Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Want To See The Democratic Party Get Back To It's Populist/Progressive Roots? Join Blue America In Endorsing Jimmy Gomez For Congress


Jimmy Gomez is a young guy from my neighborhood. When Xavier Becerra was appointed by Jerry Brown to become California Attorney General-- filling the vacancy created by Kamala Harris' election to the Senate last month-- my first thought was to wonder if Jimmy could be persuaded to run for the congressional seat. It's a deep blue seat and there's no Republican who could ever compete there. Obama got 83% of the vote in 2012. So it is going to be a campaign about who who would be the best Democratic candidate, the one with the best proven vision for the job. Before Jimmy decided to run, I started tweeting about his accomplishments and suggesting that Congress needed his unique combination of heartfelt progressivism and hard-headed ability to work with political adversaries to accomplish his goals. The first "push back" I got came, not unexpectedly, from Sacramento. It was from a top staffer of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. "Please," the staffer wrote to me, "don't do this. We desperately need Jimmy here in Sacramento."

Eventually Jimmy decided he would run-- and Speaker Rendon endorsed him, as did the President Pro Tem of the state Senate, Kevin de León and dozens and dozens of Jimmy's colleagues in the legislature. Monday morning, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in on behalf of Jimmy-- and in the district that is the center of Garcetti's political power.

But when I looked through Jimmy's twitter account, what I found was endorsement after endorsement from grassroots activists who no one knows outside of their own communities-- like Cynthia Ruiz, a civic leader in El Sereno, Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, a board member in the Rampart Village and Echo Park Neighborhood Council, Luanna Allard, an officer in the Hillside Village Property Owners Association, Yolanda Nogueira, a board member of Highland Park's Chamber of Commerce, Tammy Membreno, Executive Director, Barrio Action in El Sereno, Lani Stapp, the impressive former president of Eagle Rock's Women’s Twentieth Century Club and Carol Jacques, the former president of the Mount Washington Association. These people are part of the backbone of the 34th district and they know exactly what Jimmy has accomplished as a grassroots organizer and later as a member of the state Assembly. This morning our old friend, former congresswoman, former Secretary of Labor and current County Supervisor Hilda Solis added her name to the growing list of public servants backing Jimmy. She wrote that "Jimmy Gomez has proven to be the State Assembly's most effective and dedicated champion for working families. He wrote the nation's strongest family leave laws, and stands up for equality in the workplace, in our schools and colleges, and for women's health care. In fact, I've been proud of him from the days he worked for me in Congress, from his years fighting for better health care for all at the United Nurses Association of California and throughout his career in the Assembly. We need him in Congress, protecting the people of Los Angeles, and I'm proud to support him." Moments ago-- just as we were about to press "publish"-- a very reliably sourced rumor started circulating in Sacramento that Kamala Harris had also endorsed Jimmy.

Saturday I had dinner with Jimmy and his wife Mary in a neighborhood diner. He talked to me about his vision for the people in his district and how he's gone about implementing it in the state legislature. Halfway through I cursed myself for not having a tape recorder. Knowing how busy he is organizing his campaign in a field that grows more and more crowded every day, I asked him if he would write down everything he had just said so I could run it as a guest post. I think he stayed up later than he wanted to to do it.
Making The Progressive Reform Agenda Work For Everyone, Including Those Who Need It Most
-by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez

I’m proud of California because we are a state of firsts . . . we are the first to pass paid family leave, the 15 dollar minimum wage, paid sick days, and groundbreaking climate change legislation to reduce green house gas emissions and preserve our environment for future generations.

Yet, California isn’t perfect. Although our state continues to improve, we still rank last or near last when it comes to a number of social indicators: education, health, economic and environmental.


Why are the laws that we pass not working the way we intend and why are we not seeing the improvements we would expect to see?

Why are certain parts of the state getting left behind, while others are thriving?

I believe it's because a lot of our laws, policies, and programs are built on a misguided concept that anything that divides the pie equally must be fair and it must be effective in dealing with the problems we are trying to solve.

As we know, that is definitely not always the case.

There is a big difference between what is equal and what is equitable. And policy makers and politicians confuse the two. And just because it is equal doesn’t make it fair. And it definitely doesn’t make it effective.

A good example of this is California’s first-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave program that provides workers with a 55% wage replacement for up to 6 weeks to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Although the program has benefited millions of Californians, a Senate Labor committee report found that the people using the program the most were those making $82,000 a year or more, and those who were using it the least were workers making minimum wage or barely above minimum wage. Why is that?

Because it is unrealistic to expect a worker who is already living paycheck to paycheck on 100 percent of their salary to use a program for 6 weeks at only 55 percent of their wages. For many workers, California’s current Paid Family Leave program was simply an illusion. That’s why I authored AB 908, to fix this inequity and ensure all who pay into this vital program can afford to use it, regardless of their income.

Simply, my bill AB908 restructured the Paid Family Leave program and State Disability to increase the wage replacement for workers earning minimum wage to 70 percent, and 60 percent wage replacement for all other workers. This bill ensures that every worker gets the necessary funds to actually use the program and spend time with their newborn child or sick family member. When Governor Brown signed AB908, California was not only the first state to have paid family leave, it also became the first state to have a paid family leave program built on the concept of equity. A program that ensures that every family on the economic ladder gets what they need. And I’m proud of that.
Jimmy worked across the aisle to pass that bill with support from rural Republicans who genuinely wanted to embrace a way to help their own largely forgotten constituents. And he did the same thing with AB1550, the revolutionary climate change bill that wasn't just about wealthy homeowners who could get subsidies to buy solar panels and $80,000 Teslas. The bill requires that at least 25% of cap-and-trade funds go to projects directly in disadvantaged communities and another 10% to benefit low-income residents or communities anywhere in the state. Jimmy: "No matter where you live, no matter what you make, you deserve to breath clean air and drink clean water. With the signing of AB1550, we begin to bridge the green divide." Watch:

So Blue America is endorsing Jimmy's congressional campaign and we added him to our new ActBlue 2017-18 House page. Jimmy doesn't accept contributions from Big Oil nor from the shady tobacco lobbyists, the legalistic bribes that have stained so many in the California legislature, and his district is one of the least wealthy in the whole country-- although rapidly coming up-- so... please consider helping with whatever you can afford to contribute. There are other decent candidates running-- plus one that the charter school billionaires are financing-- but there is no one with Jimmy's vision and record of accomplishment who will be a natural to eventually take a leadership position among Democrats who desperately need new leaders in Congress.

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At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather see Blue America repudiate the Democrap party, join someone like the Greens, and push Gomez under that banner.

The "party" as it currently stands will NEVER go back to progressivism or even anything approaching liberalism simply because several billion dollars per year is at stake. They're not going to wrinkle their nose at that kind of $upport even if it means never again winning another election.


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