Blue America '16

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Blue America Billy Joel Contest: Tom Suozzi's in a NY-03 State of Mind

Many progressives were gratified to learn that corrupt Blue Dog Steve Israel would not be seeking reelection. Unfortunately, Israel is working to install one of his cronies, Steve Stern, in his seat. Fortunately, a far better known and respected former Nassau County Executive, Tom Suozzi, is running for the seat. Tom is known all through Long Island and New York as someone who is un-bought and un-bossed, a reformer who isn't interested in special interests, just the legitimate interests of the working families in his constituency. He's running on his record of achievements for the people of Long Island in a district that stretches from Kings Park in Suffolk County, through Huntington, Bethpage, Glen Cove and Great Neck in Nassau into the Whitestone and Beechhurst sections of Queens.

Israel pulled one of his ugly little tricks of having one of his lackeys challenge Tom's petition signatures but a judge ruled the challenges were without edit and threw them out. Meanwhile, Tom has spent his time meeting with voters in 15 townhall meetings in the 3 counties that make up the district and listening to what they want out of Washington and talking about his plans to help bring down the cost of higher education, protect Social Security and Medicare benefits and guarantee equal pay for equal work for women. His unofficial campaign motto is "More skills, more jobs, more wages."

On Friday, May 27, Tom is hosting an event at the Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden. He's given Blue America two pairs of tickets and we're going to give them away to two random contributors who donate to his campaign on this page. Tom goes way back with Billy Joel, over twenty years to when he was first elected mayor of Glen Cove, having, like all Long Island kids, grown up on Joel's music.

The contest ends Wednesday, May 25 and we'll notify the winners on Thursday. And, yes, the tickets are transferable. So... if you live in Allentown or Vienna and can't make it to Manhattan next week you can give the tickets to a couple of friends in Jericho, Syosset or Hicksville.



Volunteers? Bob Poe Is Paying His $15 an Hour-- An Actual Living Wage

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Credit: Daily Kos

Florida's newly, court-ordered redistricted 10th district in the Orlando area is so much bluer than it was under the state legislator's gerrymandered boundaries that the Republican incumbent, Daniel Webster, packed his bags and moved to another, redder district. There are 4 Democrats appealing to Democratic primary voters for the nomination but, as they do, the DCCC has intervened on behalf of the least suitable and most conservative of the candidates. Instead, we'd like you to consider the most competent and progressive of the candidates, Bob Poe.

Today, though, we want to tell you about a field program that Bob is running unlike any filed operation you've never seen before. Because he spends his time the way candidates should-- knocking on doors and talking to voters-- Bob learned early that one of the biggest problems in his district was a lack of opportunity for people with criminal records. They've paid their debt to society, but couldn't get jobs, housing, or car loans, which means they were utterly stuck, with no chance to build any kind of economic security or provide for their families.

Bob likes to say that "in order to make a difference, you have to be a difference." Well, Bob decided not to wait until he gets to Congress to start making a difference. That's why he started the Second Chance hiring program for his field staff. Instead of relying on volunteers or unpaid interns for his campaign, Bob hosted 3 job fairs in the district and ended up giving 30 field positions to people with records of conviction or incarceration. Most importantly, because Bob believes in walking the talk about progressive values, their campaign is paying those field staffers $15 an hourThat's the kind of person we need in Congress living our values and standing up for progressive issues. 

As you can see, Bob isn't running a typical campaign, doing whatever Democratic insiders tell him to-- unlike his reactionary New Dem, corporatist opponent, Val "I lost my gun" Demings.

Despite years working to elect Democrats and promote economic populist issues, Bob is running is own campaign, fueled by community members he's worked with for decades and the kind of grassroots support that shows he's a man who represents the people. Bob's campaign is supporting a $15 minimum wage, expanding Social Security, equal pay for equal work, comprehensive immigration reform, and reducing gun violence. 

At a time when there's so little trust and faith in our leaders in Washington, Bob stands out as his own man, running his own campaign and promoting the progressive values and issues that we all share, no matter whether the establishment Democrats are on board or not. One thing's already been made clear: a Congressman Bob Poe will be the same as candidate Bob Poe-- speaking up for the people and working to advance real progressive change in our communities. Please give what you can to help him today.



What Would It Be Like To Have Your Own Personal Jesus in The Senate?


The Grayson for Senate campaign is getting close to having it's 100,000th contributor. The 100,000th contribution will happen in the next few days. And whoever that 100,000th person is, Blue America will be proud to award them a platinum album as rare in the world of Depeche Mode collectibles, as is Alan Grayson’s "policy of truth" within this corrupt Congress.

The 1991 "Violator" album went platinum in Mexico and Warner Bros Music Mexico, the Depeche Mode label there made a dozen hand-crafted awards and one of those gorgeous plaques is the one that is being given away to the 100,000th donor. Grayson's average contribution is $18.12.

Some people give $1,000 and some people give $5.00 but whatever you contribute to Grayson on our special Depeche Mode “Violator” page doesn't make it more or less likely that you'll be the "winner" of the plaque. Whether the 100,000th person gives $10 or $2,000, he or she will get the plaque.

Alan Grayson is the one of the most valuable members of Congress, if not the most valuable member. He's accomplished more than any other member from either party and has been a leader on issues from fiscal responsibility and peace to health care and consumer protection. He's an independent-minded, brilliant congressman and is very much needed in the Senate to hold McConnell and Schumer to a higher standard.

Grayson's Republican-turned-New-Dem primary opponent, Patrick Murphy, is the top recipient of Wall Street money among any candidate for the U.S. Senate who isn't an incumbent. Murphy pushes Wall Street's agenda in the House Financial Services Committee and the banksters have rewarded Murphy with $1,054,300 so far, the only none incumbent candidate from either party already over a million dollars. Murphy is Wall Street's #1 priority. Grayson doesn't get bankster money. He's dependent on small dollar contributors like us.

The race for the open Senate seat from Florida is one of the most important of the cycle. And this week, any contribution to Grayson's Senate campaign on the special Blue America "Violator" page means you could be the lucky 100,000th contributor and own the very rare, very collectible Depeche Mode Mexican platinum award-- not to mention help Alan win a seat in the Senate where he'll be working alongside Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown.



A Progressive Veteran Will Serve Long Island's Changing Demographics Much Better Than Peter King

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DuWayne Gregory is the presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature. In 2010, redistricting moved Peter King's Nassau County district significantly east into Suffolk County, a “significantly bluer” part of Suffolk County. Because King is a longtime political ally of Steve Israel the DCCC has never challenged his seat— and discouraged local Democrats who have.

DuWayne enlisted in the Army after graduating from college and earned airborne jump wings, so he’s not intimidated by the gaggle of political hacks in Washington. The newly-drawn second CD is home for Dwayne; but new territory to King. This area saw Obama beat McCain 51-48% and saw the president increase his share of the vote four years later when he beat Romney 52-47%. This district is absolutely ready to flip from red to blue

King has represented the more Republican Nassau County part of the district in Congress since 1992. Some of the garbage Ted Cruz was spewing last week-- patrolling communities where Muslims live-- comes straight from the mouth of Peter King, who has used his position to divide his constituents and demonize Muslim-Americans; calling for surveillance of mosques and claiming— without substantiation of any kind— that "85% of Imams" have been radicalized. This kind of bigotry may work in backward parts of Texas but the South Shore of Long Island is not Texas.

As the most Hispanic of any of the Long Island districts (23% Latino), many NY-02 residents were shocked when they read that their own congressman sponsored a bill to deny citizenship to natural born Americans if their parents were not U.S. citizens. Nor were they pleased to see him sponsoring a bill that called for “English only” in government communications. Needless to say, the bigoted King was not a supporter of the comprehensive immigration bill passed by a wide bipartisan majority in the Senate.

Overall, Gregory’s outlook leads in a very different direction from King's. His concerns are about fighting for the middle class, not maintaining a status quo for the very wealthy and for corporate special interests. His goals are to be part of the congressional team that will increase the minimum wage, guarantee college affordability, increase child care credits, provide healthcare credits for healthcare providers and fight for good paying jobs.

When he was endorsed by New York's Working Families Party, Long Island Political Director Emily Abbott noted that "DuWayne has put politics aside to get things done for working families. Washington needs people like DuWayne Gregory who will fight to ensure that all of Long Island’s families and small businesses have a fair shot to succeed."

In his own communications to Long Islanders, Duwayne stresses his own record of inclusion and vows to go to Washington "to fight for fairness for all Americans by working to bring about justice reform" and to "ensure that no one is treated differently because of their race or economic status when it comes to our justice system." He's one veteran who has every intention of going to Washington to ensure that "the problems with the VA never happen again to our war veterans" and to "work to provide quality healthcare to every veteran in need." Last week, he was endorsed for the seat by VoteVets. 

Peter King's antiquated perspective on women doesn't work in NY-02, not in 2016. He voted against equal pay for women and his anti-choice extremism belies his claims to be a "moderate." Moderates, unlike King, don't oppose women's choice even in cases of rape and incest. "The disparity of pay between men and women doing the same work is unjustifiable and I'll never forget when I'm in Congress that my constituents don't want any part of that," DuWayne told us. "Nor will I ever countenance the government coming between a woman and her doctor or her minister or whomever she choses to consult about her intimate health matters. My opponent talks about government getting off the backs of our people. I don't know how he squares that with his extreme positions on women's choice and his shameful, ideological vote to defund Planned Parenthood."

Once again, the DCCC is trying to give Peter King a free pass. Please help Duwayne Gregory put an end to that right now. If the Democrats are going to win back the House, it's going to be with proven progressive leaders in moderate suburban districts like NY-02.



Wall St. Hopes You Won't Give to Donna Edwards' Money Bomb

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Credit: Edwards Campaign FB

Donna Edwards has been an active and effective part of the progressive community for decades, and one of the most effective and steadfast progressive leaders inside Congress for a progressive agenda that advances the legitimate aspirations of working families. Her opponent in the race for Maryland's open Senate seat, Chris Van Hollen, is another cog in the machine that Thomas Frank was writing about when he lamented to Thom Harmann that the Democratic Party has been turning its back on working families to cater to the special corporate interests, Wall Street and the Top 10%. In 22 days early voting begins for the April 26 primary election.

Goal Thermometer

The financial forces behind the establishment have lined up behind Van Hollen and have bloated his campaign chest. As of the December 31 FEC filing report he had already amassed $6,295,124. Donna's grassroots campaign has brought in $2,166,226. Van Hollen has already outspent her two to one but she leads in the polls by as much as 10%. Unfortunately, Wall Street and other corporate special interests have rushed to his side and he now has ten times more money on hand than she does and plans to swamp the airwaves with more false attack ads she will be unable to respond to.

Schumer has made sure the Financial Sector was aboard Van Hollen's train and it has stepped up to the tune of $390,807 so far, in gratitude to the Ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee who always made sure the banksters' priorities were covered. Although he is trying to wiggle out of his reactionary positions for the primary, Van Hollen has supported the job-killing trade policies that have devastated American manufacturing and has advocated "saving" Social Security by cutting benefits, the kind of "saving" Paul Ryan and the Republicans advocate under the guise of "compromise."

Last May, the New York Times recognized the Maryland race as "a fight over the future of the Democratic Party... a fight over what a true Democrat should, and should not, be."

Although our top reason for backing Donna is about electing a proven and effective progressive fighter, we're cognizant that if she wins she'll make history as the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland-- and only the second black woman in the history of the Senate.

The fact that she's taken a pledge to not take a dime from the Wall Street banks; has led the fight against the TPP; has been a strong defender of Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose; a leader on equality; and is fighting for every family-- regardless of zip code, has led Blue America to endorse her and to ask you to chip into her money bomb this week.

She's shown that she's not afraid to lead on issues we care about: Medicare for all, marriage equality-- she was the first member of Congress in Maryland to publicly endorse the idea, far before it was a "safe" position for establishment Democrats-- and she actually took a stand against her own party's Republican-like gerrymandering.

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It's important to remember that Donna’s personal experience is tied to being an African-American single mom who founded the National Network to End Domestic Violence, fought developers in her neighborhood, and won her first race for Congress against a corrupt Democrat bought by special interests. That informs her policy positions and, in a Congress dominated by well-off white males, it matters. We backed her in every race she's ever run and America-- and an increasingly off-the-rails Democratic Party-- need her voice at the table in Washington.




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