Sunday, February 25, 2018

Blue America Endorses Omaha Progressive Kara Eastman


Kara Eastman is the newest Blue America endorsee. She told us that when she was nine, she told her mother that she wanted to save the world; when she was 15, she told her best friend that she was going to a college that would best prepare her to help others (she told Kara that wasn’t smart because she would never make any money). She met her husband, now an associate professor of history at Creighton University, when they were in college together, and they’ve been married for 17 years and chose to raise their daughter in Nebraska, now she's a junior at Central High School in Omaha. I asked her if she would explain the dynamics of the primary she's in the midst of.

She's running for the blue-trending Omaha Metro district-- NE-02, currently tenuously held by conservative backbencher Don Bacon. Before she gets to Bacon, she has to beat conservative "Democrat" Brad Ashford, who was a Republican for 38 years, including the first term of the Obama administration, Ashford has taken contradictory stands on almost all of the important issues of the day over his long political career. Ashford voted for and against the Dreamers, for and against the Iran nuclear deal, and against the Clean Power Plan rule (SJ Res 24) that established carbon dioxide emission guidelines for power plants. According to the Omaha World Herald, Ashford voted with the Republicans while in Congress more than all other Democrats except for two. In the Nebraska legislature, he voted for an ultrasound bill and voted yes on LB 1103, a bill that prohibited abortions in Nebraska after 20 weeks. Even with a record like that he's the DC Dem's establishment candidate with backing from the whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the Blue Dogs, the New Dems and, of course, the DCCC. Kara's primary fight has been based on convincing voters that her pragmatic, progressive stances make her a stronger candidates. The Democratic primary election is on May 15.

She told us that with a grassroots campaign focused on field operations, door-knocking, an integrated digital and communication plan, and engaging voters, her campaign is speaking directly to real people. She and her volunteers have knocked on over 25,000 doors already. Women, labor unions (she just received her fourth labor endorsement), activists, and communities of color that have been disenfranchised by conservative candidates and are crucial to winning NE-02. Her bold advocacy is motivating and energizing the Democratic base, and it’s already been recognized in the form of a national endorsement from Climate Hawks Vote and now from Blue America. This is a district that can be flipped.

Omaha Democrats Are Frustrated
-by Kara Eastman

We’ve run the same kind of moderate to conservative candidate at the local, state, and federal level, and we’ve seen them lose over and over again. Even though my primary opponent won by a slim margin in 2014, he lost his re-election bid in 2016. As a matter of fact, he was the only incumbent Democrat to lose to a Republican in the entire country that cycle. Don Bacon, who won by just over one percentage point, now votes in line with the current administration 97% of the time. He’s vulnerable, and all the political prognosticators say that the election is a toss-up. Over the last decade, Nebraska’s second Congressional district is one of the two most competitive in the nation. So why can’t Democrats consistently win here? They don’t ignite the base, and they don’t go out and talk to voters.

  Goal ThermometerI’m the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district. Our grassroots campaign has knocked on over 25,000 doors and has gotten voters excited about the race. The majority of the people we talk to at the doors commit to voting for me. I’m pro-choice, I support common-sense gun safety regulation, I’m passionate about health and environmental protection, and I’ve opposed the Keystone XL pipeline. I will fight for a Medicare for All system because healthcare is a right. I also will fight for debt-free education, because I’m tired of seeing students, even at Metro Community College where I serve on the Board of Governors, drowning in student loans. The U.S. has to compete in a global market by investing in green and healthy housing. Climate change is the number one moral and national security threat to our children, and we need to address it now.

I will be a champion for campaign finance reform because I understand first-hand how hard it is to run for office when you are not a millionaire and when you don’t serve corporate interests. Fixing campaign finance laws and taking lobbyist money out of politics will change Washington. I’m proud to have over 1500 individual campaign donors, but I won’t take just any and all corporate PAC dollars. In fact, my fundraising has been neck and neck with that of my primary opponent, even though he’s been in Congress and accepts a large amount of PAC money.

I’m running against Brad Ashford, who was a Republican for thirty-eight years. He’s taken contradictory stands on almost every important issue over his long political career. Ashford voted for and against the Dreamers, for and against the Iran nuclear deal, and against the Clean Power Plan rule (SJ Res 24) that established carbon dioxide emission guidelines for power plants. Under Obama, he voted against facets of the Affordable Care Act, in the Nebraska State Legislature he voted for some anti-choice bills, and he has gone back and forth on his stances on the Keystone XL pipeline.

People in the district tell me they are unhappy with Ashford’s voting record. They also feel like he is not in it to win it. Nebraskans are looking for someone with energy, with vision and with passion.

With the strong grassroots campaign that I have built, I can win this swing district. As a social worker with a reputation for getting things done in our community, I’m ready to work hard to make real changes in our political system when I get to D.C.

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At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say again: Nebraska democrats are exactly like Nebraska republicans. They're not the worst around but they are never going to be progressive.

whatever. anyone that is truly progressive and yearns to help fix things that need fixing are wasting their time being democrats. Their party will never allow their progressiveness to bear fruit... ever.

The party that wants their voters to believe they represent people over money yet always favors money over people is destined to go extinct as soon as their voters get tired of being lied to and ratfucked. How fortunate for the democraps that their voters are dumber than a trump.

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NE began as the step-bastard cousin of KS, and they have yet to grow up and become their own state. Politics is clearly too complicated for them since they haven't discovered that the more seats one has in one's state legislature, the more graft there is to pass about.


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