Thursday, April 06, 2017

Another Excellent Candidate Jumps In Against Mimi Walters In CA-45


The other day David Dayen told me about a UC Irvine professor and consumer advocate he knows, Katie Porter, who has decided to challenge Mimi Walters for the Orange County congressional district that stretches from Anaheim Hills and Villa Park through Tustin, Irvine and Lake Forest down to Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita. Very exciting candidate-- and not the only very exciting candidate running in that district. Last month I met Kia Hamadanchy, then a staffer for Sherrod Brown. This morning he officially announced that he's also running for the seat.

Kia was born and raised in Irvine, the son of Iranian immigrants who have a story all of us have in our families. In their case, they built a small business and saved to send their son to college and law school. After school Kia went to work as legal counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee under educational and disability rights champion Senator Tom Harkin. He told me he was especially proud of having worked with Harkin to expose the exploitation of students by the for-profit college industry. After Harkin retired, Kia went to work for Sherrod Brown. He told me he felt he was in the forefront of an effort of, in his own words, "standing up for the interests of working families across this country and making sure that each and every American is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve."

The DCCC says they're targeting CA-45, primarily because Hillary won the district over 5.4% and because the district, like the rest of Orange County, has been turning less red and more purple in recent years. That's a problem for Mimi Walters-- who doesn't even live in the district-- since she's refusing to hold any town halls and because she's been a lock-step Trump voter. Maybe she's hoping Trump will still be around to give her a job after she loses her seat. In any case, I asked Kia to introduce himself to DWT readers. If you like what he has to say and if you'd like to help take back the House in 2018, please consider contributing what you can directly to his campaign here

We Need To Rebuild The Democratic Party From The Ground Up
-by Kia Hamadanchy

The world changed on November 8, 2016. Donald Trump’s election as President is something that caused me to question all my underlying assumptions about politics, about the American people, and about what this country is supposed to stand for. My entire life I have always believed in the idea of America and what it stands for. Election night 2016 was the first time I had ever questioned that and wondered if maybe I had been wrong.

I had been so sure that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election and that Donald Trump had no chance whatsoever. I don’t think I have ever in my life been so sure of something that I was so wrong about. How could a country that elected Barack Obama twice as president turn to a man like Trump?

All the things that Donald Trump is doing as president are exactly what he promised he would do during the campaign, even though many people didn’t believe him at the time. And to me, it was so much worse once he did those things, even though it was exactly what he said he was going to do. And that is what spurred me to action and that is what has helped give me hope again.

I decided to run for Congress the night of the travel ban. If it had been in place when my parents immigrated they would never have been able to come into this country. When my mother asked me whether she should sell her house and move to Canada “because this is the not the first time she has had to leave a country because of the government changing,” there is something fundamentally wrong with that.

America is a country that was built by immigrants, for immigrants and, where no one should feel like they are a second-class citizen, regardless of their race, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other distinguishing factor. That is not what Trump represents and it is not what Trump stands for.

America is supposed to be a special place; it's supposed to be the place that everyone in the world dreams of coming to. Lincoln called America the “last best hope for Earth” and it's not because our history is perfect or because we’ve always acted in the ways that we should. Because we haven’t. America has made plenty of mistakes throughout its history. But it was Tocqueville who said “the greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” With the election of Trump, we all have to ask ourselves what part each of us can play when it comes to repairing those faults and who do we want to be fighting for.

For me, it’s the Iranian baby who was temporarily prevented from coming to the United States for her heart surgery, it’s the undocumented woman who was detained by ICE while asking for protection from domestic abuse in a Texas courthouse, it’s the Dreamer in Washington State who was detained after ICE fabricated his connection to gangs. It’s all these stories and more. But it’s also about putting forth a new vision for the Democratic Party. Trump doesn’t get elected without a massive institutional failure by the Democrat Party. The party is in the worst shape it’s been since the Great Depression, and we need to rebuild it from the ground up.

It can’t just be about one candidate or one campaign; it has to be bigger than that. I love Barack Obama. I wouldn’t be in politics if not for his inspiring run in 2008. I didn’t always agree with every action he took as President but I trusted him and thought he was the most progressive president that this country has ever had. But since 2008, every time he hasn’t been on the ballot, Democrats have done terribly. And he’s not coming back to save us. We need to save ourselves. And we need a new generation of leadership.

We need to build a movement that sustains itself election after election. There must be a plan not just to win any single election but also to govern and build a durable majority. For eight years, Republicans did nothing but oppose the agenda of Barack Obama. Now when they are finally in power, they have no idea what to do with it. I don’t want to see the same thing happen to Democrats when we next take power. I don’t want us to stumble into it with no plan of action and unable to accomplish anything.

I am a progressive Democrat. If I am elected to Congress I will fight for debt free college, to fix-- not get rid of-- the Affordable Care Act, to address the fact that the United States is the only developed country in the world that does not provide workers with paid sick leave and paid family leave, for a smarter foreign policy that actually keeps us safe, and to ensure that we create good jobs that pay a living wage and offer good benefits.

And Washington, DC is broken. It doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to and for the people it’s supposed to work for. The influence of money in politics is way more than it should be. I know because I’ve been there and I’ve seen it and I can tell you exactly how. Even when you go to talk about running for office with individuals or groups who have placed a heavy emphasis on trying to get money out of politics, the first thing they will tell you is to “come back to us once you’ve raised some money.” What could be more illustrative of a system that doesn’t work when even the people who very much want to fix that system are forced to judge you on the very basis of what it is they want to change.

I had no plans to run for office in 2018. Had Hillary Clinton been elected President, I’d still be working for Sherrod Brown and I would not have even entertained the idea of doing this. Not in 2018. I was born and raised in Irvine, and I’ve never forgotten where I came from and I’ve always thought of it as my home. I always planned on coming back at some point 10 to 15 years in the future establishing myself and running for something smaller first, like state assembly or city council. But the world changed last November and I felt like I had no choice but to act now.

We are in a moment in this country that isn’t about Democrat or Republican. 2018 is going to be about what kind of country do we want to live in and whether we want a Congress that is actually going to hold Donald Trump accountable. This is a time for choosing. What kind of country do we want to be and what kind of world do we want to leave behind for our children.

Instead of standing up to Trump, Mimi Walters has shown unquestioned support for his agenda. She has repeatedly refused to show up to a town hall and explain herself to her constituents. I am running for Congress because I think we can do better, because we need a representative who will be an independent voice and not just a rubber stamp for Donald Trump, a man who represents a threat to the very prosperity that drew so many to Orange County in the first place. I am running to fight for our future, because Mimi Walters has shown herself incapable of doing so.

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At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fool. The money owns the party from the top down. Ground up will be thwarted very near the ground by the money and the corrupt asshats who loooooove the money.

kill it by never voting for another democrap. only way to get a truly left party.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I love Barack Obama" is a killer for me. Would never give $ to him.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

Honestly? I'm not sure anyone who is such a huge Obama fan-boy understands what being a real progressive means. Further, anyone who understands the situation should understand there is no way to fix the ACA. That alone would be enough to question who really inspired this sudden entry into the fray.

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:36 and EB... tyvm.


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