Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Beth Krom (D-CA)

This year the DCCC has decided to spend virtually all of its resources playing defense. They're not spending money on replacing out-of-step, obstructionist Republicans -- not even vulnerable ones like John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and John Campbell -- but on saving the worthless hides of the mistrusted Blue Dogs who vote most frequently with the GOP and who have opposed most of the president's Change Agenda -- reflexive reactionaries like Travis Childers (MS), Bobby Bright (AL) and Walt Minnick (ID). So once again, it's up to grassroots and netroots organizations like ours -- who helped find and support progressives the DCCC ignored, like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, John Hall, and Carol Shea-Porter -- to work toward making Congress a more receptive place for progressive values and ideas that put ordinary working people before wealthy corporate interests. And today we want to introduce you to one of those candidates, Orange County activist Beth Krom. She's joining us live in the comments section below.

Beth is a proven, intrepid, can-do progressive -- a former mayor of Irvine and current City Council member of that city-- who is running for the Orange County seat, CA-48, currently help by one of the most ridiculous of all California Republicans, "Birther Amendment" author John Campbell. The district used to be solidly red but has been changing -- and rapidly. Old style pundits and prognosticators may not have noticed -- they're better at reporting what happened than predicting what's happening -- but districts like Beth's have undergone profound demographic changes. In 2008, in fact, Obama narrowly won the 48th, which helped him run up a 67-31% statewide vote against John McCain.

A dedicated environmental activist, she first ran for City Council in 2000 to stop an international airport from being built at Orange County’s former El Toro Marine Base. Within the first two years she served, a countywide initiative was drafted and passed that rezoned El Toro for park and open space use. Today, where the airport was proposed, the Orange County Great Park is being developed. The park is the missing link in, what will be, once restored, the longest urban wilderness corridor in America, extending from the ocean at Crystal Cove to the Mexican border. When we talked with Beth about the importance of smart growth, open space preservation and balanced planning, she pointed out that "buildings don’t make communities; people make communities."

Beth is exactly the kind of candidate we would like to see replacing a careerist clown and partisan hack like Campbell. Profoundly anti-environmental -- yet representing one of the most beautiful stretches of seacoast in America -- Campbell is every irresponsible developer's fondest dream. Beth has a very different vision for Orange County and for America.

As we experience the “shock and awe” that has gripped the nation in the wake of the worst offshore oil spill in human history, it’s important to consider that our thirst for oil has led to policies that place our entire ecosystem at risk.

When everything is out of balance, we feel the effects on a daily basis. An economy out of balance, a health-care system out of balance and a planet out of balance, reflect public policies that are out of balance. There are no perfect solutions, but ignoring our problems will only lead to greater challenges in the future.

Politics is not about the black and white, it’s about the thousand shades of gray. It takes smart, courageous politicians to advance the kind of policies that will inspire change and help to move our country forward.

We think Beth can win and we think she'll bring a tremendous improvement to Congress and to Orange County is she does. If you can, please consider giving her a hand at the Blue America ActBlue page.



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Roxanne Conlin, IA-Senate

Wednesday the House voted overwhelmingly to abolish the exemption the health insurance monopolies have been enjoying from antitrust laws. I spoke to half a dozen candidates running for House seats from around the country, all of whom were very enthusiastic about the action (as you can see at the link above). Today an old Blue America friend, Rep. John Hall, sent us a statement reminding us that he's been talking about doing just this since last summer.

Finally, the House of Representatives has repealed the anti-trust exemption for the health insurance industry. I have been talking about this since last August, when it elicited applause from progressives and conservatives alike in my health care town hall meetings. I have spoken forcefully in our caucus about the insanity of allowing monopolistic practices, price-fixing, collusion and consolidation by corporations which are gouging the consumer with skyrocketing insurance premiums, shrinking coverage, underpaying of doctors, and refusing coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Today, we finally got a debate and a vote on this first, clear issue pertaining to health care reform. Competition is key in driving down costs for families and small businesses. Monopolies kill competition. I have not heard a credible reason for health insurance companies to have such protection. It is especially obvious when Anthem Blue Cross just proposed a premium hike of 39% for one year, while simultaneously posting record profits and dropping millions more from coverage. I have heard from many of you who have experienced similar hikes from your insurance companies.

Enough is enough. I co-sponsored the legislation that passed by a bipartisan vote of 406-19. Republican Representatives argued strenuously against the bill, then flip-flopped and voted for it. I guess they didn't want to face the voters after casting a vote to protect an industry that clearly does not need protection.

By chance I also happened to be on the phone with Roxanne Conlin, a progressive Democrat running for the Iowa Senate seat currently occupied by anti-health-care fanatic Chuck Grassley. Roxanne is an attorney who "has devoted her law practice in Des Moines, Iowa to representing people who have been injured by others, whether by discrimination, products, doctors or vehicles and has gained national attention and the respect of her peers in the process." She knows quite a lot about why repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act will be a tremendous boost for the whole cause of health care reform. John and I have invited her to C&L today (at noon, PT) to talk about this issue as the bill moves on to the Senate, the body she is aspiring to be part of. Meet us-- and Roxanne-- in the comments section.




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