BLUE AMERICA WELCOMES DEBBIE COOK-- ONE TALIBAN'S WORST FEAR
One of Debbie Cook's strengths as a public official-- her serious devotion to the intricacies of the kinds of policies that effect people's lives-- is a real problem for a political campaign. "Serious" doesn't always mean "catchy" or "easy to understand." She's spent a good part of her life working on public policy-- like "peak oil-- and trying to make government function for people. Her overviews are filled with blacks, whites, grays and every color of the rainbow. She's a candidate for people for whom expertise and results matters more than snappy soundbytes. So far, that seems to be working for her.
She's the mayor of Huntington Beach, the largest city in California's 46th CD, which stretches from Los Angeles, through Long Beach and on into the heart of Orange County. Traditionally a Republican bastion (PVI: R +6), the district is now 17% Hispanic and 15% Asian and as dismayed by the policies of the Bush Regime as is the rest of the country. In 2006 Dianne Feinstein won here. Between November 2006 and March 2008 there was a net loss of 1600 angry, disgusted Republicans and a gain of 4200 extraordinarily motivated Democrats, and the numbers keep improving every day. Although only 29% of the voters in Huntington Beach are Democrats, Debbie still wins there by wide margins and is respected across partisan boundaries, recognized as a champion for energy conservation and environmental protection-- a big deal in the district where the current congressman, an aggressive Global Warming denier, has gone out of his way to frustrate and diss environmentalists (this in a district where environmental issues like clean beaches, clean air, and smart growth poll in the 80% range across electorate). Her opponent is 10-term incumbent Dana Rohrabacher, better known as a doper, a slacker, a mujahadeen and bin-Laden supporter, an Abramoff pal, an Erik Prince/Blackwater defender, and as a fringe nut-case than for accomplishing anything at all in Congress. He does have a dependably rubber stamp voting record and virtually never ventures away from GOP ideological orthodoxy. His m.o. is arrogance tempered by laziness, corruption, craziness and, many say, wanton disregard for societal mores.
When I spoke with Debbie a few days ago, she told me that when she talks with voters across the district they main things they have on their minds are "the economy, the war, the environment and health care." They don't know where Rohrabacher stands on these issues-- it surely isn't with them-- because they're not even aware of who their representative is. "He's been there for 20 years so you'd think more people would be aware of him... Elected officials in the district complain that he doesn't bring anything back to the district from Washington. Orange County is a donor county [meaning residents pay more in taxes than they get back in services and infrastructure] from the federal government. Most elected officials are dissatisfied with that. And I hear from people constantly that if you are not a Republican he will not meet with you or, if he does meet with you, he's extremely rude. If you're not politically aligned with him, he is rude to you."
Rohrabacher has never had a really serious opponent before and has never been defined for the voters. That's about to change. Debbie is running an intense grassroots campaign and she is being supported by local officials across the political spectrum. On May 10 she's having her first major campaign event, a voter registration drive coordinated with the Obama 50 state drive.
Debbie has endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq and the issues page on her website-- unlike most Insider Democrats'-- brings up thorny issues most politicians would rather avoid. And her positions are clear and straightforward, like "I support a woman’s right to choose."
Please surf over to Firedoglake at 11AM (PT) to meet Debbie and ask her any questions you'd like. As we get started today I want to announce we have a generous donor on board who has offered to match all contributions to Debbie's campaign up to $2,000. In other words, if we collect $2,000, Debbie winds up with $4,000 today. Please open our Blue America ActBlue page and give what you can.