photo credit: Justin Lane/EPA
Blue America hasn’t spent precious time since the election asking you to sign petitions for impractical symbolic appeals to the electoral college, or to waste your money on an unwinnable pointless Senate race in Louisiana.
We are very focused on what can be done— politically– to break the back on Trumpism. And that focus is, clearly, taking back the House in 2018.
If Trump and Ryan do half the damage they promise, even an incompetent DCCC won’t be able to keep the two dozen seats that need to change hands from flipping, effectively put ting the brakes on Trumpism.
Blue America is working daily to recruit solid progressive candidates in districts from coast the coast. You can follow– and support– the results of our progress here.
Let me introduce you to one of our first recruits, Jimmy Gomez– if only they could all be this good!– a young guy from my neighborhood. When Xavier Becerra was appointed by Jerry Brown to become California Attorney General, my first thought was to wonder if Jimmy could be persuaded to run for the congressional seat. It’s a deep blue district and there’s no Republican who could ever compete there. Obama got 83% of the vote in 2012. It’s going to be a campaign about who who will be the best Democratic candidate, the one with the best proven vision for the job. Before Jimmy decided to run, I started tweeting about his accomplishments and suggesting that Congress needed his unique combination of heartfelt progressivism and hard-headed ability to work with political adversaries to accomplish his goals. The first “push back” I got came, not unexpectedly, from Sacramento. It was from a top staffer of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “Please,” the staffer wrote to me, “don’t do this. We desperately need Jimmy here in Sacramento.”
Eventually Jimmy decided he would run– and Speaker Rendon endorsed him, as did the President Pro Tem of the state Senate, Kevin de León and dozens and dozens of Jimmy’s colleagues in the legislature. Monday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in on behalf of Jimmy as have virtually all the progressive office holders in the state.
Tuesday, our old friend, former congresswoman, former Secretary of Labor and current County Supervisor Hilda Solis added her name to the growing list of public servants backing Jimmy. She wrote that “Jimmy Gomez has proven to be the State Assembly’s most effective and dedicated champion for working families. He wrote the nation’s strongest family leave laws, and stands up for equality in the workplace, in our schools and colleges, and for women’s health care. In fact, I’ve been proud of him from the days he worked for me in Congress, from his years fighting for better health care for all at the United Nurses Association of California and throughout his career in the Assembly. We need him in Congress, protecting the people of Los Angeles, and I’m proud to support him.”
Last week I had dinner with Jimmy and his wife Mary in a neighborhood diner. He talked to me about his vision for the people in his district and how he’s gone about implementing it in the state legislature. Halfway through I cursed myself for not having a tape recorder. Knowing how busy he is organizing his campaign in a field that grows more and more crowded every day, I asked him if he would write down everything he had just said so I could share it. I think he stayed up later than he wanted to to do it.
Making The Progressive Reform Agenda Work For Everyone, Including Those Who Need It Most —-by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez
I’m proud of California because we are a state of firsts . . . we are the first to pass paid family leave, the 15 dollar minimum wage, paid sick days, and groundbreaking climate change legislation to reduce green house gas emissions and preserve our environment for future generations.
Yet, California isn’t perfect. Although our state continues to improve, we still rank last or near last when it comes to a number of social indicators: education, health, economic and environmental.
Why are the laws that we pass not working the way we intend and why are we not seeing the improvements we would expect to see?
Why are certain parts of the state getting left behind, while others are thriving?
I believe it’s because a lot of our laws, policies, and programs are built on a misguided concept that anything that divides the pie equally must be fair and it must be effective in dealing with the problems we are trying to solve.
As we know, that is definitely not always the case.
There is a big difference between what is equal and what is equitable. And policy makers and politicians confuse the two. And just because it is equal doesn’t make it fair. And it definitely doesn’t make it effective.
A good example of this is California’s first-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave program that provides workers with a 55% wage replacement for up to 6 weeks to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Although the program has benefited millions of Californians, a Senate Labor committee report found that the people using the program the most were those making $82,000 a year or more, and those who were using it the least were workers making minimum wage or barely above minimum wage. Why is that?
Because it is unrealistic to expect a worker who is already living paycheck to paycheck on 100 percent of their salary to use a program for 6 weeks at only 55 percent of their wages. For many workers, California’s current Paid Family Leave program was simply an illusion. That’s why I authored AB 908, to fix this inequity and ensure all who pay into this vital program can afford to use it, regardless of their income.
Simply, my bill AB908 restructured the Paid Family Leave program and State Disability to increase the wage replacement for workers earning minimum wage to 70 percent, and 60 percent wage replacement for all other workers. This bill ensures that every worker gets the necessary funds to actually use the program and spend time with their newborn child or sick family member. When Governor Brown signed AB908, California was not only the first state to have paid family leave, it also became the first state to have a paid family leave program built on the concept of equity. A program that ensures that every family on the economic ladder gets what they need. And I’m proud of that.
This has been some year for all of us with highlights like helping elect Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin followed by the unspeakable triumph of Donald Trump, something we have to be very clear and very focused in defeating. Don’t get distracted; keep your eye on the ball: winning back the House in 2018.
Meanwhile, thanks for all you’ve done and… have a safe and healthy holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at Blue America.