies for the frequency of posts- we're still recovering from Christmas (though our vacations are all over already).

Three stories to tell you about: first, Congresswoman Boyda continues her trip to the Mideast, spending Wednesday meeting with officials in Turkey. Boyda said in an interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal the meeting with Turkish officials revolved around efforts to improve relations between Turkey and the United States. Those relations have been strained since Turkey started to conduct air raids in north Iraq against Kurdish separatists.

"[Relations are] at a low point," Boyda said Wednesday during a telephone call from Turkey to The Topeka Capital-Journal. "We couldn't ask for a worse time to put this relationship in jeopardy."

"We understand they have to fight the terrorists wherever they are, but a stabilized Iraq is (best for) everyone in the area," said Boyda, a Democrat from Topeka who represents the 2nd Congressional District.
The article also mentions Boyda's trip will be cut short due to Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) becoming ill. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Next, the AP ran a story saying Congresswoman Boyda and other members of the Kansas delegation made a significant contribution to the 2007 session.
Overall, the Democrat-controlled Congress could point to some major accomplishments. Wielding power in Congress for the first time in more than a decade, Democrats increased the minimum wage, cut financial aid costs for college students, implemented key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and passed an energy bill that boosts fuel economy standards in cars and requires refiners to use 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022 - a six-fold increase over today.
The article also provides an explanation for Congresswoman Boyda's and Congressman Dennis Moore's (D-KS) vote against the final version of the Alternative Minimum Tax fix.

Congress also approved a last-minute fix to keep 20 million people from getting hit by a major tax increase. But in doing so, Democratic leaders broke their pledge to offset any tax cut or spending increase with other moves that would avoid adding to the deficit.

"These have been good steps forward, but let's face it, Washington is a troubled town, weighed down by partisanship and infighting," said Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda, of Topeka. "I just hope that in 2008, we can bring Democrats and Republicans together and get our jobs done."

Boyda and Rep. Dennis Moore, of Lenexa, were among 64 Democrats who voted against the "patch" to the Alternative Minimum Tax. Moore, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats who push fiscal responsibility, said he could not support a measure that would saddle future generations with more debt.

It should be remembered Boyda was fully supportive (and voted for) the paid-for version of the fix that the House passed earlier this year.

Finally, that article provides a snapshot of Boyda's successes in 2007, and part of her 2008 plans:

Boyda spent 2007 working to distance herself from more liberal-leaning party leaders, yet it was Democratic leaders who helped her sponsor or co-sponsor more than $190 million worth of earmarks, or pet projects, for her district in the massive spending bill Congress approved before leaving for the Christmas recess. That included millions in improvements for Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth.

Next year, Boyda plans to focus on problems with the North American Free Trade Agreement and the role of trade in the U.S. economy.

Last, but not least, our friends over at Blue Tide Rising exposed the KS GOP's efforts to suppress likely Democratic voters through "caging." According to the Lawrence Journal-World:

Mike Gaughan, executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, said, “Vote caging is a pretty direct form of voter suppression.”

One form of vote caging is when a political party sends registered mail to an address of a registered voter. If the mail is returned as undeliverable, the voter will be challenged by the party as having a fraudulent voter registration. In the past, there have been reported incidents of caging lists targeting predominantly minority districts that tend to vote for Democrats.

Gaughan noted that the Republican Party has said it will make a major effort to try to win back the 2nd Congressional District, which includes western Lawrence. U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, a Democrat, won that seat last year by defeating a five-term incumbent Republican, Jim Ryun.

It's also illegal. Or, if you believe KS GOP Executive Director Christian Morgan:
“It’s just a term of art,” Morgan said of caging voters.
Happy New Year, folks.

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This blog is not affiliated in any way with the Kansas Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, or the campaign to re-elected Congresswoman Nancy Boyda. All commentary herein not directly attributed must be considered the opinion of the authors of this blog and not of any other individual, including Congresswoman Nancy Boyda.