Keith Ellison Tells Bernie "I'll Be There for You"

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Credit: Howie Klein

After Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that Bernie founded and was first chairman of, endorsed Bernie last week, I asked a savvy friend of mine on Capitol Hill when some of the other progressives who love the platform Bernie is running on would jump in. She told me that it probably wouldn't happen until after the first debate. Well... Keith Ellison (D-MN), the other co-chair of the Caucus, jumped in Monday afternoon, before Tuesday night's debate. Keith knew exactly what Bernie would say in the debate. It's the kind policy he's been working on himself since he was elected to the state legislature in 2002.

Besides being the second Member of the House to endorse Bernie, Keith is also the first Muslim Member of Congress to endorse the Jewish senator from Vermont! Like Grijalva, he will now go out and speak on behalf of Bernie's campaign as a surrogate, the same way many conservative Democrats like Claire McCaskill, Steve Israel and Kurt Schrader are running around boosting Clinton.

Keith told his hometown paper that "Bernie knows that the power ultimately lies with the American people. And in a time where voter participation is at an all-time low, Bernie has shown that he has the ability to create a renaissance in civic participation by exciting those who are least likely to vote. Having stood with Bernie over the years on many different issues, including the Fight for $15, the effort to ban private prisons, and calling for the end of subsidies for Big Oil, I am proud to stand with him now."

He also said that he endorsed Bernie "because he is talking about the issues that are important to American families... We’ve all seen the massive crowds he is attracting, and I think that is a testament to his message connecting with people-- people we will need to turn out in November. Bernie and I have stood together on progressive values for years. Bernie was a founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and as one of the current co-chairs, we have a shared desire to help Americans who are struggling to get by."

Alan Grayson says he's not taking sides yet and that he'd like to work with either Bernie or Hillary. Yesterday, though, he sent out a letter to his supporters saying that he wanted to tell them "something about Bernie Sanders that you probably didn’t know. He served for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and for much of that time, Bernie passed more amendments on the Floor of the House than any other Member of the House. That’s right: the one Member who belonged to neither party passed more amendments than any Member who belonged to either party. Good, solid progressive amendments. Lots of them. He was principled, and he was effective."

Blue America added Keith-- as well as, Angela Marx, the progressive Democrat running in Washington's 3rd congressional district (Vancouver and the suburbs north of Portland, Oregon)-- to the ActBlue page dedicated to incumbents and congressional candidates who have endorsed Bernie.

We spoke to Angela Marx, a life-long resident of Clark County, where she raised two daughters and is helping raise two granddaughters. She's well-known to the Daily Kos community and when she decided that she would explore running for public office this year, she chose an Occupy Democrats poster which expressed her thinking about America and pinned it to her Twitter page on June 14, 2014. "Today," she told us, "it looks like it could be a Bernie Sanders campaign poster. Which is why, when Bernie Sanders started running for the Presidency, I KNEW he was my candidate... because we both stand for the same thing-- ensuring a better America for all of us. Vote Bernie Sanders for President in 2016, because we ARE #StrongerTogether!

This week we're going to give away this rare RIAA-cerified platinum award for the soundtrack of the TV series Friends.(Shown above.) Please consider giving any or all of the candidates-- as well as Bernie-- a contribution. There is no contribution too small to be appreciated. In fact, we're about to burst through our thermometer goal and most of the donations have been $40 or less.



Progressive Leaders Have Started Endorsing Bernie Sanders

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Credit: Slate.com
For Bernie to succeed as president, he's going to need support from Members of the Senate and the House. If he wins, there will be plenty of institutional Democratic support. Right now, we want to thank progressive incumbents and candidates with the courage to endorse him. It's just starting.

Friday evening Bernie Sanders will be speaking at the DeMeester Performance Center, an outdoor amphitheater that holds 7,000 people, in Tucson's Reid Park. He'll be introduced by the local congressman, Raúl Grijalva, chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group that Bernie founded in 1991. Wednesday, Grijalva became the first member of Congress to endorse Bernie's campaign. Friday he plans to make the case for how, in his words, "Bernie is the right leader to fight income inequality, protect our safety net and ensure every American has a stake in the future of our country."

Bernie is the first incumbent to have endorsed Bernie but several progressive candidates for Congress have already decided to bite the bullet and do the right thing. The first candidate to endorse Bernie was South Jersey reformer Alex Law, who's running against the corrupt, conservative Machine candidate, Donald Norcross. Back in August he told us that he was the only congressional candidate in New Jersey who had endorsed Bernie, explaining that "Bernie's thoughts on student loan reform, campaign finance reform, income inequality, raising the minimum wage, diplomacy over war, tax reform, and drug reform resonate deeply with me. His influence is apparent in my policy ideas." He reiterated last night, telling us that:

I am the only Democrat in New Jersey running for office that has endorsed Bernie because I share his progressive values. I share his conviction to address income inequality and to fight corruption in politics. Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat truly committed to addressing campaign finance reform not only in words but in action as he has not accepted Super-PAC support. Whether it's LGBTQ rights, student loan reform, Wall Street reform, drug/prison reform or other issues, Bernie has a vision I agree with. Bernie Sanders is the people's candidate, and I am proud to say I endorse him for President of the United States of America.

The second of Hillary's 3 home state-- Arkansas-- was the scene of the next Bernie endorsement and it came from Robbie Wilson, the congressional candidate in the Fayetteville area. "I take great satisfaction in the fact that I align with Senator Sanders on every issue," he told us. "Most importantly, I agree with the Senator on the subject of overturning Citizens United. There is no greater threat to the survival of the middle class, and no darker bruise on our political structure. Furthermore, this issue goes hand-in-hand with the likelihood that we will need to appoint Supreme Court Justices over the next two presidential terms, and the idea that a Republican President and Congress would steer those appointments is almost too much to bear. Senator Sanders and I also share the same stance on the issues of women’s rights, foreign policy and economics, among others. But in a broader sense, we both believe that our government was intended to benefit all Americans, not to hold down the many in order to appease a few. This is a fundamental theme that is woven throughout the fabric of my platform, and I’m proud to say Senator Sanders reflects these same values."

And the 4th candidate to endorse Bernie-- and this was also Wednesday-- was Tom Guild, running for the Oklahoma City seat. "Bernie Sanders and I are in agreement on the vast majority of the major issues facing America," he said. "He has raised millions of dollars from grassroots activists in small amounts. He is drawing huge and sometimes unprecedented crowds wherever he goes. There are other good and able presidential candidates running in 2016. Bernie is the best of the best. He is the best hope to turn around our country and to fix the broken campaign finance system, address income inequality, reduce mounting college student debt, increase Social Security benefits, protect Medicare, repair our nation’s tattered infrastructure, support public education, raise the wages for American workers, and effectively deal with other pressing matters. America feels the Bern! I support and endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States."

Goal Thermometer

Blue America is thrilled that the support from progressives has started coming in and we started a special Act Blue page just for Members of Congress and candidates for Congress endorsing Bernie.

Most Democrats love Bernie's platform and his ideas for making America a more equitable place to love. Even if he's elected, he's going to need supporters in Congress on the same page. We know Grijalva and the whole Progressive Caucus will be there for him but Bernie is going to have Republicans, Blue Dogs and the Wall Street-owned New Dems to contend with, which is why it is so crucial to elect progressives like Alex Law, Robbie Wilson and Tom Guild. Please contribute what you can to these candidates.

And this week, Blue America is going to give away an extremely rare RIAA-certified platinum award for the Friends soundtrack. This was the first-even TV series to win a platinum record (for a million sales) and it included songs by The Rembrandts, REM, Joni Mitchell, the Barenaked Ladies, Lou Reed, kd lang, Paul Westerberg, the Pretenders and the other musicians that contributed songs to the show.

As a way of thanking contributors, we'll randomly select on lucky "winner." There is no minimum-- anyone can win this by contributing on this page. In fact if you want the platinum award but find yourself strapped for cash, just send us a post card (pronto)-- Blue America, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027-- and let us know you want to win too and that you'll contribute some other time if you can.




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