Blue America Progressive Candidates Step Up In TX, IA, HI

Blue America endorsed 3 extraordinary new candidates for Congress last week:  

Kaniela Ing in Hawaii’s Honolulu seat, Austin Frerick in the district that stretches across southwest Iowa from the Omaha, Nebraska suburbs through Des Moines, and Lillian Salerno in the north Dallas Metro.

Aside from all being well-experienced progressives, all three have something else in common; all 3 are running populist campaigns shining a light on how monopolies hurt working families. In other words — trust-busters.

Kaniela Ing is the most progressive member of the Hawaii legislature:

“In today’s political climate, no entrepreneur looking to grow his or her business should ever consider voting Republican. The GOP’s pro-oligarchy agenda has rigged the American economy against both workers and the majority of business owners. A handful of multi-national corporation and Wall Street investment firms are seeing enormous gains, while everyday entrepreneurs are being hung out to dry. Now that the GOP controls Congress and the White House, it’s no wonder so many corporations are driving up prices, lowering wages, and shipping jobs overseas. The greatest threat to American innovation, small business, and a resilient economy is the monopolization of industries. Democrats must lead the fight to break apart monopolies and big banks, and build a future economy that leaves no one behind.”

Austin Frerick was an economist in Obama’s Treasury Department and he’s getting well known throughout western Iowa for taking on Monsanto. Monsanto noticed too — and their PAC is helping fund two candidates running against Frerick, a conservative Democrat, Theresa Greenfield, and an even more conservative Republican, David Young.

“I’m seeing this pattern of corruption that made me want to get into this race,” said Frerick. “Who’s going to look out for the farmer who’s facing rising seed costs when an incumbent congressman is beholden to Monsanto’s political action committee and the Democratic candidate is getting campaign contributions from one of Monsanto’s biggest lobbyists?” And Frerick makes a broad case against monopolies that go beyond just seed prices. He talks about cable service, pharmaceutical prices, and craft beer(!!) as universally relatable examples.

“Craft breweries are a great example of innovative new small businesses challenging monopolistic incumbents. More than 98% of all breweries are locally owned small businesses. These are the type of businesses that grow our local economies. But Anheuser-Busch InBev and MolsonCoors sell 71% of all beer in the US and they’ve set out the dominate the industry even more… And what’s happening in the beer industry is a microcosm for our economy at the moment. Economists across the political spectrum agree that monopolies harm small businesses and communities and also lead to higher costs and lower quality for consumers. Let’s allow craft breweries to thrive. If we want local small businesses to have a chance in the modern economy, we have to enforce our antitrust laws and stop barons like Anheuser-Busch from robbing us.”

Lillian Salerno has the same idea. She recently announced her candidacy for Texas’s 32nd Congressional District, which Pete Sessions has represented for 11 terms. A deputy undersecretary for rural development in the Department of Agriculture, she tells voters, “I had a front-row seat on the game being rigged.” She believes antitrust policy can make the economy more dynamic: New business creation has fallen dramatically in recent years, stifled by incumbent behemoths who either buy out or cripple the competition.

All three have competitive primaries in districts that are likely to go blue in 2018 — the one Hawaiian district is certain to stay blue —  so whoever wins the primary will be a member of Congress.

Primaries are crucial, especially because each of these candidates is being opposed by conservative, Republican-lite quasi-Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. None of them are wealthy and all three are counting on grassroots help from people like us. I gave; can you consider doing the same?

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

 — Howie, for the entire Blue America team



You Know-- Even If Republicans Don't-- Hawaii Is A State


There are no perfect candidates. They all have at least one flaw. But we still haven't found one for the progressive seeking the open House seat based in Honolulu, Stanley Chang. Blue America endorsed him because he's quite literally a progressive dream candidate. He's great on women's equality, LGBT equality, immigration reform, environmental issues, and campaign finance reform. But today we just want to emphasize the populist economic vision that puts Stanley, a former student of Elizabeth Warren's at Harvard Law, right in synch with the proud Hawaiian traditions advanced by Patsy Mink, Tom Gill, Jean King, Dan Akaka and Mazie Hirono.

"Social Security," he told us "is the bedrock of the safety net for our kupuna. Make no mistake, 'chained CPI' is a euphemism for deep cuts to Social Security, a program that keeps 22 million seniors out of poverty. I was relieved that the White House dropped chained CPI from its most recent budget proposals, but we should continue to be vigilant. Social Security must be strengthened, not gutted. Let’s look at simple, commonsense reforms, like raising the cap on taxable income, which would ensure that Social Security stays solvent for many more generations. Surely we can do better than to balance the budget on the backs of our kupuna who have worked a lifetime to enjoy a secure retirement."

Same type of progressive attitude when it comes to raising the minimum wage: "When the minimum wage was introduced, it was $10.74 in today’s dollars" he reasoned. "Today, the minimum wage is only $7.25. Many of the homeless on our streets today work full-time jobs, but can’t afford rent or even a security deposit on their minimum wage paychecks. Raising the minimum wage would stimulate the economy, generate more jobs, and lift working families out of poverty. Hawaii is in particular need of a raise as its minimum wage is stuck at the national minimum. No one who works full time should be relegated to poverty and homelessness."

And he's eager to go much further, of course. "Almost one quarter of American families live outside the mainstream banking system and spend, on average, over $2,000 per year on costly fees and services such as payday loans, bill paying and check cashing. With 35,000 locations across our country, the United States Postal Service is well positioned to provide these service at a low cost to families and is exactly the kind of innovation our financial system and working families need. Providing basic financial services at a dramatically reduced rate while pushing some of the most unscrupulous banking service providers out of the market is a smart move for America… I support a new Glass-Steagall Act, which for generations banned investment banks from gambling away people’s life savings. America’s five biggest banks hold more than half the banking assets in the country. Clearly, we must fight to increase capital requirements and break up the banks that are 'too big to fail.' We have to prevent the large banks from keeping all the profit from the good years while forcing American taxpayers to bail out their losses."

Sound like your kind of candidate? He's ours and his opponents in the August primary are a nightmare, mostly a bunch of DINOs from the other wing of the party, the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. This district is deep blue; whoever wins the primary will be going to Congress. Let's make sure it's someone who shares our progressive values. You can contribute to Stanley's campaign here. Have you ever contributed to someone running in Hawaii before?

We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team



Mazie Hirono (D-HI) To The Rescue

Last month we were worrying that the always ambitious, always reactionary corporate shill, Ed Case, would get a free ride for the Senate seat he once tried to steal from Dan Akaka, a progressive who is now retiring. But today one of the most progressive and forward-thinking Members of Congress, Mazie Hirono, declared for the seat. This is especially good news since the latest polling shows she would beat both Case and Linda Lingle, the likely Republican nominee. Mazie's favorability rating is 64%, highest of anyone thinking about getting in the race.

“It’s very humbling to see this strong support for my work on behalf of the people of Hawaii," Mazie said after the polls was released last week. “I take their opinions seriously and have been fighting as hard as ever to create well-paying jobs, hold big oil companies accountable for rising gas prices, protect Medicare from Republican attempts to dismantle it, and promote Hawaii’s renewable energy economy. I appreciate the positive response to my leadership, but I don’t take it for granted and will never stop fighting for a stronger Hawaii."

As for Case, although he had one of the worst attendance records of any member of Congress, he consistently supported the GOP on job-killing trade legislation and on special interests legislation like abolishing the estate tax for the super-rich, making it easier for banksters to rip off consumers, screwing over working families on pensions and GOP proposals to shift the tax burden to the middle class. He generally voted with the most reactionary Democrats when they joined the GOP to stifle reform and anyone who likes Chamber of Commerce pawns and Patriot Act-type Dems like Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK) and Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN) will be perfectly happy with Ed Case-- especially if xenophobia and war-mongering and making sure that victims of big corporations have no recourse to the courts are your cup of tea to boot.

If you feel like sending the Democratic Party a message that you prefer a real Democrat like Mazie Hirono over corporate shills and conservatives like Ed Case, you can do it here through




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