South Dakota: Herseth takes lead in House race

Democrat Stephanie Herseth is giving four-term Republican Governor William Janklow the race of his career in the battle for the state’s single seat in the House of Representatives.

A poll conducted just after Labor Day by KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, showed Herseth leading Janklow, 44 percent to 41 percent. Congress Daily called the race “too close to call” and the Congressional Quarterly changed its prediction from “favored Republican” to “leaning Republican.”

Herseth is endorsed by NOW, the South Dakota Education Association and Professional Fire Fighters of South Dakota.

Maine: UAW member campaigns at grassroots forum

Chellie Pingree, Democratic nominee for Senate, campaigning across this rural state recently stopped to speak to over 80 people at a grassroots forum in Norway discussing the pending war on Iraq and economic issues. Pingree, a member of the United Auto Workers, called for federal spending to relieve human suffering instead of war. Globalization and jobs are high on her agenda as well.

Massachusetts: Latinos making history

For the first time in Bay State history, four Latinos will serve in the state legislature at the same time, including, for the first time, the State Senate. Census figures indicate that 7 percent of the state’s population is Latino, but 14 percent of Bostonians are Hispanic and in Lawrence, 60 percent of the population is Latino.

In the Sept. 17 primary, two Democratic incumbents – Cheryl Rivera and Jose Santiago – and former aide to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Jeffery Sanchez, all won nomination in their state house districts. Jarrett Barrios won the Democratic primary for the Cambridge-area state senate seat.

Latino candidates ran on “working families” platforms, focusing on economic issues.

Iowa: Jeffords campaigns for Harkin

Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), whose dramatic departure from the Republican Party last year tipped control of the Senate, is fighting to keep Democratic control of the Senate in a nail-biting midterm election year. Jeffords is lending a hand, traveling to states with tough Senate races, like the one facing Iowa’s Sen. Tom Harkin.

“The administration had abused their power,” Jeffords said. “I’m campaigning to make sure that we retain control of the Senate.”

During a speech Sept. 22 in Iowa, Jeffords criticized the GOP for its stance on the environment and education funding. Jeffords charged that the Bush administration abused its power when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress during the first six months of the president’s term.

“I wish more people had a backbone like that,” said Marilyn McManus, a retiree from nearby Waukee, who rushed to shake Jeffords’ hand at the conclusion of his remarks.

Arizona: No War with Iraq

The weekly peace vigil at the Tucson Federal Building, ongoing since 1981, has grown in response to the Bush administration’s rushing toward war with Iraq.

The American Friends Service Committee is busy with a video presentation to deepen understanding of the Iraq crisis and is circulating petitions to halt the Bush fast track to war.

A standing room only crowd heard Professor David Gibbs of the University of Arizona denounce the administration’s justification for war. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom organized the forum.

Thousands of post cards addressed to President Bush, reading “No Attack on Iraq,” printed by the Tucson Club of the Communist Party, are being grabbed up and sent out.

Tripping over the kids to answer the phone?

Telemarketing is a $600 billion industry and growing, with six million workers in the U.S. alone.

In an AARP survey, 74 percent of residents in Missouri, Michigan and Minnesota said telemarketing is “an invasion of their privacy” and an “unwelcomed intrusion.”

In mid-September, Pennsylvania joined 27 other states in regulating telemarketers because they believe pending action by the Bush Federal Trade Commission against phone sales is too weak. Regulations include a “do not call” list.