Thursday, October 12, 2017

The DCCC Didn't Invite The Progressive Middle Class Woman To Candidates Week-- Just The Rich Conservative Men


Laura Oatman entered the race to replace Dana Rohrabacher in a district that flipped to the Democrats in 2016-- Hillary beating Trump in CA-48 (coastal Orange County) 47.9% to 46.2%. The 2016 PVI (R+7) is a now more winnable R+4. When we first spoke with Laura she had very high hopes that the Democratic Party, though she recognized it as flawed, would embrace a candidate like herself. She told me that "if nothing else, it seemed like last year’s election cycle showed us that people are starved for change, for real, for authentic, and they don’t want to be spoon-fed a candidate." Laura's not a politician, not a billionaire or even a multi-millionaire, and she wasn’t recruited into running by the DCCC or anyone else. She told us she felt she would have a good chance at winning her diverse and complicated district and finally giving Dana Rohrabacher the boot.

In a district like CA-48, to win it's necessary to put together a broad coalition that includes Democrats, independents and some moderate Republicans who are revolted and embarrassed by Trump. Laura is perfect for that because of her deep roots in the community and her many friendships and business relationships which span all political viewpoints. We talked about the importance of being able to inspire radiate authenticity for all of the people in this district who are currently voiceless-- millennials, minorities, the LGBTQ community. As the mother of 5 millennials, and as someone who has always respected, embraced and sought out diversity in every aspect of life this is her strongest suit.

Maybe I'm reading into this but she seemed a little disheartened this week, when the DCCC invited her two New Dem-endorsed opponents from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, multimillionaires Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda, were invited to go to Washington to meet DCCC operative, their consultants and the lobbyists eager to buy fealty from future members of Congress. The DCCC left Laura off the invitation list-- no room for the woman in the race, no room for the progressive in the race, no room for someone from the middle class, not at the DCCC's Candidates Week.

The power of money in this country is making it nearly impossible to allow an "ordinary person" like Laura to run for office, even in the Democratic Party which which we're all constantly told is a legitimate vehicle for change. The DCCC calls it "candidate training," by this was the week they told the DC insiders who their approved candidates are and told their approved candidates were to go for city cash. Tomorrow Keirstead and Rouda will be at the by-invitation-only New Dems shindig that closes the week-- learning everything we don't want Democrats in Congress doing.

Laura was the upstart who had the audacity to simply decide for herself to run for office. Maybe she took Pelosi seriously when she said "when women win, America wins" or when she asked when invited to the White House by Trump recently "Do the women get to talk around here?" But Pelosi, who's ultimately in charge of the DCCC certainly didn't go to bat for Laura. Laura isn't running because she's looking to make money, gain power, burnish her resume or write a book, but, she told us, "simply because I am passionate about restoring our country, restoring our democracy, and putting the power back into the hands of real people again."

This week, while the 2 establishment favorites are back in DC hob-nobbing with the wealthy and powerful, Laura's in Orange County with her people-- attending Planned Parenthood meetings, speaking at local environmental and Ddemocratic clubs, planning out a trip to Las Vegas to attend the National Clean Energy Summit, planning on attending the "No Muslim Ban" rally this weekend, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the people that she hopes one day soon to represent. I asked her to introduce herself to DWT readers with a guest post/ She someone how managed to squeeze this in to her busy schedule. If you like it, please consider contributing to her campaign here.

It’s Been A Crazy Week
-by Laura Oatman

At a time when we should be aggressively protecting our environment, when we are only beginning to see the initial effects of climate change-- catastrophic hurricanes in the Atlantic, our recent California wildfires among deadliest in our history-- amidst all this, our Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, decided to prop up the struggling coal industry with our tax dollars while imposing additional tariffs on the solar industry. This week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt began the immoral process of rolling back the Clean Power Plan which was created under the Obama administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Does he not know what the “P” stands for in EPA? We are witnessing something unprecedented, at least in my lifetime-- the takeover of our government by industry insiders whose mission is always the same-- get inside, delegitimize the scientists & experts, roll back any progress for people or planet that was made under Obama’s administration, then hand over the reins to private industry to maximize profits. It’s no surprise that the stock markets are going through the roof. Unbridled greed is at play here.

Less than a week ago, Trump gutted the requirement that employer health plans pay for birth control. This is just the most recent attack on women since he got into office. On his first day in office, he reinstated the global “gag rule” which bans US aid to foreign organizations that offer abortion counseling, which will increase the number of births and unsafe abortions around the world. He has overturned Title X funding for Planned Parenthood, and will stack the Supreme Court and appellate courts with more anti-choice judges when given the opportunity, which will threaten Roe v Wade. I never in my lifetime thought I would see a woman’s right to make life-changing decisions about her own body being threatened by a group of wealthy old white guys, but here we are. Unbridled religious extremism and misogyny is at play here.

I grew up in L.A. in the 60’s, pre-EPA, so I experienced firsthand what it was like to feel your lungs burning from smog at the end of the day. I was a child during the Civil Rights movement, but a very observant, empathetic child, and the major events and movements of that time were not lost on me but indelibly inscribed in my heart. Our family moved to Newport Beach when I was 16 and starting school at UC Irvine, then I later met my husband at UCLA graduate school of architecture. We married, settled in to Orange County, raised our five kids here, and are still living in the same house where we raised those 5 kids. We hung together during the last great recession of 2008, when we both lost our jobs and had no other option except to open our own architectural practice, Oatman Architects. It wasn’t easy, but now eight years later, we are doing well, have seven employees, and are on solid ground again. I’m a woman who has worked in a male-dominated field all my life, and never felt less than a man, until last year. The elections of last November felt like slamming into a brick wall after all the progress we had made, and sure enough, we are seeing all of our worst fears being realized since then.

I made the decision to run at the Women’s March last January. I entered the race for Congress against Dana Rohrabacher last April, running on climate change, women’s rights, and the economy, but now that I am 6 months in, I am starting to realize that the undercurrent beneath all of these issues is out-of-control income inequality. Recent studies show that income inequality is far greater than feared, and is growing. According to OxFam earlier this year, now only 8 men (Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carols Slim Helu, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison & Michael Bloomberg) own the same amount of wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. When you look at all of the outrageous things that the current administration has been doing this year, it all makes sense when viewed as a mechanism for growing the already obscene wealth of the .01% at the expense of everyone else.

At a time when we can least afford to roll back protections for the planet, the current administration is doing just that, all to increase the already obscene wealth at the top.

At a time when women have lost seats at the table in DC, the current administration is making moves to make it even more difficult for women to be treated equally or to have a level playing field, because at the end of the day, that is really what controlling women’s reproductive rights is all about.

At a time when income inequality is rising out-of-control, the current administration is adding more fuel to the fire, with rolling back taxes for the wealthiest CEOs and corporations, all at the expense of the people.

I’m an architect. Most of my friends are either architects, small business owners, or solopreneurs. Salt of the earth people, but many can’t afford to give more than $20, $40 or maybe $100. So though my fundraising numbers that will come out next week will undoubtedly be less than those of my wealthy competitors with their wealthy friends and inside connections, I am still proud of my numbers, humbled and grateful for every dollar that has been donated to my campaign, grateful to have the support of the people that can only give $1 or $5. Who else is going to stand for them? Who will be their voice? I won’t quit this race until after the primary, and the decision will be made by a vote of the PEOPLE. I will not allow the DCCC to ask me to step aside, so that we won’t “split the vote.” I remain an apple in a group of oranges, and I believe that voters should have a choice between an apple and an orange, and not a choice between 2 oranges. I am the only woman, the only SoCal native, the only progressive, the only middle class small business owner, the only one who drives an amazing Chevy Bolt, the only one who goes to all of your events, and stays, and listens, and takes notes. The only one who stands with you, beside you, for you, and that will not change when I get to DC.

The only way that we can win is with your support. Please donate what you can today, so that we can fight back with the ability to purchase bumper stickers, yard signs, maybe even some media buys. We can win this. It won’t be easy, but we can. Join our team. Let’s win back our country, make it a true democracy of the people, by the people, for the people, as it was always intended, and move it forward once again.

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At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One good person cannot fix the democraps. one HUNDRED good persons cannot fix the democraps.

As long as the top several dozen stay in place and keep whoring for corporate money and dictating policy and lege... nothing will ever change.

Laura, you may lose or you may win. But Pelosi won't change either way.


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