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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Friday, April 23, 2010

    Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 256

    Where do we stand as progressives right about now? We are faced with an increasingly extremist right wing desperately trying to repeat Gingrich's take over of Congress. And we are faced with excessively conservative members of the Democrats who have adopted right wing talking points as their own. So what do we do?

    There are several lists of candidates who are worth our time and money. Each of them is aiming, either in primaries or the general election, to support progressive candidates who have a real shot at winning. Let me highlight three such lists.

    Daily Kos has an Act Blue page focusing on primaries where there is a clear choice between a progressive and regressive Dem where the progressive has a shot at winning. These primaries occur at different times leading up to November, so in terms of timing, these are the races to start with if you believe primaries matter. Volunteer, blog and/or donate if you can to these primary candidates: (from the Daily Kos page)

    Bill Halter

    If you're angry about the way the Democrats have screwed everything up this year, here's the best way to fight back -- help us get rid of Lincoln, and make her a warning to every other bad Democrats who would rather answer to Wall Street, than the people who elected them.

    Ann McLane Kuster

    In 2006, we helped Paul Hodes win this seat. Now that he's running for Senate, we need to help Ann McLane Kuster keep this seat in Democratic hands.

    She is our kind of candidate. She supports the public option, card check, non-punitive immigration reform, and environmental regulation. Not only does she want to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, she wants to repeal DOMA, and she worked to help bring marriage equality to New Hampshire.

    Jack Conway

    Kentucky Attorney Gen. Jack Conway has proven that you don't have to be a reactionary Lieberdem to get elected statewide in Kentucky. He is pro-card check, pro-choice, pro-public option, and wants to repeal DADT. He rebuffed efforts by Teabaggers to file suit against the health care law. And he faces an anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-health care reform primary challenger that makes Lieberman look like Bernie Sanders.

    Manan Trivedi

    Trivedi was a battle surgeon for the Marine Corps in Iraq, is a solid progressive, and top challenger in one of the Democratic Party's top pickup opportunities this year. Read more about Trivedi here: http://tinyurl.com/y76kk6j

    You can donate to any of the above campaigns through the Daily Kos Act Blue site.

    Next I want to highlight once again the Secretary of State Project, which focuses on one of the most important state-level elected positions: secretary of state which often determines how elections are run in each state. You can donate to their candidates through their site. Or if you live in their state, please go to their website and volunteer.

    From the Secretary of State Project:

    Building on our successful model in 2006 and 2008, The SoS Project is strategically focusing on a handful of key state races. Our goal – to ensure fair, clean elections in 2012 and beyond.

    Defending the seats of progressive Secretaries of State:

    Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State in Minnesota

    Mark Ritchie is a true progressive champion. In 2006, the long-time community organizer defeated Republican incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer to take the reins of the election process in Minnesota. Since taking office, Secretary Ritchie has campaigned tirelessly for instituting universal or automatic registration in his state. He has also been instrumental in the fight to expand Election Day Registration in other states, including a successful campaign in Iowa. Secretary Ritchie is perhaps best known for running a scrupulously fair and transparent election recount in the Franken/Coleman 2008 Senate race. Senator Al Franken was certified as the winner of that race by a mere 312 votes.

    Debra Bowen, Secretary of State in California

    Debra Bowen is one of the most progressive Secretaries of State in the nation. Shortly taking office she ordered a “top to bottom” review of the California’s electronic voting machines which resulted in the decertification of Diebold and two other voting system manufacturers. As a result of her progressive accomplishments as Secretary of State, she was awarded a Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 2008.

    Michael Mauro, Secretary of State in Iowa

    Michael Mauro is seeking his second term as Iowa’s Secretary of State. He has worked to strengthen Iowa’s rich history of quality elections, which had the fifth highest voter percentage turnout in the nation in 2008. In the fall of 2009, Iowa’s election laws and procedures implemented by Secretary Mauro gained national attention when the state ranked first in a study focusing on the ease of voting for members of the military and U.S. citizens living overseas. In just his first term, he has worked with the state legislature to allow same-day voter registration and to establish a uniform voting system for all 99 counties. As a result, legislation is now in place to ensure a voter-verified paper trail for all future elections. He has also helped create electronic poll books available for use across the state, enhancing precinct officials’ ability to process voters effectively and consistently and adding another layer of security to Iowa’s voting process.

    Candidates running for open seats:

    Jocelyn Benson, candidate in Michigan

    Election law scholar and community organizer Jocelyn Benson is running for an open seat to replace republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land who is term-limited out of office. In 2004, she ran a voter protection campaign in 21 states, deploying 17,000 trained election law lawyers. In Michigan in 2008, Benson helped lead the fight to stop republican Secretary of State Land from disenfranchising voters who were victims of home foreclosures.

    Ben Nesselhuf, candidate in South Dakota

    Ben Nesselhuf is running to for an open seat to replace republican Secretary of State Chris Nelson. Nesselhuf has had a distinguished legislative career in the South Dakota House of Representatives and the State Senate, where he sponsored numerous bills around campaign finance reform. Over his five terms he has served on the Health and Human Services, Commerce, Taxation, Education and State Affairs committees.

    Support our 2010 candidates by donating via ActBlue today!

    Criteria for Endorsement

    The Secretary of State Project evaluates candidates based on their positions on election issues. Specifically, affirm that you support the following principles:

    1) No election official should play a partisan role in an election he or she will play a role in administering. All election officials must conduct their responsibilities openly and objectively to restore public confidence.

    2) Our elections must be verifiable and secure. Every vote cast must be counted by a system that is auditable with a verifiable paper trail and all voting materials, including ballots and voting machines must be secured at all times.

    3) Universal, automatic, and portable voter registration should be the goal of every state. Our election officials should endorse state and federal legislation legislation in support of this ultimate goal.

    4) Election officials should not place onerous requirements on or attempt to intimidate non-partisan voter registration groups.

    5) Voter suppression and election fraud defined as the intent to cast a ballot illegally will not be tolerated. Efforts to suppress the vote through onerous requirements, such as unconstitutional photo ID laws, must be opposed.

    6) There should be equal access to the ballot box for all citizens. Every citizen must have equal access to locations, adequate machines and well-trained election judges. Efforts to raise voter participation of citizens who often face special barriers, such as students, military personnel, low-income people and minorities — including Election Day Registration — should be endorsed and actively supported.

    To request an Endorsement Questionnaire, please email us at endorsements@secstateproject.org.

    Another too-often-neglected race is School Board. Particularly Texas school board. The Texas school board is a dominant force in determining what our school text books are like, and the right wing extremist tilt to the Texas school board means things like evolution and global warming get short shrift in our textbooks. There are two critical races in Texas where we can make a big difference not just for Texas, but for students across America. This is from a Daily Kos diary:

    District 10 - Dr. Judy Jennings. Judy Jennings is an expert in education policy and assessment, has worked at the Texas Education Agency, and is committed to educating Texas students for the 21st Century. Judy needs your support to win against Marsha Haney or Brian Russell.

    You can contribute to Judy Jennings' campaign through ActBlue at https://secure.actblue.com/...

    District 5 - Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau is an award-winning educator at Texas State University. She has always served her community, both locally and globally. She taught English and American studies in the Peace Corps and served as a French interpreter for U.S. Air Force relief flights in Chad, one of the ten poorest countries in the world. She was a Fulbright scholar and teacher in Senegal.

    You can support Rebecca through ActBlue at http://www.actblue.com/...

    Finally I want to highlight the list of candidates endorsed by Democracy for America. Some of these are primaries, some are general election races. (Note there may be overlap with other lists)

    Maria Chappelle-Nadal
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Along with Barack Obama, Maria was one of the original Dean Dozen endorsees in the spring of 2004. She went on to win that 2004 race for State Representative and she has been a progressive champion -- a constant voice for choice, for immigrants and for minority businesses in a State House often hostile to them.

    Maria is looking to build on her success in the House, running this year for State Senate. She's running to represent a district with a history of electing strong progressive women and there is no woman stronger or more dedicated to working for a better Missouri than her.

    Millie Herrera for Florida
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Millie has dedicated her life to helping others -- working for a better Florida and working to train the next generation of progressive grassroots leaders.

    Millie has felt this recession firsthand. As a small business owner, she's worked to create jobs in this tough economy. She knows the struggles Florida families face and she has the experience and vision to help put the state back on track.

    Alan Grayson (D-FL)
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Representative Alan Grayson is living proof that Democrats win when they stand up for what they believe in. Grayson ran for Congress in his traditionally conservative area as a progressive Democrat, going on to win 52 percent of the vote in November 2008.

    Since heading to Washington, Grayson has become one of the progressive movement's best voices, taking the fight for real healthcare reform with a public option straight to the Republicans working to killing any and all reform.

    Jocelyn Benson for Michigan Secretary of State
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Jocelyn has dedicated her life to protecting people's right to vote and that is exactly the sort of experience and dedication that Michigan needs in the Secretary of State's office.

    Jocelyn knows what Michigan must do to become an election administration leader again -- early voting, same-day voter registration and more -- and she's ready to push these common sense reforms as Secretary of State.

    Maryann Maher for Maryland
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Running her first campaign for office, Maryann knows the way to win votes is by talking to people face-to-face. Challenging Republican incumbents in a conservative two-person district, she's built a grassroots campaign for victory and she's ready to knock on every door in her district and talk to every voter to win.

    Maryann is running in a Republican district and she's going to win by building support from the bottom-up.

    Pat Quinn for Governor
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Governor Pat Quinn's long history of progressive activism, his fight against corrupt government officials and special interests, and his work for the people of Illinois makes him a real progressive champion and has earned him the support of DFA members for years. Now, as Governor, he's working for more and better government ethics laws, a more progressive tax code and more.

    There was no better person to lead the state of Illinois out of scandal and toward more open, honest state government in the year since Rod Blagojevich was removed from office than Governor Pat Quinn and there's no better person to lead it in the years ahead.

    Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County Board President
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Chicago is a machine town, but one candidate for Cook County Board President stands out above the rest as a real reformer: Toni Preckwinkle.

    Toni is in this race to restore the basic principles of good government to the Cook County Board -- Provide the best services possible and do so effectively. These are principles in government all but forgotten by corrupt incumbent Todd Stroger.

    As president, Toni will not only restore these principles, but get to work on solving some of Cook County's biggest problems -- a regressive tax system and broken justice system.

    Mariyana Spyropoulos for Water Reclamation District
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Mariyana Spyropoulos has served on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for six months and has proven to be a smart, honest Commissioner during that time. She's also been one of the District's best progressive voices, working to improve the quality of rivers and groundwater, promote green roofs and educate the public on the benefits of conservation.

    Mariyana's activism, independence and thoughtfulness as Commissioner have been a breath of fresh air on the MWRD and she'll continue to be a progressive leader in the District for years to come.

    Steve Grossman for Treasurer
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Steve Grossman is a candidate who deserves our support early. Steve's dedicated his life to helping others -- he's a businessman who has created jobs for Massachusetts in a tough economy, an activist who's worked to elect Democrats across the commonwealth and across the country, and he's been a DFA member from the very beginning.

    Steve has felt this recession firsthand, having to meet payroll and keep his business going in tough times. But that's not all he's done -- he's used his small business experience to help non-profits make it through the recession.

    That sort of real world experience is exactly what Massachusetts needs in the State Treasurer's office.

    Elliot Anderson for Assembly
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Elliot Anderson is a decorated Marine and Afghanistan veteran, a community activist and grassroots leader working to train the next generation of progressives. He has a history of bringing people together and he understands the need to fight for those without a voice in state government.

    Elliot will help close the gap between Carson City and Nevadans everywhere, bringing state government back to the people. In short, he's a progressive champion and there isn't a better candidate to represent Nevadans in Assembly District 15 in the years ahead.

    Hank Gilbert for Agriculture Commissioner
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Hank Gilbert is a real grassroots progressive. He came up short in his 2006 race for Agriculture Commissioner, but he never stopped fighting for Texas -- traveling across the state to stand up for Texans' rights.

    Hank is an expert at what he does. He's worked at cattle ranches since he was 10 years old and he's studied agriculture his whole life. He's committed to helping solve the problems Texas faces today and bring real food safety and new bioenergy jobs to the state.

    Simply put, Hank Gilbert is a true Texas agriculturist -- and that's exactly who should be leading the Texas Department of Agriculture.

    Bill White for Texas
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Bill White knows how to get stuff done. As mayor of Houston, the area led the nation in job growth -- adding more jobs than 34 states combined -- and helped thousands of New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina resettle in Houston.

    George W. Bush and Rick Perry have been leading Texas to nowhere for 16 years. Texas needs a Governor who will work for Texans, a Governor who can lead the state out of the Bush-Perry recession and into the future. Bill White is the only candidate in the race with the experience and vision to do that.

    Diane Trautman for Harris County Tax Assessor
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Diane Trautman is a fighter. Nearly toppling an entrenched incumbent in 2008, she's running for office again, determined to return public trust to an office that has been plagued by scandal.

    Diane is working to bring more open, honest leadership to Harris County and to protect the voting rights after thousands were dropped from voting rolls and thousands more provisional ballots weren't counted in a timely manner. Diane is the sort of reform candidate Harris County needs.

    Ellie Hill for Montana
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Ellie Hill is a lifelong Rocky Mountain Westerner. She describes herself as the daughter of a union worker and an attorney for the poor. She's been active in her community her entire life, working to make change from the bottom-up.

    Montana deserves Representatives who will stand strong for their beliefs and work hard for children and workers across the state, and work to protect the environment and the rights of all Montanans. Montana deserves leaders who look to the future, speak their mind and talk truthfully with their constituents. Ellie Hill will be that sort of Representative

    Lew Frederick
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Lew Frederick has dedicated his life to public service. Growing up in civil rights-era Atlanta, he was called to action by Martin Luther King. He answered that call first as a teacher, then as a journalist, and later as Director of Public Information at Portland Public Schools.

    When Governor Howard Dean ran for President in 2004, he said that voting wasn't enough. He said people had to get involved more -- they had to contribute, they had to volunteer and they had to run office for themselves. Lew heard that call to action to get more involved and run for office.

    Marian Harris for Ohio
    Contribute | Volunteer

    Rep. Harris has been a tireless advocate for the people of Ohio since her 2008 election. She's fought for Ohio's children and small business owners and she's been a voice for those with no voice of their own.

    With another term in the State House, Rep. Harris will continue her work for children and families across the state and help turn Ohio's economy around.

    And I leave you with Obama's weekly address:

    Here is this week's newsletter:


    Bill Halter (Ark-Sen) Endorsed by League of Conservation Voters

    On Hitler's Birthday in 1943: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

    Thailand: Red-shirts (populists) vs. Yellow-shirts (business interests)

    NYC FOCUS: Can we save St. Vincent's?

    NYC focus: ACORN betrays families to Rich Developers

    Brooklyn, NY Focus

    Manhattan, NY Focus

    Queens, NY Focus

    Bronx, NY Focus

    Suffolk County, NY Focus

    Rochester, NY Focus

    New York 19th District Focus: Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Westchester Counties


    Silicon Valley Area, CA Focus

    San Diego, CA Focus

    Orange County, CA Focus

    California 11th District Focus: San Joaquin, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties


    Bill White for Texas

    Austin/Travis County, TX Focus

    Dallas County, TX Focus

    Houston/Harris County, TX Focus

    Texas 10th District Focus: Turn TX-10 Blue

    Texas 21st District Focus: Turn TX-21 Blue


    Sussex County, NJ Focus

    Passaic County, NJ Focus

    Warren County, NJ Focus


    Broward County, FL Focus

    Orange County, FL Focus

    Pinellas County, FL Focus


    Charlottesville/Albemarle County, VA Foucus

    Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County, VA Focus

    Hanover County, VA Focus


    Pennsylvania Focus: Lois Herr for Congress

    Lancaster Co. PA Focus


    Atlanta, GA Focus

    Fayette County, GA Focus

    Coweta County, GA Focus


    Illinois Focus: Dan Seals for Congress (IL-10)

    Pat Quinn for Illinois Governor


    North Carolina Focus: Bill Kennedy for Congress (NC-5)

    North Carolina Focus: NC-5 District Focus (Stokes County, Statesville, Surrey County, Iredell County, Watauga County, Yadkin County)





    Boulder County, CO Focus

    Larimer County, CO Focus

    Douglas County, CO Focus


    Arizona Abandons US Constitution: Show us your papers!



    Elliot Anderson for Nevada Assembly


    Iowa Senate: Democrat Conlin Narrowly Outraises Incumbent Grassley




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