Colombia, NPR, Michelle Martin discussed on All Things Considered

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And designed for people this is All Things Considered from NPR news I'm Michelle Martin broadcasting from South Carolina public radio in Colombia this past week NPR it launched a new project called where voters are when we travel across the country to speak to voters about the issues that are shaping their choices the selection here next week we will be headed to southern Washington state to hear from voters there and just a few days ago my All Things Considered co host ari Shapiro kicked off our series employable in pueblo Colorado today ari brings us his conversation with one of the city's leaders hello Colorado was built on waves of immigration over more than a century today the city is fifty percent Hispanic there are Italian markets that have been in the same family for five generations Slovenian bars that still pour ice cold shots of sleeve out plum brandy sliver of its that'll make your head spin problem mayor Nick grad SR traces his family back to Slovenia he's a Democrat seventy years old and like most of the other immigrants who came to this town his ancestors were drawn here by the steel mill smokestacks still define Pablo's silhouette people came to Pablo from all over the world to build this steel to make this deal would build the American west so and those people at one time at the mill there were forty different languages that were spoken at the mill twenty four foreign language newspapers and Pablo sol Campbell has that kinda proud history and all those people who came from all over the world built our neighborhoods our churches those kind of things the wall published change those neighborhoods and those identity still remains even the mayor himself spent summers in college working at the steel mill today a quarter of the people in pueblo are below the poverty line as I sat in public city hall talking with mayor Greta sorry I was distracted by a piece of artwork hanging behind him and finally I had to ask him about it there's an incredible photographs behind you that I've just been looking at as we do this interview and show somebody in a steel mill with a red hot band of metal coming out and he's grab bring it with metal tongs do you know your this was taken you know that's my dad that's father out that's what I did I saw that photo was taking I think no not sewer he was thirty eight years old when that was taken how so that's younger than you are now no yeah wish others and hide them now but yeah he was a catcher that that was that worked was called a catcher and what happens is it's a rolling mill attendance rolling mill so that that rod comes out of one and then you put it back in the rollers and send it back the other way it reduces it the diameter every time it goes through we've had that black and white photograph in our family for a long time I'm a description next to photograph it says he was the son of Slovenian immigrants and didn't learn English until he started grade school right yeah so this is your family history and the city history right and now we're looking out over one of the main streets and Pablo and I'm just saying you know there is an outdoor store there's a bar there's a thrift store it's a completely different town right no it's it's gone through a lot of changes I mean I guess the question that I I have to ask is since that photo was taken more than fifty years ago do you think public has changed for the better or the worse I think it's changed for the better I think it's changed for the better really yeah I I do I do back when that photo was taken the the black smoke coming out of the mill was a horrendous I mean we didn't appreciate it at the time but I mean it was polluting the atmosphere something fierce and since that time obviously a lot of changes have taken place in terms of of the environment those kind of things so I think probably was better than that that was fifty years ago we talked to one of the union presidents in town he said his membership is down about ninety percent from when his parents and grandparents worked at the mill I agree with that and I think that's one of the problems with the economy we have not only in public but in the country that when we have good strong unions they were able to bargain collectively with their employers and share that wealth now there's nobody that can bargain collectively there's no effective method of getting them to share that wealth you think this I think this election is going to turn it around well I hope it'll be the start I hope it'll be the start I think people recognize that it's out of balance you don't have to be in balance of the labor can't be too strong and capitalism can't be too strong but there needs to be that balances right now what's out of balance that was my all things considered co host ari Shapiro talking with Nick grant us aren't mayor of pueblo Colorado we've been here in South Carolina all week reporting in the democratic primary held yesterday but we also spend some time focusing on other issues including conditions in the state's prisons this after the deadly riots almost two years ago at the Lee correctional institution in Bishopville where seven inmates died and more than twenty were injured it's been called one of the deadliest prison riots in recent history as is usually the case the rights brought long ignored problems to the surface such as ancient infrastructure cells have to be unlocked with giant keys instead of electronically salaries were low and turnover was high and programs to help people make it after prison were few to none and even problems keeping track of inmates last year ten prisoners were mistakenly released early from state facilities Brian sterling heads the department of corrections and he's put forth a budget proposal of nearly one hundred forty million dollars the proposal if approved by the state's General Assembly would allocate millions to make physical improvements improve salaries for workers and conditions for inmates we wanted to get a sense of what life is like inside one of the state's prison so we visited the manning re entry and work release center it's a re entry facility which means it's a place where prisoners spend the last six months of their sentences there we met Nina Walker Staley she is the former warden of this prison and she currently works on programming for the corrections department overall she let us into a long white hallway the total in the total area is that's right so they go to their educational courses here we have our.

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