Sunday, May 25, 2014

Endorsements Mean Something-- Sometimes They're A Warning From Malevolent Forces


Not everybody studies the records of politicians asking for their votes. I do. But for many people, at least some of the time, it's pretty much essential to consider what a trusted organization recommends. When I see the DCCC has jumped in strong for a candidate, it always makes me reticent and makes me wonder what's wrong with the candidate. Are they weak on core progressive values? Are they prone to taking orders from the top? Are they prone towards corruption? Those have been the characterists Rahm Emanuel and Steve Israel have looked for in candidates. The Blue Dogs and New Dems-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- are just as bad or even worse. When the DCCC backs a candidate, there is still a chance someone good has made it through Israel's screen. This year, for one reason or another, he's allowed the DCCC to back reasonable, indepedent-minded progressives Martha Robertson (NY), Erin Bilbray (NV) and Michael Eggman (CA), along with all the grotesque, "mystery meat," garbage candidates-- like Jennifer Garrison-- he's managed to waste millions of diollars on.

But when the Blue Dogs or New Dems back a candidate there is never any chance, someone might be any good. They only back corrupt conservatives, eager to sell out working families to Big Business. If a Democrat is backed by the New Dems, you can count on their being a whore to the banking interests and an enemy of American families. The latest endorsements by the New Dems are for sleazy ex-bank lobbyist Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Emily Cain (ME-02), Don Beyer (VA-08), Kathleen Rice (NY-04), and Manan Trivedi (PA-06). The 2 other wretched conservatives the New Dems have endorsed this cycle are Gwen Graham (FL-02) and John Lewis (MT-AL).

On the other hand, when I see candidates supported by the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, essentially run by Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Barbara Lee and Alan Grayson, I know they are values-oriented candidates running primarily to serve the interests of working families, not to debut for a future job as a lobbyist, the way the New Dems are doing. This week the Progressive Action PAC announced their first dozen endorsements of the cycle. Half are incumbents facing difficult reelections: Charlie Rangel, Hank Johnson, John Conyers, Mike Honda, Rick Nolan and Steve Cohen. The other 6 are progressive challengers:
Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
Bonnie Watson Coleman is one of New Jersey’s most respected and influential legislators, having been elected to the Legislature for eight consecutive terms. Throughout her career, Bonnie Watson Coleman has been a dedicated and outspoken advocate for women, the poor, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable. She shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first African American woman to serve as Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, and the first African American woman to serve as Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

Among her many achievements in the Legislature, Bonnie was on the front lines in the fight to increase the minimum wage, to pass the Paid Family Leave Act and to create the Office of the Comptroller to battle waste, fraud and abuse in government. She sponsored legislation to allow victims of identity theft the capability to clear their names and continues to fight for the restoration of critical women’s health care funding and additional gun safety laws to keep our street and our children safe. She also worked to extend Urban Enterprise Zones and helped implement New Jersey’s Economic Opportunity Act to create jobs for New Jersey’s working families.
Eloise Gomez Reyes (CA-31)
Eloise Gomez Reyes has spent her life fighting for families in the Inland Empire. Born and raised by the train tracks in South Colton, Eloise grew up in a working class family and learned the value of hard work and helping her neighbors at a very young age. When she was 12, Eloise began working the fields as an onion topper alongside her mother and her five brothers and sisters to earn money for school clothes. Her parents taught their children that education is the pathway to success and that helping others and supporting their community is the pathway to personal fulfillment, no matter what you have.

Eloise worked up to three jobs at a time on campus and at The Broadway at Inland Center to put herself through San Bernardino Valley College and graduated from USC. She went on to earn her law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and started her career representing injured workers and unions in workers compensation matters, including the California Teachers Association and the United Auto Workers. Eloise then moved back to Colton and became one of the first Latinas to open and manage her own law office in the Inland Empire while raising her son with her husband of 32 years, Frank.

As a small business owner for over two decades, Eloise has met a payroll and navigated government red tape while standing up and fighting for clients who could not fight for themselves. She recently represented a group of residents on the south side of Colton in their fight against a toxic dump site planned near their low income housing project. Eloise brought together local community groups and defeated the planned toxic dump.

When she was a young girl, Eloise had witnessed her parents having been taken advantage of by an attorney they reached out to for assistance and became dedicated to providing legal aid to struggling families. For over 25 years now, she has been volunteering for Legal Aid and providing pro bono legal services to needy families in the Inland Empire. Because of her commitment to the community, she was just named Attorney of the Year by the Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association.
Lee Rogers (CA-25)
Lee Rogers is an outspoken advocate for patient rights. He is a nationally-renowned doctor specializing in podiatry at Sherman Oaks Hospital, where he is the Medical Director at the Amputation Prevention Center, helping save people from losing their feet to complications of diabetes.

As a thought leader in his field, Lee is the published author of over 100 scientific papers, articles, and book chapters, advancing our understanding of health policy and medicine.
Ruben Gallego (AZ-07)
Ruben Gallego is a son of Hispanic immigrants, a veteran, and a community leader running for Congress to represent Arizona’s seventh congressional district. Ruben was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Harvard University with a degree in International Relations. He later joined the Marine Corps, serving in Iraq with the well-known combat unit Lima 3/25. As a Marine, community leader, and elected official in the Arizona House of Representatives, Ruben has always been motivated by the same thing-- a real appreciation of what families in Arizona are going through and a desire to help improve their lives.

Ruben was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010, serving until 2014. He represented District 27, which covers much of South Phoenix. He rose quickly in the state legislature, recently serving as Assistant Minority Leader. Ruben became known for his tough stand against extreme legislation pushed by Republicans in the state legislature, most recently leading the opposition to the discriminatory SB 1062, resulting in Governor Jan Brewer’s veto. Ruben’s other main accomplishments as a legislator include leading the push for Medicaid Expansion and securing in-state tuition for veterans.

Ruben’s time in the legislature showed him that much of what he started working on as veterans’ issues touch everybody. Income inequality, education and opportunity disparity, immigration reform and the environment affect us all. These issues are going to require solutions from a fresh generation of leaders, and Ruben is running for Congress to help lead that movement.
Staci Appel (IA-03)
Born and raised in Iowa, married for 16 years, mother to six kids and a former Financial Consultant, Staci Appel calls rural Ackworth, Iowa home. Staci took her deep Iowa roots, and her equally deep commitment to Iowa families to the State Senate in 2006 where she fought for Iowa’s backbone – middle-class families, farmers and small-business owners. During Staci’s time in the Iowa Senate, legislators took notice of her steadfast commitment to the people she served. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said, “I have never seen a freshman legislator come down to the capital and work as hard as Staci Appel.”

That work included leadership on legislation like Iowa’s statewide smoking ban, pre-school for every 4 year old and championing the bill making Iowa the first state in the nation to require equal pay for equal work.
Stanley Chang (HI-01)
The son of immigrants, Stanley has had the opportunity to live the “American Dream.” His mother and father, both educators, taught him firsthand the product of determination and hard work – the building blocks to Stanley’s service in our community.

A graduate of ‘Iolani School, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School, Stanley has been fortunate to attend some of the nation’s leading schools. However, he feels his most meaningful education has been the values both his parents and Hawai’i instilled within him-- responsibility, honesty, and humility.

In 2010, Stanley left his career as a real estate attorney in downtown Honolulu in a bid to represent his neighbors in the City Council’s 4th District, spanning from Ala Moana to Hawai’i Kai, and to work for responsible and responsive city government. More than 19,000 door knocks later, his community elected him to office.
So far this cycle, Blue America has endorsed 4 of the 6 challengers the Progressive Caucus PAC is supporting: Eloise Reyes and Lee Rogers of California, Hawaii's Stanley Chang and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey. If you'd like to contribute to all of their campaigns, you can do it here on our Blue America ActBlue page.

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