While the provision making Election Day a federal holiday is quickly becoming one of the more polarizing parts of the House Democrats' political process overhaul bill, dubbed HR 1, one small city in Ohio has quietly and easily decided to make the move on its own.
Sandusky, a summertime destination on Lake Erie halfway between Toledo and Cleveland (population 26,000), will make the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November a holiday starting this fall – replacing Columbus Day. City commissioners made the move with minimal debate last week, just as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was deriding such an idea as a Democratic "power grab" on the Senate floor.
"What better way to celebrate the value of our employees and citizens than by removing barriers for them to participate in the greatest of American innovations, our democracy," the city government posted on Facebook.
"We are swapping them to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote," city manager Eric Wobser told the Sandusky Register. "It's also because Columbus Day has become controversial, and many cities have eliminated it as a holiday."
Several other cities have stopped observing Columbus Day or renamed it "Indigenous Peoples' Day," noting the poor treatment of Native Americans by Christopher Columbus and other European explorers. But the House Democratic legislation would retain Columbus Day as a federal holiday and add Election Day.
Election Day is a paid day off for state employees in 13 states. And a survey by the Pew Research Center last fall found 71 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans in favor of nationalizing the holiday.
Sandusky proper falls in the congressional district held by Democrat Marcy Kaptur, a cosponsor of HR 1, but some of its neighboring towns are represented by Jim Jordan, a Republican who has been one of the most vocal critics of the legislation.
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."