Roger Wicker Against Kirsten Gillibrand Military Sex-Assault Bill

Roger Wicker against Kirsten Gillibrand military sex-assault bill: Politico

Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker said Tuesday he does not support a measure to remove the chain of command from military sexual assault cases.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) gained momentum last night with the support of Republican Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Ted Cruz, who backed the bill in committee.

“I think you have support on both sides of the aisle on my position that we need to come down heavy and hard on sexual assault, on sexual harassment, but we don’t need to take the commanders out of that decision when it involves the military,” Wicker said. “We can do a lot better, but to take the commanders out and the chain of command is not a step that we need to take. It would be unnecessary to resolve the problem and would be harmful, I think, to good order and discipline in the military.”

Wicker served in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve before retiring in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel, according to his Senate website. Several top military leaders, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, oppose

Sen. Wicker Plays Role in Senate Filibuster Deal

Sen. Wicker plays role in senate filibuster deal

Reid’s office has also been in touch with GOP senators led by John McCain overnight and early Tuesday. McCain has also been holding talks with Schumer. The two spoke repeatedly on Monday past 11 p.m., as they did throughout the weekend. Schumer said the tentative agreement was sparked by McCain’s doggedness — and Sen. Roger Wicker’s (R-Miss.) request to get all senators in one room together on Monday. Once they all were in the Old Senate Chamber it was clear an agreement could be reached, Schumer said.

Rep. Elijah Cummings Remarks on the Passing of Former Philadelphia Congressman Bill Gray

I am deeply saddened to acknowledge the passing of my friend, former Congressman William Gray.

Rep. Gray was a visionary leader whose efforts to enforce equality and pursue justice on the behalf of the often-overlooked laid the foundation for many of our great social service and civil rights organizations. The impact of his legacy has touched not just America, but American relations with other countries as well.

While his expertise and voice will be greatly missed, I know I join all of those whose lives he touched in committing to ensuring that we continue the fight for generations yet unborn.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore represents the 7th Congressional district from the State of Maryland.

The PULSE Stands With Texas Sen. Wendy Davis

The MS Political Pulse along with progressive Democrats across Mississippi are standing shoulder to shoulder tonight with Texas Democratic Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth. Davis is now entering the 10th hour of her filibuster against the far reaching anti abortion bill which would impose some of the harshest penalties to date.

Can you send her your personal story of why you support a woman’s right to choose? She needs more stories to read on the Senate floor TONIGHT.

Submit your story right now:Click link to submit your story

Political Power Player: Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen

Picking up here where I left off, I thought we would take a different tact. Our four previous guests have featured some of the brightest minds in state and regional politics. We’ve had a chance to talk to legislators and leaders within the parties they represent. These leaders are often recruited and trained by the true unsung heroes who invest a great deal of time and effort into ensuring our political officials have the resources needed to be effective and successful.

In the latest segment of our “Power Player’s” series, we interviewed Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen. Kimberly is the Director of the Political Institute for Women. The Political Institute for Women is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that trains women to run elected office and pursue careers in politics.

The Political Institute for Women has a Mississippi chapter which is led by former Greenville mayor, Heather McTeer-Toney. While Mississippi has made great strides over the years as it relates to women holding pubic office, there is still a ways to go. Currently, there are 31 women in the 174 member Mississippi Legislature and Treasurer Lynn Fitch and Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith are the only statewide elected officials.

In my opinion, one of the takeaways from the municipal elections was the lack of women candidates running statewide for various posts and being successful. Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran and Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams were obvious exceptions but for the most part the local politics continue to be male dominated across Mississippi. As a result, that is someting that the Political Institute for Women is working hard to change.

Please see my interview with Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen of the Political Institute for Women below

1) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What is the Political Institute for Women? How does it help women interested in politics?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: The Political Institute for Women is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that trains women to run for office, pursue careers in the political sector and be vocal, effective political activists in their communities. In additional to our women’s programming we host political summer camps and school programs for girls. It’s imperative that we plant the seeds of political leadership in girls early in life.

2) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What are the top 3 legislative priorities for the organization?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: We are focused solely on increasing the number of women running for office and working professionally in the political sector. We don’t set legislative priorities as an organization, our goal is to increase the numbers of women holding elective office and therefore positioned to take up legislative priorities that improve the lives of women and children.

3) MSPOLITICALPULSE: How did you get involved in politics?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: Soon after finishing college a number of friends begin pursuing political careers so initially I volunteered in a fundraising capacity in their campaigns. At the time I was serving on number of non-profit boards and volunteering to fundraise as a board member. In politics, unfortunately, money is where the “rubber meets the road” so I quickly got more involved in politics than I’d anticipated. In 2010 I took a position at the White House Project as a southern regional director. I had always supported women’s leadership and I quickly realized after working with Marie Wilson, that it would be difficult for women to make gains in other sectors if we didn’t secure more political power. After my tenure at the White House Project, I founded the Political Institute for Women and began also working as a political consultant.

4) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Who is your political role model? And why?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm is hands down my political role model. She was fearless, passionate, out-spoken and so unwaveringly dedicated to equality for women and African Americans. I truly believe her 1972 bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination paved the way for us to have Barack Obama become the first African American President of the United States.

5) MSPOLITICALPULSE: In what way(s) has the Political Institute for Women taken the lead to recruit women candidates?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: There are a number of organizations in existence that do what we do. I don’t think that one organization should or can take the lead. Politics is a local game. The political climate is difference from city to city, county to county and state to state. No one organization can have substantive presence in every community. We advise women after completing our training to first get involved with the organizations in her community. To successfully run for office she has to understand the political dynamic at work in her own backyard. The one way in which we have differentiated ourselves from organizations is that we have chosen to focus intently and solely on providing comprehensive political trainings and ongoing support for women. On a daily basis, including evenings and weekends we host at least two trainings through our online web-conference service or in cities where we have an office. If a woman decides to run for office today she doesn’t have to wait more than a few days to attend one of our trainings.

6) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Are you familiar with the Initiative 26 (Personhood Amendment) rejected by Mississippians in 2011? And what are your thoughts on it, if any?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: I am familiar with Initiative 26. First and foremost I am an ardent supporter of Roe v. Wade. Second, the Personhood Amendment would have been a nightmare to implement, particularly on its legal merits had Mississippians not struck it down. Realistically, I believe the true intent behind Initiative 26 was to provoke a lawsuit to challenge Roe v. Wade.

7) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Are you familiar with Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s comments that basically blamed the educational troubles facing the country on mother’s deciding to enter the workforce? And what are your thoughts on it, if any?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: I had the chance to watch Governor Bryant’s comments. Let me say now that I do not believe women entering the workforce has impacted education. Historically, poor and working-class mothers haven’t had the option of working vs. staying home. These mothers have had to work to provide for their families alongside their husbands. Now the political consultant in me thought he made a few missteps. First, he prefaced his comments with the “ya’ll might not like this” a few times before making his point. So clearly listeners were anticipating not liking his comment. I believe he does prefer that women be primary caregivers at home with their children but I also agree with the point he made that modern life poses time challenges for parents. I am fortunate to be able to pick my children up at dismissal from school each day. We are doing homework by 4pm and eating dinner just after 5:30pm. Almost daily I wonder how mothers and fathers that work until 5pm or 6pm have the time to sit down with their children to review school work and have dinner. I then think of those parents that work two jobs and get home when their children are in bed. We are now facing multi-faceted challenges that can’t be blamed on single factors and can’t be solved without comprehensive solutions that include social, economic and political reforms.

8 ) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What kinds of outreach and networks does the Political Institute for Women have in Mississippi? Across the southeastern region?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: In Mississippi we are getting up and running. We are honored and fortunate to have Heather McTeer-Toney, former Greenville Mayor and candidate for Congress, as our Mississippi State Director. She hosting trainings for women that want to run for office. Mississippi’s elections schedule offers many opportunities for women to run so again we are fortunate to have Heather working in the state. We host trainings in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. Having been born and raised in the South I am particularly interested in politically empowering women in the southeastern United States. We are also launching a separate 501c4 initiative, the Women in Politics Network. The Atlanta and Miami chapters of the network will launch this month, June.

9) MSPOLITICALPULSE: So here is a free space question; What would you want our readers to know?

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen: I close every interview, every speech with this message to women. Every woman in America is impacted by legislation enacted at every level of government. Therefore, every woman should be an active, engaged participant in the local, state and national political discourse. A woman can chose to be involved politically in many ways but at a minimum, every woman must be aware of those political issues that impact her life daily.

Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen is the Director of the Political Institute for Women and currently resides in Miami, Florida.

Jim Hood Takes on Google, and Wins!

Jim Hood takes on Google, and wins!

Ads for a number of websites selling pharmaceuticals without prescriptions have disappeared from Google search results, according to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who warned the company last week that he believes the ads violate its 2011 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Hood said on Monday that he now was sending a “litigation hold” letter to Google alerting the company of possible legal action and asking it to preserve evidence of any site it takes down. Hood, co-chairman of the National Association of Attorneys General’s intellectual property committee, says sites from which his investigators have been able to buy drugs without a prescription in the past have been taken down.

“Something’s gotten (Google’s) attention,” says Hood. “The problem is, after settling and paying a $500 million fine, they didn’t do anything for a year and a half. They don’t do anything proactive.”

“Google seemed to only act when USA TODAY ran a story,” says Tom Galvin, executive director of the group, “Google needs to stop treating this as a PR problem and remove offensive videos when they get scrutiny and start treating this as an Internet safety issue and police YouTube more effectively.”

Political Power Player: SC Democratic Party Chair Jamie Harrison

I thought we would do something different. Two weeks ago we ran our interview with Mississippi Democratic party Chairman Rickey Cole. Political Power Player: Rickey Cole We decided to expand this particular series and look at the newly elected Democratic Party Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party.

In the latest segment of our “Power Player’s” series, we interviewed newly elected South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Harrison. Palmetto State Democrats elected the Orangeburg native and attorney as their new chairman earlier this summer and he succeeded former chair, Dick Harpootlian. Harrison is the first African-American to lead South Carolina’s Democratic Party.

Harrison, 37, said he wants to create a “Democratic Dashboard” that will update activists on a quarterly basis on his fundraising progress. Harrison also said he wants to develop fundraising and voter-registration goals for party officers and state representatives in each county. Beyond building an infrastructure that can pave the way to electing more Democrats in South Carolina, Chairman Harrison wants to also change the way voters look at the Democratic Party. “There are a lot of particularly white voters in this state who think of the Democratic Party as just the black party. And my mission is to change that,” he said. “South Carolina isn’t a Republican state. It’s a conservative state. And there’s a difference.

Jamie stated shortly after being elected chair that his top priority was winning the May 7th Special Election in Congressional District 1 on South Carolina’s Atlantic Coast. Former governor and avid Appalachian Trail hiker, Mark Sanford, ultimately prevailed but Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch made the race competitive and proved the party could compete even in the most conservative leaning districts.

Check out our Interview with South Carolina Democratic Party Chair, Attorney Jamie Harrison

1) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Why did you run for state party chair?

Jamie Harrison: Most people seek elected office or get involved in politics because they want to make a difference and improve their communities. I am no different. I was tired of seeing Republican Governors and members of the state legislature block or throw away opportunities to help all of those in our state- rich or poor. From refusing to bring our tax dollars home in federal education stimulus funds, to denying healthcare to hundreds of thousands through medicaid expansion, I was simply fed up and believed that enough was enough. Because of my experiences working on Capitol Hill, I felt that I had the skills to help rebuild the state Democratic Party and take back the governorship and other arms of the government for the betterment of all South Carolinians.

2) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What are your top 3 priorities heading into the next round of elections?

Jamie Harrison: 1) Rebuild the Party by implementing a 46 county strategy and investing in our county party infrastructure and recruiting talented candidates. 2) Grow the Party by reaching out to various untouched segments of the South Carolina populace: young people, independents, hispanic groups, and rural communities. 3) Win- my goal is to create a coalition of supporters so that we can change the leadership and direction of our state. My crown jewel is the governorship which I hope we can win back to move the state forward again.

3) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Who is your political role model? And why?

Jamie Harrison: I have always admired President Harry S. Truman. He was a simple man from humble beginnings, but yet he took several courageous steps to do what he believed to be right one such step was his efforts to begin desegregating the military.

4) MSPOLITICALPULSE: How will you work to make the South Carolina Democratic Party more accessible?

Jamie Harrison: We are working on several things to make the SCDP more accessible and transparent. Simple things like providing constituent groups with a designated time to update the party leadership at executive committee meetings, establishing office hours for the Chair of the Party, and having town halls with college students and professionals will go a long way to communicate that this is a different Democratic party.

5) MSPOLITICALPULSE: In what way(s) will you take the lead in working to ensure the party is helping to elect more Democrats?

Jamie Harrison: Recruiting good and qualified candidates is essential to our success. The party will stand up a Candidate Recruitment and Training committee that will survey the state looking for qualified candidates for the 2014 election cycle. Once we have identified those candidates we will beginning a process of training and preparing these candidates for the rough and tumble world of electoral politics.

In addition, I have begun working with the leaders of the House and Senate to ensure that we have a unified message coming from Democrats in the legislature as well as the leadership of the party. A harmonized message is also important to our success in 2014.

6) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Were you satisfied with this past legislative session?

Jamie Harrison: The Republican controlled legislature and Governor Nikki Haley showed yet again that they are not capable of running SC’s government and fighting for the best interests of all citizens. This legislature has failed to accept our tax dollars back in state and allow medicaid expansion, they have failed to pass meaningful ethics reform, infrastructure investments, education or tax reform and the list goes on and on. We can do better and if the voters will have faith in the new Democratic Party we will demonstrate the difference a change in leadership makes.

Jamie Harrison is a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina and currently serves as the Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He is also a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Maryland Lt. Gov Anthony Brown Names Ulman as His Running Mate

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and I in Charlotte for the DNC

From the Baltlimore Sun

Brown hoping to join MA Gov. Deval Patrick as one of only two African American governors.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown named Howard County Executive Ken Ulman his running mate Monday morning, presenting the first declared Democratic ticket in the 2014 Maryland governor’s race.

Appearing together before a crowd of hundreds in Columbia, the men praised each other’s records on health care and education during their first dual campaign event. Two more stops are scheduled for Cambridge and Largo Monday.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, issued his expected endorsement of the Brown-Ulman ticket, saying the pair “offer Maryland the most competent and caring leadership team.”

Ulman had considered his own bid to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, but ultimately choose to join Brown. “The decision was simple,” Ulman told the crowd.

Brown, who has been lieutenant governor for six years, said he wants to continue to build on the record of the O’Malley-Brown administration. He touted Maryland’s new gun control law as well as its preparation to implement the Affordable Care Act next year. “Maryland is a great state, but we can make it better,” Brown said.