Blue America '14

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Who Will Fight Climate Change? Meet Paul Clements

Four years ago, the L.A. Times named Congressman Fred Upton our planet Earth’s number 1 enemy in Congress. He continues to excel. As a climate science denier and chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is the most powerful Representative working to block action to rein in global warming. And now he is putting our Great Lakes in danger as well.
Five Republican U.S. Representatives from Michigan, and all Michigan’s Democratic Representatives and Senators just sent a letter to Justin Trudeau, the new Prime Minister of Canada. The letter urges the Canadian government to deny Ontario Power Generation permits to build a giant nuclear waste facility underground, less than a mile from Lake Huron. Nuclear waste remains toxic for tens of thousands of years. No matter how geologically secure they say the site may be, this is too close.
Congressman Upton refused to sign the bipartisan letter with his Republican colleagues. He is, literally, placing the Great Lakes in danger to accommodate the short term needs of his campaign donors. It's the way Fred Upton rolls.
Upton has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from nuclear, oil, and natural gas companies. He’s been giving private profits precedence over environmental security for so long, it seems it has just become habit.  
Our Great Lakes are a national treasure and particularly a treasure in Michigan; it’s our duty to protect them.
And we need to make polluters pay for the costs of their pollution.
The environment can’t speak for itself, but it doesn’t forget. We need to hold legislators like Congressman Upton accountable for undermining our collective future. And that has a lot to do with why Blue America has endorsed the progressive Democrat, Paul Clements, running for his southwest Michigan district seat.

This week Paul told us that "In Congress I will work for American leadership in addressing climate change. Next month's conference in Paris won't take us nearly far enough. Without much stronger leadership we can't stop warming at 2 degrees, and maybe this is too high. But dealing with the effects of climate change will also present unprecedented international challenges, and, frankly, our international institutions are woefully unprepared. Without better cooperation we will degenerate into a fortress mentality. I will lead in rising to the challenge."

This is looking like a good year for progressives and clean energy advocates in Michigan. Please consider digging deep and contributing to Paul's grassroots campaign, which you can do here.

DCCC Appears Ready To Do The Right Thing In CA-25

Having failed to find a suitable conservaDem to run in California's CD-25 (Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley), the DCCC finally seems to be yelling "uncle" and offering their support to progressive candidate Lou Vince-- but with a caveat: They're indicating they will fund him IF he could fund himself!  

We know that sounds odd, but... it's the DCCC. They're like a bank-- they only give money to candidates who don't need it! So we progressives have to pony up enough money to show that Lou could run a respectable campaign without the DCCC... and then they'll kick in. They've never helped any other Democrats who have run in this district.
So why support Lou? He is just the kind of candidate who can win in the just barely blue L.A./Ventura district which has been represented by neanderthal Republican Buck McKeon for as long as anyone can remember and is now being misrepresented by Tea Party extremist Steve Knight. Lou is a cop and former Marine with four kids (2 adopted) and a Masters Degree in Criminology, Law and Society from UC Irvine.

But under that blue uniform beats the heart of a true progressive! His website lists progressive positions on everything from combating climate change to reforming our banking system to mass incarceration and immigration. We asked him what he thinks is the most important issue for Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and Antelope Valley residents. This is what he told us:

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time. If we do not act quickly and decisively, it will soon be too late to take effective action. This is why I applaud President Obama's decision to oppose the Keystone XL project. This is a major victory for progressives and anyone who cares about a clean, sustainable future. But this is just the beginning! We have a race in California's 25th where the difference couldn't be more clear. I will stand up to any issue that poses a danger to our environment and our planet. Congressman Knight has proven time and time again to be more concerned about the interests of fossil fuel companies, not the actual people in his district. We need your help if we are going to work towards a Congress that moves to address climate change, rather than ignore it all together like Congressman Knight prefers to do.

This is a great opportunity to not only pick up a seat but to put a true progressive in it. Lou has been endorsed by two of our favorite hard-working California progressives-- Congressman Ted Lieu and State Controller Betty Yee-- and by Dr. Lee Rogers, who ran in both the last elections. And, of course, by Blue America!

Let's elect Lou Vince! You can donate to Lou Vince's grassroots campaign here.

Building A Democratic Leadership Bench-- In Wisconsin

In Friday’s #DemForum, Bernie Sanders reiterated that to be truly successful, Democrats must reinstate the “50 State Strategy.” This letter is about that— rebuilding the Democratic party from the ground up— starting at ground zero for conservative skullduggery, Wisconsin.”

The whole country had a chance to look at Scott Walker a few times over the last couple of years, most recently as he stumbled through-- and then out of-- the Republican presidential primary, where even early backers like the Koch brothers were horrified by his terrible performance. How did this clown even get elected governor of a sensible state like Wisconsin? Well... it all started when he ran for the state Assembly in 1990 and lost to now-Congresswoman Gwen Moore in a landslide. He was only 22 and he figured out he'd have to find a whiter, more bigoted and more right-wing place to run from. So he moved west to the wealthy suburb of Wauwatosa (90% white), ran for its much more conservative Assembly district and won-- five times. He was a union-bashing ALEC member right from day-one and made a name for himself as a right-wing extremist in the state legislature.

In 2002, when Milwaukee County Executive, corrupt, conservative Democrat Tom Ament, resigned over a pension fund scandal, Walker was a shoe-in because voters were eager to punish the Democrats. (No Republican had ever won the office before-- or after). Walker used that position to launch a bid for the governor's mansion in 2010 and won with 52% of the vote.

In 2011 wealthy conservative Democrat Chris Abele-- son of the founder of Boston Scientific-- defeated right-wing Republican Jeff Stone with 61% of the vote. He's not as bad as Walker... but almost. And he wants to run for governor in 2018. Keep in mind, he worked with reactionary Republican lawmakers in the Wisconsin Legislature to subvert the democratically elected school board by giving him the power to close schools, fire teachers, and open charter schools in their place. This piece of legislation would have only moved forward if the County Executive had been willing to use these powers, and Chris Abele stood up and said he would. He also cooperated with the Republicans in the legislature to strip oversight from the democratically elected Milwaukee County board over county land sales. He has sole authority on a number of them, and first used this power to sell prime downtown real estate to the Milwaukee Bucks billionaire owners for $1. (No, I did not forget any additional digits-- one buck for the owner of the Bucks.) And, in an effort to secure public financing for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena, Abele put $80 million of Milwaukee County taxpayer money on the table, and wanted to help pay for it in part by allowing Scott Walker’s state government to collect outstanding property taxes from residents who can’t afford to pay their bills.

Now our old friend, state Senator Chris Larson, is running for this job. Chris, a Milwaukee County native and the youngest member of the state Senate, served as Democratic leader in 2013­-14. He was first elected by defeating conservative Democrat and Scott Walker ally Jeff Plale. The big money was with incumbent Plale, but Chris beat him by knocking on doors and having thousands of conversations with his neighbors. We got to know Chris during his first term in office when he was one of the "Wisconsin Senate 14" who fled Wisconsin to stop Walker’s disastrous "budget repair bill." Chris is campaigning on ending the takeover and privatization of Milwaukee Public Schools and for an array of progressive quality of life issues important to working families. 

"I want to take back the county for the middle class. We have a county executive who campaigned one way and governed another way very quickly. In the past five years he broke promises and broke away from who he was. He’s changed. I think he’s grown out of touch and I think he’s grown more out of touch over the last five years. I think it’s important to have a county executive who is going to be a steward for the county for the long term and actually care for the parks and restore them to greatness and expand transit so that people have access to jobs that’s affordable, and also to usher in a long-term vision that’s balanced. A county executive has to actually listen to people and be responsive to their needs. That’s why the first pledge I made out of the gate was to do a public listening session in each municipality in each year we’re in office, a la Russ Feingold."

The election is in April. If you'd like to contribute to Chris' grassroots campaign, you can do it through the Blue America ActBlue page for Milwaukee County Executive. We promise it goes to an important, just cause.

He’s more than just a walking encyclopedia of politics

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Credit: Chester Simpson
Howie has always had his finger on the pulse of what's happening next. We're extremely lucky to have him working for us every day.

Something interesting came in the mailbox yesterday from Alan Grayson. We'd thought you might be interested in hearing what he has to say about our Howie Klein:

I was swapping e-mails with Blue America’s Howie Klein today, and the subject of a GOP Congressional seat in the Northeast came up. He knew both Democratic challengers. Knew all about them, in fact. And the same thing would be true of House candidates in the other 434 districts. Howie knows all about them, too.
There are people who actually are paid to know all about Congressional campaigns – Stu Rothenberg, Charlie Cook, Larry Sabato, etc. I’ve read their stuff. Howie knows more than they do.

But Howie doesn’t sell what he knows. Instead, he uses that knowledge to cultivate and nurture progressive candidates all over the country. Blue America will not be supporting those two challengers that Howie knows in the Northeast, because – because – they’re not blue. But other candidates are true blue, and those are the ones who get Howie’s help. The only ones. With Howie in charge, Blue America PAC is the manager of the Progressive Farm Team.
Go Progs! Give me a “P”! Etc.

Join me and Howie Klein now in turning America blue in 2016, by contributing $9 or more to the Blue America PAC >>

You might think that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) might be doing this. Mais non, as the French would say. Despite having $100 million a year to spend, they don’t know what Howie knows. And for sure, they don’t care the way that Howie cares. Ever since the Rahm Emanuel regime, the DCCC has had a strong built-in bias against progressive candidates. And the DSCC? Don’t get me started. They can’t find their derriere with deux mains. Just look at their record last year.

So progressives really need Blue America PAC. Which is why you should help.

Politics is a team sport. Show your support for progressives all over the country by donating $9 or more to the Blue America PAC >>

At an earlier time in his life, Howie Klein was the President of Warner Reprise records. He knows countless top performers (which is why he sometimes holds contests giving away great stuff like platinum records). He doesn’t have to work anymore. He helps progressives for one reason and one reason only: because he cares.

And if you contribute to Blue America PAC, you not only have Encyclopedia Howie working for you, but you also enlist the support of the pioneering blogger Digby, and John Amato of the website “Crooks and Liars” (dot-com, of course). Because they all share the Blue America dream of making America blue. Not purple. Blue.

Chip in $9 now, and Help Make America Blue >>

Rep. Alan Grayson
Candidate for U.S. Senate

Keith Ellison Tells Bernie "I'll Be There for You"

Credit: Howie Klein

After Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that Bernie founded and was first chairman of, endorsed Bernie last week, I asked a savvy friend of mine on Capitol Hill when some of the other progressives who love the platform Bernie is running on would jump in. She told me that it probably wouldn't happen until after the first debate. Well... Keith Ellison (D-MN), the other co-chair of the Caucus, jumped in Monday afternoon, before Tuesday night's debate. Keith knew exactly what Bernie would say in the debate. It's the kind policy he's been working on himself since he was elected to the state legislature in 2002.

Besides being the second Member of the House to endorse Bernie, Keith is also the first Muslim Member of Congress to endorse the Jewish senator from Vermont! Like Grijalva, he will now go out and speak on behalf of Bernie's campaign as a surrogate, the same way many conservative Democrats like Claire McCaskill, Steve Israel and Kurt Schrader are running around boosting Clinton.

Keith told his hometown paper that "Bernie knows that the power ultimately lies with the American people. And in a time where voter participation is at an all-time low, Bernie has shown that he has the ability to create a renaissance in civic participation by exciting those who are least likely to vote. Having stood with Bernie over the years on many different issues, including the Fight for $15, the effort to ban private prisons, and calling for the end of subsidies for Big Oil, I am proud to stand with him now."

He also said that he endorsed Bernie "because he is talking about the issues that are important to American families... We’ve all seen the massive crowds he is attracting, and I think that is a testament to his message connecting with people-- people we will need to turn out in November. Bernie and I have stood together on progressive values for years. Bernie was a founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and as one of the current co-chairs, we have a shared desire to help Americans who are struggling to get by."

Alan Grayson says he's not taking sides yet and that he'd like to work with either Bernie or Hillary. Yesterday, though, he sent out a letter to his supporters saying that he wanted to tell them "something about Bernie Sanders that you probably didn’t know. He served for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and for much of that time, Bernie passed more amendments on the Floor of the House than any other Member of the House. That’s right: the one Member who belonged to neither party passed more amendments than any Member who belonged to either party. Good, solid progressive amendments. Lots of them. He was principled, and he was effective."

Blue America added Keith-- as well as, Angela Marx, the progressive Democrat running in Washington's 3rd congressional district (Vancouver and the suburbs north of Portland, Oregon)-- to the ActBlue page dedicated to incumbents and congressional candidates who have endorsed Bernie.

We spoke to Angela Marx, a life-long resident of Clark County, where she raised two daughters and is helping raise two granddaughters. She's well-known to the Daily Kos community and when she decided that she would explore running for public office this year, she chose an Occupy Democrats poster which expressed her thinking about America and pinned it to her Twitter page on June 14, 2014. "Today," she told us, "it looks like it could be a Bernie Sanders campaign poster. Which is why, when Bernie Sanders started running for the Presidency, I KNEW he was my candidate... because we both stand for the same thing-- ensuring a better America for all of us. Vote Bernie Sanders for President in 2016, because we ARE #StrongerTogether!

This week we're going to give away this rare RIAA-cerified platinum award for the soundtrack of the TV series Friends.(Shown above.) Please consider giving any or all of the candidates-- as well as Bernie-- a contribution. There is no contribution too small to be appreciated. In fact, we're about to burst through our thermometer goal and most of the donations have been $40 or less.

Paid for by Blue America PAC,, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.