Senator Warren: 'Katie Porter Is The Real Deal'

CA-45 is the heart of Orange County. It includes Irvine, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita... Villa Park and the Anaheim Hills in the north and Coto De Caza in the south. But it doesn't include the home of Mimi Walters, the Republican congresswoman who was elected in 2014. She still lives in posh beachfront neighborhood in Dana Rohrabacher's district and has adamantly refused to move into the district she's supposed to be representing.

Many residents feel it's time for Mimi to go. And this might be the year. She votes in complete lockstep with the unpopular Trump. And Trump did badly in the 45th. Romney and McCain both beat Obama in the district, but Hillary beat Trump  by over 5 points. The PVI has improved from R+7 to a much more manageable R+3.

And this year, CA-45 has an extraordinary Democratic candidate in UC Irvine law professor Katie Porter, endorsed this week by Blue America.

A former law student of Elizabeth Warren's, they co-wrote a book about consumer protection. Warren endorsed her, as have Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Zephyr Teachout and progressive groups like DFA and the PCCC. She has a corporate Dem as a primary opponent backed by the DC establishment but all recent polls show Katie beating him and going on to beat Walters.

Katie hasn't been shy about pointing out that Walters is "one of the 'Big Money 20'--  taking money from the NRA, Big Oil, Big Banks, and a number of powerful special interests." She said she believes that "special interests like large financial institutions, because of Citizens United, now have the ability to spend unlimited money, giving them an outsized and unfair role in our election system.

That is why I am proud that our campaign has pledged not to take any campaign contributions from corporate PACs, big oil, big pharma, big banks, or private charter schools. We believe in running a campaign by example and have raised the resources necessary to run a competitive campaign with contributions from over 10,000 individual donors. I am going to Washington to do what I have done my whole career-- to give voice to the needs of family and to fight for a fair system."

As for policy, Katie is where you would expect candidates backed by Blue America to be. For health care, for example, she told us that she had spent her career  as a consumer protection attorney "studying how one illness or accident can lead a family to financial ruin-- it shouldn't be that way. That's why I will fight for a Medicare for All system in which every American has quality health insurance.

And this is a defining issue in this race. My Republican opponent, Mimi Walters, helped write Trump’s health care law that gutted protections for pre-existing conditions. She was one of the first people that Donald Trump thanked at the White House after the vote. Her vote on the GOP tax plan puts health coverage for 13 million people at risk and will lead to devastating cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. And other candidates in this race have refused to support Medicare for All." 

She has also pledged to voters to take on big oil and the corporate polluters to stop offshore drilling, and that she will "fight to invest in renewable energy development, support high emission standards, and save important environmental protections. Simply put, Washington must act to fight climate change." 

Her field of expertise, consumer protection, is what attracted Blue America to her campaign to begin with. She has literally spent close to 2 decades taking on Wall Street banks and powerful financial institutions that cheat middle-class families.

"Much of my work as a consumer advocate," she told us Friday,

"has centered around the housing crisis that rocked Orange County and many other parts of the country. Before the crisis, I was one of the first to sound the alarm about how the biggest Wall Street banks were preying on homeowners. And when the crisis hit, I was appointed by Attorney General Kamala Harris to work directly with California families who were cheated by the five biggest Wall Street banks. The five banks had promised to help homeowners who had been harmed, and it was my job to hold the banks’ feet to the fire. My team won thousands of victories against the banks, forcing them to pay billions to families. And our work helped tens of thousands of families move forward with their lives... Eight years after the crash, Orange County families still find themselves stuck. Profits again are surging for financial institutions and Wall Street, but middle-class wages are stagnant. And the cost of things that matter most for families-- affording preschool, sending your kid to college, saving for retirement-- are skyrocketing, while the high cost of housing in Orange County is pushing families to the brink."

We all know what we need out of the next Congress-- capable leaders who have shown the ability and willingness to stand up to Trump, the GOP and the powerful special interests. "That," Katie told us "is exactly what I plan to do in Washington." Please consider contributing to her campaign at the Blue America congressional page, here.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



14 California Republicans Just Handed Their Own Constituents A Big Tax Increase

IssaTrumpLoveScrewingNormalPeople.pngDarrell Issa may regret being Drumpf's BFF when November 2018 rolls around. Just sayin'.

Paul Ryan got a budget bill passed Thursday night, albeit very narrowly-- 216 to 212. Every single Democrat and 20 Republicans voted against it. And if just 3 more Republicans had voted NO it would have failed. Why should they have?

Well, passage allows for a quickie vote on Ryan's tax cuts for the rich-- which includes big tax increases for many middle class families. The worst hit will be middle class families in California, New York, New Jersey and other states with high state and local taxes. In some cases taxes will increase by $25,000 annually. That part of the Trump-Ryan tax bill is referred to as eliminating the state and local tax deduction. Lots of Republican congress members voted "no" in order to protect their constituents from these outrageous tax increases. BUT NOT ONE California Republican did.

There are 14 Republicans from California in Congress and none of them elected to join their Republican colleagues from New York and New Jersey who staged an attempt to force Ryan to keep the middle class deduction... NOT ONE.

Eric Bauman, Chairman of the California Democratic Party had this to say after the vote:

"In voting for the Donald Trump/Paul Ryan budget bill, every member of the CAGOP 14 voted to raise taxes on middle class and poor workers in Orange County, the Central Valley and all across California... just so they could give a huge tax cut to their billionaire paymasters and to appease Donald Trump. All 14 of them voted to take healthcare away from cancer patients and raise taxes on the rest of us, which they will turn around and hand to their ultra-rich patrons.

Darrell Issa, Dana Rohrabacher, Jeff Denham, David Valadao and the rest of their cronies are not just failing to do their jobs-- they're actively sticking it to millions of their own constituents, and hurting real people in the process. The people of California will not fall for this deceptive tax hike and the California Democratic Party intends to make sure every voter remembers this in 2018.”

All of the Orange County Republicans-- Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher-- are hanging on by a thread, so the collective decision to increase their constituents' annual tax bill is probably a very bad idea.

In fact, even long-shot red districts like CA-50 (Duncan Hunter) and CA-22 (Devin Nunes) look like they could be offering unexpected opportunities: the former because of an unexpected but likely indictment and the latter because of Putin-Gate.

Kia Hamadanchy, one of the progressives running against absentee-congresswoman Mimi Walters:

"It’s remarkable to me how out of touch Mimi Walters remains with the residents of our district. I am out everyday at events, community meetings, and rallies and the support for Trump is abysmal-- and I’m hearing that from Republicans and Independents, too. Yet just this week, Mimi told a reporter that, 'It is very important that Republicans back the President… He stands for what we stand for.' As far as I’m concerned, that means she stands with white supremacists and xenophobes and not the incredibly diverse and vibrant people of the district she is supposed to represent in Washington. If Mimi continues to be Trump’s rubber stamp, I don’t see any way she gets re-elected. She better start looking for her lobbying gig already."

When it comes to kitchen table issues, there is no one in Congress fighting more ardently for working families than Ro Khanna (D-CA). He's very interested in making sure Congress becomes bluer and more progressive. He told us after the vote that

"California Republicans are being forced to cast votes again and against against their constituents. They are having to choose between the people they represent and the Trump/Ryan agenda. As long as we run bold progressives who are rooted in the community and offer a positive vision, we should win many seats in California!

Nor is that tax deduction conundrum the only one of Trump's legislative proposals making reelection for the California GOP delegation look more and more like a long-shot. The Republican ultimate bête noire, ObamaCare, is not a bête noire for millions of California voters-- including in GOP-held districts-- who need it for their families. Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would lead millions of Californians to lose health coverage and premiums would skyrocket, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Low-income people that depend on Medi-Cal for their health care, many of whom live in the Central Valley, would be disproportionately affected. Three Republicans represent Central Valley districts that would suffer disproportionately: Denham, Valadao and Nunes.

And there are more issues that find California Republicans on the wrong side of the fence-- from immigration to deadly military equipment being sold for private use. Trump’s polarizing effect on California’s electorate underscores the balancing act for Republicans headed into 2018.

Opportunities like this do not happen every cycle, or even every 4 cycles. We cannot let them get away. Will you contribute what you can today to the candidates on our page for making California more Progressively Blue?

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Turning Orange County Blue-- AND Progressive

SamJammal.jpgSam Jammal: "We aren't training people for the jobs of the future. Washington is focused on protecting the old and powerful industries, instead of investing in what's new and next. This hurts workers and our economy while lining the pockets of those who benefit from the status quo... This is our country too and we can’t continue to have a government that is out of touch and unresponsive to what people are actually going through. This is why I am running.”

The DCCC has now admitted that they are recruiting Blue Dogs to run for congressional seats all across the country. Along with New Dems and "ex"-Republicans, this is what makes up the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in Congress and what prevents Democrats from moving ahead with-- or even running on-- a popular progressive platform. Instead of promising Medicare-For-All, a $15 minimum wage, free state college education and other motivating proposals, last week the DCCC came up with a recycled, anodyne Papa John's Pizza marketing slogan: "Better Skills. Better Jobs. Better Wages." Sure, that's something everyone can agree with-- even Blue Dogs-- but... why not "Mother and Apple Pie" instead?

The DCCC has recruited a conservative multimillionaire as their candidate in northeast Orange County (CA-39), Ed Royce's district. And the guy is an "ex"-Republican living in a $10 million mansion on the beach 2 districts away! His only "qualification" is having won $266 million in the lottery and spreading some of it around to Democrats in Congress.

The real tragedy in that there's a fantastic progressive Democrat who was born and raised in the district, Sam Jammal, also running. Of all the Orange County districts held by Republicans that Hillary won in 2016, CA-39 had the biggest margin-- 51.5% to 42.9%. The DCCC has never contested the seat before and is completely clueless about how to go about it. So... of course a rich "ex"-Republican self-funder is where they turn instead of to someone who lives and breathes an inspiring agenda of progressive policies geared towards the district itself.

While the DCCC-backed character is running around the Beltway meeting lobbyists and writing checks in return for endorsements, Jammal is knocking on every door and talking with people in the district about single payer healthcare, the environment-- after a job in the Obama administration, he worked at Tesla as a policy director for their solar equipment provider-- and how to create new jobs in a rapidly changing economy.

This is what he told us last week when we talked with him about what made him decide to give up his job at Tesla and run for Congress.

There is currently a huge disconnect between politics and real people struggling to get by and trying to get ahead. I saw it every day as a civil rights advocate and staffer. Politics today is more about who is lobbying or donating than the needs of the people I grew up with.

I used to come home to visit my family and friends in California and hear about the issues that are important to them that are virtually ignored by their representatives in DC. I recall only 3 politicians-- President Obama and Senators Warren and Sanders-- even uttering the words “student debt.” You never hear anyone talking about child care costs or even what the cost of owning a home is today. And let’s not forget that significant under investments on the basics-- good roads and schools-- have sent a message of disregard to so many Americans.

There aren’t enough people in DC who are connected with regular Americans who work hard and want the best for their families. People just want a shot at the American Dream.

I come from a working class family where I had to take on part-time jobs to pay for my volunteer work in politics. I waited tables in DC at night to make enough money to cover my room and board when I was an intern. I have thousands of dollars in student debt, not including the debt my parents took on to help their three children go to college. I could probably count on one hand people like me in Congress.

One of the main problems I saw is that there are few people like me-- people who come from working class backgrounds and are the first generation in their family to graduate from college.

DC is a playground for the rich and powerful and their children. There aren’t many people from working class families who can make the financial sacrifice to take an internship or low-paying entry-level position when they are burdened by student loans. Unfortunately, it creates an environment of a millionaire Congress, which means no one is looking out for the rest of us.

Even though Wall Street and Washington declared victory on the Great Recession, most families still haven't recovered. Seniors lost value in their 401(k) and pensions. Many have had to stay in the workforce longer or count on Social Security to barely make ends meet. The rest of us are still recovering whether because of credit downgrades, job loss or a slow job market that put many millennials behind preceding generations.

Please consider giving what you can to Sam Jammal's grassroots campaign. The "ex"-Republican self-funding lottery winner has hired every consultant he could get his hands on. The DCCC should stay neutral in this race and let the citizens of Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Hacienda Heights, Brea, La Habra, Buena Park, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar and Walnut decide who they want to be the Democratic Party nominee. People are catching on now that getting policy like Medicare-For-All, isn't about electing corporate Democrats, it's about electing progressive Democrats.



Why Bao? Lou Correa's Record Proves He's Not A Democrat

Northern Orange County-- Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange-- includes a deep blue congressional district in which Obama beat Romney 61-36%. It's an open seat and the primary yielded up a Democrat vs Democrat general election contest. Our candidate is Garden Grove Mayor and Berniecrat Bao Nguyen and his opponent is a former state legislator who had made a name for himself in Sacramento as the most right-wing Democrat in state government, Lou Correa.

Bao was endorsed by Blue America as well as by other progressive groups from PDA, DFA, and the SEIU to the Sierra Club, the Mexican American Bar Association PAC and the Nurses Union. Meanwhile Correa was endorsed by both the Blue Dogs and the New Dems, although in the long list of organizations that have endorsed him, he names neither group. After all, the two make up the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in Congress and CA-46 isn't that kind of district. So Correa tries his best to downplay where he stands and what kind of a record he's built for himself.

In a majority Latino district, Correa isn't just keeping it quiet that the joined the New Dems and Blue Dogs, but also that he voted against SB-60, which would have made drivers licenses available for all qualified Californians regardless of immigration status. His vote was a complete betrayal of the Hispanic population. Nor is that the only time he voted with the Republicans against working families-- far from it.

Although Correa claims when he campaigns that he's committed to affordable higher education, that sure isn't what his record shows. When Assembly Speaker John Perez proposed AB-1500 and 1501, the Middle Class Scholarship Act, to provide scholarships covering 60% of fees and tuition at all California State colleges and universities for families with household incomes of under $150,000, Correa crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP again. Perez took the unusual step of going on the record and single out Correa for killing the bill.

"Today was an opportunity for the State Senate to join the Assembly in approving tax fairness for California businesses and college opportunity for middle class families. Unfortunately, even though most Senate Democrats supported the Middle Class Scholarship Act, we could not reach agreement with Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) or Senate Republicans that would achieve the two-thirds vote necessary... It is disturbing that Senator Correa and so many Republicans would refuse to stand up for the middle class and instead continue to support a tax giveaway that favors out-of-state companies over our own." In a disturbing pattern that defines Correa's life, he pocketed campaign contributions from International Paper-- which vehemently opposed the bill-- 10 days before he voted against AB-1500, and more loot three weeks after the disgraceful vote.

If killing the Middle Class Scholarship Act wasn't bad enough, Correa also helped kill a 2014 attempt by Democrats in the legislature to raise the minimum wage. Although 63 of his fellow Democrats were co-sponsors of the bill, he claimed he voted with the Republicans against it because it was too long and he didn't know what it meant. It's almost as though he was already practicing to be a New Dem or Blue Dog!

He also worked with the GOP to restrict women's access to family planning and abortion services and to push the NRA's agenda. Planned Parenthood gave him a big fat ZERO rating and labeled him anti-Choice. He's actively supported loopholes to make sure assault-style military weapons would wind up in California neighborhoods. Again, Correa's sick record is not what Orange County Democrats and independents (nor even Republicans) want to protect society from gun massacres. 

I bet you could guess he's also an environmental disaster, right? You'd be guessing right. California's League of Conservation Voters says he has the worst environmental record of any Democratic elected official in the state. He always sides with special interests to protect corporate polluters, consistently failed to protect the state's water sources from lead and contamination, and voted against ensuring Californians have a right to clean, safe and affordable water. Year after year the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) gave him the worst rating of any California Democrat.

Sounds like a nightmare? The Democratic Establishment loves Correa. Steny Hoyer's PAC gave him $20,000, the most of any 2016 candidate. And the state party has endorsed him as well. And then Democrats wonder why voters don't find enough clear differences between the two parties and feel less loyalty towards the Democratic Party.

Please help Bao overcome the heavy odds he faces-- the way he did in the primary-- and let's help him win a victory in November that will send a message to establishment Democrats.




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