Why Blue America Endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_ELLEN_LIPTON.jpgEllen lists 7 core platform items on her website, her priorities: a strong public education system and will always resist efforts to privatize our schools; protecting and expanding Social Security; investing in infrastructure and creating well-paying jobs for our community; universal healthcare for all Americans; raising the minimum wage to a living wage; a woman’s right to choose, and protecting our environment and leaving a healthy planet for our children.​

What most people know about Ellen Lipton, a candidate for the open congressional seat in the Oakland and Macomb county suburbs north of Detroit, is that she founded and was named president of the Michigan Promise Zone Association. The association supports free community college tuition, technical training and certification to Michigan students in selected communities across Michigan, a blueprint for free college tuition across America. Before that she was in the Michigan legislature, fighting for public education and therefore the bane of Betsy DeVos' existence. But if education policy is one of her fields of expertise, infrastructure was one of the motivations that made her jump into the race. We don't always think of potholes as issues in congressional races... but Ellen explains why it is in her district

“POTHELL!” was the big, bold headline splashed across a newspaper recently here in metro Detroit, and no word sums up Michigan’s infrastructure crisis more clearly. Under the headline was a picture of three drivers who’d been stranded on their way to work when they crossed an enormous pothole that had immediately destroyed their tires and rims upon impact. Welcome to pothole season in Michigan, when a daily commute often involves dangerous dodging and swerving to avoid potholes, then dodging and swerving to avoid accidents with other vehicles.  It’s a public safety nightmare.
 
Trump recently unveiled his infrastructure proposal, and it falls far, far short of what’s needed in Michigan to even begin to solve our infrastructure crisis. Under his plan, states and localities would have to find their own, new sources of revenue to spend on infrastructure to even qualify for federal help. After decades of state disinvestment in infrastructure in MI, Trump’s plan would have little to no impact here, since our local units of government have already been revenue-starved for years and are highly unlikely to be able to come up with new state spending sources. 

Michigan can’t wait for President Trump to get his act together and propose a plan that would actually work for our state. Here are just a few examples of how our infrastructure crisis is negatively impacting our communities every single day:

 

  • Flint water crisis-- Old service lines leached lead into Flint’s drinking water, poisoning an entire community.  These service lines and lead connectors have still not been replaced, four years after the crisis first began to unfold.
  • Fraser sinkhole-- A little over a year ago, an underground sewer line in Fraser collapsed, causing the ground to shift and open up and forcing people from their homes, closing down roads and putting a community in harms way.

 

  • Falling concrete on I-696-- Just recently, drivers along I-696, a major thoroughfare that links Oakland and Macomb counties in the 9th Congressional District, were being bombarded by large chunks of concrete falling from highway overpasses.
  • Heavy rains and E. coli outbreaks-- Every time there’s a heavy rain, levels of E. coli rise along the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair. This shoreline issue can be traced to much of the region still operating on old combined sewer systems in which a single pipe carries sewage from homes and businesses as well as storm runoff coming from street drains.  Such outdated systems mean that during a heavy rainfall, a mix of storm water and sewage spills over from the retention basins to rivers and drains that carry it to Lake St. Clair.

The problems I’ve just described above barely scratch the surface of what our state’s infrastructure crisis entails. Cleary, President Trump’s so-called plan won’t even begin to get the job done when it comes to rebuilding my home state and making it a safe and healthy place for our communities.
 
What’s needed now more than ever is a bold vision for rebuilding our infrastructure, centered on the human side of the issue, and focused on putting people back to work and enhancing peoples’ quality of life where they work and where they live. Such a bold vision would invest our resources in people to produce millions of family-sustaining jobs, raise living standards, reduce inequality, strengthen education, reduce poverty and create a clean, healthy environment. 

It would also mandate a direct public investment in roads, bridges and other public works, as opposed to providing “corporate giveaways” to spur private-sector investment. This direct investment should come in the form of a federal jobs program, through which our country would invest in human capital by putting people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, schools, airports and veterans’ hospitals, and linking our communities with high-speed internet access.
 
This kind of federal infrastructure program could create millions of jobs immediately, as well as introduce real-world job training for so many young people who are looking to begin careers in the skilled trades. An initiative like this one place great emphasis on jobs that pay a living wage, ensure workplace safety and guarantee racial and gender equality in the workplace. These goals could be achieved by raising benchmarks for prevailing wages in every corner of the country, requiring local hiring to accurately reflect and represent the diversity of the community’s workforce, include robust “Buy American” requirements and prioritize the hiring of veterans.
 
The path to American greatness lies in significant investment in our greatest resource: our people.  A federal jobs program based on rebuilding our country would be proof that America’s complex infrastructure challenges can be met by following the simple principle that public money should go toward the public good.

MI-09 is a reliable Democratic district, which Sandy Levin, who has represented it for three-and-a-half decades, is leaving. His son Andy would like to take over. There are 2 other middle-of-the-road men running as well... and Ellen, the progressive game changer in the race.

So, why have we endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)?

Ellen is part of the progressive grassroots energy that is sweeping the country and she's the kind of leader who won't be satisfied sitting on the backbench taking orders from the party's sclerotic, calcified leadership. Pelosi's, Hoyer's and their team's days are numbered. The congressional Democrats desperately need seasoned, bold leaders like Ellen Lipton to help the party snap out of it before it's too late. Please consider contributing to her campaign here.



Alan Grayson-- Progressives' Cosmic Thing

Alan Grayson was 30 when the B-52’s were recording “Love Shack,” “Channel Z,” “Roam” and the other classic songs that were released on their most beloved and successful album, Cosmic Thing. He had graduated from Harvard, where he had written his masters thesis on gerontology, done some law clerking for both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia and founded the non-profit Alliance for Aging Research.

While the rest of us were trying to figure out which voice was Cindy’s and which voice was Kate’s, Grayson was trying to figure out how to improve the human experience of aging for all American seniors and working with Members of Congress to accelerate the development of treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Now, of course, Grayson is a Member of Congress himself, arguably the single best member and certainly the best member when it comes to the issues facing the non-rich elderly. This week, Blue America is asking one last time this cycle for our members and supporters to chip in to make sure the Koch brothers don’t succeed in November doing to Grayson what they did in 2010, when he didn’t have the resources to respond to a $5.5 million barrage of vicious, false attack ads they financed.

So… anytime all week— until Friday, October 10 at noon (PT)— everyone who contributes, any amount, to Grayson’s campaign on this Blue America page will get a chance to walk off with an RIAA-certified quadruple platinum award for Cosmic Thing.

This isn’t something you can buy in a store. The band and record company awarded it to a small handful of people who helped make Cosmic Thing such a gigantic success. And there’s more. If you want to and you’re the lucky random winner, we’ll fly you and a guest to Orlando where Alan Grayson and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will personally present you with the plaque. Yes, photos allowed!

Alan has been gracious and generous with his time and efforts to help elect progressives to Congress. Here in Los Angeles, he jumped right into Ted Lieu’s battle to win a House seat against Sheldon Adelson protégé Elan Carr. Why is Grayson helping raise money for a California state senator running for Congress when he needs to protect his own seat in central Florida? Here’s why— in his own words:

The American Psychiatric Association has unequivocally condemned any psychiatric “treatment” based on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder. The Attorney General has written that “a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable.” The World Health Organization has said that “sexual orientation by itself is not to be regarded as a disorder.” And yet in the United States, gay teenagers have been held in isolation for months, and forced to attend this “conversion therapy.”

Except in California. Thanks to Ted Lieu.

In 2012, State Senator Ted Lieu wrote a bill to prohibit conversation therapy for minors in California. That bill passed in the California Legislature, and was signed into law. Ted Lieu made California the first state to ban conversion therapy for minors, but hopefully not the last. That was a very important accomplishment.

Now Ted Lieu is running for Congress, and he needs your help. He is seeking the seat of Rep. Henry Waxman. Henry has served for 40 years in Congress, and yet he kept his seat last time with only 54% of the vote. It’s a difficult district, it’s a close race, and we need Ted Lieu in Congress.

…I’m asking you to click below, and show your support for Ted Lieu. He had the guts to take on the Religious Right when it was the Religious Wrong, and he rescued countless children from the bigoted lie that their sexual identity was a “disease” that demanded a quack “cure.” Ted Lieu deserves our support.

Blue America also supports Ted Lieu— but today is Alan Grayson day day for us. Please contribute what you can here— and good luck with the B-52’s Cosmic Thing platinum award and the trip for two to meet Grayson and Pelosi in Orlando.



PGA Tour picks up Blue America's Beat Boehner Billboard and FOX finds he's got personalized "tees"

Media error

Well, well, well. Not only is our Beat Boewhner Billboards catchiung the imagination of Ohio and the media, but also the PGA Tour. "Quick 18"

PGAtour_c6656.jpg

14. The golfer-in-chief's post birthday round at Andrews Air Force Base this weekend was upstaged -- by his Dream Team style pickup game with the likes of Grant Hill, Shane Battier, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. And lest you think President Obama is the only politician whose rounds are scrutinized, the Blue America Political Action Committee took on House Minority Leader John Boehner, who plays to a 7, with a billboard near Boehner's Cincinnati area neighborhood that asks, "When was the last time you golfed 119 times in one year?" Boehner's office said the number 119 is false but FOXnews.com reports he does have a glass filled with personalized tees for visitors to his office. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even grabbed a few.

FOX election blog:

Golf is a big part of Boehner's persona. He golfs with a seven handicap. A glass cup just outside his Capitol office sports personalized tees that Boehner hands out to visitors. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) collected a handful of them before she met with the Ohio Republican before a joint event earlier this year.

Fox says we spent 80,000 on the billboard. Hmmm, they didn't ask anyone of us to verify that.

I want one of those Boehner golf tees. Do you think Boehner will send me one if I ask? Why don't you call his office and ask for one too, especially if you live in his district.

202-225-6205

Be nice and you might snag one.

Goal Thermometer

Please check out our new ActBlue page just for Boehner's TV ads.

Also, Blue America's Facebook page is rocking.



John Amato: I hope you'll join Blue America in donating what you feel you can to the Coussoule campaign.

The idea of tobacco lobbyist John Boehner replacing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House is not something many Americans would like to see happen. But today Blue America is proud to introduce you to the young man who plans to make sure it never happens, the Democratic candidate for Congress from western Ohio's 8th CD: Justin Coussoule.

16b&w_de8d3_0.jpgJustin will be answering question in the comments section below. You'll find an exceptional young man, a West Point graduate and former Army officer, married for 10 years-- he met his wife when they were both at West Point-- and the father of two young children. An attorney, he worked as a legislative assistant for outstanding progressive Rep. Maurice Hinchey, started and ran a small business and currently works for Procter & Gamble.

On Monday he did a guest post about John Boehner's role in trying to make sure we never hold Wall Street accountable. Read it; it'll give you some background about how he thinks and where he's coming from. On other issues, Justin comes across as a populist looking out for regular American families:
At the core of our national character is the belief that we all are entitled to a fair opportunity to achieve the American dream. Embedded in that belief is the notion that we all benefit and achieve as a society when we further the ideal of succeeding together. I believe that implicit in each of the topics above, including strengthening the middle class, preserving our economic and national security, reversing climate change, and reforming health care, is the American value that we all succeed or fail together and we must work to ensure we all have the opportunity to lift ourselves up.

And when Justin says "all," he isn't excluding anyone based on race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation.

His strong stand against Boehner's obstructionism of financial reform has drawn the attention of one of America's most knowledgeable spokespeople for reform, Barney Frank, who was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Justin's campaign.

I support ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and finding ways to simplify the tax code to prevent the wealthiest corporations from exploiting tax loopholes.... I support re-regulating Wall Street to protect middle-class families from predatory loan practices and from paying for another bailout for banks whose irresponsible greed and lack of oversight directly led to the financial meltdown and Great Recession of 2008-09.
That was Justin. This was Barney, chairman of the House Financial Service Committee and voted, year after year, the smartest man in Congress by the Washingtonian this morning:

"I am pleased to endorse Justin Coussoule as someone who understands the necessity of passing financial regulatory reform to avoid repeating the current economic situation. Justin's support for this is especially important because his opponent, John Boehner, led House Republicans last year to vote unanimously to kill any kind of financial reform."

No one's kidding themselves that winning in a district that was gerrymandered specifically to be a safe seat for a Republican is going to be easy. But it isn't beyond hope either. Boehner has never faced a serious opponent since he slipped into office in 1990 by winning a primary against a typical Republican incumbent, "Buz" Lukens, who was caught on camera arranging to have sex with a 16-year-old girl. (Lukens later went to jail for fondling a House staffer in an elevator, and Boehner went on to make a name for himself as the go-between for GOP congressmen and the tobacco industry and was once caught on the floor of the House handing out lobbyist checks to his colleagues during a vote! He hasn't served time yet.)

(Please scroll down below the fold to read Alan Grayson's awesome take on this election and support for Justin Coussoule.)

Continue reading »



Send A Coat Hanger To An Anti-Choice Democrat

Coathanger_a1663.jpg

Blue America is teaming up with Working Assets, the folks behind CREDO Mobile and CREDO Action in a project we think you'll like. We're urging you to sign a petition to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid regarding the 20 formerly pro-choice men who voted for the virulently anti-choice Stupak Amendment last Saturday. Working Assets will send one of them a coat hanger for each signature. Here's the text:

We know what happens when women are denied access to reproductive health care including abortion. And we can't go back to an era of coat hangers and back alley abortions. Reconsider your vote on the Stupak Amendment. Tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the final health care bill that emerges from the conference committee can't turn the clock back on women's rights.

Working Assets will also donate $1 to Blue America for each signature we gather (up to $5000) towards a fellowship to support a blogger. We got to choose who to support and we can’t think of anything more deserving than the incredible work of Mike Stark. So, please, sign the petition here.

Cross-posted at Down With Tyranny.




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