Wednesday, September 13, 2006



My old pal Helen up in Katonah kept complaining that she was getting lots of slick mailers from rich DCCC-Republican Judy Aydelott but nothing from John Hall, the actual progressive in the race to see who would be the Democratic Party's nominee to oppose one of New York State's most loyal Tom DeLay allies, Sue Kelly (NY-19). "Don't worry," I told her. "Hall knows what he's doing. And he knows no one pays attention 'til Labor Day. He'll be sending plenty of mail." And he did. And last night he decisively beat back the Rahm Emanuel candidate, Aydelott + 3 other Democrats.

"New Yorkers want change-- not a little bit of change; a serious change," is how John explained to me why he seemed so confident in the days before the primary. The mass media claimed the race was too close to call. John knew he would win big. And he did. The first I heard of his decision to take on Kelly was in the form of a letter from Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash, co-founders with John of MUSE (Musicians United For Safe Energy). In 1979 they had put on the world famous No Nukes concert at Madison Square Garden, 5 nights, an album, a movie, lots of money funneled into alternative energy projects and education. Aside from being a rock star (known for his work with Orelans), John has been a long time, serious-minded Democratic activist, serving as a school board president and a county legislator.

John has a sophisticated political outlook and is very clear about the out of balance dynamic between an overwhelming Big Government/Big Business combination and workers, consumers and ordinary Americans. "That balance needs to be tipped back." And that's what John's campaign has been all about. A dyed-in-the-wool thoughtful progressive, John is as different from Sue Kelly as night is from day, not only in the ethics arena-- she has consistently taken huge legalized bribes from Big Business and voted, blindly, for their interests to the detriment of her constituents-- but on most policy matters. She has been a dependable rubber stamp for Bush and the far right GOP leadership. John is a vehement supporter of diplomacy as a way to solve problems, rather than unprovoked war. "I don't think we should be in the business of attacking countries that didn't attack us first." He is very eager to bring American troops safely home from Bush's Iraqi occupation.

Although Iraq is a huge issue in NY-19, John's expertise in the fields of education, alternative energy, and managed development, plus his people-oriented approach to affordable healthcare-- he favors single-payer-- make him a formidable candidate against a robotic hack politician who never heard a proposal from Big Business she didn't think was dandy. The intrepid local bloggers at Take 19 never took a stand among the Democrats looking to take on Kelly. Instead they were as focused as lasers on Kelly's many shortcomings.

Republicans have felt safe and sassy in this well-off suburban/exurban district north of New York City. John is undaunted. "Bush's approval rating her is something like 11%. Independents are very dissatisfied. People here are unhappy with one-party dominance in Washington. They want to see checks and balances restored... Sue Kelly has always been there for the Republicans when they need her. She has been a dependable Bush vote for war, his tax policies, his trade policies, bankruptcy policy, his Medicare Part D, and No Child Left Behind (which has been devastating to local property taxes here)."

Please join Blue America today for John's first post-election interview, a live blig session at Firedoglake at 5:30 PM, est. John was forced to spend a great deal of money beating back the challenge from Beltway Democrats and he's going to be depending on grassroots progressives like ourselves to help him replenish his warchest in time to beat Sue Kelly in November. Let's not let him down!


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