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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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  • Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Progressive Candidates in Colorado

    Michael Bennet for US Senate:

    From Democracy for America:

    Sen. Michael Bennet is a healthcare hero running in a tough race against Tea Party Republican Ken Buck in Colorado.

    Senator Bennet led the fight for the public option in the Senate long after talking heads in the media said that healthcare reform was dead. It was that sort of leadership that caught the attention of DFA members in Colorado and earned a DFA endorsement.

    From Michael Bennet's statement to DFA:


    Michael Bennet is accustomed to leading during difficult times. As Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Michael worked with teachers, parents, students, and school administrators to end the cycles of budget cuts and underachievement plaguing the district. He took a common sense approach to leading the district-- holding daily meetings with principals and faculty. As Michael said in a recent interview, "I was able to gain a lot from those meetings and use the benefit of their experience to learn how policies either supported or impeded their work."

    The pragmatic approach was successful. The District enacted a nationally recognized merit pay system, streamlined the budget, and passed the largest school bond issue in the state's history with a record margin. Recent standardized tests show that Denver's kids are improving faster than students in the rest of the state and graduation rates have increased. And, the District now has the funding to expand its early childhood education and full-day kindergarten programs.

    Michael also served for two years as Denver Mayor, John Hickenlooper's, Chief of Staff. His service to Mayor Hickenlooper was marked by unprecedented fiscal changes in the city. Michael helped wipe out an historic budget deficit, renegotiate several collective bargaining agreements, and overhaul the way the city supervises its police.


    Michael's desire to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate is deeply rooted in a moral obligation to leave this country in a better place for his children, and a fear that we will fail in that obligation if we do not take a fresh approach to Washington. He believes that the pragmatism and independent thinking that have been so essential to making Colorado such an incredible place to live are also the values we must embrace at a national level to achieve the fundamental change we need to turn this country around.

    For more information, visit Senator Bennet's website.

    Bernie Buescher, Secretary of State in Colorado

    From the Secretary of State Project:

    Bernie Buescher was sworn in as Colorado’s Secretary of State on January 14, 2009. Prior to that, Buescher served two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives where he was appointed to the Joint Budget Committee and worked to find innovative, bipartisan solutions to the difficult issues facing the state. Buescher served as Chair of the Budget Committee in 2006 and 2008, and as chair of the Appropriations Committee in 2007 and 2008.

    Find out more from Bernie's website.


    On January 27, 2010, Congressman Jared Polis joined several other Congressional reps in urging Majority Leader Reid to bring back to the table a public option for health care. He has been a consistent champion of healthcare reform. He is also the first openly gay man to be elected to the House of Representatives (others came out after being elected).

    Learn how to volunteer at Congressman Polis' website.

    And you can donated to his re-election campaign through the Healthcare4America Act Blue page.

    Stan Garnett for Attorney General

    Garnett won the unanimous support of Colorado’s Fraternal Order of Police:

    “We endorsed him based on his professionalism, his dedication to law enforcement, his openness, plus his willingness and ability to work with individual officers,” said Michael Violette, Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police Colorado State Lodge. “Our membership, particularly in Boulder County, is very cognizant of the positive changes that took place when Stan took office as the Boulder County District Attorney.”

    Stan Garnett has been endorsed by Democracy for America. Here is his statement to Democracy for America:

    I currently serves as the District Attorney for Colorado’s 20th Judicial District, representing the citizens of Boulder County. Elected in 2008, I am a strong advocate for Public Safety. My priorities are prosecuting violent or sexual crimes, serious drug dealing, business and economic crime and cases involving public corruption. However, lower priority cases are not forced through the system but instead are handled with a focus on helping people restore their lives and get back on their feet.

    My tenure as District Attorney continues a long record of public service in Colorado. I served eight years on the Boulder Valley School Board, to which I was elected twice -- first, as its Treasurer, then as its President, overseeing a budget of $180 million, 55 schools and 4,000 employees.

    From 1981 to 1986, I worked in the office of the Denver District Attorney. In that time I tried more than 80 cases, including multiple murder cases, sexual assaults, other serious felonies and misdemeanors.

    In private practice, I tried and managed hundreds of complex cases and perfected my courtroom skills. In 2001, I played a pivotal role as lead attorney in securing the addition of the 150-square-mile Baca Ranch property to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve.

    My distinctions include Recipient, Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement, University of Colorado School of Law, 2005, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, youngest ever recipient, 2004, LawDragon 3000 Leading Lawyers in America, 2006, 2007, Colorado Super Lawyer, 2006, 2007.

    I am 54 and have lived in Colorado since 1959. My father was raised in Eagle County, and my mother grew up in Morgan County, making me the product of a marriage of Colorado’s Mountains and Plains. The heritage instilled in me a passion for preserving the treasure that is Colorado’s unique environment, which will be a central pillar in my mandate as Colorado Attorney General.

    I received a B.A. with distinction from the University of Colorado in 1978, and a J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1982


    I'm running for Attorney General because Colorado can't afford to wait four more years to have a leader that prioritizes the issues impacting working Colorado families. With the worst economic downturn since the great depression, Coloradans need an Attorney General that prioritizes consumer protection and doesn't get distracted by partisanship. The office is a perfect fit for my background of work as a prosecutor in the public sector and complex litigation in the private sector. My private sector background has taught me how to do more with less and I will bring a modern perspective to a government law office in desperate need of re-structuring. I will use Colorado tax dollars wisely and will produce more meaningful results for the folks that need the Colorado Attorney General to be the peoples' lawyer.


    The economic downturn is hurting Colorado families along the Eastern and Western slopes. I plan to pump more resources into an understaffed consumer protection unit so people have a place to go when they've been scammed in the marketplace. When the economy goes down, scams go up and the Attorney Generals office must shift its resources accordingly. I will be the peoples' lawyer and will create a level playing field for working families.

    I will not get distracted by partisan issues as Attorney General. The current incumbent filed a lawsuit in Florida against the newly passed Health Care reform bill. It was an obstructionist partisan suit, filed just minutes after the President signed the bill into law, it is against a portion of the bill that doesn't go into effect until 2014 and the Colorado Attorney Generals office didn't do any of the legal work themselves. It was done by a group of Republican lawyers back east. Partisanship distracts from what Coloradans need in their Attorney General and I will work tirelessly to keep the office focused on the people, land and water.

    I will vigorously protect Colorado's environment and water. Water is the lifeblood of Colorado and supports the lifestyles of ranchers and farmers in each corner of our State. I will make sure the office is staffed with the best water lawyers in the country and we're doing everything we can to protect the state's water rights and to keep our water clean for generations in the future. Protecting Colorado's vistas and mountains that our citizens and visitors across the country enjoy will be a top priority.

    District Attorney Stan Garnett is running against Suthers:

    Find out more at Stan Garnett's website.

    Here is a list of excellent candidates endorsed by Progressive Majority in Colorado:

    Crisanta Duran
    Candidate for State House - District 5 (Open Seat)

    Crisanta Duran, 30, is a native of Colorado. After graduating from law school, she went to work for UFCW Local 7 as their counsel. In this role, she fought for better contracts for their union members across the state. She has served on the board of directors of La Rasa, Democrats Work, Voto Latino and on Progressive Majority's Colorado Advisory Council. She served as president of the Colorado Young Democrats and as an Obama Delegate. Her race will be decided in the primary election, however, it is important for Progressive Majority's goal of ensuring equal representation for people of color. The seat is being vacated by the incumbent who is term limited.

    Click here to support and learn more about Crisanta.

    Pete Lee
    Candidate for State Hourse - District 18 (Open Seat)
    Colorado Springs

    Pete Lee has lived in Colorado Springs for over 34 years, and practiced law for 25 years, where he represented individuals and small business owners in commerical and real estate transactions. Pete has been active in the community, including serving on the boards of numerous community organizations. As a candidate, he is running to help fix Colorado's health care system and to strengthen environmental protections.

    Click here to support and learn more about Pete.

    Kathy Hartman
    Candidate for Jefferson County Commissioner (Incumbent)

    Kathy Hartmann is finishing her first term as Jefferson County Commissioner. Jefferson County is the top target for statewide campaigns and is historically a ''bellweather'' for success statewide, however, tends to elect Republicans at the county level. For example, in 2004 the county was carried by Bush by 5%, yet went for Obama by 9%. On the local level, in 2006, Kathy was the first Democrat elected to the board in 14 years. Prior to Progressive Majority recruiting her to run in 2006, Kathy worked as the Executive Director of Stride, a nonprofit organization that helps families on welfare get back on their feet and back into the workforce. She also sat on the Jefferson County Workforce Development board and the Mental Health Board. As commissioner, she was chosen as the Colorado ''Freshman of the Year'' by the organization of county elected officials and has worked to bring hundreds of new energy jobs to Jefferson County.

    Click here to support and learn more about Kathy.

    Doug Milliken
    Candidate for Arapahoe County Treasurer (Incumbent)

    Doug Milliken is finishing his first term as Treasurer of Arapahoe County. Doug is a native of the county and served as the first City of Centennial Treasurer when the city was formed in 2001. Doug is a Certified Public Accountant and has two Masters Degrees in Accounting and Financial Management. During the 1980s, he worked on Wall Street as a vice president of finance, handing more than $5 billion in capital. As treasurer, his investment experience helped the county earn more than $43 million in just three years - over three times the earnings of the preceding three years. In addition, he's created a unique program to use county funds to loan to local businesses to stimulate the economy. As an activist, he is a board member of the Nunez Foundation, which provides scholarships for low-income students. Doug is the first progressive and the first Democrat ever to be elected to this countywide post since statehood. Doug is also the first openly gay county elected official in Arapahoe County. While Obama won the county with 55%, Bush won the county with 52%, and the county regularly backs Republicans at the local level, including having a supermajority of county commissioners. Doug is being heavily targeted by the right, as he is the only Democrat elected countywide. His opponent is the same as in 2006, Republican Sue Sandstrom, who Doug beat by 1% last time around. Sandstrom is a CPA and member of the Aurora City Council.

    Click here to support and learn more about Doug.

    Tom Mowie
    Candidate for El Paso County Clerk and Recorder (Open Seat)

    Tom Mowle was appointed El Paso County Public Trustee by Governor Bill Ritter on February 1, 2008, the day after he retired from a 20-year career in the United States Air Force that included service in Baghdad during the Iraq War. While in the Air Force, he managed the development of aircraft, missile, and information systems. He also taught the concepts underlying American and international politics at the United States Air Force Academy, earning awards for teaching and research. Tom holds Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University, a master's degree in international affairs from the University of Dayton, and dual bachelors degrees in government and electrical engineering from Notre Dame. In the community, he is first vice-chair on the Community Advisory Committee of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, and a member of the Building a Vibrant Economy and marketing teams in the Quality of Life Indicators project. Progressive Majority recruited Tom to run for county clerk and recorder several years ago. The challenge in a race like Tom's is that he lives in a very populous county, but it's hard to raise money for a county clerk race. In addition, he'll have to persuade about 20,000 voters to split their ticket and vote for Tom even if they are voting Republican for Senate or Governor. He started walking in February and plans to hit all 93 swing precincts.

    Click here to support and learn more about Tom.

    Brett Godfrey
    Candidate for State House - District 37 (Challenger)
    Arapahoe County

    Brett Godfrey is an attorney and candidate for the Colorado House of Representatives' 37th district. Brett holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and is a former Air Force officer. Brett is running to foster economic growth, protect financial, educational and medical security, and to protect the right to privacy and the environment. Brett has worked for more than 20 years within the judicial branch of government, forging new law in the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Brett is running in a crucial swing district in Arapahoe County, in the suburbs south of Denver.

    Click here to support and learn more about Brett.

    John Morse
    Candidate for State Senate - District 11 (Incumbent)
    El Paso County

    In 2006, John Morse ran and won in one of the most competitive State Senate districts in Colorado. He was the first Democrat to win in El Paso County since 1974. Now, he is running for re-election in a tougher environment. John has served as a police officer and as a Police Chief for nearly 20 years, worked four years as a CPA, worked as a paramedic in Denver, and ran a $3.3 million nonprofit organization that helps seniors age with dignity and remain independent. In the Legislature, John serves as Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and a member of the Finance and the Health and Human Services Committees. He has fought for improved public pensions and increased investment in health care.

    Click here to support and learn more about John.

    Dan Pabon
    Candidate for State House - District 4 (Open Seat)
    Denver County

    Dan Pabon is a former staffer at the Office of White House Counsel who is running for House of Representatives in District 4. Dan worked with President Obama's top advisors creating and drafting the President's first Executive Order on Ethics. While a student at Colorado University, Dan helped create a recruitment and retention program for at risk students. As a young lawyer, Dan worked in a legal aid clinic helping economically disadvantaged clients obtain child support, alimony, and social security benefits. Dan recently won a tough primary against two other accomplished progressives. Dan is an outstanding progressive champion and will be a leader in the Colorado House of Representatives for many years.

    Click here to support and learn more about Dan.

    Steve Kjonaas
    Candidate for El Paso County Commissioner (Open Seat)
    Alamosa, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Mineral, Pitkin, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties

    Steve Kjonaas is a candidate for El Paso County Commissioner. Retired from the United States Air Force, Steve goals include: managing area growth, addressing water and environmental issues and increasing tourism. Steve is running against a staunch conservative who is advocating privatizing core government services at the expense of the public workers and the people of El Paso County. El Paso County is a crucial swing area where progressives need to make inroads at the local level.

    Click here to support and learn more about Steve.

    Gail Schwartz
    Candidate for State Senate - District 5 (Incumbent)
    Alamosa, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Mineral, Pitkin, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties

    Senator Gail Schwartz is running for re-election in the Colorado Senate District 5. Gail has lived in the Western Slope for 32 years. During that time, she has worked to serve the unique needs of the Western Slope in over a dozen nonprofit, government, and business organizations that focus on helping students graduate, providing rural health care services, and constructing affordable housing for working families. Prior to being elected to the Colorado Senate, Gail was appointed by Governor Roy Romer to be a member of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and was elected by the voters of the 3rd Congressional District to serve as a member and Vice-Chair of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. Her current legislative focus is on re-energizing Colorado's economy by creating jobs and investing in the future of renewable energy.

    And here is a candidate endorsed by VoteVets.org:

    Joe Rice - Colorado State Representative (HD-38)

    Website: www.joericecolorado.com

    Joe Rice (D-Littleton) was elected in November 2006 to represent District 38 in the Colorado State House of Representatives. House District 38 is mostly in Arapahoe County, and includes the cities of Littleton, Greenwood Village, and Englewood (generally south of Oxford), and the towns of Bow Mar and Columbine Valley.

    In his first session of the legislature (2007), Representative Rice served as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Business Affairs and Labor, and was a member of the Committee on Transportation and Energy. Representative Rice was recognized as being one of the most effective representatives in the legislature, passing 18 bills in his first session. These measures included establishing a state wide Cold Case unit for unsolved homicides, and a number of measures that benefit citizens, consumers, businesses, military personnel, and veterans.

    Representative Rice served as the mayor of Glendale, which is also in Arapahoe County, from 1996 to 2003. As mayor, he promoted the city’s economic development by balancing the budget, cutting taxes, and attracting quality businesses. He also tripled the amount of parks, trails, and open space in the city, and built Glendale’s first preschool and recreation center.

    Representative Rice has served in the military for over 23 years, mostly in the Army Reserve, and presently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He’s served several tours on active duty, including peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina and two combat tours in Iraq. Lt. Col. Rice was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, that included among other duties, establishing the first post-Saddam Baghdad City Council. He has also been awarded the Combat Action Badge for actions under enemy fire, and numerous other awards and decorations. Lt. Col Rice was recently selected by the Army for promotion to full Colonel, effective as early as January 2008.

    Joe has over 10 years of private sector business experience, primarily as a Customer Service Supervisor, Manager, and Trainer with MCI, JDEdwards, and Wells Fargo Bank. He presently works as a consultant, mostly in the areas of management, training, meeting facilitation. Joe is also active with a number of international education and exchange organizations including Sister Cities International and the Orbis International Institute.

    Joe and his wife Kendall have been married 17 years and have three young children: twins Harrison and Alexandria who are 7, and 2 year old Dalton.


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