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A different contract for America

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"Fairness Agenda for America" is being offered as a liberal response to the "Contract with America" that shifted American politics to the right in 1994. Three Detroit-area Congress members -- Democratic Reps. John Conyers, Lynn Rivers and Carolyn Kilpatrick -- will take testimony Saturday in Ypsilanti and Sunday in Detroit on the agenda that ranges from environmental justice to affirmative action.

The Fairness Agenda, put together by the national Progressive Challenge coalition working with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also includes calls for dignified work, job creation, global nonviolence, social investment and campaign-finance reform. That these goals sound radical shows how far the nation has shifted to the right.

The coalition is pursuing the Fairness Agenda nationwide. Hearings have been held in Chicago and Oakland, CA. In Detroit, attention will focus on the living wage ballot initiative. Advocates of sweeping health care reform will also testify.

Locally, the coalition includes the Gray Panthers, Committees of Correspondence, Peace Action, Democratic Socialists of America, Alliance for Democracy, Catholic Caucus and many others. Says physician David Green, who helped organize the hearings, "Our short-term goal is to turn out the vote and pass the living wage proposal. Long-term, we want to expand this coalition. Expect more meetings."

For information, call 248-855-3169. Sessions will be held Saturday at the Washtenaw County Building Trades Council, 5300 Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, 10 a.m.-noon, and Sunday at U of D Mercy, 8200 W. Outer Drive, Room 202-B Marion Hall, 3-5 p.m.

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