It wasn’t hard for Blue America to decide to endorse Mark Gamba for Congress. He’s running for an Oregon seat held by one of the most venal Blue Dogs in the House, Kurt Schrader.
And Mark’s record of accomplishment as mayor of Milwaukie speaks as loudly as his stellar platform.
A few days ago, Mark told us that “We have a plethora of problems facing America right now: We are the only industrialized nation on earth that does not have universal health care and this has been the case for a couple of decades. We spend more on our military industrial complex than the next 10 largest militaries in the world combined– six of which are our allies. We have more of our citizens incarcerated than any other country on earth. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our schools are underfunded, more and more people are homeless every day and we have not done a damn thing about the greatest existential crisis that human kind has ever faced– Climate change.”
“Why do you think sending the same status quo, corporate sellouts back to Congress, year after year, is going to change any of that?”
He thinks it would be a good idea to elect more mayors to Congress who have proven track records of getting things done– although one of his favorite members of Congress wasn’t a mayor when she was elected.
He told us he “would argue that the most effective congressperson at the moment is the former bartender from Brooklyn. She doesn’t take corporate money and is therefore not beholden to the lobbyists; she is there for the right reason which is to serve the people’s best interests– all the people, not just the rich people. She is bold, smart, aggressive and is not ‘doing it the way it’s always been done.’ What we need are a lot more people like AOC in Congress. Let’s take climate change as an example:
The U.S. government has known for at least three decades, what it is and what it will do if left unchecked, and for three decades we have allowed Big Coal, Oil and Gas to dictate our policy.
We have dabbled around the edges and utterly failed to address the biggest threat to our species in the history of humankind.
It’s not rocket science, it’s not like we need to learn a whole lot more to solve the problem. We just have to have the political will to do it.
For starters we need to utterly stop subsidizing the industries that seem dead set on killing us.
Secondly, we need to put a price on carbon– simple, straight forward, no carve outs, no exceptions.
Those two alone will send the economic signal to change. Had we done them both 30 years ago, it might have been enough, but now it’s not.
So, we need the Green New Deal. Which apparently required someone who hadn’t been in congress for a decade to kick start.
We need to hire and train millions of people for living wage jobs that help people and our environment:
We need to carefully and effectively replace all the HFCs in all the refrigerators and air conditioners worldwide with natural refrigerants.
We need to build solar, wind (on and offshore), geothermal, tidal and wave energy systems as fast as we can until there is enough to power our entire country.
We need energy storage systems created and installed– like Lithium Ion batteries, flow batteries, pump storage, hydrogen and more.
We need to build a smart grid.
We need to upgrade our building codes to Net Zero ready.
We need to upgrade our existing building stock to radically increase their energy efficiency.
We need to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles and create an enticing trade-in process to encourage anyone willing to trade in their gasoline powered vehicles.
We need to radically increase our mass transit systems– electrify them, make them faster, more efficient and far more robust. Make transit the faster, more efficient, more comfortable way to get to work.
We need to build out our bike and pedestrian infrastructure and subsidize electric bikes.
We need to begin to convert farming to much more sustainable methods, switch no-till farming and restore our soils. We should radically reduce the chemicals we use for farming. We need to break up giant agribusinesses by ending subsidies to them and instead subsidize smaller family farms that are farming sustainably and growing food that is healthy for people and non-destructive to the planet.
We need to encourage more plant-based diets by giving people a chance to experience really great vegetarian options and teach people how to prepare those themselves.
We need to change the way we manage forests: longer rotations, selective cuts, maintain all current old growth and begin to restore it. We probably need to plant and nurture about a trillion trees worldwide. Instead of investing in war overseas perhaps we could invest in protecting, restoring and enlarging the great forests of the planet.
We need to educate girls and provide family planning worldwide; these are some of the most powerful things we can do to help alleviate poverty and slow and reverse population growth.
We need to buy less stuff and we need to make sure that the stuff we buy isn’t designed to break as soon as the warranty expires (designed obsolescence) and can be completely reused by the manufacturer when it does need to be replaced (cradle to cradle). We should also have tool libraries available in all communities so that we don’t have to buy things we will only use once or twice.
There are about 100 things beyond these that need doing just to address climate change and poverty. We can easily employ all the people in the carbon industries and millions more to do get them done. In the process we can lift people out of poverty and make sure that this transition improves the lives of the marginalized communities more than it does the billionaires.
You get the point. It should be clear why we endorsed him and why we’re trying to help him raise funds for his campaign. His can-do attitude is that these things must be done. They’re not an option. We need more people like Mark Gamba in Congress– and fewer like Blue Dog Kurt Schrader.
Please consider clicking on the 2020 Blue America congressional thermometer on the right and chipping in what you can. Schrader is financed by Wall Street, corporate PACs and the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.
In 2016 Bernie won Schrader’s congressional district in the primary. Now we need to let voters there know that they have the opportunity to elect a congressman who backs those same ideas that made them so excited about Bernie— instead of someone vastly worse than Hillary was on her worst day.
Thanks for always doing what you can to make a better world.
Howie, for the entire Blue America team