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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.

  • Help end world hunger
  • Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Progressive Candidates in Pennsylvania

    Here are some excellent candidates running for office in Pennsylvania. More local (and under-reported) races are at the bottom. I find my readers find my coverage of local races particularly helpful. Senate and House races are at the top.

    SIX AMERICAN VETERANS RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN PENNSYLVANIA: Democrats Joe Sestak, Bryan Lentz, Manan Trivedi, Shannon Meehan, Patrick Murphy, and Chris Carney are six proud veterans who are running for office as Democrats in Pennsylvania. They deserve your consideration.


    Admiral Joe Sestak, Veteran and Progressive, is one of the brightest rising stars in American politics.

    From the Philadelphia Tribune:

    Sestak, 58, a second-term congressman from a suburban Philadelphia district, is an unusual Democrat.

    He hails from the military, an institution that might be expected to produce conservative Democrats. But Sestak has not only staunchly supported the major elements of Obama's liberal agenda, he often has advocated going beyond it.

    Along the way, he has compiled one of the most liberal voting records among Pennsylvania's members of Congress, according AFL-CIO ratings.

    He's also an unusual military man: He earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Harvard University during his 31 years in the Navy. He commanded an entire aircraft battle group in war — something only a few Navy admirals do — after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. His reputation as a hard worker and superb analyst preceded him in the Navy: He was asked to create the Navy's anti-terrorism unit and was picked to serve on President Bill Clinton's National Security Council.

    From Joe's website:

    During a distinguished 31-year career in the United States Navy, Joe attained the rank of 3-star Admiral and served in the White House, Pentagon, and in operational commands at sea. He is the senior military veteran, and the highest-ranking former military officer ever elected to either branch of Congress. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and later earned a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University. After retiring from the Navy, Joe returned home to Delaware County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Alex, and proudly represents the 7th District, where his mom and many of his seven siblings still reside...

    Joe is running for Senate because he believes we must restore the promise to our children that they will have the opportunity based upon their talents to do even better than their parents. People in powerful positions have forgotten that the great American Dream is not about getting ahead, but rather creating a better America for the next generation and inspiring them to do the same. For the first time in history, that great compact between today’s and tomorrow’s generation has been broken. Joe believes we must restore hard work, honesty, and accountability to Washington DC to address the challenges we face and during his short time in Congress, he has delivered.

    Since taking office in 2006, Joe has been named the most productive member in his legislative class. He is one of the few representatives to serve on three committees, serving as Vice Chair of the Small Business Committee, and a member of the Committee on Education and Labor and the Armed Services Committee. In the current Congress he has had more of his bills pass than either of the state’s two Senators, and is among the top five members of Congress in the number of bills and resolutions he has co-sponsored – a record of achievement that is unsurpassed in the entire Pennsylvania delegation, House and Senate. At home in Pennsylvania, his district office has handled almost 15,000 constituent cases over the past two and a half years – four times the Congressional average – and his staff has helped more than 820 of his constituents avoid foreclosure on their homes.

    Some Videos from Sestak's Campaign:

    Democrats Value People:

    D-Day and the "it" that makes America Great:

    Sestak on Don't Ask Don't Tell:

    I urge you to visit Joe Sestak's website and do what you can, either as a volunteer and/or donor, to help elect this excellent gentleman to the Senate.

    Manan Trivedi for Congress (PA-6)

    Manan Trivedi is a physician, healthcare reform advocate, Naval Officer and Iraq War Veteran who is running for Congress as a Democrat. Here are some videos from Lt. Commander Trivedi's campaign:

    Visit Trivedi's website to find out more and to volunteer or donate towards getting this Veteran and healthcare advocate elected to Congress.

    Bryan Lentz for Congress (PA-7)

    Bryan Lentz is a former Airborne Ranger with the 82nd Airborne who has been awarded the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Bronze Star for Service. From Bryan Lentz's website:

    Bryan’s overseas assignments include the war in Iraq, tours with Multi-National Force and Observers, and NATO peacekeeping missions in the Sinai Peninsula and Bosnia. Bryan held several leadership positions throughout his service. He commanded two rifle platoons and an 81mm mortar platoon while in the 82nd Airborne Division. In Bosnia, Bryan oversaw millions of dollars in infrastructure development, including the first-ever Russian-Romanian-Muslim-Serbian joint bridge. In Iraq, Lentz commanded a Civil Affairs Unit responsible for rebuilding infrastructure and developing civil governance in the northern city of Mosul.

    Here's the latest ad from Bryan Lentz's campaign:

    Help elect Brian Lentz to Congress. Visit his website to see how to volunteer or contribute.

    Shannon Meehan - Candidate for Pennsylvania State Representative, District 163

    Born and raised in Delaware County, Shannon attended Upper Darby High School, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in wrestling. He continued his success in college by lettering in a Division 1 wrestling program and graduating as a Distinguished Military graduate and president of an honor society.

    While serving in the military, Meehan led over 700 combat and civil operations while commanding an area spanning 300 square miles and containing over 100,000 people. Meehan initiated an innovative program of council meetings with local leaders that resulted in significant civil and economic growth. He also developed and secured intelligence that led to the capture of more enemy insurgents and corrupt officials than any of his peers combined. He also managed and oversaw the investment of $800,000 to improve infrastructures and was rated his battalion's Top Platoon Leader. Meehan was injured in an IED strike, resulting in his medical retirement and being awarded the Purple Heart.

    After his injury, Shannon completed rehabilitation at Fort Hood and wrote the nationally-acclaimed memoir, Beyond Duty (Polity Press), which chronicles firsthand the challenges facing soldiers in today's wars. Beyond Duty has become the fastest-selling book in the press's history, is an international bestseller, and was named Military Writers Society of America's Book of the Month the month of its international release.

    Shannon has traveled the country sharing his story, speaking at places such as U.S.C. Law School, University of Virginia, Syracuse University, and Upper Darby High School, and discussing his journey on CNN, NBC, and in The New York Times, where his own Op-Ed piece, "Distant Wars, Constant Ghosts," became the most-viewed Op-Ed of that week.

    Since Captain Meehan's medical retirement in November 2009, he has dedicated himself to continuing his service by seeking to represent the people of Pennsylvania's 163rd District, which includes Lansdowne Borough, Aldan Borough, Clifton Heights Borough, and parts of Upper Darby and Ridley townships. Here, as State Representative, he will bring the same work ethic and passion that led to success in Iraq, where he significantly improved the conditions and quality of life for the people within his area. Shannon resides back home in Delaware County with his wife, Amanda Jane, and new-born son, Brady Cole.

    Website: www.shannonpmeehan.com

    Congressman Patrick Murphy, PA-8

    Patrick Murphy was elected to Congress in November 2006. Patrick Murphy represents Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District. After working as an instructor at West Point, Murphy deployed overseas twice, serving in Bosnia (2002) and in Baghdad during the Iraq War (2003-2004). While in Baghdad as a paratrooper and JAG Corps attorney with the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.

    Congressional Website: http://patrickmurphy.house.gov/
    Campaign Website: http://patrickmurphy.house.gov/

    Congressman Chris Carney, PA-10

    Chris Carney represents Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District.
    A Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserve, Carney served multiple tours overseas and was activated for operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. He was direct commissioned as an Ensign in 1995. He served as Senior Terrorism and Intelligence Advisor at the Pentagon.

    He is the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three joint Service Achievement Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. His awards also include the Naval Rifle Marksman ribbon and the Naval Pistol Expert Medal.

    Congressional Website: http://carney.house.gov/
    Campaign Website: http://www.carneyforcongress.com/

    And another excellent candidate running for Congress in Pennsylvania: Lois Herr for Congress:

    Lois Herr is running against the Republican Pitts who co-authored the attempt to block healthcare reform with an anti-choice amendment. And he still voted against healthcare reform even when his amendment was added.

    Lois Herr is anti-corruption:

    Lois Herr, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District, has signed a nationwide pledge to “Fight Washington Corruption.” The pledge was drafted by tens of thousands of citizens nationwide under the sponsorship of MoveOn.org.

    “This pledge includes exactly the kinds of reforms that are needed to free our democracy from the pernicious effects of corruption in campaign financing”, said Herr. She pointed to elements of the pledge including a Constitutional amendment to protect America from unlimited corporate spending in elections, and calling for public financing for candidates who are supported by small donors.

    Herr noted that she is on record for Congress regulating indirect campaign contributions from corporations and encouraging candidates to meet voluntary spending limits. She is also on record as being opposed to any increase in the amounts individuals are permitted to contribute to campaigns.

    Citing the existing “revolving door” in Washington between government service and corporate lobbying, Herr supported imposing a five-year waiting period for crossing from government service to corporate lobbying. “Until we can close that revolving door,” said Herr, “we’ll continue to see the public interest trampled by the desire of big corporations to maximize profits.”

    Lois Herr has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO:

    Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale said that decisions on endorsements of candidates “are based upon the voting records and commitment of these candidates on issues that are of top concern to Pennsylvania’s working families in this election.” He listed those issues as “putting Pennsylvania back to work; improvements in infrastructure and education; affordable health care; and improving the quality of life in our communities.”

    Reviewing the AFL-CIO’s endorsement standards, Herr said, “I am proud to be endorsed by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and look forward to going to Washington to fight for and support Pennsylvania’s working families.”

    Greg Paulson, Herr2010 Campaign Manager, saw the endorsement as clear evidence of the gulf between Herr and seven-term incumbent Republican Joe Pitts: “Not only does Lois deserve the endorsement of labor, but Joe Pitts dug his own grave when he voted against unemployment compensation and attacked labor unions in a recent statement. Joe Pitts goes out of his way to hurt Pennsylvania’s families. His votes on unemployment, health care and small business development, and his virulent anti-labor rhetoric make a clear choice for working people and retirees of the District.”

    Lois Herr has been endorsed by the Sierra Club:

    The Lois Herr for Congress campaign is proud to announce that she was won the endorsement of the Sierra Club for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District.

    The Sierra Club’s National Political Team and the organization’s Pennsylvania Chapter announced their endorsement in a letter signed by Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club; and Ken Brame, Chair of the Sierra Club Political Team. The letter said, in part, “[We] are pleased to extend our support for your campaign in appreciation of your demonstrated commitment to protecting America’s environment.” Herr is one of only four House challengers nationwide -- and one of only two House candidates from Pennsylvania -- to earn the Sierra Club endorsement.

    Herr welcomed the endorsement, saying, “As a small farmer in Lancaster County, I was connected every day to our natural environment. I am proud that this great national organization has come forward to help me bring these values to Washington, D.C.”

    Chuck Crouse, press contact for Herr 2010, added, “This endorsement, coming more than two months before the election, is a clear sign that the Herr campaign is gaining ground, and Joe Pitts is more vulnerable than he has ever been.”


    Progressive Majority is an organization with an excellent track record of helping good, progressive candidates get elected. They have about a 50% success rate in getting candidates elected year after year. For an organization focused on electing progressive candidates, many of whom are challengers going up against incumbents, that is a damned good track record.

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

    Bill Wallace
    Candidate for State Senate - District 24 (Challenger)
    Northhampton County

    Bill Wallace is a dynamic progressive and public school teacher running in a tough swing district. Bill has been a Democratic a committee person for 20 years and was endorsed by Progressive Majority when he ran for county council in 2007. He is running against an ultra conservative who won a special election last Sept with only 5% turnout. He has strong union endorsements and has been endorsed by the mayors of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. His race is a Pennsylvania bellwether, pitting one of the most conservative senators against one of the most progressive challengers in a highly contested district.

    Bill Wallace has also been endorsed by:
    UFCW Local 1776
    Iron workers Local 401
    Sheet metal Workers Local 19
    Easton Area Education Association
    Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 5
    Lehigh Valley Labor Council
    Lehigh Building Trades Council
    IBEW Local 102
    Steamfitters Local 420
    Lehigh Valley Carpenters Local 600
    IUPAT District 21
    Carpenters PAC of Philadelphia
    Progressive Majority
    Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen-Teamsters Rail Conference

    Among others.

    Click here to support and learn more about Bill.

    Tonya Payne
    Candidate for State House - District 19 (Challenger)

    Tonya Payne is a progressive member of the Pittsburgh City Council who is running for state House. Tonya has been an active community organizer most of her professional life, and she is committed to fighting for social justice in her community and her state. Tonya has worked to secure over $6 million of funding for community development projects in the past four years. Tonya has won the endorsement of the Democratic Party and, if elected, will help strengthen progressive representation in the PA House.

    Click here to support and learn more about Tonya.

    Tim Kearney
    Candidate for State House - District 172 (Challenger)

    Tim Kearney is a community organizer, working to increase affordable housing, establish single payer health care and organize senior citizens. Tim is committed to ending poverty and promoting social justice. Tim's campaign has been focused, therefore, on helping average citizens. The current Republican incumbent has been indicted for campaign finance fraud, but is still running for re-election. This race presents an important opportunity to pick up a seat.

    Click here to support and learn more about Tim.


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