Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alaska Endorsements

Diane Benson for Lt. Gov.

Diane Benson is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. Coming from extreme adversity to not only succeed but to help so many others, she is the embodiment of what is best about America. After meeting her one-on-one back when she ran for Congress, I was eager and proud to endorse her since she was undoubtedly one of the best candidates I had ever met. Of course she was beaten out by money and the old boy's network that is Alaska politics. But Diane Benson has never been someone to give up. So she is running for Lt. Governor and I eagerly and proudly endorse her for Lt. Gov. of Alaska.

Diane Benson is one tough woman from a working class background. She has had nothing handed to her but rather has worked hard for everything she has accomplished. A member of the Tlingit Nation, Diane grew up in Southeastern Alaska in foster homes and boarding school as well as logging camps with her father and in Sitka with her grandparents. She began volunteer work with senior citizens at Ketchikan Hospital at the age of 12, and although often homeless (she refused to rely on charity), worked a variety of social service oriented jobs with the underprivileged and the elderly until she took a position with the Fairbanks Native Association. At the age of 18 she was the youngest person to ever serve on the FNA Executive Board, and was invited by then U.S. Senator Mike Gravel to work in Washington D.C. Thereafter, she acquired a job as one of the first women tractor-trailer truck drivers on the Alaska pipeline in 1975.

Diane paid for two years of college by driving trucks in the early 80's as Alaska's first female union concrete-mixer driver. She was a proud member of Local 959 - Teamster Union.

The birth of her son in 1979 was her driving force to improve her life. She not only survived, she became stronger. She did volunteer research work for the Berger Commission, was Public Relations Director for UTA, and 1986-1988 was a Para-legal for Alaska Legal Services. Through the 1990's Diane ran Northern Stars Talent Agency doggedly promoting Alaska's talent in feature films and commercials nationally and internationally. Because Diane understood first hand the trauma of violence, she found herself often invited to speak on justice for victims of crime, breaking the silence, and finding hope and dignity in survival. In the spring of 2007 she completed co-production on a video, "Healing Child Sexual Abuse."

Diane is the mother of one son who served in the Iraq war until he was severely wounded, losing both his legs from a roadside bomb. The time she spent watching her son's recovery and visiting with other injured veterans played a large part in her decision to run for Congressional office, and which has shaped many of her ideas surrounding the Iraq war, terrorism, homeland security, and Veterans' benefits.

Alaska Senator Mike Gravel had this to say in his endorsement of Diane Benson:

Alaska is a place with endless possibilities and untapped potential. Alaska needs in it's next Lt. Governor someone who is not afraid to stand up and speak out. Diane Benson is that next Lt. Governor. As a former Speaker of the State House and then U.S. Senator from 1969-1981, I fought hard for Alaska and Alaskan interests. Alaska needs a new fighter and a new advocate who will be there for veterans, for seniors, for the working men and women of Alaska. I proudly endorse Diane Benson for Lt. Governor and ask all my friends and supporters to vote for her."
- Mike Gravel (D), U.S. Senator from Alaska 1969-1981

I can think of no better leader in America and in Alaska than a woman like Diane Benson. To find out more about this amazing woman, visit her website.

Re-elect State House Representative Woodie Salmon

This comes from the Indigenous Democratic Network (INDN List):

Representative Woodie Salmon, former Chief of the Chalkyitsik Village Tribe, has spent his six years in the State House working for Indian communities and working families across Alaska. Representing the largest State House district in the country, he believes families in communities large and small deserve equal services from their government. Having a seat on the powerful Finance Committee, Woodie ensures that Alaskan Natives receive their fair share in the budget process.

Woodie is currently running for reelection for the Alaska State House of Representatives in District 6 against a Republican challenger.

Rep. Salmon co-authored an opinion piece (in 2005) discussing Equity in Education funding which reflects his approach to government. From that opinion piece:

Imagine an Alaska in which all students have a fair crack at a good education. In that Alaska, kids from all across the state would be able to read, write, and compute, and they would use those skills to get good jobs after graduation.

Unfortunately, this is not our Alaska. The distribution of education funds in Alaska is unfair, and as a result rural kids do not have access to a good education. The good news is that the Legislature has a chance now to correct this inequity.

It's common sense that the cost of delivering education is higher in rural Alaska than in Anchorage or Fairbanks or Juneau. Almost everything that can be bought costs significantly more in rural areas than in urban areas. According to the University of Alaska's Food Cost Survey, a weekly grocery bill that costs $105 in Anchorage costs $187 in Bethel. Fuel costs are extraordinarily high in rural Alaska, and the state's subsidy for rural energy through the Power Cost Equalization program doesn't apply to schools. This means a big percentage of schools' budgets go to pay for energy costs. In the Northwest Arctic Borough School District, for example, annual fuel costs total $900 out of the $4576 they receive per pupil - a fifth of the total amount they get from the state for each student enrolled.

A fair distribution of education funding would correct for these increased costs. Yet for years, study after study has shown that rural schools are not getting their fair share of education funding. The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska just completed a study, the "Alaska School District Cost Study Update," which makes one thing crystal clear: there is a big gap between the amount of funding rural school districts are receiving and the amount they need. This report can't be put on a shelf, ignored, or changed: it raises facts that need to be a part of the equation.

What's more, Alaska faces a critical achievement gap between Native and non-Native students. A new report by the Alaska Native Policy Center shows that thousands of Alaska's children - most of whom are in rural districts that don't receive a fair amount of education funding - are not receiving a quality education. Half of low-income and Native children regularly fail benchmark exams. Native students are twice as likely to drop out of school as are non-Native students. Our education system is failing Native kids.

Studies show that rural schools are underfunded. Studies show that many rural kids are not getting a good education. As legislators, it's our job to ask: is money really the solution to this achievement gap? We're convinced that the answer is yes.

Money helps districts to take the necessary steps to correct the achievement gap. In one Alaska school district, 65% of students can't read at the level they should. District officials decided intensive reading intervention, while drastic and - yes - expensive, was necessary. The intervention took a 2 nd grader from the 2 nd percentile in reading comprehension to the 50 th. An 11 th grader went from a 4 th grade level to a high school level. It's clear that reading is important, and it's clear that intensive reading intervention works - but it takes money. This is just one example of how money makes a difference.

Alaska's rural kids deserve a fair crack at a quality education. In order to give them this chance, school funding must reflect the actual cost of delivering education in different places around our state. The Legislature is currently considering House Bill 173, a bill to adjust funding so that rural school districts can get their fair share of education funding; we hope that our colleagues will move quickly to pass this bill.

You can see what bills Representative Salmon has sponsored and co-sponsored by clicking here.

Oklahoma Endorsements

These come from the Indigenous Democratic Network, an organization whose work I like to emphasize from time to time:


INDN's List is proud to endorse Jeff S. Jones, a member of the Osage Nation, for District Attorney of Osage and Pawnee Counties of Oklahoma. Jones successfully completed the candidate training at our 2007 INDN Campaign Camp on the Morongo Reservation, where he impressed all of the trainers with his passion, talents, drive and ability to communicate his message.

Jeff is committed to enforcing the law, and respecting the people of Osage and Pawnee counties while building on the strengths of the District Attorney’s office. Jeff has prosecuted drug dealers, child abusers, murderers and rapists. His experience and dedication distinguishes him from his Republican opponent.

Jeff Jones is on the conservative side for a Democrat, but this is reasonable in Oklahoma. He comes from a real working class background, having been a UPS truck driver for 18 years before becoming a lawyer. He has been an assistant District Attorney for Osage and Pawnee Counties since 2002 and a member of the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma District Attorney's Association, so is amply experienced for the job. Challenging Jeff Jones is Republican state Representative Rex Duncan. For those not familiar with this right wing nut case, Rex Duncan's the guy who is so paranoid he introduced a law to ban Islamic law in American courts (I guess he doesn't realize religious law in our court system is prohibited by the Constitution) and he has tried equating liberals with Islamicists. So this really is a case of a sane, law and order Democrat (Jeff Jones) vs. a right wing fanatic with no real sense of the law (Rex Duncan). I certainly join INDN List in endorsing Jeff Jones.

Steve Burrage for Auditor and Inspector

Steve Burrage, a Choctaw, was appointed State Auditor and Inspector by Governor Brad Henry in July 2008, and is now running for election.

Steve has conducted audits that have prosecuted felons and saved the state of Oklahoma hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Steve is running for a full-term as State Auditor and Inspector. Burrage’s Republican opponent is the former Chair of the GOP, who resigned a few months ago to run against Burrage.

Find out more from Steve Burrage's website.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Progressive Candidates in California


I voted for Barbara Boxer when she was first elected Senator and by and large I have always been proud of that vote and what Senator Boxer stands for. In California you have a choice between re-electing one of the best Senators in America or electing a right wing fanatic who seems no better than Sarah Palin.

Recently Democracy for America members voted Barbara Boxer their 2010 Progressive Hero in the Senate. We really need to get behind this progressive hero and stop the teabaggers in California. From Democracy for America:

Senator Boxer needs no introduction. For years she has been one of the progressive movement's boldest leaders -- on climate change, on healthcare, on women's rights, and on so much more she has been a voice for the people.

Now, Senator Boxer is locked in a tough reelection fight with Tea-Party Republican Carly Fiorina, a failed corporate executive who is writing million-dollar checks to fund her own campaign. Carly claims to have created jobs as a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, but that conveniently ignores tens of thousands of Americans laid-off, fired or who had their jobs out-sourced overseas under her failed leadership. Let's face it, when Carly was in charge HP lost 2/3's of it's shareholder value. Neither California nor the rest of the nation can afford "leadership" like Carly Fiorina.

The U.S. Senate needs Heroes who fight the big banks, insurance companies and Wall Street. Who stands up for everyday Americans against corporate interests. America needs Senator Barbara Boxer.

Here are a handful of reminders of WHY we need Senator Boxer now more than ever.

Jason E. from Escondido California on the combat care center that Senator Boxer worked to establish for San Diego area veterans:

Rosemary talks about Senator Boxer's support of clean energy jobs and how those jobs can help put our economy back on track:

Abraham W. from Los Angeles discusses how Senator Boxer has supported financial aid for college students:

Veteran's Healthcare...clean are just three reasons why we need Barbara Boxer in the Senate. The Republicans gutted ALL of these when they were in charge. Why would anyone want to see them do it again?

Finally, Barbara Boxer shares her ideas about getting California's economy back on track:

Debra Bowen for Secretary of State in California

Debra Bowen has been endorsed by the Secretary of State project:

Debra Bowen is one of the most progressive Secretaries of State in the nation. Shortly taking office she ordered a “top to bottom” review of the California’s electronic voting machines which resulted in the decertification of Diebold and two other voting system manufacturers. As a result of her progressive accomplishments as Secretary of State, she was awarded a Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 2008.

Find out more from her website.

Beth Krom for Congress (CA-48)

Okay...a Hip Hop ad for Congress:

Beth Krom is Democracy for America's 2010 Grassroots All-Star:

Beth is the former mayor of Irvine, CA -- a city that was recognized as one of the safest, greenest big cities in the country during her time as mayor. She's running against Republican Rep. John Campbell, a birther who cosponsored a bill requiring presidential candidates show their birth certificates when filing papers to run for office

Here is Beth Krom's statement to DFA:

I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. I received a degree in Education of the Visually Impaired from the University of Texas at Austin. While teaching at the Texas School for the Blind in Austin, I met and married my husband, Solly. In 1985, we relocated to Irvine, California where we opened an optometry practice and raised our children.

In 2000, I began attending Irvine City Council meetings. Skeptical about the ability of city leaders to effectively fight a proposed airport, I decided to run for City Council and was successfully elected in November 2000. I went on to win four more consecutive elections, including two terms as the directly elected Mayor of Irvine.

As mayor, I advanced initiatives that support balanced planning, “smart growth” and environmental stewardship, and enhanced community partnerships with local educational institutions, businesses and non-profits.

During my tenure as Mayor, Irvine was recognized as the “safest big city” in America as well as one of the "greenest" cities in the nation. I was proud to be one of the first mayors to sign on to the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Frustrated by the stridently partisan, ineffective and non-responsive profile of the incumbent, I launched my Congressional campaign in 2009. Having been a mayor, I understand how decisions made in Washington impact local communities and want to bring that experience to the table.


The district I am running in is a highly educated, multi-cultural region yet is represented by a man who is stridently partisan, co-sponsored the birther legislation, is anti-government and has refused to work with the people and cities he represents. I want to provide real leadership on issues that are important to all Americans — economic development, health care, education and environmental stewardship.

I have a record of demonstrating smart, strategic and courageous leadership at the local level. I look forward to the opportunity to work for positive change in Washington.

• I will work to stimulate all sectors of the economy through smart, strategic deployment of federal resources and to protect consumers by reforming our financial system and demanding greater accountability from all the stakeholders who participate in our markets and who drive our economy.

• I will work to reform health care. In order to create a health care system that works, there must be greater accountability built into our national healthcare reforms — by individuals, physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and insurers.

• I will work to advance innovation, environmental stewardship and our “green” economy, reducing our dependence on foreign oil through the development of alternative fuels, expanding the use of solar and creating thousands of new “green collar” jobs.

• I will work to achieve enhanced federal support for education, taking on the challenges of low-functioning schools, making college more accessible and ensuring that all young people have the chance to master academics, think critically, and embrace new ideas and experiences.

Find out more from Beth's website.

Steve Pougnet for Congress (CA-45)

Steve Pougnet has been endorsed by Democracy for America:

As mayor of Palm Springs, Steve Pougnet helped local small businesses compete against larger, out of area companies for city contracts. He also led the city to become one of California's greenest cities -- promoting green businesses, retrofitting city facilities to make them more energy efficient, conserving water, and more.

Now, he is running a grassroots campaign to represent California's 45th Congressional District. Mayor Pougnet is a leader with the experience to lead and the integrity to fight for his progressive values.

Steve's statement to DFA:

Steve Pougnet is a shining example of leadership in action. Elected in 2007, he is currently the Mayor of Palm Springs, California. Steve began his career in public service when he was elected to the Palm Springs City Council in 2003. Since then, he has risen to become one of the preeminent leaders of the Greater Palm Springs area and Riverside County, serving in leadership positions on numerous commissions and boards throughout the region.

Mayor Pougnet is the Chairman of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), Chairman of the Energy & Water Conservation Subcommittee as well as Vice-Chairman of the CVAG Energy and Environment Committee. He is also Vice Chairman of Sunline Transit Agency, the region’s public transportation management organization. Steve is also a Board Member of the Palm Springs Desert Resort Convention and Visitors Authority and a member of the Riverside County Transportation Commission. Mr. Pougnet also serves on the Riverside County Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee.

Beyond his civic positions, Steve is extremely involved in volunteerism in his community. He serves as the President of the Board for the Mizell Senior Center, is a Board Member of the Valley Action Group and the Palm Springs Art Museum. Steve also serves on the Citizens Oversight Committee of the Palm Springs Unified School District.

As is evidenced by his public service, Steve Pougnet is passionate about issues affecting his constituency. He is highly engaged in creating viable plans in the Coachella Valley for sustainability and renewable energy generation. He works tirelessly to find creative solutions to revitalize a struggling local economy and has been responsible for the creation of numerous well-paying jobs in the region. Steve has long been an advocate for seniors and youth. He is very involved in regional transportation issues and gives great attention to education initiatives in local K-12 school districts as well as the Community College system. Steve is a pragmatist, a bridge builder and a leader who gets things done.

Prior to moving to Palm Springs, Steve Pougnet was Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. As Vice President he had executive responsibility for the School’s Office of Development, including structuring, planning, budgeting and execution of all programs in fundraising, gift administration, stewardship and records maintenance. He was also responsible for the School’s Public Affairs Office, executing all activities in public affairs, such as communication with media, production of special events, and production of informational materials. From 1991 through 1993, Mr. Pougnet served as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and Special Assistant to the Vice President at Colorado School of Mines. Steve is also the former Associate Director for Corporate & Foundation Relations, at Michigan State University and the former Associate Director of National Corporate Leadership Programs at United Way of America. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Michigan State University.

Steve Pougnet lives in Palm Springs with his husband Christopher and their children Beckham and Julia. He enjoys running, biking, swimming, snowboarding and golfing.


California’s 45th Congressional district is in desperate need of new leadership. The district ranks second to last in Federal funding of all California districts, and our representative is ranked in the bottom 15% of effectiveness by As Mayor of Palm Springs, I have continually witnessed the degradation of federal services that my opponent should be fighting to preserve. As Mayor, I’ve learned and practiced how to do more with less, while simultaneously witnessing my opponent voting against important legislation like the economic stimulus package, but quickly taking credit for the good work that it is doing in the district. The time has come for a change.

I know that my service to the entire district will start before winning in November. I hope that my campaign will continually engage first time voters from 2008, bring the issues that face under-represented communities in my district to light, register new voters, and pave the way for more members of the LGBT community to successfully run for office.

Come January, I hope to champion issues that will improve the quality of life for all of the residents of the 45th district, and the entire country. For me, that means bringing new, clean energy jobs to California’s 45th district, that both help to end our dependence on foreign oil, and curb carbon emissions that lead to climate change and environmental degradation.

I also plan to work to preserve Social Security and Medicare for the senior citizens in my district who worked so hard to create these programs, and to control health care costs and improve access to health insurance by investing in preventative care.

Finally, I am committed to re-instilling progressive values for the Democratic Party, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and treating all people equally under the law, regardless of age, gender, race, national origin, religious creed, or sexual orientation.


My (soon to be) constituents are in need of good jobs close to their homes, to be able to count on a secure retirement with Social Security and Medicare benefits, and o have access to quality mental and physical healthcare for their families.

Jobs: The Coachella valley already boasts a large and productive wind farm, and has room for more turbines and even solar panels. With our nation’s growing energy needs, the valley has an opportunity to train and put our residents to work in this sector.

Social Security and Medicare: I supporting creating a Medicare-operated prescription drug benefit with the government negotiating drug prices, and I oppose any cuts in benefits that would reduce the retirement income provide by Social Security. I will oppose cuts in Social Security designed simply to balance the budget.

Access to healthcare: The solution to soaring health care costs also lies within a “pay now or pay later” philosophy. Other than simply modifying policies to regulate health insurance costs and acceptance rates, investment in preventative health care now will significantly decrease future health care costs (nutritional and diet education, exercise programs, mental health resources in school settings) and disease prevalence. This, in turn, will make health insurance consumers more attractive investments for insurance providers, increasing access to their services, and lowering costs.

Find out more from Steve's website.

Melissa Fox for California Assembly (CA-AD70)

Melissa Fox has been endorsed by Democracy for America:

Melissa is a smart, hard-working and passionate advocate for families, the middle class, local businesses, schools, jobs and economic growth. She's an Orange County native, a small business attorney, a wife and mother, and a dedicated community leader.

She worked hard to get out the vote in her district and across the state and earned DFA's California All-Star endorsement.

Here is Melissa's statement to DFA:

Melissa Fox is a smart, hard-working and passionate advocate for families, schools, the middle class, jobs, small business, and economic growth.

She is an Orange County native, a small business attorney, a wife and mother, and a dedicated community leader.

Melissa was born in Garden Grove and raised in Westminster. Commitment to public service comes naturally to Melissa -- her mother was a registered nurse and a librarian and her father was a police officer and later a compliance officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also a Korean War combat veteran.

Melissa attended high school in Westminster, where she graduated as valedictorian, went to Brandeis University and Tulane University School of Law.

After law school, she returned to Orange County, where for the last 17 years she has specialized in providing legal counsel to small businesses.

She has volunteered in professional organizations, in local schools, and has served in the Orange County Park Ranger Reserve. Her political activities include campaigns, local clubs, active participation in Women in Leadership and an active role in the Obama campaign. Melissa is also the founding President of the Orange County chapter of the non-partisan California Women Lead.

Melissa lives in Lake Forest with her husband Michael, a college professor who received his Ph.D. from UC Irvine, and their 11 year-old son Max, an avid Scout and member of the All American Boys Chorus.


As a Member of the Assembly, Melissa will be:

·A new legislative voice for majority rule on budget issues.

·A new legislative voice for working families and the middle class.

·A new legislative voice for students and teachers.

·A new legislative voice for seniors.

·A new legislative voice for the students, faculty and staff of UC Irvine.

·A new legislative voice for choice.

·A new legislative voice for single payer health care.

·A new legislative voice for marriage equality.

·A new legislative voice for a change.


As a small business attorney for 17 years, Melissa respects the hard work and knows the problems of business owners – problems that have been intensified by the current economic crisis. As a member of the Assembly, she will fight to reignite our Southern California economy and protect and grow the jobs we need.

As a mother with a child in a public school, Melissa knows the devastating impact of the budget crisis on our children and our schools. The most important investment we can make is in our children's education because investing in education ensures a stronger economic future for all of us. As a member of the Assembly, she will fight for our students and dedicated teachers, making sure that our schools -- from elementary schools to UCI -- are the very last thing to be cut in a budget crisis, not the first.

Melissa believes that the solution to UC Irvine's budget crisis begins in Sacramento. For too long, our representatives in Sacramento have ignored the interests of UC Irvine, its students, staff and faculty. UC Irvine is the most prestigious institution of higher learning in Orange County. It is also the County’s third largest employer – the largest in the District – and the primary engine spurring local economic growth, development, and innovation. Cutting funding for UC Irvine will have a potentially devastating impact on the economic wellbeing of our community. As the wife of a college teacher who received his Masters and Ph.D. from UC Irvine, Melissa knows the crucial role of UC Irvine in creating jobs, stimulating local business growth, and ensuring a brighter future for Orange County and California. As a member of the Assembly, Melissa will fight for the students, staff and faculty at UC Irvine.

As a middle class homeowner and businesswoman, Melissa knows the financial burden that California’s unfair tax system – including hidden taxes such as increased vehicle fees, tolls, and college tuition – imposes on middle class families and small businesses. As a member of the Assembly, she will fight for tax fairness, making sure that our economy is stimulated by tax cuts for the middle class and that giant corporations pay their fair share.

As a camper, hiker, volunteer Ranger with the Orange County Parks Department, and advocate for new green jobs and new American sources of energy, Melissa knows the need for responsible stewardship of our land, water and air -- not only for all the recreational opportunities we enjoy, but also for our economic well-being now and in the future. Melissa strongly opposes boondoggle schemes that threaten to destroy our world-class surfing, our watershed, and our beautiful beaches and coastline. These incredible resources are both a responsibility and a gift. They bring millions of dollars to our community from all over nation and the world. They are an essential part of the California Dream. As a member of the Assembly, Melissa will fight for new local green jobs, the development of new, cleaner and American sources of energy, and responsible stewardship of our natural resources, including our ocean, waves, and beaches.

Melissa is angry at the gridlock, backroom deal making, and lack of accountability of the politicians in Sacramento. They've broken their promises to put the interests of the people first. Melissa’s sole concern will be the interests of the people of our District. She knows that the first job of a legislator is to listen -- to the needs, hopes and dreams of the community -- in order to be an effective representative. Melissa will be a dedicated and passionate leader in the fight to eliminate wasteful government spending, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars. She will fight to end backroom deals -- like the one that lead to sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds -- and fight for greater openness and transparency in our government, and to restore accountability to Sacramento. Melissa will make it a priority to eliminate wasteful government boondoggles such as private toll roads, when our traffic is getting worse every day, we have the worst gridlock in the country, and congestion requires freeways that serve all of the people. She will fight to reduce the absurd number of unelected state government boards and commissions – many of which are redundant and unnecessary, and serve primarily as sources of political patronage and corruption. Melissa also strongly supports new laws to require state agencies to report their reasons for issuing no-bid contracts or awarding a contract to other than the low bidder, bringing more sunshine to a government that has operated in the dark for far too long.

Melissa will bring to government a much need breath of fresh air, new ideas, honesty, truth and openness – with a passionate commitment to California’s future.

Find out more from her website.

Dr. Esiquio Uballe for California Assembly (CA-AD72)

Esiquio has been endorsed by Democracy for America:

Esiquio Uballe spent his life helping the disadvantaged. He's a civil rights activists, community leader and educator. Now, he's running a grassroots campaign for State Assembly to turn a red seat blue and get Sacramento working for the people of California again.

Esiquio's hard work, dedication and grassroots campaign for change earned him DFA's California All-Star endorsement.

Here is Esiquio's statement to DFA:

Esiquio Ramos Uballe grew up in Austin, Texas, the youngest of eleven children in a family of migrant farm workers. Dr. Uballe was the first in his family to earn a college degree. He graduated from University of Michigan, has a masters and a Doctorate. He has spent his life helping the disadvantaged through his professional and volunteer efforts. He is the Associate Dean of Student Life at Cal State Fullerton and serves on the boards of Rosie’s Garage after school tutoring program and Kindercaminata, a pre-college experience for young children. Dr. Uballe has a long history of outreach to parents and children and promotes the value of education to the community. As an administrator he is skilled in working with people, handling budgets and developing and implementing policy and programs. He is a trained mediator with an extensive history of successful mediation and conflict resolution.


I am running to protect California's future. The state and District 72 are held hostage by a minority of Republican legislators who oppose any social safety net and seek to serve corporate interests and those of the anti-immigrant, religious right. I will protect the middle class and workers of the state as well as those most vulnerable. We need to create good, green jobs that restore our economic vitality while providing a living wage with good benefits. We need to restore full affordable access to higher education and good job training.


#1 Issue: Break through the California LOGJAM!
California needs a majority vote (50% + 1) for the budget.
We need to put a majority vote budget on the ballot in November changing the vote requirement to pass a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority.
#2: Rebuild California’s Dream
The people of California deserve a government that supports their hard work and shares their hopes for the future. We need green, safe jobs at a fair wage and with benefits to rescue California’s middle class.
Lift at-risk families and working poor families out of poverty so they can become independent and lead self-sufficient lives;
We need to create a robust economy and business climate that creates jobs and economic opportunity for all and the tax base for the programs and policies we champion. Our middle class is under attack and we should not increase taxes for those earning less than $250,000 a year, but corporations and the top 1% need to pay their fair share.
# 3: Protect California’s Future: Stop furloughing our children’s future!
California's children must have access to a free, individually appropriate, high-quality public education from preschool through grade 12.
Promote in-school efforts for educational development, access to reasonably priced childcare, universal pre-school and early development centers;
Stop the attack on our college age youth! Restore class sizes. Enact AB 656 and make corporations pay their fair share, particularly the Oil Companies.
Teachers are the stewards of our future. They should be well paid and work in safe learning environments with up-to-date equipment and learning tools.

Find out more from his website.

Dr. Richard Pan: Assembly District 5:

A must-win race in a tough district

Dr. Richard Pan is facing Republican and Proposition 8 architect Anthony Pugno. This seat should be held by Democrats and we finally have a great shot at it. Dr. Pan opened his east Sacramento headquarters over the weekend.
To become involved with the campaign, please contact Field Director Matt Ward (916) 798-0069.

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Alyson Huber: Assembly District 10

We've gotta keep this hard-fought seat!

Alyson Huber worked tirelessly in a very difficult race to inch out a win in 2008. Once in office, Alyson has become a strong defender of our Delta resources, working to develop reasonable solutions. She is actively engaged her district, representing generations of farmers, as well as those fast growing communities in the east Sacramento/Amador region.

This time, we need to be a part of delivering a decisive win so we can send Alyson back to continue representing Democratic principals.

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Jim Reed: Congressional District 2:

Stretching from the Oregon border to the margins of Sacramento, California's CD 2 has suffocated for decades in the grip of Republican do-nothing Wally Herger. Now Jim Reed is mounting a credible Democratic challenge and deserves our enthusiastic support.

Jim, a third-generation Californian, operates a law practice in Fall River Mills, just north of Redding. His message for northern California is simple and progressive: a return of representative government free from special interests, tireless attention to fiscal accountability, and help for the small businesses that are California's greatest creators of jobs. With our help, Jim Reed can revitalize CD 2 and help enact policies that benefit our entire state.

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Chris Parker: Board of Equalization, District 2

You Should See the Size of His District!

You may not have heard of the Board of Equalization (BOE), but it "administers billions of dollars of California's income and serving as California's Tax Court. It has the responsibility of serving the public through fair, effective and efficient tax administration.

Chris is dedicated to restoring fairness by closing the tax gap. District 2, is insanely large, stretching from the Oregon boarder to Ventura. His Republican opponent, George Runner, is so self-confident that he has already measured the office in to order carpeting.

It may not be the sexiest race, but its damned important. Chris is one hard-working candidate. Let's prove that simply being Republican does not qualify you for this position; only being qualified gets you in the door.

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Ami Bera: Congressional District 3

Bera Campaign Kicks Off with a Bang

Dr. Bera is the Democratic candidate running for congress in California's third congressional district. A doctor and former Associate Dean of Admissions at UC Davis, Bera has gained tremendous support for his grassroots campaign. Nationally acknowledged
as one of the top challenger races in the country, Dr. Bera has achieved enormous fundraising success, secured decisive endorsements, and earned widespread support.

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Help keep California on track for the future. Help these progressives win against right wing extremists.

Endorsed Candidates in South Dakota

Here are some important candidates running in South Dakota:

Ben Nesselhuf for South Dakota Secretary of State

From the Secretary of State Project:

Ben Nesselhuf is running for an open seat to replace Republican Secretary of State Chris Nelson. Nesselhuf has had a distinguished legislative career in the South Dakota House of Representatives and the State Senate, where he sponsored numerous bills around campaign finance reform. Over his five terms he has served on the Health and Human Services, Commerce, Taxation, Education and State Affairs committees.

Find out more at his website.

Julie Garreau for State Senate District 28

From her website:

A lifelong resident of South Dakota’s rural heartland and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Julie Garreau was born to a life in public service. Her father, Ellsworth Garreau, built a respected career in local law enforcement. Her mother, Iyonne, served as executive director of the Cheyenne River Elderly Nutrition Center for more than three decades; she also instilled in her children a powerful drive to help the less fortunate....

Following her graduation from Huron University, she worked as the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s education services specialist for 15 years; during that time, she also spent five years on the CRST Police Commission, three as chairperson. She broadened her community involvement by serving as a Suicide Crisis Referral Hotline counselor for six years and taking American Red Cross training courses in Mass Care, Introduction to Disaster Services, Damage Assessment and Shelter Operations.

Perhaps most significantly, Julie also has been executive director of the grassroots, not-for-profit Cheyenne River Youth Project® since its 1988 inception. She volunteered in the position for the first 12 years, becoming a full-time staff member in 2000. Julie has seen the project through its exhilarating development from a tiny, one-room youth center in a former Main Street bar to a comprehensive community organization that includes The Main Youth Center for children ages 4-12, the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center for youth ages 13-18, the 2.5-acre naturally grown Winyan Toka Win Garden and Family Services, an important program that provides household necessities, clothing, heating and home-repair funds, Christmas gifts and much more to local families.

In addition to her work with CRYP, Julie is a field coordinator for Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, a national not-for-profit organization that is an important CRYP partner. She is a dedicated advocate for youth and for sustainable grassroots initiatives within communities, and she hopes to provide a valuable model for other communities as they develop effective, sustainable youth programming and community support services.

That dedication has been recognized at the regional and national levels. Julie has received the South Dakota Volunteer of the Year Award (1992); the Presidential Points of Light Award (1992), presented by President H. W. Bush; the Father Hogebach Service to Native American Children Award, presented by St. Joseph’s Indian School (1995); the Lakota Nation Invitational Tournament Public Service Award (1993); the North American Indian Women’s Association Fellowship “Among All Peoples” Award (1999); and the Garden Supply Company’s First Place “Garden Crusader” Award (2005).

In 2002, the South Dakota Coalition for Children named CRYP a “Champion for Children,” and Julie was named to an honor roll that recognized its 16 members’ outstanding dedication to South Dakota’s Children. Her name also appears on the Honor Wall at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.

Most recently, Julie received the Spirit of Dakota Award (2009). Established in 1987, the award recognizes a South Dakota woman who has demonstrated leadership qualities, has become successful in her community and state, has deep Dakota roots, has shown courage and strength of character and has represented social, cultural and educational advancement for others. It recognizes, according to the society, “those outstanding women who have been the symbols of all that we are proud of in our prairie women.”

Although the South Dakota Senate run for District 28 is Julie’s first campaign for public office, she is not new to politics. She has been chairperson of the Dewey County Democratic Party since June 2008; she also served as the Cheyenne River coordinator for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.


Here are some important progressive candidates in Florida: (more local races at the bottom, Congress at the top)

Alan Grayson for Congress (FL-8)

Alan Grayson has been one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party this year, standing up to the Republicans every time they lie or oppose programs that would actually help Americans. He is the firebrand our party needs to keep moving forward. Republicans thought he'd be an easy target, but he has surged through grassroots fundraising and isn't looking all that vulnerable right now. But the right wing is still trying to challenge him. Democracy for America has eagerly endorsed Grayson for re-election. Here's what they have to say about him:

Representative Alan Grayson is living proof that Democrats win when they stand up for what they believe in. Grayson ran for Congress in his traditionally conservative area as a progressive Democrat, going on to win 52 percent of the vote in November 2008.

Since heading to Washington, Grayson has become one of the progressive movement's best voices, taking the fight for real healthcare reform with a public option straight to the Republicans working to killing any and all reform.

If you live in the FL-8 district, you can help this progressive champion defeat the right wing yet again by volunteering for his campaign. Or you can contribute to his re-election fund. Either way, keep in mind this is a critical race for 2010.

Joe Garcia for Congress (FL-25)

From Democracy for America:

Joe Garcia has fought for the people of South Florida his entire life, and he'll continue to fight for them in Congress. He'll fight to bring good jobs to Florida. He'll fight to protect the environment. He'll fight to hold insurance companies accountable to the people they're supposed to work for.

In short, he'll fight for you. Join the campaign today.

Joe Garcia's statement to DFA:

I believe in treating others with respect, that your word is your bond and in fairness and equality. What motivated me to enter public service was watching my family's experience as they arrived in this country as immigrants seeking the American dream. I believe in fairness as it pertains to access to healthcare, quality education and in the workplace.


It's simple: to put families first. As my wife and I look around our community, I am concerned that my daughter and her generation is inheriting a community that's not as prosperous or offers the same opportunities as the one her parents found. That's unacceptable to me. And that's why I'm running for Congress -- because our children deserve every opportunity we had.


First, job creation by incentivizing new industries and innovation that create well-paying jobs here at home, rather than in China and India. I want to see the words "Made in America" again. Second, make education a top priority to prepare our children for the jobs of the 21st century. Third, saving one of the most important institutions in my community -- Jackson Memorial Hospital -- because people who work for a living ought to be able to take their kids to a doctor when they get sick.

Find out more at Joe Garcia's website.

April Griffin for Hillsborough County School Board District 6

This is actually one of the more important races in the country. I have been focusing a lot on Texas School Board elections because of the considerable influence Texas has on textbook publication throughout the country. But a Daily Kos article has alerted me to another important school board race: April Griffin for Hillsborough County School Board District 6 in Florida.

Here's info on April Griffen from her website:

April Griffin was elected to the School Board in 2006. She is one of seven members responsible for making policy decisions and overseeing a budget of $3.1 billion for the 8th largest school district in the nation, which is also the county’s largest employer with approximately 25,000 employees.

In spite of the financial crisis that has affected our entire nation, the Hillsborough County School Board, unlike other school districts; has not laid off one employee, closed one program, or closed one school, and still managed to bring $100 million dollars to the school district from the Gates Foundation to empower effective teachers. April remains steadfast in her commitment to these priorities.

She has been active in her children's schools for many years. Prior to her full-time commitment to the school board she was a successful business owner and long-time child and elder advocate. The Weekly Planet (now known as Creative Loafing) honored April with a "Best of The Bay" award for her humanitarian work with the medically needy.

She currently serves on the national Board of Directors of Youth Crime Watch of America, the Juvenile Justice Board for the 13th circuit, the Hillsborough County Council of Governments, and the Kids Healthcare Foundation. She is a Tampa Chamber of Commerce Leadership Tampa alumna.

April was born, reared, and educated in Hillsborough County. She and her husband Brian Griffin celebrated their 20 year anniversary in 2009. They are the proud parents of two sons. Her oldest son Randy graduated from Hillsborough County Public Schools in 2010 and her youngest son Chase still attends Hillsborough County Public Schools.

April Griffin stands ready to continue bringing positive change such as growing and improving career and technical programs, fiscal responsibility, and administrative oversight and accountability to the Hillsborough County School District.

April Griffin is being challenged by a right wing fundamentalist who seems about the worst kind of religious fanatic you can find. His name is Terry Kemple and he is a proud Teabagger. He is an anti-science creationist who also opposes sex-ed in schools and believes in the discredited abstinence only program (which has been shown to increase teen pregnancy). This is precisely the kind of fool we want to keep OFF our school boards. You can read more about Terry Kemple's insanity in this Daily Kos article.

This race is a prime example of a competent, intelligent, pro-science, pro-education member of a school board being challenged by a crazy, fundamentalist fanatic who wants religion to replace science...just like the Taliban. Please help support April Griffin for Hillsborough County School Board District 6. It is exactly this kind of race that gets ignored by progressives, allowing right wing fundamentalists to extend their control.

Millie Herrera for Florida's 114th District Representative:

Democracy for America has endorsed Millie Herrera for State Representative for the 114th District. Here is what they have to say about her:

Millie has dedicated her life to helping others -- working for a better Florida and working to train the next generation of progressive grassroots leaders.

Millie has felt this recession firsthand. As a small business owner, she's worked to create jobs in this tough economy. She knows the struggles Florida families face and she has the experience and vision to help put the state back on track.

Millie Herrera has been endorsed by the Florida Professional Firefighters Association, the Florida Education Association, the South Florida Council of Fire Fighters, the United Teachers of Dade County, Former Miami-Dade Public Defender Bennett Brummer, and one of my favorite Congresswomen, US Representative Loretta Sanchez (of Orange County, California, I should note).

Here is Herrera's statement to DFA:


I am a lifelong progressive Democrat, born in Cuba and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went to school in Carbondale, Illinois, and lived in Caracas, Baton Rouge and Dallas, Texas before moving to Miami in 1987. In 1995, I became active in Miami politics after Newt Gingrich's "Contract ON America" showed me what happens when progressives become complacent, serving as Miami-Dade Democratic Party Deputy Director, then in 1997 organized the Miami-Dade Democratic Hispanic Caucus and was its President until 1998. In 2000, had the honor of being a delegate at the DNC National Convention, and was also elected President of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, and was reelected in 2002. My passion has been to bring Hispanics into the Democratic Party and awaken the sleeping giant with voter registration, community organizing, and GOTV. In 2000, I founded The Miami Group, a marketing and business consulting firm. This gave me the opportunity to serve my community, becoming a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for abused and neglected children, and serving on the Kendall Community Council. In 2004, I ran for State Representative in District 114. My opponent, the Republican incumbent ran a very well funded campaign and I did not prevail. My work on behalf of children in the juvenile justice system and the abused and neglected continued, as well as advocacy for growth management and halting sprawl in South Florida. In 2005-2006 I was the spokesperson for the Hold The Line campaign in the Hispanic community. In 2007-2008, I worked tiredlessly to elect a Democrat to the White House, and hosted a Spanish language radio show until April 2009 to communicate the Democratic message and point of view on the issues to the Hispanic community in South Florida. I continue to advocate for progressive issues: health care for all, highest quality public education, immigration reform, women's rights and the right to choose.


I am running because we need a sweeping change in Florida politics. Too many Florida state legislators protect the interests of big business over the best interests of their constituents. I will be a voice for working families, small business owners, children and a clean water and environment.


-Improve education by increasing funding by the state of school districts, community colleges and universities
-Economic development programs to bring new industries to Florida that create new jobs
-Growth management laws that protect the Everglades and our drinking water

If you live in Fountainebleau, Sweetwater, University Park , Westwood Lakes, Westchester, Kendall, Richmond West or South Miami Heights, please volunteer to help Millie Herrera's campaign. If you can't volunteer, please donate.

Russ Patterson for Florida House District 60

From Democracy for America:

Russ Patterson felt a calling to enter public service and he answered that call by joining three different campaigns as a community organizer, regional field organizer or field director. Later in life he answered that call as a substitute teacher in Hillsborough County while earning my teacher certification.

Now Russ is answering the call in running for Florida State House -- and his grassroots campaign for change earned him DFA's Florida All-Star endorsement.

Here is Russ Patterson's statement to DFA:

I am a Career United States Air Force officer, serving all over the USA and the world. I left home at 17 to attend the USAF Academy, and after I graduated and was commissioned, I flew as a navigator on KC-135s, the same type of planes as those stationed at Macdill. The Air Force gave me the opportunity to work with many different types of people in many different countries. I learned how to succeed, even with limited resources and to succeed when working in high-pressure situations. My military career, combined with my service later in my life has prepared me to be an effective representative for the District 60.

This is why I am running: We can do better! I see us striving for sustainable economic development focusing on local business and job growth that does not over task our water supplies or make our traffic worse; for us to strive for a sustainable environmental policy where we develop long term energy and transportation policies that don't rely on more and more petroleum - we should take advantage of being the "Sunshine State;" and finally, to have educational policies where schools are held accountable fairly and where teachers and administrators at the school level are given the latitude needed to provide the good education our children need for future success. I will be a representative to help make this happen. I will be “Russ for us!”

Throughout my career, and especially my career with the US Air Force, I worked successfully with many different types of people in many different places to effect positive change. I know what it is like to meet many different challenges and succeed. My career also gave me the freedom to give back to my country with public service. I will represent the people of District 60 and not the special interest groups that seem to control our legislature today. I’ll be a representative of the people like our founding fathers envisioned back in 1776.

1974 – 1994 USAF, stationed in OK, CA, NC, The United Kingdom, and The Netherlands
1995 – 1999 General Manager, Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme, Cambridge, UK
2000 - 2006 Community Organizer, Field Organizer, Field Director, MO, PA, VA, CT, RI, ME, LA, AR, FL for Democratic Campaign Management School
2001 – 2002 Executive Director, Wilson County Fair, Wilson, NC
2006 – 2007 Regional Organizer, Equality Florida, St. Petersburg, FL
2007 – 2010 Guest Teacher, School District Hillsborough County, FL
2009 - Present Certified Public School Teacher, Social Science, Grades 6 to 12


We can do better! My vision for Florida and District 60 is different from what the legislature has been doing the last 10 years. I see us striving for sustainable economic development focusing on local business and job growth that does not over task our water supplies or make our traffic worse; for us to strive for a sustainable environmental policy where we develop long term energy and transportation policies that don't rely on more and more petroleum we should take advantage of being the "Sunshine State;" and finally, to have educational policies where schools are held accountable fairly and teachers and administrators at the school level are given the latitude needed to provide the good education our children need for future success.

Find out more at Russ Patterson's website.

New Jersey Focus: Ed Potosnak for Congress (NJ-07)

Ed Potosnak is running for Congress in the 7th Congressional District, and he falls into the category of educators running for office which I love to support.

Ed Potosnak is a science teacher and small business owner who will bring real world experience to Congress to help America get its edge back.

Ed was born and raised in New Jersey and grew up working at his family's small business, which manufactured affordable batteries for communication devices used by law enforcement. He put himself through Rutgers University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's degree in Education. As a student at Rutgers, Ed was extremely active in campus life. He served as President of the Rutgers University Glee Club, and conducted independent research in Organic Chemistry, all while working on and off campus to help pay for college expenses.

Ed Potosnak has been endorsed by Democracy for America. Here is his statement to DFA:

• Small Business Owner
• H.S. Chemistry Teacher
• Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow

My parents wanted their children to have better lives than they did, so they committed themselves to ensuring my brothers and I had every opportunity. I grew up working alongside my family in our small business, where I learned the value of teamwork, respect, hard work, and sacrifice.

I put myself through college, earning a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a master’s degree in Education at Rutgers University. I enjoyed laboratory research but left the laboratory for the classroom because I wanted the opportunity to shape students’ lives.

As a teacher, I prepared my students for an increasingly complex and technological world by helping them become effective problem solvers and scientifically literate citizens.

I have always worked hard to support myself, often taking on extra jobs to pay my bills. Building on the entrepreneurial skills I learned as a child, I started my own home improvement business to supplement my teaching salary.

I was raised to believe that you can do anything.

I plan to deliver on that simple belief by finding common sense solutions to the challenges we face, fighting for what we believe in, and finding a way to “yes.”

I have spent the last two years in Washington working for Congress, so I know how Washington works-- or more importantly, how it doesn’t work.

Washington doesn’t seem to understand that families are hurting. People are concerned that they won’t have jobs, that they won’t be able to afford healthcare for their families, and that they won’t be able to leave an America that is better for their children than it was for them.

While in Washington as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellow in Congressman Mike Honda’s office (D-Silicon Valley, CA and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus) I helped craft legislation to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education by enhancing the coordination, collaboration, and coherence among federal programs and by reducing spending through the elimination of duplicative and ineffective programs. The legislation also aims to improve the opportunities of women and underrepresented minorities in science and mathematics.

Additionally, I developed legislation to ensure a student’s zip code does not determine the quality of his or her education. This legislation was signed into law.

I enjoy reading, tennis, golf, skiing, singing, home improvements, cooking, hiking, running, biking, rock climbing, and camping.


I am running for Congress because I am tired of the gridlock in Washington—we need leaders to fight for the interests of our families instead of political and special interests.

As a member of Congress, I will use my unique blend of knowledge of small business, science, and education to be a leader and an advocate for the 7th District of New Jersey. I intend to bring the real world experience and common sense solutions that we need to overcome the challenges our families and businesses face.

All too often, career politicians, like my opponent, focus more on reelection than doing what’s right. He has voted to block legislation that will help New Jersey families keep their jobs, help small businesses grow, and create new jobs. He has blocked legislation designed to control healthcare costs, just to score political points.

Career politicians are out of touch with the concerns of the middle class. They don’t understand that people are struggling to make ends meet, worrying if their jobs will be there tomorrow, if their children will have jobs when they graduate from college, whether they will be able to make their next mortgage payment, or if their home value will ever bounce back.

I understand their concerns because I live them.

This District needs an advocate for the interests of our families, a leader who understands their needs, someone who will fight the powerful lobbyists. My real world experience and proven ability to get things done in Washington will provide common sense solutions to address the challenges we face.

I will fight to put the interests of my constituents ahead of special interests.


Job Creation. Millions of Americans are out of work today. Across the 7th District, tens of thousands are out of work or underemployed, and many more are unsure of how long they will have their jobs. Getting our unemployed back to work is my top priority. As a small business owner, I am committed to ensuring our policies enable entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and innovate. Part of our strategy should provide businesses of all sizes incentives to invest in capital and research and development.

As a teacher, I believe the recession also provides an opportunity for job training. Individuals seeking to gain new skills to enhance their career options and potential should have access to opportunities to expand their learning. Providing training for jobs in emerging sectors of our economy, such as technology and green jobs, not only reduces unemployment, but also improves our energy efficiency and eliminates our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

Economy. Everyone is feeling the strains of our weakened economy. Working families are struggling to make ends meet in the worst recession since the Great Depression. When I travel around the District, I see signs of problems everywhere. There are “For Lease” signs at every intersection, empty parking lots at our strip malls and shopping centers, and “Foreclosure” signs strung across doors in our neighborhoods. These are indicative of problems that require real leadership and common sense solutions. My opponent is providing neither.

My opponent has not offered any legislation to create jobs or repair the financial crisis. It seems he has spent most of his time doing what career politicians do in Washington, cozying up to the special interests to fill his campaign coffers and looking out for their interests. Instead of using his position on the Financial Services Committee in Congress to help our working families, he has consistently opposed regulating the financial industry. He sided with big banks to ensure they will be able to keep more than $80 billion in profits—profits that otherwise would have been used to help students pay for college.

As a small business owner, I have experienced how sometimes the government can get in the way of businesses. I understand how important small businesses are to our economy and how they can help drive us out of this recession. We must support their growth in order to put our economy back on track, create jobs and provide economic stability. We must also take on the powerful financial industry to ensure another crisis like the one we experienced does not occur again. We need common sense reforms to protect consumers and limit the risky practices of the big banks and Wall Street that led our economy into the gutter.

Improving America’s Competitiveness. Our nation is at a critical juncture. We are challenged to stay ahead of other nations in an increasingly global 21st century economy. We can no longer rely upon our past successes to ensure our future economic leadership. We must take an aggressive approach to catalyzing innovation through investments in research and development and physical, technological, and human capital. It is a matter of national and economic security that we remain competitive globally.

New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District is home to the leading technological, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other industries. It is often referred to as the “medicine cabinet to the world.” I am committed to ensuring these companies have the support they need to harness the ingenuity of my constituents to invent therapies to save and enhance our lives, address our energy challenges, create future markets, and improve our productivity.

My science background provides insight into how balanced government policies can spur innovation and promote competition, ensure U.S. companies are able to remain internationally competitive, and fully utilize the innovative potential of the American people.

I am committed to improving America’s competitiveness to create new jobs, new business, and new industries.

Find out more at his website.

Progressive Candidates in Michigan

Jocelyn Benson for Secretary of State

From the Secretary of State Project:

Election law scholar and community organizer Jocelyn Benson is running for an open seat to replace Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land who is term-limited out of office. In 2004, she ran a voter protection campaign in 21 states, deploying 17,000 trained election law lawyers. She also developed and supervised two statewide nonpartisan election protection efforts in Michigan in 2007 and 2008. In 2007 Benson successfully led a grassroots campaign to prevent the closure of a branch Secretary of State’s office in Buena Vista Township near Saginaw, Michigan, arguing that the closure would violate the Voting Rights Act.

From Democracy for America:

Jocelyn has dedicated her life to protecting people's right to vote and that is exactly the sort of experience and dedication that Michigan needs in the Secretary of State's office.

Jocelyn knows what Michigan must do to become an election administration leader again -- early voting, same-day voter registration and more -- and she's ready to push these common sense reforms as Secretary of State.

From the Jocelyn Benson campaign:

"Knowledgeable and genuine."

Those were the words that an editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette used in a recent column on our campaign.

"The quality of being genuine is a rare attribute in a politician," she wrote.

Below is Joyce Pines' article about my candidacy for Michigan Secretary of State in the Kalamazoo Gazette. I wanted to personally share it with you because it illustrates what our campaign is about - a genuine effort to ensure that Michigan's government is efficient, transparent, protects pocketbooks, and puts people first.

Here are excerpts from that article:

Column: The quality of being genuine is a rare attribute in a politician
Joyce Pines | Kalamazoo Gazette

The first major politician I covered was a U.S. representative from Illinois, Paul Simon, a Democrat who ran for the United States Senate in 1984. The Illinois newspaper I worked for was in the hometown of Simon’s opponent in the race, incumbent U.S. Sen. Charles Percy, a moderate Republican.

My newspaper assigned me to cover Simon’s candidacy and I was sent to follow a campaign swing through southern Illinois beginning at dawn at a coal mine during shift change....

Simon had a quality of genuineness that I have rarely seen in politicians. He was also incredibly knowledgeable about the issues. He was someone you could sit down and talk to and get his views without hearing talking points and what his “handlers” thought would most resonate with voters...

After 26 years, I recently met another individual running for office who reminded me of that encounter: Jocelyn Benson, who is running as a Democrat for Secretary of State. I was impressed with her understanding of the office and her enthusiasm. A professor at Wayne State University specializing in election law, Benson has written a book on the Secretary of State’s office...

But Benson’s major concern is making sure the right to vote is protected. She is very concerned about the potential influence of corporations on elections in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling. She favors requiring companies that pay for ads and robo calls to identify themselves so voters will know who’s responsible.

We had a good conversation, not a question-and-answer session.

After all that time, it was nice to be surprised by a political candidate who is both knowledgeable and genuine.

Here is Jocelyn Benson's recent speech to the Michigan Democratic Party:

Please support Jocelyn Benson for Michigan Secretary of State. Knowledgeable and genuine are definitely valuable qualities in a Secretary of State.

Progressive Majority is an organization with an excellent track record of helping good, progressive candidates get elected. They have about a 50% success rate in getting candidates elected year after year. For an organization focused on electing progressive candidates, many of whom are challengers going up against incumbents, that is a damned good track record.

Here is a list of excellent candidates endorsed by Progressive Majority in Michigan:

Art Reyes II
Candidate for State House - District 51 (Challenger)
Genesee & Oakland County

Art Reyes II is running for state representative against an incumbent Republican. The Republican is pursuing the GOP nod for Secretary of State and, if successful, it would become an open seat. Progressive Majority can make the difference in helping increase viability and providing training support and other campaign expertise. When Art is elected, Progressive Majority succeeds in increasing the ''progressivity'' of the state House and keeping majority in Democratic hands. Art is the President of UAW Local 651. In the past, he has been the organizer for the GOTV efforts of the local UAW Region in Genesee County. He has the passion to fight for working families, and create a state that allows his grown children to find work and raise their families here. Progressive Majority will be critical in providing the messaging and fundraising capacity building to make Art a viable candidate. Referred to Progressive Majority by leaders in the progressive community, Art's candidacy is taking notice by those in labor and the broader progressive movement.

Mark Lightfoot
Candidate for State House - District 97 (Open Seat)
Gladwin & Clare Counties

Mark Lightfoot, the Supervisor for Freeman Township, is running for state representative. Mark is a progressive who brings a strong profile and credentials that creates a possible pick-up for Democrats in the state House, while increasing the progressivity of the Democratic majority. This district is located in rural mid- Michigan, and Mark has a unique profile that will play well in the area. He is a Navy veteran, a retired firefighter and a current business owner in the district. As the next state representative, he will champion 21st century job creation, strengthening public education, protecting farmland, and securing the state's natural resources.

Click here to support and learn more about Mark.

Mary Valentine
Candidate for State Senate - District 34 (Open Seat)
Muskegon County

State Rep. Mary Valentine is running for the state Senate, District 34. She is running for the state Senate in a district that is being vacated by a Republican due to term limits. Democrats need a net gain of four seats to win majority, and this potential pick-up is critical to that goal. Prior to becoming a legislator, Mary was a speech therapist for over 30 years and retired from a local school district. As a legislator, Mary was a leading voice in the fight to stem the flow of Canadian and out-of-state trash into Michigan, create good-paying jobs for Michigan workers, increase investment in renewable energy and protect our Great Lakes. Among all the top tier state Senate races this year, only a few have front running progressive candidates like Mary. Mary is known as a tireless campaigner, and Progressive Majority can provide the support to insure that Mary wins in November.

Click here to support and learn more about Mary.

Kathy Hagopian
Candidate for Oakland County Commissioner - District 16 (Challenger)

Kathy Hagopian is a Democrat running for the 16th Oakland County Commission seat. She is a local businesswoman and has been active in many local community affairs. She was re-elected to the West Bloomfield Township Wetlands Board in 2008. She has 30 years in manufacturing and owns her own company, Building Accessories Corp. She is active in the Women's Officials' Network, Construction Association of Michigan, West Bloomfield Youth Assistance Board. The Republican, Shelly Goodman Taub, is a former commissioner and state representative, and defeated the won in 2008 by just 128 votes. Kathy's election will result in flipping majority on the county board in this county that has historically been a conservative stronghold in southeast Michigan. Kathy will focus on creating and attracting jobs, supporting public transportation, and protecting the environment in Oakland County.

Click here to support and learn more about Kathy.

Progressive Candidates in Illinois

SOME PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES IN ILLINOIS: these are some of the most important fights in Illinois and yet they aren't getting the attention they deserve. This means YOUR vote and YOUR efforts can make a real difference in these races.

Bill Foster for Congress

Among the best of the newer Congressional Reps is physicist and business entrepreneur Bill Foster of Illinois. He may be more conservative than I like, but then again his district leans conservative and he is without a doubt one of the most brilliant and accomplished members of Conrgess. Of course the Republicans can't stand him because they seem to hate intelligent, competent people.

About Bill Foster:

Designing, building, and managing some of the most advanced research machines in science, and creating a successful multimillion dollar business from scratch are some of the highlights of Bill Foster's career. A career with dedication and enthusiasm to make changes for the better and bringing progress by problem solving, innovation, hard work, and commitment.

Bill has devoted his energy to making important scientific progress and to building a business that has created jobs for hundreds of people in the United States -- and now Bill is committed to working hard for people here in the 14th Congressional District in Illinois.

Here's the latest video from Bill's campaign:

And from last year:

Bill Foster has been endorsd by more than 30 Nobel Prize winners. Among those endorsements are the following:

"The security of the US in the 21st century requires business, scientific, and engineering solutions as well as military and political. It's essential for our national leadership to be able to tell the difference between truth and false promises. Bill has already shown his talents and he would make a big difference to the safety of our nation."

- John Mather
Nobel Prize Winner

"I am pleased to support Bill Foster in his run for the Congress. As a person with scientific and technical background, he can analyze the large fraction of our national decisions that involve technical issues and work out sensible solutions. Often we seem to be responding to the loudest argumentation, rather than the most thoughtful and suitable propositions."

- John Hall
Nobel Prize Winner

"Bill Foster represents a calm and enlightened voice for science and for reasonable government. We need both if our country is to recover from the past period of anti-intellectualism and partisan bickering. I believe that Bill is a candidate that all citizens can get behind."

- Peter Agre
Nobel Prize Winner

Please visit Bill Foster's website and help his re-election campaign. We really need a brilliant scientist and savvy businessman in Congress these days.

Pat Quinn for Illinois Governor

Pat Quinn has been endorsed by Democracy for America. Here is his statement to DFA:

Governor Pat Quinn has devoted his life to standing up for the working people of Illinois and fighting political corruption, government waste, and unfair taxes. He has earned a national reputation as an honest leader who has never been afraid to speak his mind and battle special interests on behalf of everyday men and women.

Pat Quinn was born in Illinois in 1948, the eldest of P.J. and Eileen Quinn's three sons. After attending Catholic grade school, he attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park. He graduated in 1967 and entered Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in international economics and then obtained his law degree from Northwestern University's School of Law in 1980.
The Coalition For Political Honesty

To force passage of tough new ethics laws, Pat Quinn founded the non-partisan, all-volunteer Coalition for Political Honesty in 1975 and launched the biggest petition drive in Illinois history. Quinn and his supporters eventually collected 635,158 signatures on the Political Honesty Initiative and ended a century-old practice that allowed Illinois legislators to collect their entire two years' advance pay on their first day in office.

Quinn took up another fight on behalf of Illinois taxpayers in 1978 when the General Assembly passed a whopping 40% increase in legislators' salaries. Quinn urged outraged taxpayers to invoke the spirit of the Boston Tea Party and send teabags to then Governor James R. Thompson to protest the pay hike. Within days, the Governor's office was overwhelmed with more than 40,000 teabags.

Despite the enormous statewide protest, the legislators underestimated the ire of Illinois taxpayers and refused to rescind the pay raises. In response, Quinn and the Coalition for Political Honesty began a petition drive to reduce the size of the Illinois Legislature, eliminating waste in Springfield by cutting the General Assembly down to size. Quinn coordinated a statewide petition blitz that gathered more than 475,000 signatures in support of the Cutback Amendment. The Amendment was placed on the November 1980 ballot and was solidly approved by voters. As a result, the Illinois House of Representatives was reduced from 177 members to 118.
Reformer And Consumer Advocate

In 1982, Quinn was elected to clean up the scandal-ridden Cook County Board of (Property Tax) Appeals. As Commissioner, he instituted a tough new ethics code, professional auditing standards, and a vigorous taxpayer outreach program. In the words of a Chicago Sun-Times editorial, "he fumigated, reformed and converted a once-corrupt office into a model for taxpayer service, access to records, and openness of process."

Continuing his fight to protect consumers, Pat Quinn launched the 1983 drive to create the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) - a statewide, non-partisan, not-for-profit group to advocate for customers against unfair utility rates. After battling to get the CUB referendum on ballots in 114 Illinois communities, Quinn succeeded in getting the Illinois Legislature to create, and fund, the Citizens Utility Board. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by blocking rate hikes and winning consumer refunds.

An Innovative State Treasurer

In 1990, Pat Quinn ran a low budget, unconventional campaign for State Treasurer against a well-funded Republican candidate. That November, Quinn delivered a stunning victory with 1.7 million votes - the top total for any state office in that election.

During his term as Illinois State Treasurer, Quinn spearheaded passage of the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act, a landmark bill empowering taxpayers to file lawsuits to root out fraud and waste in state government. The Whistleblower Act - which was later expanded to local units of government - has helped the state of Illinois recover millions of dollars in fraudulent payments.

Under Quinn's guidance, the State Treasurer's office used deposits of state funds as a lever to encourage banks to offer loans that would make housing more affordable for Illinois families and give women and minorities access to capital to expand their small businesses. These linked-deposits served to create Illinois jobs and economic opportunity at virtually no cost to taxpayers and brought Treasurer Quinn accolades for his sophistication, aggressiveness and innovation.

In 1993, Treasurer Quinn proposed the Inspector Misconduct Act, to prohibit state employees from demanding campaign contributions from the businesses and individuals they inspect and regulate. As a result of Quinn's efforts, the Inspector Misconduct Act passed and was signed into law in 2002.
Standing Up For Illinois As Lt. Governor

Pat Quinn became Lt. Governor of Illinois in 2003. As Lt. Governor, he fought for significant new programs to protect the environment, expand health care, and provide critical assistance to members of the U.S. Armed Services and their families.

In his role as the state's top elected advocate for Illinois' military men and women and their families, Quinn led the successful effort to enact the Illinois Military Family Relief Act, which provides financial assistance to families of Illinois National Guard members and Reservists called to active duty. He also spearheaded passage of the Let Them Rest in Peace Act, which became a national model in protecting grieving families from disruptive protests at military funerals.

As Lt. Governor, Quinn continued his fight to reform state government, repeatedly defying Illinois' entrenched culture of pay-to-play politics and official corruption. Quinn stood up to criticize an inadequate reform of the scandal-plagued Illinois State Toll Highway Authority in 2004, earning a threat of political "divorce" from the Blagojevich Administration.

Refusing to back down, Quinn continued to demand the clean, accountable government Illinois taxpayers deserve. In 2007, with $25 billion in taxpayer funds at stake in a proposed capital plan, Quinn insisted on passage of legislation to outlaw pay-to-play in Illinois before hefty contracts could be awarded to cronies and campaign funders with deep pockets. He also led opposition to Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's attempts to pass the "grossly unfair" Gross Receipts Tax.

In 2008, Quinn began a petition drive to oppose a 7.5 percent pay raise for Illinois lawmakers. Within 48 hours, Quinn had collected more than 17,000 signatures - enough to pressure the General Assembly into calling a vote and canceling their own raises.

Quinn also led the statewide opposition to the Blagojevich Administration's closing of 23 Illinois state parks and historic sites.
Governor Pat Quinn

Pat Quinn was sworn in as Governor of Illinois on January 29, 2009, after the impeachment and removal from office of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich.

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has devoted himself to balancing the state budget, creating new jobs and new opportunities for Illinois families, bringing fairness to our tax code and leading the fight to reform state government.

In his first act as Governor, Quinn signed an executive order establishing the Illinois Reform Commission. The independent, bipartisan Commission developed a menu of important reforms to bring fairness, honesty, transparency and accountability to Illinois government.

Governor Quinn took swift action to reopen state parks and historic sites that had been closed by the Blagojevich Administration, ensuring access for the 44 million people who visit the state's recreational areas each year - generating an estimated $790 million in overall economic impact in Illinois.

On April 3, Governor Quinn signed into law his $3 billion Jump Start Capital Plan - Illinois' first capital construction program in 10 years. Combined with the federal stimulus funds, the Jump Start Capital Plan will create thousands of jobs in Illinois

Find out more at his website.

Mariyana Spyropoulos for Water Reclamation District

From Democracy for America:

Mariyana Spyropoulos has served on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for six months and has proven to be a smart, honest Commissioner during that time. She's also been one of the District's best progressive voices, working to improve the quality of rivers and groundwater, promote green roofs and educate the public on the benefits of conservation.

Mariyana's activism, independence and thoughtfulness as Commissioner have been a breath of fresh air on the MWRD and she'll continue to be a progressive leader in the District for years to come.

Here is Spyropoulos' statement to DFA:


An attorney with an MBA, Mariyana has been very active in environmental groups. She has served the people of Cook County as a prosecutor at the Cook County State's Attorney Office and as a Hearing Officer for the State of Illinois.


To help the Water Reclamation District take a leadership role with regards to the envrionment and water. My goals include outreach tot he community to work together on water conservation issues. Also to have the Water Reclamation District use its properties to set the example for sustainbale practices. Finally, with my business and legal background will make sure the citizens of the County are well served with fiscla responsibility and transparency on their side.


As stated above, my issues are water conservation, the environment and fiscal responsibility.

Spyropoulos has also been endorsed by the Hellenic American Police Association, Illinois League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Free Press, Ukrainian American Democratic Organization, United Hellenic Voters, and many others.

This is an important race that you can really make a difference in. Please volunteer for Mariyanna Spyopoulos' campaign if you are in Cook County. If not, please contribute.

Also in Cook County:

Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County Board President

Again, from Democracy for America:

Chicago is a machine town, but one candidate for Cook County Board President stands out above the rest as a real reformer: Toni Preckwinkle.

Toni is in this race to restore the basic principles of good government to the Cook County Board -- Provide the best services possible and do so effectively. These are principles in government all but forgotten by corrupt incumbent Todd Stroger.

As president, Toni will not only restore these principles, but get to work on solving some of Cook County's biggest problems -- a regressive tax system and broken justice system.

Here is Toni Preckinkle's statement to DFA:


After graduating from the University of Chicago over 40 years ago, I made a lifelong commitment to public service. I taught history at local high schools for a decade, ran a non-profit aimed at neighborhood improvement, and took on the political machine which represented the status quo. My first attempts to beat machine-backed politicians failed, but I persevered against the odds until I won the 4th Ward Aldermanic seat 18 years ago.

As the Committeeman and Alderman representing the 4th Ward, I've prided myself on independence, transparency and accountability - while always striving to improve the quality of life for my constituents. I've rejected the old patronage model of political organization, wherein precinct captains double as city and county employees until and unless they fail to deliver votes for the Machine. As Cook County Board President I will lead by example, with commitment and perseverance to ignite a critically needed change of culture in County government and politics.


I believe government should uphold two basic principles: provide the best services and do so as effectively as possible. Right now, Cook County government is failing on both accounts. That's why I'm running for Cook County Board President.

I believe the greatest failure of the current administration is not mismanagement, it's not endemic corruption and it's not the hordes of patronage employees - though these are all serious shortcomings. It is, rather, the current administration's cynical disregard of the wishes, concerns, and fears of the citizens. Over the past eleven months, I have traveled throughout the County, from Palatine to Dolton, from Winnetka to Cicero, and throughout Chicago, speaking with many citizens about our priorities, such as repealing the sales tax increase, making permanent the independent Health Board, and addressing reforms for the overcrowding throughout the County criminal justice system. So far, this race has been too consumed with the "politics" - who's in and who's out. What I have offered is a "compact for change". This isn't just a litany of reforms. This is a new compact between the people of Cook County and its government and it rests squarely on the demands of the citizens. We must address the issues facing the County: the need to fully repeal the sales tax increase and stimulate economic development, the responsibility to make our neighborhoods safe and the drive to improve our health care and criminal justice systems. The full Compact for Change can be found at

Eighteen years of service in the City Council has taught me to work well with others and make compromises when necessary to accomplish goals. I was a founding member and leader of the Progressive Caucus in the City Council - a disparate coalition of reform-minded alderman committed to accountability and fairness in Chicago public policy. My political independence has not blinded me to carefully examining public policy. If the Mayor proposed a good idea, I was willing to work with him and the administration. But I have never been deterred from standing up to the administration when I fundamentally disagreed. I opposed Mayor Daley's plan to privatize parking meters and I stood in a small minority when opposing the tax increases in the FY2008 budget. While I have always been honored to serve in a legislative capacity, I believe it's time to put my ideas, principles and political skills to work as an executive. I can't think of an office that is more desperately in need of new leadership than that of President of the Cook County Board.


Tax Relief

I'm running for Cook County Board President because I believe government should uphold two basic principles: provide the best services and do so as effectively as possible. Right now, Cook County government is failing on both accounts. First, as Cook County Board President, I will move to repeal the Stroger sales tax increase, and work hard to decrease the overall sales tax - while also bringing down expenses by cutting wasteful spending and eliminating inefficient programs. The County provides too many critical services and opportunities for our community to be stalled by the waste, fraud and abuse of the current Cook County government.

Rebuilding the Health Care System

In order to create a solid foundation for a fiscally-sound County health system, I will push for the independent Board of Directors to be made permanent. This is the first step in reducing the political influence that has been detrimental to the efficiency and morale of those health care professionals who work so hard to provide quality care. I will also work to ensure that County health services are as efficient and effective as possible by striving for three basic objectives:
o Correct extensive waste and duplication in order to end the bureaucratic drain on health care services.
o Divert mismanaged resources into high-quality preventive care.
o Pursue cooperative ventures to create a network of specialists.

Another key challenge we face is that each year, residents of surrounding counties use Stroger Hospital free of charge. It is simply not fair that our residents are paying for their services. I will collaborate with other counties to ensure that those counties using our health resources pay their fair share.

Reforming Cook County's Chronically Overcrowded Jail

As Cook County Board President, reforming the criminal justice system must be a priority. Cook County's jail is chronically overcrowded. This reality not only drains our budget, but compromises the safety of Cook County residents, as the Department of Corrections has fewer resources to devote to prosecuting and incarcerating violent criminals. I will expand programs that not only serve as alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, but also provide treatment for addiction, educational classes and life skills training, in order to reduce recidivism and make our county safer. The benefits of this approach are three-fold: 1) easing the overcrowding of our jail; 2) facilitating re-entry and job training; and 3) reducing repeat offenses. Specifically, I will expand the State's Attorney's Drug Abuse Program (SADAP), which provides treatment and drug education to first-time drug offenders. I will also look to expand the State's Attorney's RAP Drug School and Cook County Drug Court, which serve as pre-trial diversions of non-violent drug offenders from jail into drug treatment programs. As current demand for these services exceeds their capacity, their expansion will unclog the County's courts and free up resources that will enable the State's Attorney's office to focus on the prosecution of violent criminals.

Here is her latest campaign video:

If you live in Cook County, this is your chance to help clean up Chicago politics. Volunteer for Toni Preckwinkle. Or, if you can, donate.