Winning In The Heartland: Meet Dr. David Gill

Blue America

We want to introduce you to an old friend who's running for Congress in Illinois, David Gill, a life-long progressive in a swing district that Obama won in 2008 and then lost by a handful of votes in 2012. It was the wrong kind of district for Hillary and Trump beat her 49.7% to 44.2%. But in the primaries Bernie swept the district by a landslide, beating Hillary in the biggest of the 14 counties, Champaign 20,581 (65.9%) to 10,542 (33.8%) and outpacing Trump and Cruz combined (17,253 on the same day).

David marched with organized labor in Pana, IL on Labor Day "because the fight never ends. As Mother Jones said: 'I know that there are no limits to which the powers of privilege will not go to keep the workers in slavery.' Fighting against those powers requires us to be bold in our demands; that's why I stand for a $15/hour minimum wage and tuition-free public universities, colleges & trade schools. Solidarity forever!"

He was an enthusiastic Bernie activist and the platform he's running on is almost entirely based on the issues he and Bernie have long championed. We asked him to re-introduce himself to Blue America members.

Running On Economic Populism To Take Back A "Trump District" -by David Gill candidate, IL-13

I’m a physician in Emergency Medicine and Family Practice, and I’m seeking the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 13th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. I live in Bloomington with my wife Elaine, and we have six children, two cats, two turtles, and two rescue dogs.

As a doctor, I’m a 25-year member of Physicians for a National Health Program, a group of 20,000 doctors that has been pushing and pushing for single-payer health care here in America. And with the Republicans on the verge of completely messing up health care, the door is going to open very soon for single-payer in this country; and we can take full advantage of this opportunity by having the strong voice of a progressive physician such as me helping to lead the charge.

And as a doctor, I’m also a 20-year member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice.  We must have representatives who stand up for women’s rights at all times, because the opposition is stomping on those rights every chance they get.  I’ve also been a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union for 24 years-- I was standing beside my friends in the LGBTQ community, standing up for marriage equality, even when such a position was very unpopular. And we must have representatives who will protect marriage equality and who will stand against discrimination of every kind.

I’m also a long-time member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. And we must have representatives who believe in science, who will stand up passionately in the greatest battle in human history:  the fight against climate change. There is no more important battle, because if and when we lose this one, there won’t be any more humans left to battle about anything.

But of course, we have a Congress made up of too many men and women who stand against single-payer and science and civil rights. They take the big money from the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry, the arms manufacturers and the oil industry, and then they work on behalf of those corporations. We need representatives who stand against this corporate ownership of our politics and our government, and I intend to work tirelessly to undo the impact of Citizens United, up to and including working to pass a Constitutional amendment stating explicitly that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.

I ran for this seat once before, back in 2012. And my Republican opponent, Rodney Davis, was very lucky that year; for in years that end in a “2”, and only in those years, it’s relatively easy for an Independent to get on the ballot in Illinois, and in 2012 there was a liberal Independent who got on the ballot.  He traveled around the 14 counties of this district, saying all the same things as me, talking about single-payer, campaign finance reform, gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and climate change. So I was running against both Rodney Davis and this mirror image of myself. I wound up losing by three tenths of one percentage point, the liberal Independent took 7% of the vote and Rodney Davis went to Congress as an “accidental congressman.”

We intend to reverse that result next year, with the help of citizens from all across the country. Ours is very much a grassroots campaign, fueled by ordinary citizens from all walks of life who want to see a caring, thoughtful healthcare professional fighting for their well-being within the halls of Congress. 2018 does not end in a “2,” so Rodney Davis won’t be protected this time around by some liberal Independent, and I intend to beat him soundly in a two-man race this time, with the support of all those ordinary Americans. 

I invite you to join our campaign, either by volunteering your time and/or making a financial contribution.  You can also visit and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave Voices of the Resistance on this page



The Koch Brothers Give Candidates Millions... But We Have Guitars


Yesterday we ended our Barenaked Ladies guitar giveaway. In the end, 403 donors gave $13,790, most of it to progressive activists and congressional candidates Norman Solomon (CA-2) and David Gill (IL-13). The average contribution was $34.20 and the winner was Christopher Bugbee who gave a recurring contribution to Norman and David of $25.00. He's the proud owner of a Fender Strat signed by all the members of the Barenaked Ladies-- including ex-lead singer Steven Page. And now we're on to another guitar and another campaign! This time a sleek black Squier Telecaster signed by all the members of Filter.

The idea is that we're going to send the guitar as a thank you to one random supporter of Ken Aden's Run 2 End Hunger II here. It was signed-- back in 2002-- by all the members of Filter, riding high on their smash hit, "Hey Man, Nice Shot." Before becoming a candidate for Congress, Ken, an Iraq and Afghanistan War vet was immersed in running a non-profit community-based self-help group in Arkansas, Residents 4 Arkansas, Inc. Last month he was honored by the White House for his community service and met with President Obama and members of his cabinet to talk about the role of volunteerism in America. Ken has been awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Multinational Force and Observers Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. Right now he's in the middle of a 253 mile, 7 day run across his district (ending May 5) to raise awareness and to raise cans of food for families who are hungry in Arkansas. When he ends his run, Blue America will thank one of the supporters of Ken's candidacy with the Filter guitar. Supporters can contribute here or send a check-- or even just a note-- to PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Everyone will have an equal chance to "win" the guitar, regardless of how much you contribute-- or even if you just let us know you're praying for Ken or rooting for him.

Some may see Ken as a "do-gooder" but he's a tough as nails progressive running in the reddest district in Arkansas. Rather than shrink away from a fight as others in his state have done, this Army Combat Veteran is taking it to the streets and standing up for equal rights for all. As you've probably guessed by now, the main part of his campaign focus is on community service work-- as well as renewable energy technology, veterans rights, and the protection of Social Security and Medicare. In a recent quote he said that "if you even think of cutting Medicare and Social Security you ARE a criminal! The time for corporate prostitution has come to an end!"

As we mentioned on the Act Blue page, we were chatting with Ken last week and he told us about a woman he met while out campaigning the weekend before. She considered herself an independent, and was a supporter of Ken's very right-wing opponent-- Wal-Mart's personal Congressman, Steve Womack-- back in 2010.

"I wish I would have met you back then, because I never would have voted for him," is just what she told Ken on Saturday.

We liked that, because it is the opening lyric of Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot," we figured that would be the perfect guitar for Ken's campaign. (Not to mention that Ken is a huge fan of Filter's music himself.) What Ken's doing is so important that we wanted to encourage all of our friends to help. But, since we know we can't ask you to send canned food through the mail even though we are 100 percent in support of our brothers and sisters at the APWU, we thought we'd ask you to pledge to donate $25.30 to Ken's race-- that's one dime for every mile that he'll be running across the district. Of course if you can't donate that amount any help would be greatly appreciated. And if you want to contribute more... please don't hesitate.

And, for every person who makes a contribution through this page for Ken's campaign, you will be entered in a random drawing to win a guitar signed by every member of Filter as a "thank you" from Blue America. Everyone has the same shot, whether you contribute one dollar or 1,000 dollars-- or even if you just send us a note to the PO Box.

So don't delay-- please make your contribution to Ken's campaign today, and by doing so, you'll have a direct hand in ending the plight of impoverished families today. GO KEN GO!!



Blue America Is Giving Away An Autographed Barenaked Ladies Guitar

I first met the Barenaked Ladies even before someone shot the funky video above. "If I Had $1,000,000" was on their first album, Gordon but American media showed no interest in the song, the album or the band. The band, undaunted by their lack of success, kept playing shows and building a grassroots following across America. I remember, several years-- and several albums-- later bringing a program director from a radio station in Columbus, Ohio to a concert. It was in the city's biggest indoor concert venue, the Celeste Center, and the 10,200 tickets had all sold out in advance. The program director was stunned. "How could this be happening in my city without us even knowing about it?" he wondered aloud. His station helped "break" the band-- at least to the mainstream. But it was the grassroots and the hard work that really broke the Barenaked Ladies even before the 1998 platinum smash hit "One Week" from Stunt.

Dr. David Gill and author and activist Norman Solomon have been working the grassroots angle for a very long time. And both are on the verge of national prominence. When I asked Ed Robertson if it would be OK for me to give away the beautiful Fender Strat all the members of the band has signed and given to me when I retired from Warner Bros, he replied immediately, "Happy to help out the ailing American political system wherever we can!"

So... I gave Blue America and Progressive Democrats of America the guitar and Blue America and PDA are going to give it away to a randomly-selected donor on a new Act Blue page, If I Had A Million Dollars. This is the letter we sent out to all the Blue America members last night:


A few years ago the Barenaked Ladies sang in one of their breakthrough hits about what they'd do with a million dollars:

If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
I'd buy you a fur coat
But not a real fur coat-- that's cruel

If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
I'd buy you an exotic pet
Like a llama or an emu

To each his own. Blue America and Progressive Democrats of America have something different in mind for a million dollars-- helping elect two of the most outstanding progressive candidates running for office anywhere this cycle, Norman Solomon in California and Dr. David Gill in Illinois. But both organizations are grassroots groups and neither one of us-- nor even both of us together-- has a million dollars. Instead we have a beautiful Fender stratocaster guitar that has been autographed by each member of the Barenaked Ladies. Would you like that... instead of an emu?

We need to raise some money to help Norman and David win their tough races. David has already won a difficult primary against a conservative, Machine-backed Democrat, who finally conceded Friday. Now he'll face whomever the GOP Machine forces down Republicans' throats. Norman still has a primary ahead of him-- and if he comes out in the top two, as is expected, he'll face off against a more Establishment character for a seat in Congress.

David is in an open Democratic-leaning district, so as long as he can get his message out, he's likely to win in November. And Norman's district is one of the most Democratic and progressive districts anywhere in America. Both candidates have been endorsed by both PDA and Blue America. This is the first time our two groups have ever gotten together for a fundraising effort. If you contribute any amount to these two candidates on this ActBlue page you could be the lucky winner of the Barenaked Ladies guitar.

It doesn't matter if you donate $10 or $1,000. Everyone has an equal chance to win the guitar. Just go to this page any time this week and donate to both the candidates. At the end of this week we'll pick one person at random and send him or her the very special Barenaked Ladies thank you gift-- the beautiful Fender Stratocaster guitar autographed by each member of the Barenaked Ladies (shown in photo, above).



Blue America Welcomes Dr. David Gill (D-IL)

Blue America was the first national group to endorse Ilya Sheyman and we were sad that the DCCC and other DC conservatives were able beat him in the primary last month. But we were as happy as can be that just to the southeast of his district, another outstanding movement progressive, Dr. David Gill, turned back those same forces and triumphed the same night that Ilya faltered. Hopefully Ilya will run again and win-- and be greeted on the steps of Congress by David Gill, who has run several times already. Sometimes, as we saw with Donna Edwards and Alan Grayson, it takes more than one try.

Illinois' newly redrawn 13th congressional district is very different from the one Dr. Gill has run in previously. It's a D+1 district that voted for Obama by 11 points. But his opponent, conservative Republican Tim Johnson, David told us, "is still voting like he’s in his old 60-40 Republican district. He’s now voted for the extreme Ryan plan to end Medicare twice. He refused last summer to vote to raise the debt ceiling, an action that was necessary because of his votes for Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the rich. He’s been in Congress for six terms and he’s a 40-year politician. He’s out of touch with the district."

David is a 20 year member of Physicians For a Single Health Payer Plan. "I became interested in running because of what I see on a daily basis in the health care industry as an ER doctor. We have a two-tiered system of access to healthcare in America and, frankly, the American health care system is failing a lot of people." But if health care was got him interested in running originally, he's as far from a one-issue candidate as you'll find.

"Health care is one symptom of many. There are many areas impacted by our corporate governance. Retirement security, jobs, healthcare, education and restoring the health of our planet are all areas where private interests are trumping the public good in Congress. People get to Washington, spend too much time around corporate lobbyists and suddenly forget that Social Security is in better financial health than the Federal budget that’s been decimated by Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. They forget that Climate Change is the biggest crisis we are facing today, not the deficit. They forget that we have a jobs crisis to fix. They’ve forgotten that government should be working to solve problems for regular people."

David will be joining us here (in the comments section, below) for a live chat today at 1pm (CT), 11am on the West Coast. He's a fighter for all the values and all the principles Blue America stands for. Congress will be a far better place if he's elected. Please consider helping him replace Tim Johnson with a contribution to his campaign.

And David was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq. He's also opposed to the continued occupation of Afghanistan. "I’ve come to the realization the past few years that our presence in Afghanistan has outlived its usefulness. It’s time to end our mission there and get our troops out of harm’s way as soon as possible."

He can win this race and bring a healthy dose of Prairie State populism to Washington. Although the corrupt Illinois Machine is still unreconciled to his victory over their candidate, last week a former area congressman and member of the Progressive Caucus, Phil Hare, gave him a ringing endorsement.

"I support David Gill because I know he will have the courage to stand up to Wall Street and fight for middle-class Illinoisans everyday. David will make sure millionaires pay their fair share and he'll be a strong voice for working men and women in the progressive tradition of my friend (and former boss) Lane Evans.

David Gill knows what it's like to roll up your sleeves and work hard. He comes from a working-class family. When his father died, David started working as a dishwasher at 13 to help support his family. David worked stocking shelves to pay his way through college at U of I. He mopped floors at a laundromat in the middle of the night to put himself through medical school.

I trust David to be a passionate voice for middle-class people. I know David will protect the rights of workers. And who better than an ER doctor like David Gill to block the Republicans’ attempts to end Medicare as we know it? The bottom line is this: Illinois families need David Gill in Congress."

David just defeated a DCCC and New Democrat-backed congressional challenger who outspent him 5-1. He ran a strictly grassroots, people-powered campaign and he won without compromising his progressive values. as you can see in the video above. "I was willing to stand up and fight back against the Republican War on Women and special interest-domination of Congress and the residents of IL-13 responded and were willing to put their trust in me."

Let's make sure the primary victory turns into a big win in November. Please consider giving what you can.




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