John Waltz Moves Back Home To Kalamazoo To Take On Michigan Plutocrat Fred Upton
Last we checked in with John Waltz, a 34 year old Iraq war vet, he had fallen in love and moved to Kentucky to marry his sweetheart-- and he was running for Congress there, in one of the reddest districts in the country, KY-4, against corporate shill Geoff Davis. Although Waltz raised more money than anyone had ever managed against Davis-- around half a million dollars-- he was still outspent 6-1 and... Davis is still in Congress, voting against Medicare, Social Security and the interests of ordinary American families. Since the election, Waltz has packed up his family and moved back to his hometown, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Kalamazoo is far friendlier to Waltz's progressive politics and to his blue collar vision of fairness and equality of opportunity. And he's running for Congress again, this time against a virtual Geoff Davis clone, conflicted conservative Fred Upton. Upton, an entitled self-styled aristocrat from a wealthy industrial family-- they own Whirlpool-- has been desperately running away from any semblance of being part of the mainstream by currying favor with the local teabaggers. This week educators, union workers and retirees in Kalamazoo were protesting against Upton's anti-family values... and his horrible voting record.
They gathered on Michigan Avenue, bringing out signs and a large puppet called 'Big Head Fred.' They also went inside the district office to voice their opinions.
“We're steady rising in our unemployment,” said union employee Tamerah Mboup, “it hasn't declined, so what is he doing for us?”
The protesters are looking for the congressman to create jobs, saying they believe he'll be too focused on his recent selection to the 'super committee' a twelve-member group looking at cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years.
...“He ran on a platform, he's going to create jobs and it hasn't been done,” said Sue Mure.
In 2008, Obama won MI-6 with 54% of the vote-- a major step over Kerry's 46% or Gore's 45%. See the trend? And in Kalamzoo County, the population heartland of the district, Obama won 77,051 votes (59%), the same percentage as Senator Carl Levin... and, alas, Upton. Today Waltz told me why he thinks he can do a lot better against Upton. In fact, a lot of it has to do with Upton. "I fully expect him to propose privatizing Social Security, gutting Medicare, gutting the VA budget, working to get rid of the EPA, all to protect tax cuts for the 1,400 millionaires who didn't pay a dime in income taxes last year... and to do so again and again while normal people shoulder the load. Running in a Tea Party strong-hold district has made me a hardened campaigner."
Michigan's most progressive political leader, Congressman John Conyers, has already endorsed him. Here some of the reasons Waltz feels he can turn things around in MI-6:
• Fred Upton is a policy leader within the Tea Party but they're actually saying he's not radical enough.
• He votes against the President on every major issue; anti-EPA, "wants to repeal healthcare" Law, and is a roadblock to bipartisan negotiations.
• The district has an about even voter registration, but Upton only cares about appealing to the Tea Party. With the President and a healthy top of the ticket generating turnout, Upton is beatable.
• That means we need to do two things in order to win; raise my name ID and be on the airways dollar-for-dollar with Upton on election day.
• Upton is the heir to the Whirlpool fortune, which has shipped thousands of jobs from the district overseas and in a district with double digit unemployment this does not sit well. Instead of focusing on the perceived crisis of the debt we need to work on the real crisis of getting folks back to work.