Remember Virginia Foxx? Meet Jenny Marshall, Her Progressive Challenger

Blue America

My name is Jenny Marshall, and I’m running for Congress in North Carolina’s 5th District.  I am a teacher, a wife, a mom to seven kids, an educational advocate, and a progressive who is working to unseat Republican Incumbent Rep. Virginia Foxx.

As a mom and a teacher, I am no stranger to putting others first. I taught in a Title I priority school in Winston-Salem’s urban center.  I spent many nights after school helping struggling students, making sure they had lunch when their accounts were short and winter coats when the weather turned cold. I was always looking for ways to help my students and our community.  My advocacy has never been limited to my classroom-- I have devoted thousands of hours to grassroots organizing for progressive candidates and causes because I believe in a better future for all of us. I’ve invested a lot in this community, so when the worst-case scenario happened last November, I decided that I needed to up my game-- I had to run for Congress.

Foxx has worked to stifle collective bargaining, prevent fair wages, and allow employers to tread on worker’s rights. Most recently, she approved of Donald Trump’s order to roll back Obama-era protections for women and minority workers. Well, I’ve had enough of Virginia Foxx’s attack on American workers, and I think we ought to do something about it. The first order of business is unseating Virginia Foxx and her GOP allies who work in lockstep to disadvantage American workers at every turn.

I chose to run for Congress because there aren’t enough people in office who truly understand the problems that we face as working and middle class Americans. Most of the people in Congress don’t know what it’s like to worry about medical bills or to work a minimum wage job. They are out of touch, and they consistently fail to meet the needs of their constituents. Like many of you, I’m tired of politicians who don’t understand our needs and never bother to ask. 

When citizens all over the country can’t make an honest living off of $7.25, we have a problem. When our student debt has soared to over $1 trillion in the past seven years while the top 25 hedge-fund managers are making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined, we have a problem. When people can’t afford to see a doctor or fill their prescriptions, we have a problem. In my district, over 50% of constituents are low-income or below the poverty level-- that is unacceptable. What’s worse is that the GOP and Virginia Foxx are doing nothing to solve these problems. In fact, they do all that they can to keep systems of inequity alive and well. They have consistently voted against our best interests in order to line their own pockets, and they’ve profited off of our hardships for far too long.

Corporatism and greed continue to empower career politicians like Virginia Foxx to rob the hardworking citizens of this country, and I’ve had enough. If we want to truly fix the problems that surround us, we have to start with repairing the broken and corrupt economy that enforces our country’s most vile systems of inequity. 

But for this campaign to really take off, it has to be about us-- all of us. It has to be about people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks, immigrants, workers, and parents all working together to turn the tide in the people’s favor. This campaign is about reforming our current system from the inside out to create a collective vision for America’s future that works for all of us. Because right now, under Republican leadership, our future is dim. 

It’s high time we say no more. No more to turning a blind eye to those among us who are struggling. No more corporatism, no more tax cuts for the rich, and no more obscene spending on defense and fossil fuels while programs like Medicaid and social security sit by the wayside. In Washington, we will fight for working families and small business owners. We will fight for economic prosperity, for social and environmental justice, and for the equality of all people. 

When we come together to combat economic injustices, we will propel movements that fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry. Let us not forget that the Prison Industrial Complex exists not only to oppress people of color but to line the pockets of some of country’s wealthiest elite. Let’s remember that while white women make $73 cents on every dollar that a white man makes, women of color make markedly less than that. Let’s be mindful that LGBTQ+ identified people are excluded from non-discrimination ordinances and can legally be refused housing, loans, and other avenues of support in many states and cities. Some of the most obvious social problems stem from one, central source: greedy corporate elites willing to do whatever-- and oppress whoever-- they can to make a profit.

I know that the key to winning is to build a strong, grassroots movement. That’s why I am asking for your support. I need individuals like you to help us win by joining our campaign. I resigned as a teacher to run for Congress. I resigned to stand up for justice and represent the working people and the most vulnerable of our communities. Donate now to invest in our future, and let’s resign to win in 2018!

-Jenny

Howie: if you’d like to follow Jenny's campaign, you can do so on Facebook and Twitter.

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



Trump Coddles His Fascist Followers, Claims Incorrectly Charlottesville Violence Was "On Many Sides"

Blue America

There was already trouble Friday night when old-fashioned KKK racists and Nazis and new-fashioned alt-right Trump supporters descended on Charlottesville looking for it. This is something they've been promoting for weeks in the fever swamps of TrumpWorld. On Friday night they were screeching anti-Black and anti-Semitic chants, marching around waving cheap Walmart tiki torches.

Although officially organized by several fascist groups, the League of the South, the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Workers Party, the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights, Vanguard America and Identity Evropa, this was nothing short of a warning from the Bannon wing of the Trump Regime: Trump's supporters are easily roused to violence and that if Trump is removed there will be blood in the streets.

The Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring, lectured Trump that "the violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of 'many sides.' It is racists and white supremacists." And Vote Vets pointed out to him that "Hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives fighting the hateful ideologies that fueled yesterday's protests and subsequent violence in Virginia. The president dishonors their memories with his 'many sides' response to yesterday's domestic terrorist attack."

Much of the country was stunned and horrified that after the first death yesterday, Trump was finally forced to say something. But his message was basically to blame both sides, referring to what happened as an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

Many sides of what? The movement he's the titular head of? Politico noted that "white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump's critics pointed to the president's racially-tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation's festering racial tension."

The organizers had named their weekend of racist rallies, "Unite the Right." Both avowed Nazi Richard Spencer and KKK leader David Duke were present. Duke was quick to declare Charlottesville a "turning point" for a movement that aims to "fulfill the promises of Donald Trump."

When I asked Alan Grayson what he thought of the conflagration he told me that "David Duke said it far beyond my poor power to add or detract. Duke said that the racists are trying 'to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.' If the hood fits, wear it."

Michael Keegan, President of People for the American Way, spoke for all Americans-- except Nazis and racists, obviously, when he said that yesterday's events were "heartbreaking and infuriating. When Donald Trump was elected president, many of us feared that his election would embolden radical extremists and white supremacists. Today shows that those concerns were entirely justified. Moreover, the President’s refusal to clearly and emphatically denounce a group of Nazis and white supremacists underscores his longstanding willingness to exploit the Right’s most hateful impulses for political gain-- as well as the GOP’s willingness to abide Trump’s tactics of hate in order to push its own ideological agenda. Elected officials should make clear in no uncertain terms that they condemn the hate and racism of the 'Unite the Right' rally and its leaders, and they won’t associate with those who do otherwise. Our thoughts are with the victims of today’s terror attack, as well as with their families and loved ones. I’m grateful for the activists of every race and creed who are standing up for their values every day in nonviolent protest in Charlottesville and across the country. They, not those who spew bigotry and hatred, represent the true American way."

We got in touch with Jenny Marshall, the progressive candidate running in the central North Carolina district represented by bigot Virginia Foxx. "Americans across this country," Jenny told us, "must stand together in condemning the aims of white supremacy and white nationalism. While our government must protect freedom of speech, we, as its citizens, have a duty to reject the violence provoking, hate speech and intimidation shown by the alt-right. Our president and his administration have been silent as our fellow Muslim citizens in Minnesota had their mosque attacked and again during these horrific events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We cannot wait for his leadership in this matter, as it is obviously lacking. So, now is the time for America's citizens to gather together and resoundingly reject bigotry and racism. We must show the world that love trumps hate."  

We reached out to prominent civil rights attorney is Jim Thompson, who is running for the Wichita-based Kansas congressional seat. We want his eloquent words to be the official Blue America response to the tragedy in Charlottesville:

"My heart aches for those injured in Charlottesville, especially for the families of the three who lost their lives standing up to hatred and protecting our democracy. The thoughts and prayers of myself and my family are with you all. As a civil rights attorney and a U.S. Army infantryman, I have sworn to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. What we witnessed in Charlottesville is no less than a domestic enemy intent on the subversion of our American principles and embracing the evil of terrorism. We saw White Nationalists, Nazis, and the 'Alt Right' claiming to 'Unite the Right' and seeking to destroy equality. They consider themselves superior simply because of the color of their skin and religious preference. They raise their hands in salutes paying homage to Hitler and Nazi principles, which included the killing of millions of men, women and children of different races, colors, religions, and those who did not fit the stereotype of the “master race.” Our grandfathers fought in World War II to eliminate this stain on humanity, and we must continue their fight. In a land where all men and women are created equal and entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there can be no ultimate peace between the Nazi/white supremacist/'alt right' philosophy of government, and our American values stated in the Constitution. I unequivocally reject their philosophy and will continue to fight all enemies of equality, justice, and the United States of America.

"I embrace our diversity of religion, race, and opinion in this country. However, the right to an opinion does not mean that the opinion is right. When immorality, hatred and intolerance form the basis of an opinion or movement, we must exercise our freedom of speech to identify those who hold that opinion and condemn them and their beliefs. Mr. President, you must lead that charge. I ask you Mr. President to formally and unequivocally reject the alt right movement, white supremacy and Nazi philosophy, and to state their beliefs and philosophies are inconsistent with American values. Contrary to your assertion, there are not “many sides” to this issue, there are only two sides: right and wrong. Mr. President, it is long past time for you to choose which side of the fence you are on because riding the fence will just get splinters in your ass."

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.



North Carolina Needs Our Help

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We want to make a different kind of case for our two progressive congressional candidates in North Carolina, Jenny Marshall-- who's opposing Virginia Foxx-- and Matt Coffay-- who's up against Freedom Caucus headman Mark Meadows. Normally we'd tell you about how extreme Foxx and Meadows are (and they sure are-- two of the very worst) and how awesome Jenny and Matt are (also a very accurate assessment). But today we want to make a special plea for the great state of North Carolina.

Our sisters and brothers in North Carolina are in deep trouble. As Michael Wines explained in the NY Times last week, the GOP has thrown away the rule book and is undermining democracy more overtly than any state in America ever has. The Supreme Court has ruled twice last month that the state's election laws are overtly racist and unconstitutional. The state's Republican leaders don't care what the Supreme Court says and "since November, when Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, reclaimed the governor’s office from the incumbent Republican, Pat McCrory, Republicans have redoubled their efforts to keep the levers of state government and state courts in their control."

The state Republican Party is not concerned with the rule of law-- other than their own perverted and unconstitutional laws. “What we’re seeing in North Carolina is an effort at political entrenchment that is unparalleled,” said Allison Riggs, a senior staff lawyer at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a Durham advocacy group that sued Republican leaders over the election law. “It requires a complete disregard for the will of the voters and political participation, and a disregard for the independence of the judiciary.”

A special session in December stripped the governor of most power to appoint state employees and university trustees, choose a cabinet without legislative approval and install majorities on state and local election boards. The latter move was stayed, pending a trial.

Now the legislators are taking aim at the state judicial system. In December, after voters elected a Democratic majority to the nominally nonpartisan State Supreme Court, the legislature expanded the jurisdiction of the Republican-led Court of Appeals and made the legal path toward other Supreme Court hearings more tortuous. Last month, Republicans voted to shrink the Court of Appeals by barring replacement of the next three retiring judges, denying Mr. Cooper a chance to nominate successors.

Foxx's and Meadows' districts are very gerrymandered and pretty red, respectively with PVIs of R+11 and R+13. Trump took 57.4% in Foxx's district and 63.2% in Meadows' district. But that had more to do with Hillary than with Republicanism. Bernie beat Hillary in Meadows' district and in every part of Foxx's district except Winston-Salem. These areas are looking for an authentic solution to the problems of working families.

Matt Coffay told us that "Last December, the Electoral Integrity Project-- which has monitored and scored elections in 153 countries-- ranked North Carolina's election integrity score at 58 out of 100. This places us alongside Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. But when it comes to our voting districts, we received a 7/100 score. As the Charlotte News & Observer reported, 'North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.' The worst in the world. That's where North Carolina stands."

I have hope that the cases currently before the Supreme court-- from both Wisconsin and North Carolina-- alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering will be decided in such a way as to force a fair redrawing of our state's districts. But we have to keep talking about this issue, and keep fighting. When I'm elected to Congress, I intend to be a vocal critic of gerrymandering. Just like our broken campaign finance system, it dramatically endangers our democracy."

 

North Carolina Democrats have been fighting back and organizing, but they cannot do it alone. The political temperature there is on fire-- the people are hungry for the change Jenny and Matt's representation can bring. If possible, please consider making a donation to their campaigns today.



Heroes and Villains

Recently I was getting to know two new congressional candidates running for seats held by Republicans in California. I asked one why he had donated so much money to John Kasich's presidential campaign in 2016. He told me he "used to be" a Republican. And now he wants to be in Congress... as a Democrat? "Ex"-Republicans that were elected last year-- Charlie Crist (FL) and Tom O'Halleran (AZ), for example-- vote overwhelmingly with the GOP against progressive legislation, as "ex"-Republicans almost always do. Both have joined the Blue Dogs and the New Dems, the core of the Republican Wing of the Democratic Party. DO we really want more of that in Congress? I don't; the DCCC certainly does. That's exactly what they want in Congress. And they want you to help pay to put them there.

The other guy, running against a really reprehensible Republican is headed for the Blue Dogs too if he gets into office. When I asked him about healthcare policy he hadn't spent any more time thinking about the issues than Donald Trump had. He wasn't for Medicare-for-All and he quickly turned the conversation to something positive-- his support for the Second Amendment and the important work the NRA does. I'm pretty sure he's better than the Republican he's running against but is that a candidate I want to contribute money to-- or urge you to contribute money to? I don't think so.

After Thursday's 217-213 vote for TrumpCare and all that entails, a tremendous amount of energy was released on the left. It's a shame that much of that energy went to raising money not directly for progressive candidates but to DCCC front operations that will use it for candidates like the ones above.

There are some great progressive candidates with compelling biographies and powerful ideas about moving America forward who are running against TrumpCare Republicans in districts Trump lost. Blue America has endorsed several so far-- like Geoff Petzel, who's running against Peter Roskam in a suburban Chicagoland district where Hillary beat Trump 50.2% to 43.2%, and Doug Applegate in the Orange and San Diego county district Darrell Issa calls home and where Hillary won decisively over Trump, 50.7% to 43.2%... and where Applegate came within around 1,500 votes of ousting Issa in 2016. These are widely targeted districts and many groups besides Blue America will be helping in them.

But there are also districts that I like to call Heroes and Villains Districts:
NC-11 is a tough district-- very red... and the base for Freedom Caucus chieftain Mark Meadows, the congressman who turned the first horrible version of TrumpCare into the even worse monstrosity that passed Thursday. The DCCC is ignoring it because Hillary did so poorly there. Trump won it with 63.2%. But Bernie won that district too and would have done far better than Hillary did there. A Bernie organizer, a young farmer named Matt Coffay, founder of the Asheville Our Revolution group, is running against Meadows on a perfect progressive platform. Perfect. Up the road, another former Bernie activist, Jenny Marshall, a public school teacher, is running against another symbol of greed-and-hatred-driven reactionary politics, Virginia Foxx. Again, the DCCC has no interest in the district. And again, it was an area where Bernie excelled and where people are very open to his-- and Jenny's-- ideas. These candidates need and deserve our support.

Another Heroes and Villains situation where the DCCC isn't going to be on our side is down in South Florida, where Tim Canova is once again taking on the burden of holding accountable Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the symbol of all that ails the Democratic Party. "At this difficult time," wrote Tim yesterday, "when we must unite against the dangerous and inhumane policies of the Trump administration, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has reminded us of her central role in preventing progressive reform and bringing on the implosion of the Democratic Party... As long as Wasserman Schultz remains in public life, there will be no party unity-- and that’s because she has learned absolutely nothing from the setbacks and failures that she helped engineer."

We're all angry over the TrumpCare vote, but it's important to remember that except for politicians like Wasserman Schultz wrecking the Democratic Party brand, it's unlikely anything like Trump would have ever gotten anywhere near the White House.

Let's contribute strategically, to solid candidates like Jenny Marshall and Matt Coffay in North Carolina, to Doug Applegate in California, Geoff Petzel in Illinois and Tim Canova in Florida. That's how we make Congress a force for good-- not by electing a pack of Blue Dogs the DCCC hopes to sneak by you.




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