Blue America Welcomes Bill Hedrick (D-CA)

We've been having a tough time finding even very progressive candidates willing to think for themselves on Afghanistan and not just go along with Obama and the Pentagon. Bill Hedrick, as you can see from the above video, is not one of those. Maybe it's because so many of his children are or have been serving in the military overseas, but Bill has a very clear vision of America's role in Afghanistan-- and it sure isn't as an occupier or as a nation-builder. We'll talk with Bill about that below in the comments section as Blue America formally endorses him in his race for the congressional seat currently held by one of the most corrupt men-- according to, of all sources, Fox News-- in the U.S. Congress, Ken Calvert.

Bill Hedrick has been a public school teacher in Riverside County, California for 35 years. And his wife is a public school teacher too. Bill is also serving his 5th term as president of the Corona-Norco School Board, one of the biggest in the state, responsible for over 50,000 children. In 2008 he stepped up and ran against Calvert. But a school teacher running against an entrenched favorite of Wall Street? The DCCC had no interest in helping-- and they didn't. Outspent 5-1, Bill ran an effective grassroots campaign and came closer to dislodging a Republican incumbent than any other Democrat in the country who didn't actually do it. Bill spent $191,461 and Calvert spent $1,150,432. Bill received 123,890 votes and Calvert edged him with 129,937.

This year is different... kind of. Sensing a winner, the DCCC has given Bill their blessing-- but not much else-- and certainly no money. So for Bill, it's all about volunteers and grassroots tactics again. But that makes sense for someone with deep roots in the community anyway. He told me that the big issue in CA-44, a Republican-leaning district that Obama won in 2008, is jobs and that almost all the other issues flow from that overarching one. Sometime he seems frustrated that the Democratic Party, Inc in Washington isn't getting it when it comes to the pain real people are feeling in the heartland.

The national Democratic Party needs to focus more on stimulus that supports small business recovery and job creation. In a region like this small businesses are the economic engines of recovery and job growth. The big banks aren't lending. I think the president is moving in the right direction but what we need is an infusion of money for community banks with an obligation that they will make loans to small, local businesses. Calvert voted for Bush's massive Wall Street bailout twice, a bailout with no accountability. I opposed that last time and, believe it or not, found some commonality-- on that-- with the Ron Paul folks who were also opposed.

Calvert has also been a big supporter of so-called "free trade," which is not how I see the economic future of this country and is exceedingly unpopular in this district. We've been hemorrhaging jobs. This district used to be a manufacturing area-- steel, light industry... but no more. NAFTA and policies like that sent the jobs overseas and those jobs never came back. Many in the Tea Party movement out here have stopped talking about all that anti-immigrant stuff and started focusing on the real problem: the old fashioned extreme greed that maximizes profits no matter what the cost to everyone else. People are starting to wake up to the fact that companies that became successful in America and because of America have been off-shoring jobs and have no loyalty to our country, our workers or our interests.

Calvert always claims to be an "independent voice for Riverside County;" it's baloney. He never differs from his party. I will do what's best for my constituents even if it's at odds with party policy. We need an emphasis on community banks, not Wall Street. We need job creation here and we seem to be stuck in policies that create jobs in China. We need policies that encourage manufacturing in the United States.

That's why Blue America is so enthusiastic about Bill's campaign. No one has to twist his arm to do the right thing. He decided to get into national politics because he sees the need to do the right thing. He's like the polar opposite of a Blue Dog. He has every intention of joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus and when he talks about being at odds with his party, it isn't because their policies aren't conservative and special interest-oriented enough; it's because they're too conservative and too oriented towards special interests. Bill has been and continues to be a man who analyzes the problems this country is facing through the eyes of everyday American working families, not through the eyes of the political and business elites that run both parties in DC. We need more Democrats like Bill Hedrick. Please consider contributing to his campaign, volunteering here and getting the real story on Ken Calvert (and by all means examine the official police report on his arrest for lewd conduct with a prostitute in a public park). In fact, if you have some time, here's the Fox News special on corruption in Congress, well worth watching beginning to end. Calvert's astounding section begins at around 25 minutes in.



The DCCC sent out an exceptionally well-done clip today pointing to the difference between Obama's vision of Hope and the Republican vision of failure. Please take a look at it. There's no doubt that the Republicans are on a mission to not just obstruct, but to undermine-- everything, from health care reform to the economic recovery and even to the safety of the nation itself. The clip puts forth a strong message, a compelling message. But it just isn't bipartisan enough. After all, it isn't only Republicans who want the single most important piece of Obama's change agenda-- substantive health care reform-- to fail. Plenty of Democrats get the exact same huge handouts from the exact same Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Insurance lobbyists and CEOs. And they will do anything to prevent single payer health care from passing-- or even being brought into the discussion!

I've got the full story up at DownWithTyranny, but John called from the airport and asked me to remind everyone to please consider helping out with the Blue America initiative to save the public option. As John keeps pointing out, health care reform isn't really a Republican vs Democratic issue; it's an issue for the welfare of all American families-- which is why a staggering 83% of Americans want the public option.

Blue America has launched this new campaign to persuade senators who routinely take a great deal of money from Big Insurance to work for their constituents, not for their campaign contributors. We are working with Brave New Films to put together a series of TV commercials that we will start running next month in Arkansas, home of two anti-reform Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Please read more about the plan-- and consider helping us put it into effect-- here at our Blue America page.



Republicans target Alan Grayson (D-FL) for his strong progressive voice

It's no coincidence that Republicans are going all out to target first term Orlando Democrat Alan Grayson. Grayson's defeat of entrenched rubber stamp incumbent Ric Keller last year was one of Blue America's most important victories ever. Since entering the House in January Rep. Grayson has made a name for himself standing up for working families and flying right in the face of the powerful banksters who have financed the deregulatory mania Grayson aims to fix.

He's fearless and his tough, aggressive questioning of banksters at the House Financial Services Committee, frightens bribe-besotted Republicans and their crooked patrons. He didn't seen intimidated by Republican efforts to recruit a top tier candidate to run against him. Doesn't this sound exactly like Grayson?

"Any Republican in my district who wants to see what it's like to run for Congress and lose is welcome to do so. But whoever it is, the DCCC will leave welts on his back."

More about Grayson and about how much bluer this district has become at DownWithTyranny. And if you'd like to help us get Grayson's back -- here's the place.



Dennis Shulman Runs A Hard Race Against Right Wing Extremist

Yesterday's NY Times focused on the differences between McCain's willful inability to send e-mails-- he uses the regular excuse he uses for all his shortcomings, that he was tortured in Hanoi-- with that our one of Blue America's highest priority congressional candidates, Dennis Shulman of New Jersey, who was completely blind by the time he was 15. Dennis is a computer whiz who believes in solving problems, not looking for pity and excuses. But Dennis isn't running against John McCain; he's running against the last hard-core right-wing extremist House member left in the Northeast, Scott Garrett.

On Friday Garrett was in the news because he was the only New Jersey congressman-- from either party-- who voted against funding the Highway Trust. The 28 others were a motley crew of mostly far right Confederates who oppose the very concept of government playing a positive role in citizens' lives-- like in maintaining bridges and highways. Garrett is often at odds with mainstream notions about the role of government and he is often found voting alone with a small handful of radical right kooks from Georgia, Texas and South Carolina.

Even if the DCCC hasn't, the Times pieces will help galvanize moderates and independent voters behind Dennis. Crooks & Liars readers have been on the case since last November.

If you'd like to continue helping this brilliant, no-excuses, blind rabbi from the Jersey suburbs get his message out, our Blue America ActBlue page is open... 24/7.




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