A growing movement known as Occupy Wall Street drew backing from organized labor. On Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke out about the need for Wall Street reform on The Thom Hartmann Program. With the leaves turning and winter weather fast approaching in Vermont, Sanders on Thursday asked President Obama to rethink a proposal to slash home heating assistance for families struggling to pay rising fuel bills. On Wednesday, the senator addressed postal workers rallying to save the mail delivery service, and their jobs.
Occupy Wall Street
"What I appreciate about what is going on in New York right now is there is a spotlight being focused on Wall Street. We desperately need that," Sanders said. "If we're going to get out of this recession, if we're going to create the millions of jobs that we desperately need, we need real Wall Street reform. If we are going to create a situation where capital is going to flow into the productive economy, into manufacturing, into rebuilding our infrastructure, into transforming our energy system, rather than continuing the casino type games that Wall St. is playing right now, we need a lot of pressure on Wall Street," he said. Watch Bernie on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann"
Home Heating Assistance
Warning of a "severe winter health emergency," Sanders on Thursday urged President Obama to budget at least $5.1 billion in the coming year for home heating assistance, twice what the White House sought in its budget blueprint. "At a time when heating oil prices are projected to skyrocket, and when Vermonters and people throughout the country continue to struggle through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, I would urge you to make it clear to Congress and the American people that LIHEAP must be fully funded at no less than $5.1 billion," Sanders said in a letter delivered to the White House.
Speaking Wednesday at a rally of Postal Service workers in Burlington's City Hall Park, Sanders announced he will introduce legislation to preserve and modernize the mail system. "There is no need to slash six-day delivery, shut down rural post offices or lay off over 100,000 workers," Bernie said. Vermont has 15 post offices and two major processing facilities on the chopping block. "We can solve this problem in a better way," the senator said. Read more
The Vermont National Guard has installed solar panels that will provide nearly 1.5 megawatts of clean energy at its Vermont National Guard base at Burlington International Airport. The array of solar panels is the second largest solar project at any National Guard base nationwide, the most significant solar installation at any military base in New England, and one of the largest solar installations in Vermont. Sanders obtained funding for the project and worked closely with Major General Michael Dubie and his staff as this innovative energy project was installed. The solar panels will save the Guard nearly $225,000 in energy costs every year and help move our country toward energy independence. "We are all proud that the Vermont National Guard has become a model for our military and our nation in terms of sustainable energy," Sanders said in remarks prepared for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday.
The Champlain Housing Trust, create in 1984 during the Sanders administration at Burlington City Hall, celebrated the 500th home in an affordable home ownership program this week. The innovative and effective housing program won the prestigious United Nations World Habitat Award in 2008. Read Bernie's remarks and watch more on WPTZ
Vermont is in line to receive up to $3.1 million over the next five years as part of one of the country's largest investments ever in promoting good health. The new national initiative also will limit spending by avoiding costly, chronic diseases in the first place. "In America today millions of people are dying prematurely and are suffering from diseases because of smoking and poor diets," Sanders said. "Investing in disease prevention and healthier life styles will not only save lives and ease human suffering, it will also save health care dollars." Vermont's congressional delegation had urged U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to include Vermont in the first round of grants. Read more