Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Two Good Progressives Are Retiring From Congress


Tom Udall and Jose Serrano

Yesterday, Congressman José Serrano (D-NY) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) both announced they would be retiring next year at the end of their current terms. Both have been excellent members of Congress and both have strong "A" grades from ProgressivePunch.

Serrano, who has described himself as being "to the left of the left," was first elected in 1990, bucking the corrupt Bronx Democratic machine. In 2008, when every single member of Congress from New York City voted to bail out the banksters, Serrano was the one "no" vote. Criticized by his colleagues-- who he embarrassed-- he shot back that he couldn't see showering taxpayer money on the millionaires and billionaires whose greed and avarice caused the financial collapse.

His south Bronx district-- which goes from Port Morris and Mott Haven up to the Bronx Zoo and Belmont-- is poorest congressional district in the whole country. Ethnically, it is 66.1% Hispanic, 28.1% Black and 2.3% White. It is also one of the bluest districts. Serrano was never reelected with less than 92% of the vote-- despite the Machine trying to oust him-- and Democrats always fare well there. In 2008, Obama beat McCain 95-5%. The voters like what Obama did and in 2012 they rewarded him a 96.7% to 3.0% win. Hillary trounced Trump-- 93.8% to 4.9%. The PVI is D+44, the best in the whole country. The last Republican presidential candidate to win the district was Calvin Coolidge in 1924; they were smart enough to have learned their lesson. NY-15 has been a haven for immigrants from Latin America, who have, in recent years, turned around the deterioration and put the area on a forward path.

In a press release, he said he is "living with Parkinson’s disease. After my diagnosis, I initially planned to continue my work representing the people of the South Bronx far into the future- a responsibility that brings me great joy. Although this disease has not affected my work in Congress, over the last few months I’ve come to the realization that Parkinson’s will eventually take a toll, and that I cannot predict its rate of advancement. Because of this uncertainty, I do not intend to seek re-election in 2020. I do intend to serve the remainder of my term in the 116th Congress."
“I plan to spend the rest of the 116th Congress fighting for the progressive values that I learned in the South Bronx. I will use my role as Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee to fight for climate change research, a fairer justice system, and an accurate 2020 Census count. There is still a lot of work to be done to stop the harmful policies of the Trump Administration, and I am proud to help lead in that effort as an Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman.

As I start to take stock of my career, I am extremely proud of the work we did to revitalize the Bronx River, to bring billions of federal dollars to our borough, to expand access to the ballot for language minorities, to increase STEM resources for minority students, to end the bombing of  Vieques, to make our immigration policies fairer and our foreign policies better, to provide legal services for the poor, and to push for a fair and accurate Census. 

I always tried to speak for those who are marginalized in our society-- to give them a voice and a vote here in Washington. Together, we fought to empower our community by seeking social justice and speaking truth to power.

I pledge to my constituents that I will be here fighting for you until my last day in office and beyond. I am grateful to all my colleagues for their dedication to our community, and for the years we spent working together on so many important issues. To my constituents-- it has been the honor of my life to serve you. To have gone from Mayaguez, to Mill Brook Houses, to the New York State Assembly, to the halls of Congress is truly the American Dream. I am honored to have had your trust over the years.
There should be a tough primary fight in this district (which borders on AOC's district). Serrano's son, also José Serrano, is a state senator but the only declared candidate so far is City Councilman Ritchie Torres (photo on the right), the first Bronx elected official from the LGBTQ community, who was gearing up to primary Serrano. I guarantee there will be more candidates tossing their hats into the ring.

On the Senate side, Tom Udall has been the most progressive of New Mexico politicians in Congress since being elected to the House in 1998 and then the Senate in 2008. New Mexico has been trending blue in the past couple of decades. When I was growing up, Republicans kept winning presidential elections there. After the Barry Goldwater debacle in 1964, Republicans kept winning-- Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush I. Because of a relatively big vote for independent Ross Perot in 1992 (165), Bill Clinton beat Bush. Clinton won again in 1996 and it's been all blue since then, with the except of Bush II in 2004. Even Hillary managed to squeak out a plurality-- 48.26% to 40.04%. Both senators are Democrats. All three House seats are held by Democrats, even the red-leaning one. Democrats have majorities in the state House (47-23) and state Senate (26-16) and control all 6 statewide offices-- governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor and commissioner of public lands. Hector Balderas is extremely popular-- generally the state's top vote getter. This may scare Cheri Bustos but he was first elected to the state House by defeating a conservative, anti-Choice/pro-gun Democrat (Benji Regensberg) in a primary. The Beltway insider candidate is Ben Ray Luján. It would be awesome to see him give up his House seat and then get beaten by Balderas. The Republicans will probably put some crackpot up who will get around 40%.

In a message to New Mexico voters, Udal wrote:
When I first ran for Senate, I promised that I would give my all for the people of New Mexico. And I reminded myself that this Senate seat is not my seat. It is New Mexico’s seat.

I was proud to serve as New Mexico’s Attorney General, then in the U.S. House, and now two terms as your senator. I’m confident that we could run a strong campaign next year to earn a third term, because of all the work you and I have done together, along with my wife, Jill, and my incredibly dedicated staff.

But the worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent. That’s why I’m announcing today that I won’t be seeking re-election next year.
Too bad it wasn't some of the ones who do believe the office belongs to them-- fossils who plan to die in office like Feinstein (85), McTurtle (77), Grassley (85), Shelby (84) and Inhofe (84).

Labels: , , , ,


At 5:40 PM, Blogger Jimbo said...

Both retirees should be safe seats but I do hope Udall is replaced by another environmentalist. In the era of accelerating climate change impacts, we need an informed senator.

At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well here's Ben Lujan: “In the weeks to come, I will speak with my family, New Mexicans, and supporters about the opportunity to serve our state in the U.S. Senate.” And that means he's probably gonna run. Yuck. He represents my district: Lots of oil and coal in NE New Mexico, lots of casinos, and lots of defense $$ in Los Alamos and more. HOPEFULLY some brave DSA kids will nip this dog in the ankles

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serrano: "I will use my role as Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee to fight for climate change research, a fairer justice system, and an accurate 2020 Census count."

Only if Pelosi lets him. and she won't cuz big oil won't like it.

and THAT, dear moron voters who liked obamanation and almost gave him unanimous re-election in 2012, is why not ever voting for another democrap matters.

but a district dumb enough to think obamanation was good... waddaya gonna do?

At 4:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plans to prevent anyone even slightly progressive from taking these seats are already in place. Profits Uber Alles! Ve are ALL Good Little Capitalists here!

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

so that's one seat that the Nazis will take in the senate. Suddenly the democraps look like they will lose ground again in 2020 in spite of the map looking slightly favorable.

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

only the GOOD die young... or retire before dying.

Frankly, this opens a hole in the senate that the Nazis can probably fill. I bet if the election were today, the Nazis would win pretty easily.

and Pelosi has another year to naturally suppress turnout to help the Nazis.


Post a Comment

<< Home