Friday, March 31, 2006



Ken and I each lives in a Republican-free district. I don't think one ever runs in mine (although I did see a Vote BushCheney sign once... briefly) and if one runs in Ken's it's just for a lark or an ego-trip. Marlene Rose lives way up in northern California near Oregon in CD-4, John Doolittle's turf and that is a race we will be focusing on more and more. The 4 other DWT team members, Helen and The Art Department, live in exuburban swing districts with weak, endangered Republican congressloons. Helen is misrepresented by crooked DeLay pawn Sue Kelly in NY's 19th CD and The Art Department is misrepresented by a crazy and wild closet queen with a penchant for young men in military uniform, the infamous Mark Foley in Florida's 16th CD.

DWT has done a few pieces on the Democratic primary race to pick someone to challenge Foley in November and we strongly endorsed Dave Lutrin, who has been driven out of the race by Rahm Emanuel, leaving a country club Republican, who recently changed his voter registration for Rahm, to face Foley. Adam, Sophie and Sadie have all decided to give up following the race and to start paying closer attention to FL-13 and FL-05 where Jan Schneider and Rick Penberthy are running strong grassroots campaigns to challenge and displace right-wing dominance.

The primary race in NY's 19th CD-- what we refer to around the DWT election center as "Helen's district"-- is more complicated. The uncomplicated part is that the incumbent needs to be defeated. Sue Kelly DEFINES what it means to be a rubber-stamp Republican. She has been nothing but a mindless drone for the Bush Regime and for Tom DeLay's Culture of Corruption. Although NY-19 is a quintessential moderate district, Kelly always votes with the radical right. Her votes are more appropriate for the Bible Belt than for Westchester County. “The real Sue Kelly is a far-right-wing Republican who can be counted on by Tom DeLay to do what she’s told,” said Michael Morey, a spokesperson for Take 19, a Democratic activist organization that just wants to defeat Kelly and is not identified with any of the 5 Democratic candidates.

Because of my background in the music business, all the push I'm hearing is from John Hall's campaign-- and he looks like a great candidate, one Helen, her husband Mike and I would all be naturally drawn to. My old pal Bruce forwarded me a message from Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash (3 thoughtful, serious musicians I respect and admire) who are supporting Hall. Here's the text of their letter:

Our longtime friend, fellow No Nukes/MUSE artist, John Hall, whom you may also remember as a leader of Orleans ("Dance With Me," "Still the One") is running for Congress in the 19th District of upstate New York. John's been a lifelong activist and right out of the starting gate, is emerging as a very welcome and successful candidate in debates and testing so far. He's up against a very tough contender, the six-term incumbent Republican (and Tom DeLay crony) Rep. Sue Kelly, and of course needs to raise as much money as possible early in this primary race.

A bunch of us MUSE folks and other music industry friends have already lent our support and I'm writing to ask if you would consider contributing to help get John Hall elected. John is extremely smart, articulate, committed and in our minds, would absolutely bring a much needed fresh and clearheaded voice to our muddled political quagmire. Please spread the word if you agree and thank you so much for your support.

You can check out his positions and background here and contribute on line at here or send your contributions to "John Hall For Congress," PO Box 377, Dover Plains, NY 12522.

As you may know the limit for personal contributions during the primary period is $2100 (MARCH 31st is the end of the 1st Quarter FEC filing period so act quickly please), and an additional $2100
may be sent to his General Election Escrow Account, which will be returned with interest if he does not win the nomination.

We think it's fantastic that John has decided to set aside his music career for the time being and dedicate himself to politics for the better of us all.

Thank you for your support. We can make a difference,

Bonnie Raitt, Graham Nash and Jackson Browne

P.S. Any amount that you contribute will help. If 2000 people send $50 each, John's campaign will receive a $100,000 boost. This will keep him in the game to carry the message of peace and diplomacy, economic justice, government and corporate accountability, healthcare for all,
environmental protection and alternative energy.

The Kos community also seems appropriately fired up about Hall. The thing is, the other 4 Democrats running sound pretty good too. As a contrary indicator I asked a friend at the DCCC-- to see if there is some garbage corporate shill Emanuel is trying to sneak in-- but he says there is no DCCC fave in this one. The challenger who has raised the most money is Judy Aydelott, who is a former Republican but who sounds genuinely progressive and for real (unlike some of the make-believe converts Emanuel has saddled Democrats with). The 3 other candidates also all seem grassrootsy and progressive: Jim Martorano, Darren Rigger, and Ben Shuldiner. It looks to me that no matter which one wins, we have a good candidate to go up against Kelly. Because of his name recognition (and the kind of support he's getting from celebrities), Hall may have an edge when it comes to taking on an entrenched incumbent. I mean she could bring in the famous, big-name Republicans she's helped like Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney and Roy Blunt and Hall could counter that with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash. Good contrast!


This is a letter from Hall:
In celebration of Earth Day, I am asking you to support me as a Congressperson who will be the strongest advocate for environmental protection.

We are at a critical time when our planet is facing irreversible damage because of political decisions by the Bush Administration and Congress. We all need someone in Congress who will make the environment an essential part of national security and who is committed enough to put those issues in the political forefront. I am that person. Support me and I will work to make every day Earth Day.

For decades I have been a leader on these issues. I will go to Congress and not back down from enacting stringent regulations on industry and enforcement, and incentives for conservation for all industries and individuals. I will be a strong voice on issues of global warming, renewable energy, clean water, clean air, open space, sustainable agriculture, truthful food labeling, wildlife protection and endangered species, destructive oil drilling, protection of our national parks, and the shameful appointments of industry lobbyists to regulatory agencies. In addition, as an anti-war Congress member, I will work to stop the biggest threat to the Earth and that is war.

The decisions Congress makes affect everyone on this planet, now and for future generations. This is not just about the district I am running in - it is about you and wherever you live. Pollution circles the globe - we all ultimately breathe the same air.  Congress has the power to enact policies that can bring real solutions to our environmental dilemmas, include green policies in international treaties, and oppose the spread of nuclear materials as articles of commerce that will inevitably leak or be diverted for violent purposes.

I have a life-long record as an advocate and leader for our interests. For me to go to Congress and represent our interests, I need your support. Please go to or mail me a contribution now.

As a musician and an activist I have learned that if you want to see change you have to make it happen. You have to take a step or several steps and push your limits. I hope you will meet this challenge with me.


John Hall



At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, if all 4 Democrats appear to be acceptable, how about this for a strategy? Let the local voters decide which one they favor, and then let all of us support that one against the GOP incumbent?

In the mean time there are other races to occupy our attention and resources. Like CA-50, for starters.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger take19 said...

That's fine to focus on other races, but you need to remember that there's only six weeks between the Dem primary and the general election in November. There's actually six people running for the Dem nomination in NY-19 and while take19 is not endorsing anyone right now, there clearly is some concern that allowing the six to beat up on one another until six weeks before the election will only help ensure victory for Sue.


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