Kalena Thomhave

Kalena Thomhave is a writing fellow at the Prospect.

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Recent Articles

Work Requirements in Farm Bill Are Off the Table

AP Photo/Seth Wenig A supermarket displays stickers indicating they accept food stamps in West New York, New Jersey. T his week, the House and Senate finally came to an agreement on the farm bill, the legislation that authorizes farm subsidies as well as nutrition programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. While the previous bill had expired in September, lawmakers came to an impasse over whether to sharply limit food stamp eligibility. In a victory for low-income Americans, the final version contained no such provision. Passing the farm bill, generally a bipartisan endeavor, had hit roadblocks as House Republicans attempted to attach stringent work requirements to SNAP that would have threatened benefits for more than two million low-income people. The Senate version contained no such requirements. The conference committee charged with resolving the two versions released the compromise bill on Monday—and work requirements were...

Wisconsin Voters Show Scott Walker the Door

Walker's anti-worker policies finally caught up to him.

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
(Gage Skidmore/Flickr) G ood riddance, Scott Walker: Democrat Tony Evers bested the incumbent Republican in yesterday’s race for the Wisconsin governorship. Though Walker has refused to concede, Evers’s 31,000-vote margin is just large enough to make the race ineligible for a recount under state law. The Fight for $15, the SEIU-backed activist campaign, may have helped contribute to that margin. As I reported this week , the organization coordinated a massive canvass across Milwaukee to encourage turnout in low-income communities, mostly of color, where turnout fell in 2016 compared with earlier years. They knocked on 273,659 doors and spoke with 37,173 registered voters, focusing on encouraging voters to go to the ballot box with the salient, worker-friendly issues in mind that the Fight for $15 has become known for—higher wages, union rights, affordable health care—and that Walker outright attacked. Walker actively made low-income people’s lives worse in Wisconsin through a wave of...

Can Low-Income Voters Make the Difference in Wisconsin?

With the state's governor's race at a dead heat, progressive activists focus on boosting turnout. 

Fight for 15 Fight for 15 canvasser Reyna Gengler A s Election Day arrives, the Wisconsin governor’s race between incumbent Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tony Evers is, according to some polls, a virtual tie . As the ubiquitous saying goes, “It all comes down to turnout,” and progressive groups in Wisconsin are working to make sure low-income voters can make that difference. Low-income voters often sit out elections—especially midterms—for a number of reasons: They’re much less likely to have a government-issued ID, which can dampen turnout in states with strict voter-ID laws, as it did in Wisconsin in 2016. Various policies further restrict access, like rigorous address requirements that make it more difficult for a person that may move frequently—which low-income people are more like to do—to register to vote. They also might have to work on Election Day, sometimes more than one job, at places with unstable scheduling where it’s hard to get time off. Or they might have...

What Taxing the Rich Could Yield

America’s 15 wealthiest families are worth a combined $618 billion. That’s not good for our economy—or our democracy.

From left, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. trickle-downers_54.jpg T he New York Times investigation into the Trump family’s financial misdeeds recently revealed what had been obvious to most: The president is no self-made man. Like so many bombshell stories about the president, this story has been largely overlooked as new and more flagrant Trump indignities erupt nearly every day. Yet the tactics that the report shines a light on are hardly peculiar to the Trumps. Many wealthy families use similar tactics to stockpile their wealth and keep it from taxation that could reinvest it to meet the nation’s needs. And in doing so, these families keep building wealth with which they can wield political power. A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) takes a close look at the billionaire multi-generation families who wield that power—the American dynasties. Taking their cue from the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the United States, the...

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