Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus: My Hopes for 2014

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Marianne Todey, of Ames, Iowa, listens to Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, speak during a stop on the first day of a 9-state Nuns on the Bus tour, Monday, June 18, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. The group of Roman Catholic nuns say they’re not opposing any particular candidate but that their fight is with a Republican proposed federal budget they say hurts the poor and needy. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

As we approach a new year, Moyers & Company asked some of the people trying to change the world for the better to tell us what made them proud in 2013, and what their hopes and dreams are for 2014. Here’s what Sister Simone Campbell, leader of Nuns on the Bus, told us.

After a frustrating year in Washington, our NETWORK community’s emotions currently range from gritty determination to dawning hope.

Congress has been mired in mean-spirited political gamesmanship. And yet, just within the past weeks, they approved a bipartisan budget plan, which, though flawed, at least made us hopeful that some on the Hill finally understand that governing without compromise hurts everyone, including their own reelection hopes.

So what can we realistically expect in 2014? It being an election year, politics will play a role in whatever happens.

I believe there is a narrow window of opportunity for immigration reform to finally move forward. If it is to happen, action must take place in the spring – after deadlines have expired for registrations of new primary candidates. Republicans need to know they won’t face threats from far-right candidates in order to do what the majority of House members say should happen—pass comprehensive immigration reform now.

We have a chance now to renew our social contract and to make sure that hardworking Americans earn enough to support their families.
Wages, I also believe, will be a significant issue in the election debates. We have a chance now to renew our social contract and to make sure that hardworking Americans earn enough to support their families. Even if this proves difficult at the federal level, many states and local governments are already addressing this major justice issue.

And finally, my hope and belief are that restoring community and shared responsibility will be another theme in the coming election year. We the People are sick of deeply divided government that only serves narrow partisan interests. Polling numbers for Congress have been at record low levels, and for good reason. It’s time to come together again. Even if Washington pundits drag their collective feet on this critical issue, at least my organization will be all about restoring our patriotic communal roots.

Sister Simone Campbell is the executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK in Washington, DC, and the leader of Nuns on the Bus. As an advocate for the poor, she lobbies on issues of healthcare, economic policy, and immigration reform.
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