Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district, Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County-- is one of the most liberal districts in the state. Obama beat McCain 65.4-33.7% in 2008 and did even better last year-- 66.2-32.9%. The current congressmember, Allyson Schwartz, is giving up the seat to run for governor. She was reelected in November with 69% of the vote. She's always been extremely cautious to not get out ahead on any contentious issues and tends to vote very conservatively for a Democrat in a safe seat, especially on issues of economic justice. This is the perfect time to replace her with a real leader and a courageous fighting progressive. State Senator Daylin Leach fits the bill perfectly. Take a look at the video up top. You have to admire a politician who brags about an "F" from the NRA and who launches a congressional campaign talking about introducing the first same sex marriage bill in the Pennsylvania legislature.
With his record of achievement, Daylin is a natural for Blue America and he'll be joining us in the comments section, below, for a live chat at 11am (2pm ET). He's been taking on tough issues that most politicians are afraid to get anywhere near-- from legalizing marijuana to labeling genetically engineered food. He's been a major opponent in the state legislature of Republican efforts to privatize and voucherize public education and has been one of the leading voices against GOP efforts at voter suppression. He supports the Grayson Takano No Cuts approach to dealing with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. "At a time when corporate profits, executive compensation, the stock market and wealth disparity are at near record highs, it is obscene to even consider balancing our budget on the backs of seniors and veterans," he told us. "I fully supported President Obama's election, but I can't support any drift towards corporatism to appease tea-party extremists... Republicans are, on a daily basis, showing their complete indifference to the poor, kids, the elderly and public safety as they not only perpetuate sequestration, but gloat about it. The clock ticks as America waits for some actual human beings with a soul to emerge from the Republican caucus."
The gun lobby is very strong in Pennsylvania and the NRA is a very potent force there. That doesn't seem to deter Daylin one iota. This is what he told us about the battle over gun safety yesterday:
Lets wrap our mind around this. Congress said that it is our national policy that we don't want to know if someone is a violent felon before we allow them to buy a mass-killing machine. This is what it looks like when a country loses its mind.
Further, the idea that any restriction with the word "gun" in it somehow violates the 2nd Amendment is based on ignorance of how the Constitution works. No constitutional right is absolute. We have a right to free speech which is far more unambiguous than the "right to keep and bear arms." Yet there are all kinds of speech which we can Constitutionally restrict. You can't libel someone or lie in advertising, or yell "fire" in a crowded theater. You can say you are against the war in Iraq, but you can't do it through a megaphone in a residential neighborhood at 3:00 AM.
Ironically, most of these restrictions are based on the state's interest in preserving public safety. Similarly, limits on violent people, or juveniles, or spouse-beaters having guns, or the number of guns you can buy per month, or how many bullets you can have in a clip at a time are perfectly reasonable, and more to the point, Constitutional restrictions that in no way impact anyone's 2nd Amendment rights.
State Rep. Brian Sims is the first out LGBT member to be elected to the Pennsylvania legislature. He's from a neighboring district and he's enthusiastically supporting Daylin's congressional run. Sims gained a lot of notoriety when, in fighting GOP attempts to prohibit state-run insurance from covering abortions, he reminded his colleagues that "Each of us put our hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution; we did not place our hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." This weekend he told us that "Daylin Leach has been a leader on LGBT civil rights in the Pennsylvania legislature for the last decade which is why I have endorsed him. This is a pivotal time in Washington for issues of equality, and we need proven leaders like Daylin who have a record of fighting for our rights. I know that Daylin will be our champion in DC."
Daylin doesn't mince words when it comes to protecting the civil rights of any groups of people. Speaking about his fight for LGBT equality, he reminded us that, "Martin Luther King said 'the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.' So what is it bending away from? It bends away from bigotry, and discrimination and social acceptance of the idea that its OK to treat people as lesser human beings because they are different from us. In the long run, those attitudes make history sick."
He's been a stalwart fighter against the Republicans in their crackpot war against women. "It is beyond my comprehension how anyone with a mother, wife or daughter could accept anything less than full equality for women. Equality of income, of access to health care, of opportunities to succeed, these are the basic demands that anyone who has a woman he cares about should have." You want the best in Congress-- not someone who the best you can say is that he's better than a Republican? Daylin's your man. We're very proud to endorse him. Please consider contributing to his campaign on the Blue America ActBlue page.