Colorado’s first congressional district– basically Denver– is the most progressive in the state– D+24. The voters there were smart enough to make Trump’s share of the 2020 vote 22%, a point lower than his 2016 share.
The member of Congress is neither a Blue Dog, a New Dem or a progressive. Diana DeGette is… just there. She’s not terrible– her ProgressivePunch lifetime rating is “B”– but she sure isn’t a cutting edge, forward thinking representative for a district like the one she represents.
Today Blue America is officially endorsing DeGette’s progressive primary opponent, Neal Walia, the son of Indian immigrants and the first person in his family to be born in the US. He told me that both of his parents, like many immigrants, came to this country in pursuit of what was known as the “American Dream.”
Neal a University of Colorado graduate taught English, worked for a former Colorado governor, and spent a handful of years working in Washington D.C. for national organizations that did advocacy in and out of the halls of Congress.
“Yet, in spite of taking all of these steps,” he told me, “I feel like my life is more vulnerable than it’s ever felt. I am currently being crushed by a lifetime of student debt. I can’t afford to buy a home in the city that I love, and the cost of childcare actively delays mine and my wife’s ability to start our own family. Additionally, my parents, who should have already retired, don’t feel like retirement is an option anymore due to them not having enough financial security to take that step. Feeling all of these pressures accumulate in my own life and knowing that so many Americans are going through these same struggles, I made the choice to run for Congress. Our communities deserve to have a representative who lives their struggles, but more importantly, will fight to fix them as if their lives depended on it. Because my life does.”
You can contribute to Neal’s campaign here or by clicking on the Blue America 2022 congressional thermometer above.
This weekend, he wrote that when he “started this journey I never would have imagined that I would be a candidate who has been endorsed by Blue America, former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, the national Working Families Party, and the Progressive Democrats of America Denver chapter. I say that because candidates like me aren’t meant to make it in our current political environment. An environment that is designed to empower those with wealth at the expense of working class Americans.
And believe me, my journey has not been an easy one. I’ve taken many losses since I began exploring the possibility of running for Congress last year. There have been so many factors that could have ended my candidacy, but we have endured and now sit on the brink of making history in Colorado. I’ve long believed in the power of storytelling as the most effective way to unite and inspire our communities. So, in my first blog post, I’d love to tell the story of my campaign journey. My hope is that some of you can learn from my experiences and then hopefully, be motivated to take this step yourselves. We need people like you to run for office. More importantly, we need people like you to believe that it’s possible to not only run, but WIN. Our time is NOW, and I believe that more than ever. “
The key to Neal’s campaign is his well thought out a specific issues page on his website, exactly what the DCCC tells candidates to hide from voters.
He wrote that “our lives are dominated by a tiny ruling class: billionaire finance executives, tech monopolists, extractive real estate tycoons, low-wage retail employers, and health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. They make money hand-over-fist, while everyday people are overworked, underpaid, surrounded by violence, and all-too-often pushed to the breaking point.
It’s time we elected a leader with the integrity to stand up to these interests, the comprehensive vision to tackle system-wide challenges, and the viable solutions to address the issues confronting everyday Denverites. If millions of us come together to demand better, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.”
He then goes on to explain his support for a Green New Deal, a Job Guarantee, Medicare For All, an end to the war on drugs, etc. For example:
“We need to start seeing housing as healthcare. The negative medical outcomes of being unhoused or housing insecure are wide-ranging and well-known. A dependable, comfortable home is a pillar of a dignified life. Denver has more than enough housing to offer everyone in encampments stable shelter. The profits of luxury real estate developers, hedge fund land speculators, and parasitic corporate landlords must not take priority over our neighbors’ quality of life.”
The kind of leader you would like to see in Congress? Please consider helping him raise the money he needs to get his message out to voters.
Thanks for always doing what you can to help make this a better world,
Howie, for the entire Blue America team