DuWayne Gregory-- Ready To Turn Long Island Blue Again


Republican Peter King has been in Congress since 1993 and his Democratic neighbor and crony, Blue Dog Steve Israel, has seen to it that he would have no serious challenges from the DCCC. With Israel himself finally retiring, there were hopes that the DCCC would finally take on King, an outspoken Trump supporter. The Democrats have their best candidate for the seat in living memory, DuWayne Gregory, the respected and well-liked presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature.

The Long Island South Shore district has moved significantly east into blue Suffolk County and is no longer safe Nassau territory for Republicans. In fact two-thirds of the voters now live in Suffolk-- and many of them don't know very much about Peter King. There was every expectation that once DuWayne Gregory became the official Democratic Party's candidate the DCCC would come in and help him get the message out about who King is. After all, Obama won the district twice, 51-48% against McCain and 52-47% against Romney. And the district-- the most Hispanic on Long Island-- is bluer now than it was then.

In 2014 Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand won both counties with gigantic landslide margins and this cycle Chuck Schumer's reelection campaign is expected to do just as well. It looks like Hillary will beat Trump very substantially in the New York suburbs, Nassau and Suffolk counties included. More Democrats than Republicans voted in the presidential primaries and polling shows enthusiasm for Trump since the primaries has all but evaporated. But Steve Israel has persuaded the DCCC to once again take a hands-off policy towards his old pal Peter King.

Needless to say, he hasn't persuaded Blue America and we've endorsed DuWayne Gregory with great enthusiasm and urge all of our members to consider contributing to his strong grassroots campaign here.

Friday we spent some time talking with DuWayne and I want to share some of his unvarnished thoughts with you:

"Ever since I announced my run for Congress people have asked me why do you want to run and why do you think you can beat Peter King? The answer for me was simple for two reasons. First, I strongly believe we need new leadership in Washington. Secondly, the decision to run, specifically, against Peter King was a personal decision for me. I take the responsibility of holding public office seriously. It is an awesome responsibility to have the ability to have a positive impact on people's lives. I also believe because of the oath of office we take we represent all residents of our district and not just the ones who voted for us or who we personally agree with. Peter King has violated this rule, in my opinion. I don't begrudge anyone with a more conservative set of principles than myself, but I do begrudge abhorrent values. 

"My decision to run was due in large part because of my son Julian, who is gay. When district lines changed I took it upon myself to research my Congressman's voting record on LGBT issues and was astonished at how narrowed minded his voting history has been: he voted against gay couples adopting children in Washington DC; supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a woman and a man; voted against expanding hate crimes to cover LGBT victims; voted against protecting LGBT members from being discriminated at work etc. As a LGBT parent Peter King does not understand the fear that a parent has, because of the same bigotry that is displayed with a voting record like his. I will never forget the day my son Julian came out to me while we were going to get ice cream. He was 12 years old! I immediately told him that I loved him and want him to be happy, but in my mind I was worried about how less accepting people will respond. People like Peter King who wrongly think gays make a choice regarding their sexual orientation. People like the shooter in the Orlando club massacre where my son was just two weeks prior. 

"So I made a choice that our country and my Congressional district needs new leadership and one less voice against equality in America. We deserve to have a representative that will work to protect my son just as fervently as all other children without bigotry or hate. It is Peter King's job to work to protect all people from harm and discrimination regardless of religious or personal beliefs. As an African-American I know hate all to well and to think my protection and safety would be sacrificed by an elected official because that person didn't approve I find appalling and dereliction of duty. The oath that public officials take does not ask them to protect only certain segments of the country, the one's they agree with, but all citizens of our country."

 

It's time for grassroots Democrats to take our fate into our own hands and stop allowing corrupt party bosses like Steve Israel and the jokers at the DCCC determine who does and who doesn't get into Congress. Voters on Long Island need to know that Peter King has endorsed and fully backs his pal Trump. If the DCCC won't help DuWayne Gregory get that message out-- and the message about who DuWayne is himself and what he wants to accomplish in Congress-- let's do it ourselves. It's worked in the past and it can work this time as well. Please consider contributing what you can to DuWayne's campaign here.



Blue America Billy Joel Contest: Tom Suozzi's in a NY-03 State of Mind

Many progressives were gratified to learn that corrupt Blue Dog Steve Israel would not be seeking reelection. Unfortunately, Israel is working to install one of his cronies, Steve Stern, in his seat. Fortunately, a far better known and respected former Nassau County Executive, Tom Suozzi, is running for the seat. Tom is known all through Long Island and New York as someone who is un-bought and un-bossed, a reformer who isn't interested in special interests, just the legitimate interests of the working families in his constituency. He's running on his record of achievements for the people of Long Island in a district that stretches from Kings Park in Suffolk County, through Huntington, Bethpage, Glen Cove and Great Neck in Nassau into the Whitestone and Beechhurst sections of Queens.

Israel pulled one of his ugly little tricks of having one of his lackeys challenge Tom's petition signatures but a judge ruled the challenges were without edit and threw them out. Meanwhile, Tom has spent his time meeting with voters in 15 townhall meetings in the 3 counties that make up the district and listening to what they want out of Washington and talking about his plans to help bring down the cost of higher education, protect Social Security and Medicare benefits and guarantee equal pay for equal work for women. His unofficial campaign motto is "More skills, more jobs, more wages."

On Friday, May 27, Tom is hosting an event at the Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden. He's given Blue America two pairs of tickets and we're going to give them away to two random contributors who donate to his campaign on this page. Tom goes way back with Billy Joel, over twenty years to when he was first elected mayor of Glen Cove, having, like all Long Island kids, grown up on Joel's music.

The contest ends Wednesday, May 25 and we'll notify the winners on Thursday. And, yes, the tickets are transferable. So... if you live in Allentown or Vienna and can't make it to Manhattan next week you can give the tickets to a couple of friends in Jericho, Syosset or Hicksville.



A Progressive Veteran Will Serve Long Island's Changing Demographics Much Better Than Peter King

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DuWayne Gregory is the presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature. In 2010, redistricting moved Peter King's Nassau County district significantly east into Suffolk County, a “significantly bluer” part of Suffolk County. Because King is a longtime political ally of Steve Israel the DCCC has never challenged his seat— and discouraged local Democrats who have.

DuWayne enlisted in the Army after graduating from college and earned airborne jump wings, so he’s not intimidated by the gaggle of political hacks in Washington. The newly-drawn second CD is home for Dwayne; but new territory to King. This area saw Obama beat McCain 51-48% and saw the president increase his share of the vote four years later when he beat Romney 52-47%. This district is absolutely ready to flip from red to blue

King has represented the more Republican Nassau County part of the district in Congress since 1992. Some of the garbage Ted Cruz was spewing last week-- patrolling communities where Muslims live-- comes straight from the mouth of Peter King, who has used his position to divide his constituents and demonize Muslim-Americans; calling for surveillance of mosques and claiming— without substantiation of any kind— that "85% of Imams" have been radicalized. This kind of bigotry may work in backward parts of Texas but the South Shore of Long Island is not Texas.

As the most Hispanic of any of the Long Island districts (23% Latino), many NY-02 residents were shocked when they read that their own congressman sponsored a bill to deny citizenship to natural born Americans if their parents were not U.S. citizens. Nor were they pleased to see him sponsoring a bill that called for “English only” in government communications. Needless to say, the bigoted King was not a supporter of the comprehensive immigration bill passed by a wide bipartisan majority in the Senate.

Overall, Gregory’s outlook leads in a very different direction from King's. His concerns are about fighting for the middle class, not maintaining a status quo for the very wealthy and for corporate special interests. His goals are to be part of the congressional team that will increase the minimum wage, guarantee college affordability, increase child care credits, provide healthcare credits for healthcare providers and fight for good paying jobs.

When he was endorsed by New York's Working Families Party, Long Island Political Director Emily Abbott noted that "DuWayne has put politics aside to get things done for working families. Washington needs people like DuWayne Gregory who will fight to ensure that all of Long Island’s families and small businesses have a fair shot to succeed."

In his own communications to Long Islanders, Duwayne stresses his own record of inclusion and vows to go to Washington "to fight for fairness for all Americans by working to bring about justice reform" and to "ensure that no one is treated differently because of their race or economic status when it comes to our justice system." He's one veteran who has every intention of going to Washington to ensure that "the problems with the VA never happen again to our war veterans" and to "work to provide quality healthcare to every veteran in need." Last week, he was endorsed for the seat by VoteVets. 

Peter King's antiquated perspective on women doesn't work in NY-02, not in 2016. He voted against equal pay for women and his anti-choice extremism belies his claims to be a "moderate." Moderates, unlike King, don't oppose women's choice even in cases of rape and incest. "The disparity of pay between men and women doing the same work is unjustifiable and I'll never forget when I'm in Congress that my constituents don't want any part of that," DuWayne told us. "Nor will I ever countenance the government coming between a woman and her doctor or her minister or whomever she choses to consult about her intimate health matters. My opponent talks about government getting off the backs of our people. I don't know how he squares that with his extreme positions on women's choice and his shameful, ideological vote to defund Planned Parenthood."

Once again, the DCCC is trying to give Peter King a free pass. Please help Duwayne Gregory put an end to that right now. If the Democrats are going to win back the House, it's going to be with proven progressive leaders in moderate suburban districts like NY-02.




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