Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ryan Combe for Congress


I was mortified, even sickened, by a Glenn Greenwald tweet Friday morning, this one:

Perhaps you'll remember that in 2010 Blue America supported Claudia Wright, a progressive activist, a lesbian, a Mormon and the great great granddaughter of Brigham Young, in her run for the Utah congressional seat occupied by corporate whore and Blue Dog extremist Jim Matheson. Matheson won the primary and then fended off a GOP challenger in the general (with 50% of the vote). This year the Republicans have pinned their hopes on taking him out-- and best of luck to them-- by gerrymandering his district. In the process of rejiggering the state, though, they created an opportunity for a Democrat in the northern part of the state. It's hardly a blue district. Under the old lines, UT-1 gave Bush 68% of it's vote in 2000 and 73% in 2004. Even McCain had a big win there: 64%. The new boundaries, however, take the most Republican part of the district, wealthy suburban Davis County north of Salt Lake City, and divide it in two, the more Republican areas slipped into Matheson's old district-- although when he saw that, he switched districts. And Summit County (think Park City) is very much still part of UT-1. Obama only took 34% of the vote in Utah last time but he won Summit County, 57-41% (as well as Salt Lake County... by 300 votes). By way of comparison, Davis County gave McCain 70% of it's vote.

The right-wing congressman is anti-environment corporate whore Rob Bishop, a former lobbyist. He hates fundraising, hasn't raised much money and isn't expecting much of a challenge. Even when Obama topped the ticket, the best his Democratic opponent could do against him was 31%-- although he lost Summit County 7,318 (46%)- 8,082 (50%) and lost the UT-1 part of northern Salt Lake County 8,170 (32%)- 15,823 (63%), which, alas, is no loner part of the district.

Right around the time when I saw Glenn's tweet I also saw the video up top. I thought it was really good and decided to run it. Then I thought, "Well, I should at least check the guy out who made it." And I did. Ryan Combe is as progressive as anyone else we're backing around the country. He lectured me on how Democrats have to stand up for progressive values and principles and not adopt failed conservative policies. All the solutions to the problems we went over sounded like they could have been coming from Alan Grayson or Raúl Grijalva. I also looked at his primary opponent, Donna McAleer-- the primary is this Tuesday-- and found an easy-to-identify fake Democrat, someone using Blue Dog branding techniques on her website and, were she to win... another Jim Matheson type. Blecccchhh.

Ryan Combe's family name is known by everyone in Weber County, the heart of the district. He grew up on Combe Road.
On his website goes a long way towards explaining how he came to the Democratic Party.
I went to Argentina on an LDS mission. While there, I had first-hand experience with a country that does not have a responsible, transparent, and democratic government. Many times I walked the dirt roads, encountering amazing people who could not even spell their own names. Upon my return to the States, I was astonished and disheartened to see politicians mount attacks on policies and organizations that prevent our nation from resembling the conditions I saw on my mission. The most fundamental means of personal elevation are those that balance personal responsibility and community good to fuel vibrant communities. With the evaporation of America’s middle-class, we will see a loss of opportunities to improve our nation and world. Without a strong middle-class, America will no longer be a place for entrepreneurs and without a strong entrepreneurial class of Americans, our nation will weaken.

Having been raised in Northern Utah, the values of community and service are a part of my fiber and I believe that our community’s values more closely align with the Democratic Party. I encourage everyone to read the Democratic Party Platform because you might just be a Utah Democrat.

When we spoke on the phone this morning, he talked to me for a long time about his political positions and how he came to them. Matt:
I grew up on stories my grandmother told me about her father building the Hoover Dam. The Utah Construction Company from Ogden, Utah took workers south to build an American icon and put hundreds of Utah families to work. Back then people were proud to build America. Why have we lost track of that? How have we forgotten that the fastest way out of a depression is to invest in our country and build America? We have a congressman in Utah’s 1st District that will argue that government can’t create jobs; and he was a school teacher! He’s never gotten a check that didn’t come from taxpayer dollars. It’s time to stop spending and invest in this country.

The fastest way to end partisan politics is to elect people who truly care about their community. If a member from the other side of the aisle comes to me with an idea that will make my neighborhoods a better place, I’d be crazy to fight against him, because I love my community. The only question a legislator should ask when looking at an issue is, “Will the make my district better?” That’s it. It really is that simple. That’s not happening in Washington today. Congress is asking, “will this get me reelected?”, “will this get me campaign contributions?”, “will this make the other side look bad?” and those are the questions that have brought us this gridlocked Congress.

What is the point of having the best doctors and hospitals in the world, if half of the people can’t go to them? We have to fix the health care system in this country. The Affordable Care Act did some great things, but we need to do more and by more, I mean single payer.

Unfortunately we have a Congressman in Northern Utah that would rather see the President fail, instead of the Country succeed. And we wonder why things aren’t getting better. As a member of congress my goal will be to make the President the most successful President in history. Regardless of who the President is, Congress
should want them to be successful, because that means they’re successful. It’s interesting that these millionaires don’t realize that.

Congress doesn’t care about passing bills because they’re not affected by them. They’re lifetime politicians with great pensions, incredible healthcare, and million dollar board positions waiting for them when they hang it up. If we want something to get done we better start electing people with something to fight for.

Ryan is the newest addition to our ActBlue page. Help us elect a progressive Democrat in Utah! His path to victory involves registering between 15,000 new voters; he's on the way to passing that and hitting 20,000. He's also working with other Democratic candidates to build a permanent infrastructure for Democrats in Northern Utah. His manager told me that the campaign is "working at the 2 universities, countless high schools and 4 applied technology colleges to recruit interns to build Young Democrats and College Democrats clubs that will then go on to build the party year after year. If we are not building the party our candidates will forever be doomed to low the 30's in this district. Our goal is to break that cycle so that we build every year from 32 to 34 to 36 and on." It's worth mentioning that there are something like 70,000 Latinos in the district, a positive thing for Ryan who is fluent in Spanish and who is a wholehearted supporter of the Dream Act.

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