*Published with the generous permission of David Pepper. Read and watch more of his work here.
By David Pepper
What’s happening in East Palestine, Ohio, is a tragic symbol of the fate of communities when their interests are pitted against the big-money corporate agenda that dominates so many states and the GOP. Communities pay the price over and over.
Let's push fiercely for an alternative agenda that LIFTS struggling communities and protects them from corporate excesses. Not just by making rails safer but by pushing for investments and changes that lift them in other key ways.
President Biden has begun this important work already. Let’s keep building from there. And if Republicans want to complain that not enough is being done, let’s call their bluff, push for more, and have a vote for the entire nation to witness.
Start with rail itself—adding regulations on electronic brakes & hazardous chemicals while getting workers at the table to listen to and act on their concerns. But then go far bigger and deeper into what’s holding so many communities back in a tough 21st-century economy.