Another Texas District Not As Safe As The GOP Thought

Blue America has endorsed Mike Siegel for the congressional seat that stretches from Tomball and Cypress in the exurbs northwest of Houston, through Prairie View, Brenham and Weimar into northern Austin and its suburbs. Mike beat his TX-10 primary opponent with over 70% of the vote. Now he'll face entrenched incumbent Michael McCaul, one of the richest members of Congress. The DCCC has refused to offer him any assistance, as they have with many progressives running this cycle. Mike's been raising decent grassroots money in this extremely gerrymandered district and as of the June 30 FEC reporting deadline he had brought in $175,279. That's already more than anyone has raised against McCaul in a decade. 

Friday, the Austin water utility reported that McCaul's sprawling West Austin home used more city-supplied water than any other single-family residence in 2017-- more than a million gallons, something McCaul is desperate to cover up.

Coincidentally, the same week that McCaul’s water waste came to light, Mike received the national endorsement of the Sierra Club. "McCaul’s water-hogging is consistent with his worldview," Mike told us. "He believes this world is a playground for the rich, never mind the needs of the rest of us. Take his vote for the 2017 tax cuts: over $40 million went into the pockets of his family, and then he voted to cut our healthcare and retirement... We need to move past this latest gilded age and get to a place where everyone has a fair shot."

This week, Mike made the point that there are many societal functions that should not be for-profit. He reminded his supporters that

"the GOP family separation policy is not just a cynical show to motivate hateful Republican voters, it is also a profit-center. A growth industry. A wellspring of extravagant fortunes for well-connected entrepreneurs. And a source of political contributions. Private prison operators donate tens of millions of dollars to political candidates. My general election opponent, Rep. Michael McCaul, has received at least $15,000 from jailers profiting from immigrant detention, including Corrections Corporation of America (now "CoreCivic") and the Geo Group. In his capacity as Chairman of Homeland Security, McCaul advocates to fill more beds in immigrant detention centers. There is a direct line between the money he receives and the policies he creates."

Yes, what he's talking about is America's prison industrial complex and warns us that "the influence of companies like Geo Corp and CoreCivic threatens to take immigration policy out of the hands of the American people and into the hands of those who profit for suffering... In a functioning democratic system, our elected representatives would not allow for so much suffering to be conducted in our name."

WATCH Mike Siegel's first video, "You Can't Buy People".

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 1.02.56 AM.png

He went on to contrast McCaul's record with what he's promising to do in Congress:

"Two-thirds of the American people oppose family separation. In November we have a chance to hold some of the key perpetrators accountable, including Michael McCaul. I will make sure that every Texas 10th voter knows that McCaul supported separating mothers from their children from the first day the policy was announced. As the Democratic nominee, I have promised to reject all corporate PAC donations, and I am committed to undoing the privatization of our immigration detention system and fighting for a larger overhaul of how we treat migrant families, asylum seekers, guest workers, students, and other visitors to this country.

This summer, my campaign successfully petitioned the Texas Democratic Party to add opposition to private detention centers to its statewide platform. The next step is to change our representative."

Voters across the country are ready to throw out corrupt and self-dealing politicians. McCaul is one of the worst, using his chairmanship to advance a pernicious industry that in return, fills his campaign coffers. Removing him from office will be a victory for human rights and common decency.

We hope Blue America members will help by contributing to Mike Siegel's campaign at a special ActBlue page. This page assists progressives who won their primaries by have been abandoned by the DCCC. Small contributions add up and help beat even the wealthiest GOP plutocrats and oligarchs like Michael McCaul.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



A District To Win Back In Maine

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_JARED_GOLDEN.jpg

Maine's second congressional district isn't white collar Portland or ritzy Kennebunkport. ME-02 is an all-American blue collar district. It's a swing district that Obama won by about 10 points both times he ran but that Hillary lost by about 10 points to Trump. The Democratic establishment was looking for a Blue Dog to run, a Republican-lite character who would sound like a less extreme version of the current congressman, Trump enabler Bruce Poliquin. Instead, Mainers chose one of their own, Jared Golden, a populist leader who doesn't act like anything... he's an authentic working class guy and Marine veteran. Golden has a great record of accomplishment as one of the leaders in the state House. He has a well-rounded platform, but his top issue is healthcare.

Blue America asked him to write  a guest post explaining why:

Mainers Want To Talk About Healthcare
by Jared Golden

As I travel across Maine's 2nd Congressional District-- the largest district geographically east of the Mississippi River-- the one issue voters want to talk about most is healthcare. When speaking with small business owners, private building contractors, those working in Maine's fishing industry, the best shipbuilders in the world at Bath Iron Works, and Mainers of every stripe, more often than not, the discussion turns quickly to healthcare. And it's no wonder. For years, the hard-working people of Maine-- and America-- have struggled under the ever-increasing challenges associated with ensuring they and their loved ones have access to affordable, quality care.

Hearing their stories has given me both hope and determination. Hope because the folks I meet remind me of how ruggedly independent the people of Maine are; determination because these same people need a representative who has their back in Congress. Unfortunately, the current office-holder, Republican Bruce Poliquin, has turned a deaf ear to these stories. In fact, Poliquin refused to even meet with the people he is elected to represent about the issue when, last year, the Congress was debating the repeal of the ACA. Ultimately, Poliquin voted to pull the rug from under his constituents that would have left more than 100,000 without healthcare. Fortunately, this partisan effort failed due to three courageous Republican Senators but, if Poliquin had been successful, devastating consequences would have soon followed.

The American Health Care Act of 2017 passed the House of Representatives in May of 2017 with the help of my opponent. The AHCA would have made dramatic changes to Medicaid, a program, that for 50-plus years, has served the needs of the poor and disabled, including low-income seniors, and children living in low-income homes. Despite the fact that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected 23 million additional Americans would become uninsured, Poliquin still voted for this flawed legislation. And the bad news didn't stop there. 

Maine is a rural state but, in the 2nd District we take rural to another level. Mainers living far from the urban centers of the state rely heavily on rural healthcare clincs and hospitals located throughout the district. Poliquin's vote would have devastated that network leading to a large percentage-- if not all-- of  these facilities closing their doors. That would have left many of his constituents without care, plus led to the elimination many good-paying jobs thus causing a double-whammy to local economies. And you don't need to take my word for it. “We’re all worried,” Jeffrey Austin, vice president of government affairs at the Maine Hospital Association said in an article published by the Portland Press Herald. “The average operating margins in Maine hospitals are about 1 percent. There just isn’t room for dramatic negative impacts.”

The Maine Hospital Association opposed the repeal Poliquin voted for. And then there is the looming opioid crisis that Maine is facing. Poliquin's repeal would make a terrible situation even more unbearable. In a March 2017 piece published in Perspective Magazine, doctors Peter Friedman, Christina M. Andrews and Keith Humphreys laid out the need to preserve the healthcare tools provided by the ACA in fighting the scourge of the opioid crisis-- a crisis that has led to more than a death per day in my home state. The doctors wrote "Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not designed with the opioid epidemic in mind, it provides valuable tools for expanding access to medication treatment." They went on to point out "...inclusion of addiction treatment as an essential health benefit that existing insurance plans must cover, and requirements that benefits for treatment of opioid use disorder be provided at parity with coverage of medical and surgical procedures" were among the reasons the ACA should not be repealed. Despite the impact on his constituents, despite the real damage repeal would have wrought upon local communities, and despite the heartbreak of the on-going opioid crisis, my opponent still broke from the rest of our state's Congressional delegation in voting to repeal the ACA. 

I've served my country as a U.S. Marine; I've served as a staffer to a U.S. Senator; I've served as an elected office-holder in the Maine Legislature; and I've served in a leadership role in my caucus. In each and every one of those roles I was told to remember the people I was serving and, to the best of my ability, I have. If elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, I will take the lessons I've learned in my previous roles with me-- most important among them, to remember the people I'm serving.

But I need your help.

This race has recently been moved from 'leans Republican' to  'toss-up' by the non-partisan Cook Report. That's encouraging-- and serious. We can win this seat and return the voice of Maine's 2nd Congressional District back to the hard-working people who call it home.

(Howie) A 'toss up' means that with a little extra help with campaign funds Jared has a EVEN SHOT to Flip this District from Red to BLUE. Please consider sending some "BlueWave" love to Jared Golden on our #BlueAmericaBetterHouse2018" page.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



I've Been A Miner For A Heart Of Gold

The Blue America contest for Alan Grayson is still going strong. It ends Saturday. We're giving away a very rare gorgeous RIAA-certified double platinum award for Neil Young's HARVEST, his 4th studio album (1972). Just contribute any amount to Alan Grayson's congressional campaign on this ActBlue page. That makes you eligible to win, regardless of how much you give. All the arcane FEC rules are here, if you have the mind of a lawyer.

Alan is a big Neil Young fan but Alan's wife, Dena, is the real Neil aficionado, even singing his songs to Alan. She's the one who can tell you anything you want to know about every song on HARVEST. Alan's the one who can't stop talking about "Let's Impeach The President" from Neil's Living With War album. This is what he told his own supporters a few days ago:

At a slightly earlier moment in the space-time continuum, Neil Young wrote a song that seems very apt at this moment. The song is called "Let’s Impeach the President." He wrote it regarding an earlier awful President, not the current awful President. But most people whom I know think that this one is more awful than that one-- by a wide margin. Read the lyrics, listen to the case that Neil Young made for impeachment, and ask yourself: Doesn’t Donald Trump deserve it even more?

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 7.27.03 AM.png

Let's impeach the President for lying
And misleading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door

Who's the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
They bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war

Let's impeach the President for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government's protection
Or was someone just not home that day?

Flip - Flop
Flip - Flop
Flip - Flop
Flip - Flop

Let's impeach the president for hijacking
Our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected.

Yes, let’s impeach the President. Please contribute to our Dump Trump campaign fund, and earn a chance to win a platinum record award from Neil Young, the singer who said it first

This one's from HARVEST:

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 7.33.49 AM.png

The contest ends Saturday. And, like Neil, Alan is a real superstar. Contest or no contest, we need this guy back in Congress. While other candidates hide under their beds when someone asks them if they back impeaching Trump, Grayson has his district covered in the billboards you see up top.

One more thing, if you've become used to click on a fundraising thermometer to make your contributions, we have a Blue America Harvest thermometer for you too. Goal Thermometer

Please think for a second about how this isn't just about a contest... it's also electing someone to Congress who's shown us what he can do.

Remember Alan in the well of the House, Republicans going absolutely nuts on the floor: The Republican healthcare plan: "Don't Get Sick... If You Get Sick... Die Quickly!" They yelled and screamed he should retract that and apologize.

There were even establishment Democrats who asked him to do what the Republicans asked for. You know, he never did, right? That's not Alan Grayson. He'll apologize when he makes a mistake; that was no mistake!

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Michigan To The Rescue

twoshot.jpg

Blue America has endorsed 2 women running for Congress in Michigan with proven records for leadership in the state legislature, Rashida Tlaib and Ellen Lipton. We endorsed them both because they are progressives with progressive records of accomplishment. Identity politics played no role in either endorsement.

That said, take a look at this tweet from Dave Wasserman last week:

wasserman tweet.png

Ellen is the only woman in the August 7th primary for an open seat up against two men, one of whom, Andy Levin, is the retiring Congressman’s son. He’s got the family name recognition; Ellen's got the legislative experience and proven record fighting for progressive values, having served 6 years in Michigan’s State House and worked as a healthcare activist and public education advocate.

The polling and focus groups that have been dome in MI-09 show that when voters-- particularly women voters-- see and hear her story, her record and progressive vision trump Levin's name recognition-- and she wins. 2018 so far is an extraordinary year for women candidates, and women in Democratic primaries are voting in record numbers. She promised her supporters that

"We’re going to win this primary by hosting events all over the district, knocking on thousands and thousands of doors, and making sure every single voter in the 9th knows my name, who I am, and what I stand for... I’m so proud and inspired to be a part of the wave of Democratic women standing up to run for Congress this year. It’s time to change the fact that only 20% of Congress is female-- because we all deserve better. We need strong women leaders in Congress now more than ever."

Republicans don't do well in her district-- McCain only pulled 40.1%. Romney, a hometown boy, did a little better at 41.9% and Trump pulled 43.7%. The PVI is D+4 and it's more than very likely that whoever wins the primary will be the next congress member.

That's even more so in MI-13, where the Republicans aren't even running a candidate and which Rashida represented in the state legislature and where she's running now. The PVI is a jaw-dropping D+33 and Obama won with around 85% both times he ran and where Trump only drew 18% of the vote. MI-13-- a big chunk of Detroit plus Highland Park, Dearborn Heights, Inkster and Romulus out beyond the airport-- is a blue powerhouse, the kind of district that should be sending cutting edge leaders to Congress. And that's exactly who Rashida is.

Again, two relatives of the last congressman, John Conyers, decided to run, a son (who was disqualified) and a nephew. If Rashida wins this one, everything in her record points to one thing: she's not going to be some backbencher voting like a good little Democrat; she'll be helping form a new progressive consensus among House Democrats and leading the way on tough issues others are afraid to touch, just the way she did in the Michigan legislature.

Both Ellen and Rashida are guided by the belief that everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged, deserves access to opportunity and a better quality of life. They have both dedicated their professional lives to amplifying and addressing the concerns of working families. They don't just talk about it... they both have records to show they've been doing it.

Rashida:

"I’m running because I get results. I brought home $5.6 million in funding for before-and-after school programs and $7.8 million for bilingual education and literacy. I brought home $1 million for free health care clinics and $2 million to remove toxic lead paint from older homes. And I did it with Republicans in control of the Legislature, because I don’t make excuses, I get it done."

Neither of these dynamic women is an establishment candidate. The DCCC is ignoring both, while backing a Blue Dog and a New Dem in Michigan. That may be because neither Ellen nor Rashida sits still and gets told what to do by representatives of the status quo.

dark.png
They are exactly what Congress needs, what the Democratic Party needs... what our country needs. Please consider contributing to their campaigns by clicking on the 2018 congressional thermometer on the right.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Next Stop For The Blue Wave-- North Carolina And Indiana

The next primaries for House seats are on May 8 in Indiana and North Carolina, where we have two outstanding candidates, Dan Canon (IN-09) and Jenny Marshall (NC-05).

Both are running strong, issues-oriented grassroots campaigns and both need our help with the final 5-week lap.

I asked Jenny and Dan what good could some extra campaign contributions do this late in the game. Here's what they told me:

JennyMarshall for the people (2).jpg

Jenny first:

Our campaign has been running a strong field program, but with 263 precincts spread out over 3200 square miles we need to ensure that we reach as many voters as possible. We have been out knocking doors for a month and calling voters for the past 12 weeks, but we have many more people to reach. We need to send out 20,000 mailers to those people who live in more remote and rural areas, hire 10 additional field canvassers for those areas we can walk so we can talk to people at their homes, and purchase campaign materials including 10,000 more door hangers, 20,000 4x6 handouts highlighting our campaign, 700 yard signs and to support our digital advertising in the district. We expect to have 41,000 people turn out and vote in the primary. We estimate it will take $30,000 to secure the Democratic nomination on May 8th.

Jenny and her team have been running a bold progressive campaign to unseat arch-villain Rep. Virginia Foxx, who has turned herself into a virtual rubber stamp for Trump and a terrible representative of North Carolinans. Jenny told us that while out on the campaign trail, she's "talked to thousands of people who tell me that they are struggling to make ends meet and are afraid they are going to lose their health insurance. This, coupled with those who just can't afford to use the insurance they pay for is just unconscionable! Rep. Foxx has ignored the needs of the people for far too long. She voted no on raising the minimum wage back in 2007 when it was just $5.85 an hour. She voted to strip healthcare away from millions of people with her vote to repeal the ACA. She just doesn't care about the daily grind the vast majority of us are going through. Our campaign speaks up for those who have been ignored and dismissed. We are here to fight for them."

Jenny is eager to take on Foxx but she's got to win the primary against a centrist primary opponent first-- that's the election coming up May 8th. Jenny's opponent is an 'Establishment Dem' who:

  • doesn't believe in raising the minimum wage beyond $10 per hour
  • doesn't support tuition-free public colleges and universities
  • stated that our public education system is broken and would use her knowledge of the business world to "fix it."
  • In other words, she is all about doing just enough to look like she is on our side, but not enough to actually help our families and our communities.

Jenny is committed to raising the wage to $15 an hour and tying it to inflation and fighting for healthcare for all.

Dan's turn:

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 12.35.16 PM.png

"There’s an old adage in politics that 'field wins campaigns.' That is why this campaign has invested in a robust field program that has been up and running since mid-September. We have three offices open across the 9th District and have made over 125,000 (and counting) contacts thanks to a dedicated base of supporters who have been calling voters, pounding the pavement, and attending countless events since last summer. In the final month of the primary, the money you donate will be spent heavily on our field efforts to mobilize supporters and G(et) O(ut) T(he) V(ote)! By helping us keep our offices running full steam ahead through May 8th, as well as funding direct mail and digital advertising targeted to likely voters, a donation to this campaign is an investment that will help us build a movement here in the heartland."

Throughout this campaign, Dan has been a strong proponent of a guaranteed public jobs program, a national UBI pilot program, and the abolition of ICE. "I am proud to say I am the only candidate in my race discussing these ideas that are crucial to creating jobs, investing in our workforce, and ensuring the dignity of all people. Hoosiers (those of us from Indiana) are tired of the duck-and-cover rhetoric that other campaigns use, and with your help we are going to prove that progressive candidates can take bold stances that offer real solutions for real people."

Dan and Jenny are two of the most intelligent, independent-minded and passionate leaders we've come across in our many years of vetting progressive candidates. All of us at Blue America believe any support you can give them is richly deserved and will be wisely used-- a real step towards getting more members in the vein of Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Mark Pocan, Ted Lieu and Pramila Jayapal into Congress. Please consider giving what you can to their campaigns today.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team




Paid for by Blue America PAC, blueamerica.crooksandliars.com, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.