MIAMI: The Hon. Shirley Chisholm dies

A powerful, intelligent and courageous voice for justice, equality and peace has been stilled. The first Black woman elected to Congress, Shirley Chisholm, died at the age of 80 on Jan. 1. The daughter of Caribbean immigrant workers, Chisholm won her seat in 1968, representing the Bedford-Stuyvesant community of her native Brooklyn, N.Y., and served 14 years in the House.

In 1972, Chisholm became the first African American to run for the presidential nomination of a major party when she ran for the Democratic Party nomination. She garnered 152 delegates to the convention. “I ran for the presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo,” she wrote in her book, “The Good Fight.”

Once discussing what her legacy might be, Chisholm commented, “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts.” And she did.

SEATTLE: After third vote tally, winner declared

The third time around proved the charm for voters and Democrat Christine Gregoire. The second statewide recount has resulted in a shift in the winner of the Washington state governor’s race. Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed certified Gregoire as the winner by 129 votes on Dec. 30, some 58 days after the election.

Dino Rossi, the Republican, was declared the winner following the Nov. 2 election, but his lead was less than 300 votes out of 2.8 million cast. This triggered an automatic machine recount, which narrowed his lead to 42 votes. The State Democratic Party, as required by state law, put up over $700,000 for a second, hand recount.

The recounts exposed rampant problems. Uncounted votes were found in many counties. Absentee and provisional ballots were wrongly disqualified.

Already the closest governor’s race in the country’s history, the results may face a Republican challenge. Rossi has not conceded, though when he was thought to be the winner by 42 votes, he called on Gregoire to concede. He is calling for a revote.

MUSKEGON, Mich.: Poverty stalks hundreds of thousands

School-age poverty affects more than 220,000 people in Michigan. But a recent article in the Muskegon Chronicle titled “Agencies struggle to meet medical needs of the poor” highlighted the stark reality for poor people without health care.

While those living in poverty with medical needs rose last year, a federal funding freeze for programs went into effect July 1. At the time of the freeze, state aid was budgeted for 63,000 people. The numbers now exceed 89,000, leaving the state’s various charities scrambling to meet the medical needs of the poor.

From cancer and AIDS to diabetes and heart disease, the poor face life threatening health problems. “Many are homeless, living friend to friend. Thirty dollars for a prescription may not seem like much, but when you have no income it may as well be $300,” said Cheryl Schneider of Muskegon Care.

HARRISBURG, Pa.: Keystone State trades with Cuba

It’s official. Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff announced Jan. 3 that farmers will begin trading with Cuba. Cubans are buying 200 Holstein dairy cows from Pennsylvania farmers in this first ever deal for a state struggling with continued job loss and declining population.

In April 2004, Wolff led a trade delegation to Havana. They discussed selling the socialist country apples, eggs, meat, and processed food and made arrangements with the Port of Philadelphia. Wolff said experience gained from the Cuba deal would also help the state negotiate trade with China.

In 2002, state Rep. Michael Diven spearheaded a successful effort to establish a state-to-state relationship with Matanzas, Cuba.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Cities demand ‘troops home’

It started Nov. 2, when San Francisco voters, by a 66 percent majority, approved a ballot proposition to bring home U.S. troops occupying Iraq. Then, on Jan. 3, Cities for Peace, affiliated with the Institute for Policy Studies, and United for Peace and Justice announced a campaign to pass city and town resolutions calling on Congress and President Bush to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.

Amherst and Cambridge, Mass., and Arcate, Calif., have heeded the call and passed such resolutions. The Vermont Network on Iraq War Resolutions has drafted a resolution to be introduced in town meetings throughout the state. Draft resolutions and letters are available at the Cities for Peace web site (

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards ( Marc Brodine, Julia Lutsky and Brian McAfee contributed to this week’s clips.