Meli and David: We Depend on Medicaid

Meli and David used to live on the streets. Because their dogs were not allowed at the shelter, David would take of the dogs at night, and Meli would stay at the shelter. David would sleep during the day when Meli could keep an eye on him. A year ago, the Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality (RISE) helped get David and Meli into a weekly motel, where they have been staying ever since. They are happy to have a roof over their head, a warm place to stay in the winter, and a supportive community around them. In thanks, they volunteer every week with RISE.

Meli and David

Due to their new found housing, David has been able to get a job with the TSA at the Reno-Tahoe airport. Meli is disabled and remains at home to care for their dogs. They both qualify for Medicaid.

“I have diabetes, high blood pressure, the list just goes on,” says Meli. “Medicaid covers my medications and my doctor’s visits.” David has had several heart attacks in the past, and remains at risk. Through their doctors at the Community Health Alliance and through the medical support they get thanks to Medicaid, they are able to manage their health conditions, allowing David to work and ensuring that their conditions do not deteriorate and require more intensive medical attention.

“I don’t need insulin yet,” said Meli, “let’s hope it stays that way.” Meli monitors her blood sugar and glucose levels through a glucometer, which she was able to obtain through Medicaid. This ensures that she remains healthy to the point where she does not need insulin injections.

Medicaid cuts could threaten the lives that Meli and David have built this past year. We must fight to ensure that the Senate and House do not pass a bill that will hurt Meli and David.

Every version of the bills introduced to cut, repeal, or replace Obamacare ends the Medicaid expansion and drastically cuts and caps the entire Medicaid program. This could ensure that people like Meli and David face severe cuts to their current health coverage. This would all be done to support a plan in which 99.6% of tax cuts go to the wealthiest 1% of households.

Meli and David should not face drastic threats to their finally stable lives in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. Please stand with Meli and David and oppose any healthcare bill that would threaten Medicaid.

This week’s Senate Repeal vote is critical and your calls matter!  Key moderate Republicans need to hear from faith leaders and constituents, including Senator Heller (NV). Use this number: 1-866-426-2631 and sample script.


My Day Lobbying for Consumer Protection

By Sara DePaoli

Thanks to ACTIONN, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and Consumers Union, I was fortunate to represent Nevada at the Consumer Lobby Day in Washington DC this past May. I was able to join three other Renoites in representing Nevada.

The experience began with an extensive training, which allowed us to effectively share our stories with our legislators. We spent several hours reviewing the primary talking points and role-playing talking to different senators and representatives.

After a pep talk from the amazing SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (fans self*), we were ready to go out and lobby for consumer protection and regulatory reform. Our primary talking points were the payday loan, prepaid accounts rule, and the CHOICE Act.

The Payday loan rule primarily helps protect consumers from payday lenders making loans at 200% to 400% APR without regard to ability to repay. This is one of many problems with current payday lenders that hurt consumers on a daily basis. It is a particularly serious problem in Nevada where casinos often take advantage of these lending services.

The prepaid accounts rule protects consumers against fraud, unauthorized charges and errors, and would require companies to clearly state all fees. To paint a picture, think of a nutrition label for all account fees. Many companies in northern Nevada pay their employees with prepaid cards and there is a huge number of hidden fees that are not clearly stated when a person receives a prepaid card. Imagine discovering that your prepaid card charges you $2 to check your balance and $3 for each withdrawal. And if you overdraft, you’ll be charged $35 per overdraft. This only deepens a vulnerable consumer’s debt cycle. This rule is an easy to fix problem that would save consumers thousands of dollars.


During the lobby visits, we met with one of Senator Heller’s staffers, Senator Cortez-Masto, and Representative Ruben Kihuen’s staffer, Mark Snyder.

Senator Heller’s staffer stated that Senator Heller does not support the current structure of CFPB or increased regulations on payday lending and transparency for prepaid card holders, but does support the CHOICE ACT. The staff said he would relay our concerns to Senator Heller.

Senator Cortez-Masto and Mark Snyder from Representative Kihuen’s office were both extremely supportive of the measures. Senator Cortez-Masto reassured us she is on our side. Mark Snyder spoke about Representative Kihuen’s dedication to consumer protections and assured us he supports the CFPB.

I have met with state senators and assembly members, but never with congressional representatives. My experience with Senator Heller’s staff was frustrating. I understand that the Senator and I have very different ideas of what is best for Nevada, but I was most frustrated because I didn’t feel heard. In 40 minutes of conversation, the staffer failed to write down any notes, despite claims that he would relay our concerns to the Senator. While I hope that those concerns were relayed, I did not feel that my voice was heard.

On the other hand, Senator Cortez-Masto was kind, listened to our stories with concern, and shared her own thoughts and concerns about consumer protections. Her staff was incredibly welcoming, well-spoken, and genuine. Mark Snyder was no different. We talked as if we had all known each other for years. Mark spent almost a full hour with us, listening to our stories, talking about consumer protections, and talking about what several of these processes look like from the inside.

This trip was truly an inspiration. It was reassuring to see with my own eyes that the people we chose to represent us are good, kind, brilliant people. And they are fighting for us every day.

If anyone has the chance to attend a Lobby Day in the future, do it. If there is a bill that will affect you and you want to talk to meet with a representative. Do it. Make the call. Schedule the meeting. Go to the city council meeting. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have. Tell your story. Be impossible to ignore. You have more support than you think. If you aren’t sure about how to go about lobbying, please reach out to ACTIONN for support. They’re there to help.


Job Announcement: Administrative Assistant Organizer

Job Announcement – Administrative Assistant Organizer

ACTIONN is seeking an experienced Administrative Assistant Organizer to join our team! ACTIONN works to organize a powerful multi-faith community organization to create structural change in Northern Nevada. ACTIONN is a member of the PICO National Network.



Responsibilities: An Administrative Assistant Organizer with ACTIONN works as the internal organizer of data, communications, and events. Communication with external persons including clergy and congregation leaders occurs regularly. Our current portfolio of issues includes economic justice, immigration reform, and civic engagement. Interested applicants should have a demonstrated passion for these issues.  This person will join a small staff team and many congregation leaders.

Responsibilities include:  

  • Data base management – add new persons and changes to database; update and train others to use efficiently.  
  • Event logistics – work closely with congregation leaders to plan and implement large public events.  
  • Donor management and fundraising – manage system to bill donors on an ongoing basis, build relationships with donors, and manage fundraising opportunities.
  • Communication – send out notices and call prospects to attend meetings and events; create and send newsletters
  • Conduct 1-1s with new and existing community leaders on a consistent and regular basis (~2-5 a week).
  • Office management – maintain the orderliness of office, including organizing, ordering office supplies, and keeping track of office maintenance.
  • Help with community organization as needed and as interested.
  • Participate in staff development and staff meetings as required
  • Other duties as assigned.

ACTIONN has a strong learning culture, including staff development, coaching opportunities, and webinars. We place a high priority on personal learning, relationship building and creating a respectful multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multilingual organization. This is a part-time, non- exempt position with occasional evening and weekend work.



  1. Bilingual in Spanish and English strongly preferred.
  2. Strong time management and organizational skills.
  3. Strong interpersonal and relational skills and interest in people.
  4. Disciplined and able to work effectively in highly unstructured environment.
  5. Desire to learn and openness to challenge.
  6. Strong interest in community and social justice issues, working with communities of color and faith communities.
  7. Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and database use.
  8. Must have driver’s license and a reliable car.
  9. ACTIONN is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.


Salary/Benefits: $12 -15 an hour, based on experience. 9 paid holidays. Two weeks paid time off accrued monthly and available to begin to use after 6 months of employment and 20 hours paid time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.


Application Procedure:

Learn more about ACTIONN at

All applicants should email the following documents to J.D. Klippenstein at

  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Information for three references


David Chavez-Macias (A#92-827-571), a local Reno man, is at risk of being deported by Immigration Services (ICE). He has been denied prosecutorial discretion and faces deportation on April 5, 2017. If ICE proceeds with their plan to send him back to Mexico, this action threatens to rip apart his family, with devastating consequences for them. Additionally, David suffers from Marfan Syndrome, and without the treatment that he is unable to receive in Mexico, his life is at risk. His deportation would be an inestimable loss for the neighbors, work colleagues, and fellow parishioners, who have grown to love him.

Please sign this petition to oppose David’s deportation.

Additionally, call ICE to demand that they stop deportation proceedings:

Salt Lake City Field Office – Call: (801) 886-7423

Reno ICE Office – Call: (775) 789-3011

“I am calling to ask that you stop any proceedings to deport David Chavez-Macias (A#92-857-571). David is an integral part of our community, he is a loving father and husband, and our community would be greatly damaged by his absence. Please, stop his deportation proceedings today.”


Who is David?

David Chavez-Macias, a law-abiding husband and father of four who has lived in Reno for more than 20 years, has been stripped of his right to work and could soon be deported to Mexico.

His crime? He got a traffic ticket for turning left on a red light. It’s something we have all done, but unlike David, our lives will not be ripped apart because of it.

David is one of countless millions of hard-working and law-abiding immigrants nationwide whose lives are being ripped apart by a cruel and widening dragnet for “criminal aliens.”

But as David’s case shows, the “criminals” are often model citizens whose “crime” can be as trivial as a broken tail light or an unpaid parking ticket.

ACTIONN, an interfaith coalition of churches and concerned citizens in Northern Nevada, is leading efforts to protect David and countless others who work hard, pay taxes, follow the law, embrace family values and contribute to well-being of their adopted communities.

Like David, millions of these people have lived in the United States for years.  Their children have grown up here – many were born here — and have almost no direct knowledge of their home countries.

David came to the United States in 1988 and obtained a work permit. A landscaper, he moved here permanently in 1995.  Since 2013, he has checked in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), never missing an appointment, and was allowed to keep his work permit.

Thanks to his hard work, David and his wife Leticia watched their four children become thriving adults:  Susana, now 30; Nandy, 29; Ariana, 26; and Juan, 23. All four of his children have benefited from the Deferred Action program, granting them work permits, and all legally work in the United States, pay taxes, and contribute to our economy. He and Leticia have been married for 32 years.  David is a beloved parishioner of Little Flower Catholic Church in Reno.

However, David was stopped by police and received a traffic citation.  In response, ICE officials revoked his work permit and targeted him for deportation.

David’s next check-in with ICE is on April 5th, and his attorney fears that officials will take him into custody and prepare him for deportation.

The consequences would be devastating.  David’s only contacts in Mexico are in his home state of Aguascalientes, a state where violence is pervasive — especially against U.S. returnees who are assumed to have wealth.  One of David’s friends was brutally attacked, tortured, and killed after returning from the United States.

David’s deportation would tear his family to shreds.  His children have grown up in the U.S. and have almost no knowledge of Mexico – Juan was only 1 when he arrived.

Deportation could also be a death sentence. David and three of his children suffer from Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens the heart.  The treatments they receive in the U.S. are unavailable in many parts of Mexico.

Meanwhile, all the evidence shows that David poses no criminal threat whatsoever.  Quite the opposite: he is a pillar of family values, integrity and self-reliance.  The only blemish on his record is a traffic ticket.

David’s many friends in Reno, as well as his supporters in Reno’s interfaith community, are campaigning to protect him from unconscionable and unwarranted persecution.

The stakes are high: if the government deports David, it can persecute hundreds of thousands and even millions of other law-abiding residents as well.