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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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  • Thursday, May 10, 2012

    The Key Progressive Candidates of 2012

    I push pretty much every year for people to look beyond the high profile races. Some of the elections that MOST affect people directly are downticket races like judicial or school board races, state assessors and state and local reps. Yet these are almost universally ignored, so big money almost always wins them...and regular folks lose out. I try to help the best of those downticket races across the country.

    Progressive Majority is our best resource for downticket races that are so critical. Now in key states these critical races are high priority, and Progressive Majority has pretty much consistently held a 50% win rate on average despite taking on some tough races. I always highlight their endorsed candidates because they are some of the best in the nation...and they represent TOMORROW'S Progressive leaders.

    Below are the Progressive Majority endorsements for 2012. I urge you to do all you can for these candidates: donate, volunteer, vote, whatever you can because when you talk about more and better Democrats, THESE are the folks you should be thinking of.

    And they have a good shot of winning...


    Donna O'Connor
    State Representative - District 21

    Donna has taught for 19 years in local school systems in Ohio.  She has been involved in local and state politics for several years and fought hard against SB 5/Issue 2, the union-busting bill.  Last year while standing on the steps of the state house, a friend gave her a button that said, “those that can, teach.  Those that cannot, make laws about teaching.”  Donna is running to make sure that those making the laws about education know what it’s like to work in the classroom.

    Tanyce Addison
    State Senate - District 26

    Tanyce Addison is running for State Senate in District 26. Tanyce recently retired after teaching for 30 years in the public schools. She directed bands and choirs in the Ridgedale and Elgin school districts in Marion County. As a teacher, Tanyce saw the damage that severe cuts did to the arts and schools in general. Upset with cuts to education, she became active with her union and fought to protect schools. She served as the Education Association president, vice-president and secretary and negotiated four contracts. Tanyce was active in the fight against Issue 2 in 2011 and is now taking her activism one-step further by running to protect education and teachers as a state Senator.

    Jeff Bunck
    State Representative - District 47

    Jeff Bunck is running for State Representative in District 47. Jeff has worked in education since 1975 when he graduated from the University of Toledo. He is running because his current state Representative, Barbara Sears, does not listen to the people in her district, especially on educational issues. Sears voted for Senate Bill 5, which attacked middle-class workers and co-sponsored House Bill 136, which expands school voucher programs. Jeff testified in opposition to SB5 and decided that he could to do more to protect education by running for office and defeating Barbara Sears. Jeff taught for 27 years and served as an administrator for eight years. Most recently, he taught at Bowling Green State University and resigned from there in January of 2012 to run for the House.

    Cheryl Johncox
    State Representative - District 86

    Cheryl Johncox is running for State Representative in District 86. Cheryl has been an advocate for the environment, agriculture and rural living for many years. She has close ties to the agricultural community in her area and was raised on one of the last farms in Strongsville. Cheryl saw the attacks on women’s health, workers, the elderly and environment and knew that she had to do something. She decided to run for office to stand up to the Republicans in Columbus. She was chosen as a National Wildlife Federation Women for Sustainable Development Fellow and received the National Conservation Achievement Award in 2006. She worked for the Ohio Environmental Council as the Director of Ohio River Programs and is currently the Executive Director of the Buckeye Forest Council.

    Teresa Scarmack
    State Senate - District 20

    Teresa Scarmack is running for State Senate in District 20. Teresa taught for 23 years in the central Ohio area and tutored children with learning disabilities. She has been teaching kindergarten in the Logan- Hocking School District since 1999. Teresa became involved in politics because of the Senate Bill 5/Issue 2 campaign. She made phone calls and knocked on doors in neighborhoods across her county. She knew the drastic consequences that public employees faced if this bill became law. There was a call across Ohio for teachers to run for office, teachers understand how important quality education is for communities and would replace Republicans who kept cutting education while giving tax breaks to corporations, and Teresa answered that call and is running to protect education in Ohio.

    Bill Young
    State Representative - District 88

    Bill Young is running for State Representative in District 88. Bill is in his 38th and final year of teaching. As a teacher, Bill stressed that one person can make a difference and was able to see first hand how a state Representative can make a difference in their constituents’ lives when a former state legislator worked with Bill’s students on a community service project. Bill is running because holding office is another way that he can serve and work for his community. He is a highly decorated teacher; his awards include Ohio Social Studies Teacher of the Year, Northwest Ohio Teacher of the Year, three-time Clyde-Green Springs Teacher of the Year, Ohio Education Association John F. Kennedy Scholarship Award winner, Martha Holden Jennings Scholar award and others. Bill was very involved locally in the fight to defeat SB 5.


    Beth Alois
    State Representative - District 168

    Beth Alois is running for State Representative in District 168. Beth saw the vicious attacks on education and women’s health in Pennsylvania and knew that people must stand up to Republicans and that is why she decided to run for state Representative. She is currently Vice-Chairperson of the Thornbury Township Democratic Committee and the elected Minority Inspector of Elections in Thornbury Township. For 25 years, she accompanied her Foreign Service husband on his overseas assignments in South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She worked as the Community liaison Officer at several US Embassies.

    Chris Dietz
    State Representative - District 104

    Chris Dietz is running for State Representative in District 104. Chris knows the hardships faced by the millions of Americans who have been unemployed during this recession. After graduating from Penn State University, he went to work at Manugraph DGM but, like many others, Chris was laid off in 2008 and was without steady employment for over a year before the same company rehired him. Chris knows how lucky he was to get his job back and is running to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to find quality employment. If elected in November, Chris would be the first openly elected gay legislator in Pennsylvania. Appointed to represent Ward 1 on the Millersburg Borough Council in 2006 and re-elected in 2007 and 2009, Chris was elected as Borough Council President twice, even with a Republican majority on the council.

    Steve McCarter
    State Representative - District 154

    As a former teacher, Steve McCarter knows how important education is. When children receive a quality education, they are more likely to get good jobs that pay a living wage, which improves the economy in their community. The attacks on Pennsylvania’s children and schools by Republicans must be stopped and Steve is standing up to Republican’s dangerous actions. He is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Pennsylvania schools. Steve taught high school Social Studies for 35 years in Abington and Lower Merion, was an adjunct Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and is a retired Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.


    Lisa Sprague
    Leon County Sheriff

    Lisa Sprague is running for Leon County Sheriff. Lisa began her career in law enforcement 30 years ago and was one of only two women on the police force when she began. She survived pressure to quit when she got married and began a family. She served as Deputy Chief of Police for Florida State University, President of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administration from 2008- 2009 and owns her own consulting firm, Sprague Consulting Security. She’s running to bring progressive values to the sheriff’s office by increasing cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies, acting as an advocate for the community and increasing transparency.  When she is elected, she will be the only woman at the command staff level in the Sheriff's office


    Helen Price Johnson
    Island County Commissioner - District 1

    Helen Price Johnson is running for re-election as Island County Commissioner. In 2008 she became the first woman to be sworn in as Island County Commissioner. Helen is a longtime Island County resident with deep ties to the community. Helen has four children and has owned and operated a small home construction business since 1995. Helen served on the South Whidbey School Board from 2001-2007.

    Tim Farrell
    Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer

    Tim Farrell is running for Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer. Tim is running to help homeowners by providing information on all potential tax advantages o help alleviate their tax burdens, improve customer service and streamline government. A two-term Pierce County Councilmember, Tim comes from a Snohomish County railroading family and spent his career working in Pierce County. Farrell has been active with the Eastside Women for Women’s Health, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and other civic groups in his community. Tim is a former chair of the Tacoma Planning Commission and a former member of the North End Neighborhood Council.

    Bruce Lachney
    State Senator - District 2

    Bruce Lachney is a lifelong Pacific Northwest native and received his degree from the University of Washington in 1980. He will fight for better education, jobs and civil rights in Washington. Bruce was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, serving as a jet pilot in two tours of duty in the Far East and one tour in Somalia. Last year, Bruce retired after serving more than 20 years as a domestic pilot for Delta Airlines flying the Boeing 737-800. Bruce is also one of only 850 Ocean Spray cranberry growers. His farm in Eastern Pierce County also produces rhubarb, cattle, timber and hay for local markets.

    Bob Hasegawa
    State Senate - District 11

    After serving in the Washington State House since 2005, Bob is running for an open state Senate seat. As both a labor leader and social activist, Bob has worked to bring together members of the progressive community and advocate for social justice issues. He has spent the past eight years in the House of Representatives fighting to create jobs, protect seniors and education, help small businesses and expanding higher education opportunities. In the Senate, Bob will continue to fight for these issues and will be a strong advocate for the residents of his district.

    Eric Choiniere
    State Representative - District 28 (Position 1)

    Eric Choiniere, a military veteran and former member of Communication Workers of America Local 7800, has always been active in politics. Eric is running for State Representative to give workers a voice in Olympia. As an individual who experienced unemployment and economic insecurity during the Great Recession, Eric understands the struggles families face every day in his community. On the University Place City Council, Eric has championed a balanced budget and focus on essential services on the University Place Council—from law enforcement to filling potholes. He has also led efforts to protect parks and recreation, and assist small business. An Army veteran who works for a provider of military health care located in Tacoma, Choiniere will make service to those who have served a particular priority in the House of Representatives. He is personally committed to ensuring that every veteran and their family succeeds.

    Jeff Davis
    State Representative - District 35 (Position 2)

    Jeff Davis is running for House Position 2 in Washington’s 35th legislative district. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jeff is a Port of Olympia Commissioner whose election gave progressives a majority on the commission. Jeff is running to help create jobs and protect education and natural resources. He places a high value on human rights, economic justice and reproductive freedom. Throughout his career, Jeff has been active in labor as a Longshoreman, including serving as President of the Longshoremen District Council and board member of the Washington State Labor Council’s Transportation and Economic Development committee. He has served on a school board, economic development council and chamber board, as well as several others.

    Bud Sizemore
    State Representative - District 47 (Position 1)

    Bud Sizemore is challenging an incumbent Republican for House Position 1 in the 47th legislative district. Service has always been a priority for Bud who served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years and has been a professional fire fighter for more than 18 years. As a firefighter, he has fought to prevent cuts to police officers and firefighters to make sure the citizens of Washington are protected. Bud has also served as a Covington city Council member and Mayor Pro-Tempore where he worked with citizens to keep the community safe, protected open space and help local businesses.

    Cyrus Habib
    State Representative - Distrct 48 (Position 2)

    Cyrus is running for State Representative in the 48th legislative district. Cyrus is Iranian-American, grew up on King County’s Eastside, and graduated from Bellevue Public Schools. He is a Truman Scholar and a Rhodes Scholar, and a graduate of Columbia, Oxford, and Yale Law School. Cyrus currently works as a lawyer, providing legal assistance to technology start-ups. Having lost his eyesight at age 8 to a rare form of childhood cancer, Cyrus has spent years advocating for the rights of the disabled, first in college and then as a law student and a lawyer. A staunch advocate for quality education and equal opportunity, Cyrus serves a Trustee of the Bellevue College Foundation and a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Bellevue.


    Jennifer Williamson
    State Representative - District 36

    Jennifer Williamson is running for State Representative in District 36. Jennifer is a 4th-Generation Oregonian, was born and raised on a farm in Washington County and was the first member of her family to graduate from college. Growing up in a union family as a reduced and free lunch kid, seeing her family rely on food stamps many times and having to put herself through college, Jennifer understands the challenges that families in Oregon are facing because she’s lived them. She became involved in politics early and by accident. While putting herself through the University of Oregon, proposed cuts in Pell Grants and work-study programs threatened her ability to stay in college. Not willing to go down without a fight, she became an education activist and which led her to work for Senator Mark Hatfield to ensure all Oregonians have access to higher education. The attacks on children and families living in poverty are what pushed Jennifer to run for office. When she’s elected, Jennifer will fight to make sure kids today have the same opportunities she did.


    Walter Kawamoto
    Twin Rivers Unified School District Trustee, Area 3

    Walter Kawamoto is running for Twin Rivers Unified School District Trustee, Area 3. From his first “paid” experience assisting grade school teachers when he was in high school to most recently serving as a foster parent with the American Indian Child Resource Center, Walter has always gravitated to opportunities in education. As a school trustee, Walter will be fighting to provide high-quality educational opportunities for children in the Twin Rivers Unified School District. Walter is a professor at American River College, the PAFC chair for the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers and Democratic Delegate for Assembly District 9.


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