Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Dream in Color, by the Honorable Loretta and Linda Sanchez

When I was growing up, one of my dad's favorite sayings was "Don't let anybody ever tell you you're a dumb Mexican."

Our mom definitely taught us that there are times when we must stand up for our convictions and not back down.

Loretta Sanchez became my hero when she defeated the disgusting right wing extremist Bob Dornan in an upset victory in Orange County, California. Several years later, her sister Linda Sanchez was elected to a nearby district and they became the first ever sisters to serve in Congress.

As the children of Mexican immigrants, their story is obviously one of overcoming great odds and prejudice. But they have overcome those odds with grace, intelligence and great skill.

In 2008 Loretta and Linda (along with Richard Buskin) published their story, a book called Dream in Color. I love the title as much as I love the Sanchez sisters. And I always meant to buy the book. But I tend to read either ancient history or pure escapist science fiction or fantasy. The stupid turn to the discredited and failed right wing Republican agenda in the 2010 midterm election was what made me finally buy the book, because I knew it would be an inspiring story, and I needed an inspiring story. And I was not wrong in my expectation.

Many people work hard to conceal their background, conforming or projecting themselves in ways that are deemed socially acceptable, politically correct, physically desirable, or otherwise in vogue. And women and minorities are often more prone to this, partly because they're taught to aspire to some mythical ideal. Not us.

Growing up in a traditional Mexican family, we learned about the rich cultural values of our heritage, and as Latinas in Congress we draw daily strength from the lessons that our parents instilled in us. One of the strongest examples of such a lesson is the way Mom stood her ground when told by one of our grade school teachers that we should speak only English at home. She knew that being bilingual was an asset, and we have both repeatedly reaped the benefits of her foresight...

In most of the world being bi-, tri- or multi-lingual is not just an asset, it is a requirement. In Europe most people speak three or more languages. In Japan and India at least two. These are the countries America COMPETES with and our failure to recognize the need to speak multiple languages is one of several reasons (all fueled by right wing stupidity) that America is slowly, but surely, losing its competitive edge.

As for hiding one's ethnic identity, currently living in NYC where almost every ethic group has its own parade it amazes me that America would EVER want to abandon or deny its rich, amazing ethic and immigrant past and present. We are an immigrant nation and have been from day one. And that has been one of our greatest strengths. Yet Republican America wants to DENY that strong, amazing, idealistic immigrant past. I am descended from German refugees from economic and political problems in the wake of the 1848 Revolutions. And I am descended from Jewish refugees from pogroms. I am interested in, shaped by and proud of those roots. Why would I expect Mexican-Americans to be any less interested in, shaped by or proud of THEIR roots?

Dream in Color is the story of these daughters of Mexican immigrants (that word, "immigrant" that is supposed to be so horrible, but in reality describes all of our ancestries unless you happen to be pure Native American) who rose from tough, though not poverty, circumstances to become Congresswomen. What most right wingers could never, NEVER admit, is that in many ways this book is the ultimate story of the American Dream. The American Dream was, is and always will be the story of the immigrant family that came to America with nothing but dreamed big, worked hard, and achieved great things. THAT is the American dream and the Honorable Sanchez sisters are a perfect example of that dream.

I grew up in California and always found it somewhat amusing and disturbing that people saw my state as so liberal. I lived in Los Angeles where the stereotype largely held, but neighboring Orange County was one of the most conservative districts in the nation and was represented by right wing crazies like Bob Dornan, who wound up so batshit crazy even Newt Gingrich hesitated to openly support him for awhile.

So when, in 1996, a young woman named Loretta Sanchez had the huevos to run against Bob Dornan, I eagerly donated to her campaign, though I had little hope she could pull it off. But that donation was one of my most enthusiastic donations.

Loretta's reason for running, which I didn't know until reading Dream in Color, was basically because when she was pushing hard for improved education in her district, her Congressman Bob Dornan blew her off.

I next tried to make an appointment to see my Congress member, Bob Dornan, but he refused to meet with me. If I had wanted to meet with him about a defense project, he would have been all over it, but as far as I could tell, education held no interest for him. So, at that point, I went home and said, "I'm going to run for Congress..."

The first person I called was mu mom. When I told her what I wanted to do, she said, "Okay, we can do that..."

The fight was hard and Bob Dornan, a truely miserable human being in my opinion, was as nasty as could be, demonstrating just what true Republican "values" are these days.

When I won the one even knew who I was...I'd appeared out of nowhere to beat the candidates and now I was the opponent to Bob Dornan. Well, when he found out who I was he described me as a dream candidate to run against. "She can't beat me," he told the Orange County newspaper, the
OC Weekly
. "Bob Dornan [I guess like Bob Dole Dornan refers to himself in the third person] is a father of five, grandfather of ten, military man, been farried forty-one years. She has no kids, no military, no track record. I win."


Dismissing me resulted in his defeat. And when we had a rematch two years later, Dornan turned extremely nasty.

To my utter astonishment, moderate Democrat (former moderate Republican) Loretta Sanchez beat right wing extremist Bob Dornan. Bob Dornan, who would make today's Teabaggers (remember, THEY came up with that term!) like Carl Paladino seem reasonable, was ousted by an upstart Latina. Dornan spent the next year showing up to Congress anyway, claiming Loretta hadn't really won. He demanded a rematch two years later and was soundly defeated by the now incumbent Loretta Sanchez. I vaguely remember getting drunk in celebration of Loretta's second, absolutely definitive, win. I was immensely proud to have donated to Loretta's first two runs for Congress. The only reason I have not donated since is because she doesn't need my money and other great candidates do.

Within her first year in Congress, Loretta Sanchez proved her worth, despite being resented by many Republicans and despite being a freshman, in the passage of changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (that book that features so prominantly in the movie "A Few Good Men) to address the problem of rape of women in military service. In many ways the Uniform Code of Military Justice had failed to keep up with changes in civilian law regarding rape and so wound up protecting rapists and victimizing rape victims. Loretta Sanchez saw this problem for women in the military and sought to change it. She was, of course, solidly opposed by the good-old-boys network of the military and initially by the good-old-boys network of Congress. But she refused to let what was clearly an important issue get pushed aside, and to give credit where credit is due, she was helped by a Republican, John McHugh. Now I never really liked McHugh, but in this case he did the right thing, even to the point, according to Loretta Sanchez, of standing up to fellow Republican Duncan Hunter who wanted to let Loretta's bill die. John McHugh decided Loretta's bill was worth supporting and he went the extra mile for it. Together Sanchez and McHugh, against the inertia of the military, revised the military law codes to better handle rape cases. This all happened, from start to finish, within Loretta's first two years in Congress while Bob Dornan was still showing up and claiming he still represented the district.

I think this experience shaped Loretta Sachez's entire approach towards Congress. Loretta Sanchez is a Blue Dog Dem, which usually means bad things in my book, but Loretta, who, like Hillary Clinton, was once a Republican, represents a relatively conservative district and, though a Blue Dog, votes well and stands up on fights few other Dems stand up on. So I have always liked her. And her unconventional image, drawn from her Hispanic, hard working, immigrant background, has always endeared her to me.

As a Blue Dog, Loretta tends to be one of those compromisers in Congress that many progressives hate. But in judging Loretta one has to take into account her district (which is conservative) and her experience with Republican John McHugh, where through patience and determination she was able to find common ground and compromise and so pass a much needed bill. She learned the lesson then and there that compromise was possible and could accomplish important things. I think she has stuck to that view, though she has also never been one of the more conservative members of the Blue Dogs. I feel she remains true to progressive ideals though she also maintains a cooperative stance with conservatives. If all Blue Dogs were like Loretta Sanchez, we'd be much better off both as a party and as a country.

Loretta also, like Arianna Huffington, left the Republican party because of the realization that the Republicans did NOT represent her true values...didn't even represent the values they claimed to represent. Loretta Sanchez grew up in a family where one parent was a Democrat and one a Republican, so the choice between the two seemed a reasonable first:

Whereas Mom was a compassionate Democrat, Dad ended up running his own business and reading the libertarian Orange County Register, so he was very antitax and pro-Republican. Neither of them voted back then...they didn't become US citizens until [1996]. By then, like me, Dad had converted from Republican to Democrat...

I remained registered as a Republican and never really thought about it much. That was, until one night when I was flicking through the TV channels at home and just happened to catch Pat Buchanan making an inflammatory speech, calling for an end to immigrants coming to America. I was so angry that a high-profile Republican was allowed to spew that kind of hatred on national television, the very next day I registered as a Democrat.

When Loretta's younger sister, Linda, ran for Congress in 2003, I considered it a given I would donate. If she was HALF as kick ass as Loretta, it was worth supporting her. And she won, making Loretta and Linda Sanchez not only rare in Congress as Latinas (I personally know and like Nydia Velasquez, one of the other rare Latinas in Congress), but literally unique as being the first and so far ONLY sisters to serve in Congress.

Linda Sanchez, partly because she represents a solidly Democratic district and partly because of her own personality, is a more liberal Democrat than her sister. Loretta grew up with more to prove, as an older sibling, and I think it is reflected in her more conservative attitude, shaped by a greater need for financial security than social activism. They both make clear that the older siblings had a rougher time and were raised with a more traditional philosophy, but by the time Linda was growing up this was somewhat relaxed and Linda, from an early age, recognized that there were inequities in the world and that becoming a lawyer was a path towards solving those inequities. She was encouraged to become a lawyer by her older sister, but Loretta had imagined Linda using her law degree more practically, getting a higher paying job. Instead, Linda went into labor law and became a union organizer. And she was kick ass in pushing for labor reforms. When a new Congressional district was created in Southern California, Linda decided to run for it...and won. She started as the longshot, as a young Latina, but when she proved so effective that she rapidly became the frontrunner, she became the target for attacks by all the other campaigns in the primary. I get the feeling from her description in the book that this may have been one of the toughest things she had faced: a concerted attack from several other fellow Democrats.

And yet she won. I think this shows the strength of the Sanchez family, that they could turn not just one, but TWO long-shot runs for office into wins.

Like Loretta, Linda Sanchez also proved her worth within the first year, though in a more locally focused way.

One of the smaller cities I represent desperately needed funding to renovate and repave its major street, which was old and falling into disrepair. For ten years the city had been begging its former congressman to try to help get federal funds for the roadwork, but he never secured any real funding for the project. Well, when the time came, and [Congressman] Obey asked for projects, that was one of the projects I submitted. It made it into the omnibus bill, and the omnibus bill passed. That meant that after being in Congress for only six weeks I had gotten it the funding! And wheras before the city had been skeptical, I now had a victory to show them, and it was grateful.

And then, of course, Linda had to face the same obstacles that Loretta had to face as a rare Latina in Congress as well as a freshman. She relates how she frequently felt like asking people (I assume she never actually did!):

Excuse me, but did you just blow me off because I'm a woman, because I'm Hispanic, or because I'm young? Could you let me know?

Linda Sanchez has some of the best lines in the book, the lines that make me think, "YES! That is how I always wanted to say it!" For example:

Sometimes I've encountered Republicans who seem to believe that people are poor because they choose to be poor, and that this wouldn't be the case if they just worked harder. Well, that isn't true. A lot of people start with advantages that they don't even consider to be advantages and I always point this out when I get into fights...

I believe there are two kinds of people in this life. There are those who succeed and attribute all the success to themselves--"I've got mine, you guys have to get yours." And then there are those who succeed and not only credit the teachers who cared, the mentors who helped them, the bosses who took them under their wing, and the parents who pushed them to do well, but also the resolve to help the next group of people who are struggling. For the life of me, I don't understand those who fall into the former category, because the belief that they did it all on their own is just nonsense.

And right there a major FALSE Republican talking point falls by the wayside.

Dream in Color is interesting on several levels. It may not be high literature in style, but it is a very readable, straightforward description of what life is like for Latinas in America and what people can accomplish if they work REALLY hard and take calculated risks. It also provides very interesting perspectives on how Congress works...and doesn't always work. It also provides a much needed counterpoint to the hostile and nasty Republican anti-immigrant rhetoric we hear all too much, instilling a respect for hard working immigrants of ALL ethnicities.

Overall Dream in Color is a quick read, and, though perhaps not immensely profound, is very inspiring, particularly now when Democrats seem a tad demoralized.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Economy

I recently highlighted actual facts and figures showing that in pretty much every possible way, from job growth to keeping the deficit down to stock market performance, the economy does much better under Democrats than Republicans. I want to look a little more closely at why.

What makes an economy strong? It isn't money circulating among the top 10% which is how Republican trickle down economics (aka "Voodoo Economics") believes it works. Nor is it money pouring into the biggest corporations, again the way Republican policies assume. What makes an economy strong is money circulating among working and middle class Americans and small to medium sized businesses. THOSE areas are the backbone of our economy. Our economy doesn't grow because a CEO can buy another yacht, big business can outsource more jobs, and BP and Exxon/Mobil make massive profits that go to bonuses for their executives. Our economy grows because you and I are buying what we need for our families, local Green Energy projects are being built, and small and medium sized businesses are growing and able to hire another person or two.

Republicans favor the BIG GUYS. The top 10% get the tax cuts...and Capital Gains cuts...and tax loopholes. You and I can't take advantage of Off Shore Banking. The BIG GUYS can. So they get richer and we get poorer under Republican policies. In essence Republicans are redistributing wealth to the richest Americans. And Republicans favor BIG BUSINESS, the companies that outsource jobs and buy from overseas. This all means money circulates among fewer people and jobs flow overseas. THAT is what Republicans do.

Democratic policies favor working and middle class Americans and small to medium sized businesses. Democratic policies get money circulating among a much wider ranger of people and businesses. This keeps more money circulating within the United States' economy and favors job growth here in America. Republicans accuse Democrats of wanting to redistribute the wealth, but that is BS. Democrats get money flowing more equitably through our economy while Republicans actively redistribute the wealth to the very richest, following the same failed trickle down policies that they have since Herbert Hoover.

Here's the proof. Looking at Average Annual Income growth and comparing the average for Republican (in red) and Democratic (in blue) Presidents, under Democrats average annual income grows for ALL AMERICANS. Under Republicans average annual income goes up for the very rich and barely at all for most of us:

Under Democrats the money is flowing through a much wider range of the economy than under Republicans and THAT means the economy is stronger under Democrats than under Republicans. You and I have more money to buy stuff or save or invest or pay off debt under Democrats. Under Republicans only the very rich can do these things. Under Democrats MORE PEOPLE can spend, save, invest and pay of debt than under Republicans.

The circulation of more money (for spending, saving, investing, etc) among more people means better stock market returns: Average rowth in the stock market under Republicans average (excluding Hoover, to be fair) is 4.3% growth...Democratic Average is 9.6%.

Note this: the BEST STOCK MARKET GROWTH has been under Clinton and Obama. The WORST stock market declines (excluding Hoover) were under Nixon and the younger Bush. Clinton and Obama have been the best Presidents in modern American history for stock growth.

What else comes of Democrats getting more money circulating around a larger segment of the American economy rather than Republicans favoring the very rich and companies that outsource? More job growth. There is more real job growth under Democrats than Republicans...without fail!

Look at that graph. EVERY Democratic President has done better than EVERY Republican President since Hoover in creating jobs. You want job growth, vote Democratic. And job growth means yet MORE money circulating through the American economy.

More jobs and more money circulating through the economy means a higher GDP under Democrats. Average Growth in GDP: Again Democrats match or beat all Republicans

You can't argue with these numbers. Better job growth and better growth in GDP and a fairer average annual income growth under ALL Democrats compared with ALL Republicans.

Then we come to the deficit. Again Republicans repeat the lie over and over that Democrats run up the deficits. Well, the worst deficits in American history were under three names: Reagan and two Bushes.

Republicans do FAR more deficit spending that Democrats. I think there are three reasons for this. First, because there is better economic growth under Democrats (see all the above graphs) there are more tax revenues. Second, because Republicans give massive tax breaks to the rich, they reduce the money coming in. Third, at the same time Republicans are cutting down the income to the government, they favor massive spending programs like expanding the military, building a fence around the country, expanding surveillance, invading Iraq...all things that cost massive amounts of money. Democrats favor programs like infrastructure, education, alternative energy that not only are cheaper than invading Iraq but actually in the long run can save money and/or create jobs. So Republicans have a weaker economy, cut income and increase outflow. Democrats produce a stronger economy (thus increase tax income), don't give massive tax breaks to the rich and spend money more wisely in ways that better help average Americans.

The net result is a stronger America under Democrats than Republicans by almost any measure you can think of.

Look, any one of these things could be coincidence. But ALL of these measures of economic strength doing better under Democrats compared to Republicans over such a long period is really hard to argue with. DEMOCRATS DO BETTER.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Bottom Line: Democrats are Better for the Economy

Daily Kos has the following graph illustrating the bottom line for economic growth: Republicans are lousy for the economy and Democrats are better:

Economic Growth:

What Bush did:

What Obama did:

This isn't isolated. If you look at almost any economic indicator, it will do better under Democrats than under Republicans. No matter how much they lie about it, Republicans can't deny the actual numbers show that they are terrible for the economy compared with Democrats.

Let's look at the bottom line for most people: JOBS. Job Growth is always better under Democrats than Republicans:

Growth in the stock market: Republican average (excluding Hoover, to be fair) is 4.3% growth...Democratic Average is 9.4%.

Note this: the BEST STOCK MARKET GROWTH has been under Clinton and Obama. The WORST stock market declines (excluding Hoover) were under Nixon and the younger Bush.

Average Growth in GDP: Again Democrats match or beat all Republicans

Average annual income grows for ALL AMERICANS under Democrats, while it mainly grows for the very rich under Republicans:

You can read more about the fact that the American economy does better under Democrats than Republicans here.

Even fiscal responsibility, that thing Republicans like to claim, is really a Democratic value as proven by the numbers:

Republicans do FAR more deficit spending that Democrats.

I will never understand why ANYONE would vote for Republicans. They are more corrupt, run up higher deficits, and are worse for the economy than Democrats. Why vote Republican? Ever?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

State by State Roundup of Endorsements

Here is a nearly 50-state round up of endorsements, both my own and other groups. The organizations I draw from, in addition to local groups, are, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, Indigenous Democratic Network, NARAL, Progressive Majority, Democracy for America, and Sierra Club.

SPECIAL FOCUS: endorsements (American Veterans running for office)

Click below to check out the best candidates running in the following states: (for more endorsement lists, including some local endorsements, visit The

VIRGINIA: (my endorsements)

Virginia 5th Congressional District Progressive Voters Guide


Washington DC SEIU 32BJ

PENNSYLVANIA: (my endorsements)

PA Progressive Voters Guide Pennsylvania Endorsements

Delaware County, PA

Pennsylvania 6th Congressional District: Includes parts of Lehigh, Berks, Montgomery and Chester counties.

Pennsylvania State House District 154

MINNESOTA (my endorsements)

Minneapolis Voter Guide for the Reality-based Community

TEXAS: (my endorsements)

Planned Parenthood Houston and Southeast Texas

Texas 21st Congressional District: Includes Travis, Kerr, Real, Bandera, Kendall, Comal and Blanco Counties

Texas 15th Congressional District: Includes Hidalgo, Brooks, Duval, Live Oak, Bee, Jim Wells, Karnes, DeWitt, Goliad, San Patricio, and Refugio Counties.

Texas 10th Congressional District: Includes Bastrop, Lee, Burleson, Washington, Austin, Harris, and Waller Counties.

Houston/Harris County, TX

Austin/Travis County, Texas Endorsements

WISCONSIN (my endorsements)

NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin PAC

COLORADO (my endorsements)

Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Endorsements

Colorado Wins Endorsements

El Paso County, CO

Denver County, CO

Larimer County, CO

Douglas County, CO

Arapahoe County, CO

Boulder County, CO

Another Boulder County, CO list

ILLINOIS (my endorsements)

Planned Parenthood Illinois

SEIU Illinois

Illinois 14th Congressional District

Cook County, IL

Coffee Party-Naperville IL

ARIZONA (my endorsements)

Planned Parenthood Arizona Endorsements

Arizona Voter guide – Propositions 100s-300s

MICHIGAN (my endorsements)

Michigan Public Employees SEIU Local 517M

Planned Parenthood Michigan

Oakland County, MI Progressive Voter Guide

FLORIDA (my endorsements)

Planned Parenthood Florida Guides

Orange County, FL

Pinellas County, FL

Tampa/Hillsborough County, FL

Tallahassee, FL Progressive Guide

NEVADA (my endorsements)

SEIU Nevada Endorsements


CALIFORNIA (my endorsements)

California Propositions

California's 11th Congressional District: Includes San Joaquin, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties.

Sierra Club Ventana Chapter Propositions Slate

Courage Campaign Progressive Voter Guide

San Leandro, CA Progressives

Northern Solano Democratic Club

Riverside Local Elections

SOUTH DAKOTA: (my endorsements)


NARAL Pro-Choice Montana

OKLAHOMA (my endorsements)

ALASKA (my endorsements)

WASHINGTON STATE (my endorsements)

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington 2010 Endorsements

UFCW Local 1439

Pierce County, WA

Snohomish County, WA

Seattle/King County

Olympia/Thurston County, WA


Kentucky AFL-CIO

GEORGIA (no endorsement)

Georgia Sierra Club Endorsements

Georgia AFL-CIO 2010 Endorsements

IOWA (my endorsements)

2010 Endorsements (Sierra Club Iowa Chapter)

Planned Parenthood Iowa


Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri


Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri

Sierra Club Missouri Chapter Endorsements

NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri 2010 Endorsements


Arkansas Blog: AFL-CIO 2010 Endorsements


Indiana AFL-CIO


SEIU 1199 Ohio Endorsements


SEIU 1199 West Virginia Endorsements

Planned Parenthood West Virginia


Planned Parenthood South Carolina


Planned Parenthood North Carolina

Progressives/Democrats for Forsyth, NC

Wake County, NC Democrats


Planned Parenthood Maryland

SEIU 32BJ - Maryland


Planned Parenthood New York

Rockland Women's Political Caucus


NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts

Massachusetts Sierra Club

Planned Parenthood Massachusetts


Planned Parenthood Vermont

VT-Chittenden County Guide


New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire


Equality Maine

The Maine League of Young Voters - STATEWIDE Edition

The Maine League of Young Voters 2010 - PORTLAND Edition


Planned Parenthood Delaware Endorsements


Planned Parenthood Hawaii

Sierra Club of Hawaii


Planned Parenthood Alabama

Alabama AFL-CIO Endorsements

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pierce County, WA Endorsements

Derived from local endorsements, AARP, Democracy for America, Indinegous Democratic Network, and Progressive Majority, here are my endorsements for Pierce County, WA

US SENATE: Patty Murray
US CONGRESS CD 8: Suzan DelBene

State House - District 26: Sumner Schoenike
State House - District 27: Laurie Jinkins
State House - District 28: Tami Green

Pierce County Auditor: Julie Anderson
Pierce County Prosecutor: Mark Lindquist

For more information on candidates, please go here:

Ballot Initiatives:
I-1053 NO

I-1100 NO

I-1105 NO

I-1107 NO

I-1082 NO

I-1098 YES

Ref Bill 52 YES

SJR 8225 YES

King County Ballot Measures

Proposition 1 YES

Charter Amendment 1 YES

Charter Amendment 2 YES

Charter Amendment 3 YES

Seattle Public Schools Levy YES

Snohomish County, WA Endorsement List

Derived from local endorsements, AARP, Democracy for America, Indinegous Democratic Network, and Progressive Majority, here are my endorsements for Snohomish County, WA

US SENATE: Patty Murray
US CONGRESS CD 2: Rick Larsen

State House - District 1: Derek Stanford
State House - District 32: Cindy Ryu
State House - District 38: Nick Harper

Ballot Initiatives:
I-1053 NO

I-1100 NO

I-1105 NO

I-1107 NO

I-1082 NO

I-1098 YES

Ref Bill 52 YES

SJR 8225 YES

King County Ballot Measures

Proposition 1 YES

Charter Amendment 1 YES

Charter Amendment 2 YES

Charter Amendment 3 YES

Seattle Public Schools Levy YES

Seattle/King County, WA Endorsement List

Derived from local endorsements, AARP, Democracy for America, Indinegous Democratic Network, and Progressive Majority, here are my endorsements for Seattle and King County, WA

US SENATE: Patty Murray
US CONGRESS CD 2: Rick Larsen
US CONGRESS CD 8: Suzan DelBene

State House - District 1: Luis Moscoso
State House - District 30: Carol Gregory
State House - District 32: Cindy Ryu
State House - District 34: Joe Fitzgibbon

State Senate - District 34: Sharon Nelson
State Senate - District 41: Randy Gordon
State Senate - District 45: Eric Oemig

King County Council - District 8: Joe McDermott

For more information on candidates, please visit:

Ballot Initiatives:
I-1053 NO

I-1100 NO

I-1105 NO

I-1107 NO

I-1082 NO

I-1098 YES

Ref Bill 52 YES

SJR 8225 YES

King County Ballot Measures

Proposition 1 YES

Charter Amendment 1 YES

Charter Amendment 2 YES

Charter Amendment 3 YES

Seattle Public Schools Levy YES

Olympia/Thurston County, WA Endorsement List

Derived from local endorsements, AARP, Democracy for America, Indinegous Democratic Network, and Progressive Majority, here are my endorsements for Thurston County, WA

US SENATE: Patty Murray
CONGRESS (WA-3): Denny Heck
State House - District 22: Chris Reykdal

For more information on candidates, please go here:

Ballot Initiatives:
I-1053 NO

I-1100 NO

I-1105 NO

I-1107 NO

I-1082 NO

I-1098 YES

Ref Bill 52 YES

SJR 8225 YES

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Virginia Focus: Three Important Congressional Races

There are three particularly important Congressional candidates in Virginia. Two are challenging particularly awful, Bush-style Republicans (VA-1 and VA-7) and one is defending one of the best, most capable people in Congress (VA-5).

Tom Perriello for Congress (VA-5)

Tom Perriello, though a Blue Dog, is one of the best Congressmen elected from either party. I was proud to endorse such an accomplished person when he first ran and I am proud to endorse him for re-election.

Democrat Tom Periello on Keith Olbermann: "We Need to Fight for the Working and Middle Class"

Tom Perriello endorsed by Veterans of Foreign Wars: (from the Danville Register & Bee)

More than a dozen veterans from the Danville chapter of the VFW were on hand to deliver the endorsement at the Danville/Pittsylvania Veterans Memorial inDanville. The decision was based on Perriello’s strong support for veteran’s affairs, including expanding health care and economic benefits for them, according to the VFW.

Perriello is campaigning for re-election in 5th District against state senator Robert Hurt, of Chatham and Jeff Clark, of Danville.

The small event started off with a brief introduction from U.S. Navy veteran Kevin Cramton, of Danville, who emphasized Perriello’s accessibility.

“To me, he’s for us,” Cramton said in an interview. “He could have hid up in Washington, but he’s been here talking to us.”

Phone bank from your home to help re-elect Tom Perriello

From his website:

Fighting for Solutions in Conflict Zones

After receiving his law degree from Yale University, Tom accepted an assignment working to end atrocities in the West African countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone, which had suffered long civil wars fueled by blood diamonds. Tom’s work with child soldiers, amputees, and local pro-democracy groups in Sierra Leone played a significant role in the peace and reconciliation process that ended twelve years of violence in that country. Tom then became Special Advisor and spokesperson for the International Prosecutor during the showdown that forced Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power without firing a shot. After this success, Tom served as a national security analyst for the Century Foundation. He has worked inside Darfur and twice in Afghanistan.

After Bush's disastrous policies, this is PRECISELY the kind of person we need in our government.

Tom Perriello on Job Creation:

Phone bank from your home to help re-elect Tom Perriello

Check out Perriello's website for more information on how you can help one of America's best Congressmen get re-elected.

Krystal Ball for Congress (VA-1)

KB from Shannon Prasad on Vimeo.

From Bloggers for Ball:

This year, Democrats will select a nominee to take on Rep. Rob Wittman, a politician who has voted 92% of the time with Eric Cantor and John Boehner, against the economic recovery act, against the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, and against strong health care reform legislation. In short, Wittman is a cookie-cutter, lockstep, knee-jerk Republican loyalist who apparently has lost the ability to think and reason for himself. Instead, Wittman just votes "no," "no," and "no" to everything, along with the rest of his party.

Obviously, it's time for a change in the 1st CD. Fortunately, there's an excellent Democrat running who will work to bring that change. Her name is Krystal Ball, the clear choice for a large number of reasons. Aside from her energy, enthusiasm, and intelligence, Krystal Ball is a strong "pro-growth progressive" who I believe is clearly "from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." Among other things, Krystal believes in "strong environmental and financial regulation," "a robust public option," "strong unions," "government’s basic role as a social equalizer, " "civil liberties, the right to choose for ourselves in marriage, reproduction and self-defense," " full LGBT equality at every level," and "aggressive mandatory renewable energy standards for vehicles, appliances, etc."

Krystal Ball: Gen Y Does Politics:

Krystal Ball Interview on Young Turks:

Meanwhile, Krystal's Republican opponent also seems to be hiding from the voters:

Find out more about Krystal Ball at her campaign website.

Rick Waugh for Congress (VA-7):

Eric Cantor is one of the most obstructionist of the Republicans in Congress and has made the elimination of Medicare part of the Republican agenda:

Rick Waugh is challenging one of the most obstructionist of Republicans, Eric Cantor. Here is Rick Waugh's statement on running:

My name is Rick Waugh, and I’m running for Congress in the 7th Congressional District of Virginia. I am a pragmatic progresive, and I am running for one simple reason – I feel that my voice and the voices of many of my fellow citizens are not being heard in Washington. While there are once again record profits on Wall Street, Main Street has been left high and dry. Even worse, I can think of little Eric Cantor has done in his 10 years in Washington to support the regular folks of this district...

I am running for Congress because I believe the citizens of Virginia have not been getting a fair shake from Washington, D.C. I am running because of the clients whom I have seen as a counselor. I am running because I know that our education system is still leaving children behind; I am running for the citizens of our District who cannot find the work they need to support their families; and for the citizens who have gone to Eric Cantor for help only to feel ignored. I am running because I know we can do better.

I am proud to have the nomination of the Democratic party. I believe that the Democratic Party is more about solving problems than blind partisanship and ideology. The attitude I intend to bring to Washington is that of listening to the voters; not party bosses, special interests, or those who are entrenched in Washington. I will bring solutions to the daily struggles we all endure.

This campaign isn’t about me, it is about every citizen of the 7th district. We are building a movement, but we need your help. If you believe, like I do, that we need a government in Washington of, by and for the people, and not a government of, by and for the lobbyists and special interests, I need your support. I need you to sign up to volunteer with this campaign, I need to tell your friends and neighbors about what we are doing here, and I need you to write a check. Together, we can build a campaign that will make us all proud!

Meet Rick Waugh from Rick Waugh for Congress on Vimeo.

Visit Rick Waugh's website for more information.

Listening to Our Veterans: endorsements

The mission of Political Action Committee is to elect Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to public office; hold public officials accountable for their words and actions that impact America’s 21st century servicemembers; and fully support our men and women in uniform.

Here are their endorsed candidates for 2010:


Pennsylvania has the great opportunity to elect SIX Veterans to office this year. Each of them have proven their worth both in the armed forces and in serving their community at home.

Joe Sestak--US Senate

Joe Sestak represents Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District and is currently [running] to be Senator from Pennsylvania. Sestak is a retired United States Navy vice admiral and is the highest ranking military official to serve in Congress.

From the Philadelphia Tribune:

Sestak, 58, a second-term congressman from a suburban Philadelphia district, is an unusual Democrat.

He hails from the military, an institution that might be expected to produce conservative Democrats. But Sestak has not only staunchly supported the major elements of Obama's liberal agenda, he often has advocated going beyond it.

Along the way, he has compiled one of the most liberal voting records among Pennsylvania's members of Congress, according AFL-CIO ratings.

He's also an unusual military man: He earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Harvard University during his 31 years in the Navy. He commanded an entire aircraft battle group in war — something only a few Navy admirals do — after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. His reputation as a hard worker and superb analyst preceded him in the Navy: He was asked to create the Navy's anti-terrorism unit and was picked to serve on President Bill Clinton's National Security Council.

Find out more from his Campaign Website:

Manan Trivedi - Candidate Pennsylvania-6

Dr. Manan Trivedi is a combat veteran of the Iraq war veteran and a primary care doctor from Reading, PA. He was commissioned in the US Navy in 1996.

His unit was one of the first US ground forces to enter Iraq during the initial invasion in 2003. As commander of the medical team, he led his staff in treating Marines and Iraqi civilians who suffered over 300 traumatic injuries during the first three months of the war. For his service, Dr. Trivedi earned the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Commendation Medal and his entire unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

He served as a health policy advisor to the Navy Surgeon General and the Department Head of Emerging Health Policy for Navy Medicine's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. He also was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Trivedi has conducted research in the areas of military and veterans' health, pharmacoeconomics and access to mental health care. He has also advised political leaders on heath care issues, most recently serving as a health policy advisor to President Barack Obama during the 2008 elections.

Dr. Trivedi currently holds privileges as a board-certified internal medicine physician at Reading Hospital and Medical Center.


Bryan Lentz - Candidate Pennsylvania-7

Representative Bryan R. Lentz (D-161, Delaware Co.) was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2006. He is a fourth generation Army veteran and a graduate of Valley Forge Military College. After leaving Valley Forge, Bryan attended Georgetown University on a full Army scholarship.

Bryan was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry in 1986. After completing the Infantry Officers Basic Course (IOBC) and U.S. Army Ranger School, Bryan was assigned to the Second Battalion of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. Lentz held leadership positions throughout his service in the 82nd Airborne Division, including the command of two rifle platoons and an 81mm mortar platoon. Lentz also served as an officer in the Army reserves. His overseas military assignments include the recent war in Iraq, as well as tours with Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO) and NATO peacekeeping missions in the Sinai Peninsula and Bosnia. His official commendations include the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Bronze Star for Service. In Bosnia he oversaw millions of dollars in infrastructure development, including the first-ever Russian, Romanian, Muslim and Serbian joint bridge. In 2003 Lentz volunteered to return to active reserve service to command a Civil Affairs unit responsible for infrastructure repair and developing civil governance in the northern city of Mosul.

In 1993, following his active service in the 82nd Airborne, Lentz attending Temple University Law School and graduated Cum Laude with a Juris Doctorate. His first job out of law school was as an assistant prosecutor at the Philadelphia District Attorney's office. Lentz served there for six years prosecuting gang members and other violent offenders.

Since 1999, he has worked as an attorney in the private sector.


Congressman Patrick Murphy, PA-8

Patrick Murphy was elected to Congress in November 2006. Patrick Murphy represents Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District. After working as an instructor at West Point, Murphy deployed overseas twice, serving in Bosnia (2002) and in Baghdad during the Iraq War (2003-2004). While in Baghdad as a paratrooper and JAG Corps attorney with the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.

Congressional Website:
Campaign Website:

Congressman Chris Carney, PA-10

Chris Carney represents Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District.
A Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserve, Carney served multiple tours overseas and was activated for operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. He was direct commissioned as an Ensign in 1995. He served as Senior Terrorism and Intelligence Advisor at the Pentagon.

He is the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three joint Service Achievement Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. His awards also include the Naval Rifle Marksman ribbon and the Naval Pistol Expert Medal.

Congressional Website:
Campaign Website:

Shannon Meehan - Candidate for Pennsylvania State Representative, District 163

Born and raised in Delaware County, Shannon attended Upper Darby High School, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in wrestling. He continued his success in college by lettering in a Division 1 wrestling program and graduating as a Distinguished Military graduate and president of an honor society.

While serving in the military, Meehan led over 700 combat and civil operations while commanding an area spanning 300 square miles and containing over 100,000 people. Meehan initiated an innovative program of council meetings with local leaders that resulted in significant civil and economic growth. He also developed and secured intelligence that led to the capture of more enemy insurgents and corrupt officials than any of his peers combined. He also managed and oversaw the investment of $800,000 to improve infrastructures and was rated his battalion's Top Platoon Leader. Meehan was injured in an IED strike, resulting in his medical retirement and being awarded the Purple Heart.

After his injury, Shannon completed rehabilitation at Fort Hood and wrote the nationally-acclaimed memoir, Beyond Duty (Polity Press), which chronicles firsthand the challenges facing soldiers in today's wars. Beyond Duty has become the fastest-selling book in the press's history, is an international bestseller, and was named Military Writers Society of America's Book of the Month the month of its international release.

Shannon has traveled the country sharing his story, speaking at places such as U.S.C. Law School, University of Virginia, Syracuse University, and Upper Darby High School, and discussing his journey on CNN, NBC, and in The New York Times, where his own Op-Ed piece, "Distant Wars, Constant Ghosts," became the most-viewed Op-Ed of that week.

Since Captain Meehan's medical retirement in November 2009, he has dedicated himself to continuing his service by seeking to represent the people of Pennsylvania's 163rd District, which includes Lansdowne Borough, Aldan Borough, Clifton Heights Borough, and parts of Upper Darby and Ridley townships. Here, as State Representative, he will bring the same work ethic and passion that led to success in Iraq, where he significantly improved the conditions and quality of life for the people within his area. Shannon resides back home in Delaware County with his wife, Amanda Jane, and new-born son, Brady Cole.



Tommy Sowers, Candidate Missouri-8

A fourth-generation Missourian, Tommy was born and raised in Rolla where his family has lived since his grandfather started the local newspaper. Educated in the public school system, he graduated Rolla High School.

After attending Duke on an Army ROTC scholarship, Tommy began his 11 year career in the U.S. Army, commissioned in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He graduated Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger and Belgian Commando Schools. Tommy led a combat engineering platoon in Kosovo and represented the 1st Infantry Division in the Best Ranger Competition.

Following graduate studies at the London School of Economics as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar for Missouri District 6080, Tommy attended the Special Forces Qualification Course graduating 1st in his class. At 10th Special Forces Group, Tommy led a team of Green Berets. In two deployments to Iraq, he conducted a wide range of counterinsurgency operations and was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge and two Bronze Stars.

Tommy most recently served as an Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is currently teaching in the History and Political Science Department at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.


Jason Kander – Candidate for Missouri State Legislature (HD-44)


A fifth generation Kansas Citian, Jason Kander learned early in life about his family's ethic of community service. His mother was a social worker and his father was a police officer and a small business owner.

After graduating with his brothers from Bishop Miege High School, Jason headed to college and law school in Washington, DC. He graduated with honors from American University, where he majored in political science. He married his high school sweetheart, Diana, and together they graduated from Georgetown Law School, returning home to Kansas City the very next day.

A former Political Science Instructor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Jason has debated politics and foreign affairs on local and national radio with some of America's most notable pundits. He has advised Members of Congress regarding foreign policy and has volunteered for countless Democratic candidates in Missouri.

After the 2004 elections, Jason and Diana founded Heartland Democrats of America, an organization that promotes progressive values in rural and suburban Missouri.

Today, Jason is a civil justice attorney with pro bono experience representing victims of domestic violence.

Though he opposed the war in Iraq, Jason enlisted in the Army Reserve after 9/11 and volunteered for combat duty in Afghanistan.

A decorated veteran, Jason served in an infantry unit before receiving his commission as a Military Intelligence Officer. In 2006, he left his home and his legal practice to deploy to Afghanistan, where he conducted classified intelligence investigations regarding groups and individuals suspected of espionage, narcotics trafficking, corruption, and facilitating Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

As the Political-Military Intelligence Officer for U.S. Forces, he became an expert regarding all political and military threats to Afghan democracy. After he returned from Afghanistan in 2007, Jason began to think seriously about the human consequences of policies implemented for political reasons and the examples he witnessed overseas. Concluding that this same "politics first" mentality was to blame for Missouri's healthcare, education, and environmental challenges, he finalized his decision to run for State Representative.

In addition to the campaign, Jason practices law out of his office in Waldo. He is still in the Army Reserve and serves as an Instructor one weekend per month at Fort Leonard Wood, where he prepares new Army officers for leadership in combat.

Though Jason's family has been in Kansas City for over a century, Diana came to Kansas City in 1990 as a refugee from the Soviet Union. An attorney and business executive, she is heavily involved in several local organizations that promote equal rights.

Stephen Webber - Candidate for Missouri State Legislature (HD-23)


Stephen Webber is currently running for the 23rd District in the Missouri House of Representatives. He most recently served as an aide to U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in Washington, D.C.

Stephen joined the Marine Corps Reserves after his freshman year at Saint Louis University during the summer of 2002. In January 2004, Stephen was pulled out of school when his infantry battalion was mobilized and sent to Anbar province.

After a year-long activation Stephen returned to college and graduated in the spring of 2006 with a B.A. in Economics. Before the graduation ceremony Stephen was already back at Camp Pendleton, CA preparing for his second tour in Iraq. As an NCO, he lead a 12-man infantry squad as his company fought to hold the center of Fallujah during the fall of 2006 and spring of 2007.

While he had always been active local politics Stephen credits his time in Iraq and the sacrifices of his buddies for giving him a renewed belief in “the fierce urgency of now.” Stephen is a volunteer for the American Legion Missouri Boys State program. Prior to enlisting in the Marines he completed a year of service with the AmeriCorps JumpStart program in St. Louis.


Congressman John Boccieri, Ohio-16

John Boccieri, is in his first term as a member of the Ohio State Senate. Boccieri served our country by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. He is an Air Force Reserve Major and aircraft commander aboard the C-130 aircraft, and was stationed at Youngstown Joint Air Reserve Station. He recently deployed in 4 rotations to support our troops in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Boccieri has served our nation in over 40 countries and has eleven years of service in the U.S. Military.

Previously, in his role as staff officer, he supported Presidential visits to Arkansas and also worked on base-wide support of three treaties- Open Skies, Chemical Weapons Compliance, and START II Treaties. As a commissioned Lieutenant in the military, he worked with base-wide support for the Department of Defense, Department of the Air Force, the State Department, the White House Communications Staff, the Secret Service, and Air Force and Marine Advance Agents.

John has a tremendous opportunity to take this district. Republican Congressman Ralph Regula, an 18-term incumbent, was only able to get 58 percent of the vote last election, so this is a very winnable district for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans!

Campaign Website:


Elliot Anderson - Candidate for Nevada State Asembly, District 15


Before graduating from high school, Elliot Anderson signed up for the U.S. Marine Corps. Serving as a machine gunner for four years on active duty and three years in the inactive reserve (including a combat deployment to Afghanistan), he returned a decorated marine. He received numerous medals awarding his service, including the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, a Combat Action Ribbon, and the Rifle Expert Badge. After his return from duty, Elliot began searching for a place to call home and build his future. Nevada turned out to be the perfect fit.

Once moving to Nevada in 2005, Elliot immediately became recognized by many as an individual with a strong work ethic who was dedicated to improving our community. While serving as the Interim Chair of the Nevada Democratic Veterans and Military Families Caucus, he helped to raise funds in order to send care packages to America's men and women overseas.

Currently serving as the Nevada State Captain for, Elliot works to empower and elect to office America's veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Elliot has also worked hard with the community to address our service men and women's needs. Recently, Elliot has successfully fought for the people in Assembly District 15 at the Nevada legislature. While working for our current Assemblywoman, Kathy McClain, Elliot was able to develop and present language for a Bipartisan veterans bill that passed unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly. Elliot not only continues to work hard at all he does, but has made a commitment to use these experiences in order to advocate for better communication between residents and the elected officials who represent them.

In the military, in school, and in his civilian life, Elliot gained unique qualifications which differentiate him from others. While serving our country, he learned how to negotiate in order to find common ground between disagreeing parties, and also the importance of fighting for those who don't have a voice of their own. While attending UNLV and being employed full time, he earned a B.A. in Political Science Magna Cum Laude, finishing with a 3.9 grade point average. While working for Assembly 15, he quickly grasped the ins and outs of the legislative process, while proving himself as someone who listens and believes in working towards a goal that benefits the people. His involvement with numerous community organizations established him as a leader in grassroots and community outreach. Elliot has become the perfect choice to represent the people of Assembly District 15, and connect them to Carson City.

As a Nevada Assemblyman, Elliot will work hard to encourage an atmosphere of political involvement within our neighborhoods, as well as focus on improving our education system throughout Nevada.



Steve Hobbs - Washington State Senator (44th District)


Steve Hobbs was elected to the Washington State Senate in 2006, and represents the 44th Legislative District – a suburban area north of Seattle where he has been involved in political and community activities in for many years.

Although Hobbs has always been involved in civic life and has a bachelor’s degree in political science, his military experience exerts a significant influence on his political career.

Hobbs enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1988. After attending the University of Washington, he went on active duty with the U.S. Army in 1996, where he rose to the rank of captain. He served as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Kosovo in 2000, and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 where he was assigned to an anti-terrorism unit. He left active duty in 2005, and continues to serve in the Army National Guard.

As a member of the Legislature, Hobbs has been especially devoted to veterans’ issues, sponsoring numerous bills to ensure that former members of the military have access to services and benefits that they require. His more formal assignments include serving as the vice-chair of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, and seats on the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and the Ways & Means Committee.

In addition to serving in the Washington Senate, Hobbs maintains memberships in many community groups, including the Lake Stevens Rotary, and Southeast Snohomish YMCA. He is also involved in veterans’ activities with the Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association, the American Legion, and the Nisei Veterans Chapter of Seattle. He is also a member of the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.


Congressman Tim Walz, MN-1

Tim Walz represents Minnestoa's 1st Congressional district. Walz served 24 years and attained the rank of Command Sergeant Major in the National Guard, most recently deployed to Italy with his unit as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Walz is a member of the Commitee on Veterans affiars.

Congressional Website:
Campaign Website:


McKinley Bailey - Iowa State Representative (HD-9)


McKinley Bailey is serving in his first term as a State Representative in Iowa’s 9th House District. As a Representative, he sits on the Commerce Committee, the Economic Growth Committee, the Natural Resources Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee, and he is Vice Chair of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Budget Subcommittee.

McKinley resides in Webster City where he also serves on the executive committee of American Legion Post 191. He is a member of the VFW, Disabled Veterans of America, and the Hamilton County League of Women Voters. McKinley has been active in Webster City Community Theatre productions and is a member of Faith United Methodist Church.

McKinley was raised in Webster City, Iowa, graduating from Webster City High School in 1999. During that time, McKinley attended school for one year in Arequipa, Peru, where he was a Rotary Foreign Exchange Student.

McKinley served on active duty for five years in the U.S. Army. As a paratrooper with the elite 82nd Airborne Division, he led a Tactical Signals Intelligence Intercept Team into combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. McKinley served in Joint Operations with the Colombian Military, Iraqi Civil Defense Forces and Police and the Afghan, Italian, and Romanian Armies. He was decorated twice for meritorious service in a combat zone.

In 2004, McKinley received an Associate’s Degree from Methodist College in Fayetteville, NC, which he attended at night between deployments. He later earned a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Iowa in May of 2006. During the summer of 2005, he served as a marketing intern with Bentonisa S.A. in Joao Pessoa, Brazil. McKinley is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

In March of 2005, McKinley founded and served as President of the University of Iowa Veterans Association. He also worked as a veteran's advisor in the University of Iowa Veterans Center, an entity that the university created, in part, due to lobbying by the newly formed Veterans Association.


Joe Rice - Colorado State Representative (HD-38)


Joe Rice (D-Littleton) was elected in November 2006 to represent District 38 in the Colorado State House of Representatives. House District 38 is mostly in Arapahoe County, and includes the cities of Littleton, Greenwood Village, and Englewood (generally south of Oxford), and the towns of Bow Mar and Columbine Valley.

In his first session of the legislature (2007), Representative Rice served as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Business Affairs and Labor, and was a member of the Committee on Transportation and Energy. Representative Rice was recognized as being one of the most effective representatives in the legislature, passing 18 bills in his first session. These measures included establishing a state wide Cold Case unit for unsolved homicides, and a number of measures that benefit citizens, consumers, businesses, military personnel, and veterans.

Representative Rice served as the mayor of Glendale, which is also in Arapahoe County, from 1996 to 2003. As mayor, he promoted the city’s economic development by balancing the budget, cutting taxes, and attracting quality businesses. He also tripled the amount of parks, trails, and open space in the city, and built Glendale’s first preschool and recreation center.

Representative Rice has served in the military for over 23 years, mostly in the Army Reserve, and presently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He’s served several tours on active duty, including peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina and two combat tours in Iraq. Lt. Col. Rice was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, that included among other duties, establishing the first post-Saddam Baghdad City Council. He has also been awarded the Combat Action Badge for actions under enemy fire, and numerous other awards and decorations. Lt. Col Rice was recently selected by the Army for promotion to full Colonel, effective as early as January 2008.

Joe has over 10 years of private sector business experience, primarily as a Customer Service Supervisor, Manager, and Trainer with MCI, JDEdwards, and Wells Fargo Bank. He presently works as a consultant, mostly in the areas of management, training, meeting facilitation. Joe is also active with a number of international education and exchange organizations including Sister Cities International and the Orbis International Institute.


Allen Vaught - Texas State Representative (HD-107)


Allen Vaught, his wife Donna, and son Jonathan live in Lakewood Heights in Dallas. Allen was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for his first time on November 7th, 2006 to represent District 107, which covers the area in east Dallas surrounding White Rock Lake--including Lakewood and parts of Lake Highlands, Garland, and Mesquite. Allen and his family attend St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

When he took office on January 9th, 2007, Allen was appointed Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence and also served on the committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues.

Having grown up on a ranch west of Fort Worth in Wise County, Allen graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1990, and Baylor University in 1995 with a B.B.A. in accounting. He obtained his law degree from the South Texas College of Law in 1997.

Allen is the managing attorney of the Dallas office of Franklin, Cardwell, & Jones, P.C., and has a diverse practice which ranges from defending doctors in medical malpractice cases to representing cancer victims in environmental toxin cases. A national leader in protecting victims of environmental pollution and corporate misconduct, he focuses on helping oilfield workers with cancer and other health problems related to exposure to environmental toxins. Allen was himself a roughneck on drilling rigs in the early 1990's while working to pay for college, and his family has a long history of working in the oilfields of north Texas. So it is with much pride that he fights for oilfield workers today.

Allen attended the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, NC, graduating in 2001. As a reserve Captain, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, performing civil affairs and psychological operations missions. Allen served in Iraq from April 2003 to March 2004. He commanded one of the first units to enter Fallujah, assigned to rebuild that city and win the hearts and minds of its citizens. He was responsible for operating the local government and supervising programs to help its people. Allen served as the de facto mayor of Fallujah.

After six months of operations in Fallujah while under fire from insurgents, Allen was transferred to Sadr City, Baghdad, to teach legislative process to multiple tribal/neighborhood councils, each of which was designed to operate much like an American city. While transporting two daughters of a local tribal leader to an American hospital, Allen's convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device and small arms ambush. His back was fractured in the fight.

Allen was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve. In addition, Allen was awarded the Combat Action Badge, Valorous Unit Award and numerous other awards for his service.


Congressman Gary Peters, Michigan-9

Gary Peters served as a Lieutenant Commander and a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist in the United States Navy Reserve. His reserve duty included time in the Persian Gulf supporting Operation Southern Watch, and he served overseas during increased military activity following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During his service he received numerous awards and citations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

Elected to the State Senate in 1994, Peters was voted by his Senate colleagues to serve as Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. While in the Senate, he served as the ranking Democrat on the Finance, Education, Judiciary, Natural Resources, and Families and Mental Health Committees. He later was appointed by the Governor to run the Michigan State Lottery. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, Lottery revenues were in a four-year slump and sales had declined by nearly $50 million per year. Under Peters' leadership, the Lottery experienced a dramatic turnaround.

He is now in his first term as a Congressman.

Campaign Website:

Aaron Bailey - Candidate for Michigan State Senate, District 13

Oakland County, Michigan native and Royal Oak resident Aaron Bailey is running to represent Michigan's 13th Senate District. Aaron has spent his entire adult life serving our country and our community through military service and as a business strategy consultant and advocate for new technologies and job growth in Michigan.

Having grown up in the automotive industry, Aaron became the first member of his family to earn a college degree, graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1999, where he was commissioned as an Infantry Officer. Throughout his time in the military, Aaron served our nation as a platoon leader, executive officer, and company commander, culminating his active duty service with the rank of Captain. In September 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Aaron was assigned to the U.S. Army's prestigious 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) in Washington D.C., where he was responsible for leading Soldiers in both ceremonial and security missions throughout our nation's Capital.

After leaving active military service in 2004, Aaron continued to serve our nation as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, and was recalled to active duty in 2007. Although a graduate student at the University of Michigan at the time, Aaron eagerly accepted the opportunity to again serve our nation, and left school to serve as an Operations Officer in Afghanistan with a Special Operations Task Force.

Since leaving the military, Aaron has continued his public service, and is a noted figure on several issues critical to Michigan and our nation, including economic growth, clean energy, and national security.

In his professional life, Aaron most recently served as a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company, helping businesses, non-profit groups, and government organizations develop operational and strategic plans for success. During his tenure in the private sector, Aaron has helped Michigan companies and non-profit institutions overcome economic challenges and reposition themselves for growth.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a MBA from the University of Michigan, where he graduated with distinction. Aaron is the third generation of his family to serve as an Infantryman during wartime, and his military decorations include the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Aaron is also a graduate of the U.S. Army's Airborne, Air Assault, and Infantry officer courses, and he is qualified as a United States Army Airborne Ranger.

Aaron Bailey is currently a candidate for the Michigan State Senate in the 13th District, which includes the cities of Birmingham, Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, Troy, Madison Heights, Clawson, Berkley, and Royal Oak.



Steven Fulop - Jersey City, NJ City Council (Ward “E”)


In September 2001, Steven was a 25 year old associate at the prestigious investment bank Goldman Sachs in downtown New York. At that time, he was uninvolved in politics and even unregistered to vote. However, after the attacks on 9/11, Steven chose to leave a high paying job at Goldman Sachs and enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve to be deployed. His unit was amongst the first deployed to Iraq in 2003.

In 2005, Steven Fulop decided to run for public office and was an upset winner against an incumbent councilman in Jersey City, the largest city in NJ. When Steven was sworn into office at 28 years old, he was the youngest member of the city council by more than 17 years and the third youngest in the nearly 200 year existence of the city.

Steven graduated from Binghamton University in 1999 and in 2006 completed both his Masters in Business Administration at the New York University Stern School of Business and his Masters in Public Administration at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). While attending Binghamton University, he spent time abroad studying at Oxford University in England.

Steven has served in several board positions including currently on the Board of Directors of both the Columbia University Alumni Association as well as The Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City which has distinguished itself with superior academic performance statewide.


Alex Cornell du Houx - Candidate for Maine State Legislature (HD-66)


Alex Cornell du Houx is currently running for the Maine State Legislature in district 66. He has worked as a tutor in area schools for the past six years and served on the board of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Alex also led a service trip to Guatemala with the program Safe Passage to help kids move from the city dump into the classroom. Similarly he worked in Peru to help build a playground for kids in Lima and completed a year of service in Brunswick with the AmeriCorps program.

He was deployed to Iraq with the Marines in 2006 and serves as a 0351 assaultman, working with demolitions and rockets. After a yearlong deployment patrolling the streets in and around Fallujah he returned safely to continue his work serving the community through military, political and community service

Alex grew up in the small town of Solon Maine where he attended Carrabec High School. He was accepted to Bowdoin College as a Mitchell Scholar and joined the Marine Reserves in 2002. Originally an Astronomy and Government major, he spent most of his time founding and building the Community Service Council, working for Habitat for Humanity and running track.

Alex became politically engaged after returning from eight months of training with the Marines in 2004. He worked for the Office of Health Policy and Finance where he assisted the Dirigo Health program, which aims to provide health insurance to every citizen of Maine. He is currently working with the Legislative Youth Advisory Commission, which has submitted legislation to encourage civic participation and improve school athletic policy.

Alex also serves as the National Council Chair for the College Democrats of America and was fo the co-president of the Maine College Democrats, which grew from 3 to 23 chapters within a year, published the only statewide college Dems paper in the nation and have become one of the strongest political organizations in Maine. In addition, he worked to block a bill that would have prevented college students from registering to vote on campus.


Harold Naughton, Jr. - Massachusetts State Representative (HD-12)


Harold P. Naughton, Jr. was born at Hahneman Hospital in Worcester on July 4, 1960. He was raised in the Town of Clinton and attended Clinton High School.

After graduating from Clinton High School in 1978, Harold attended Assumption College in Worcester, concentrating his studies on Political Science and earning the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1982. Harold began his career of public service while still an undergraduate at Assumption College. In 1980 he was elected to the Clinton Planning Board and served on the board until 1985. He was then elected in 1984 to the Clinton School Committee, holding the position of Chairman from 1986-1987.

In 1991 he received his Juris Doctor from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston. During his time at Suffolk, Harold studied at Notre Dame Law School in London, England studying International Human Rights, European Law and Soviet Law. Following his graduation from Suffolk, Harold began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Worcester County serving from 1992 to 1995. Throughout his years with the District Attorney’s office Harold prosecuted a wide gamut of cases ranging from vehicular homicide to narcotics trafficking to assault and battery. From 1995 to the present Harold has practiced law in Clinton, MA, building his practice from one attorney to a multiple lawyer and employee firm. The firm concentrates on litigation, criminal defense, local, national and international development issues and government relations.

After the events of September 11, 2001, at the age of 43 and feeling a need to further serve and protect his country, Harold joined the United States Army Reserve. Harold currently serves as a Captain with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He volunteered for a tour of active duty serving in Kuwait and Baghdad, Iraq, deployed from September, 2005 until May, 2006.

As a member of the House of Representatives since 1995, Harold currently serves on the Ways and Means and Judiciary Committees as well as vice chair of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committees. Most recently he was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Corrections Reform. He is the former Chairman of the Judiciary Sub-Committee on Drug Courts and the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Substance Abuse in the Courts. His legislative priorities include local affairs, education, environment, veteran’s affairs and constituent outreach.


Phillip Gilfus - Candidate for County Commissioner, Cumberland County, NC

A native of Fayetteville, NC, Commissioner Gilfus graduated from East Carolina University in three years with a major in communications and a minor in public administration. After working as a staff member in the North Carolina Senate in Raleigh after graduation, he joined the U.S. Army after the September 11 attacks. He was commissioned through Officer Candidate School and served as an officer in the Ordnance Corps, stationed at the Army's National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR). Gilfus served in Mosul, Iraq, with the 1/25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in 2005.

After returning from the deployment, he was promoted to Captain and soon left the military to attend law school. Commissioner Gilfus earned his law degree from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of law at Campbell University. He is a criminal and traffic attorney with The Mitchell Law Group in Fayetteville, NC. Gilfus is an active member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, where he serves as a lay reader, usher, and a member of its Vestry. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in public administration through Golden Gate University. Gilfus was sworn-in as a county commissioner on March 1, 2010, and is one of two at-large commissioners, representing all citizens of Cumberland County, home to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.



Ruben Gallego - Candidate for Arizona House of Representatives

Ruben Gallego is a Democratic Candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 16.

Ruben is the son of Hispanic immigrants and was raised by a single mother. As a young boy, Ruben lived and worked on his family’s bean farm in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Ruben Gallego became the first in his family to attend college when he enrolled at Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in International Relations and was the recipient of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies grant. Ruben was also the first in his family to serve his country in the Armed Forces.

Ruben Gallego was a Barack Obama Delegate to the National Convention and an early member of the Arizona Leadership Team for Obama. He was recently named by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of Phoenix’s 40 people under the age of 40 who are leading the way in Phoenix.

Before beginning his campaign, Ruben Gallego served as the Chief of Staff for Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski. Ruben was responsible for crafting the Councilman’s economic development and education policy.

To fulfill his call to duty and country, Ruben enlisted as an infantryman in the Marine Corps. He served in Iraq with Lima Company 3/25. Lima 3/25 was involved in some of the hardest combat of the Iraq War. He received a Combat Action Ribbon for his service. He remains close to his fellow Marines and is an advocate for Veterans’ rights. He has served on Congressman Harry Mitchell’s Veterans Advisory Committee and Governor Janet Napolitano’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Affairs.

Since returning from the war Ruben Gallego has been the Arizona VoteVets state captain. In this capacity he has recruited OIF and OEF veterans to participate in different causes including GI Bill reform and Climate Change policy. Ruben has also been an outspoken critic of the Military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

Ruben was recently married to Kate Widland his college sweetheart. Kate and Ruben Gallego have been through two deployments and look forward to starting a family in an Arizona that cares for its children.



Congressman Walt Minnick, Idaho-1

Walt Minnick served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army in the Vietnam war, and then came to Idaho to continue his life of service.

Serving in the White House during the Nixon administration, he was instrumental in the creation of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and consolidation of all U.S. Border Patrol functions into a single agency.

He is former chair of the College of Idaho board of trustees, and served as chair of the Boise State University Business School Advisory Council, and co-founder and board member of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, a group of Idaho business leaders dedicated to improving education in the state. He has also served in leadership roles in many other civic, charitable and business organizations.

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