All posts by Rep Barbara Lee

Who Should One Voice Support Next?

(Some good contenders in there… – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

One Voice PAC is an organization I created to help bring progressive change to Washington, and one of our top priorities this year is helping elect progressive candidates to Congress who will challenge the status quo.

Last month, we introduced an initial slate of endorsed candidates: Darcy Burner (WA-8), Andre Carson (IN-7), Joe Garcia (FL-25), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), Ashwin Madia (MN-3), Dan Seals (IL-10), and Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1).

In addition to our initial slate, we’re asking the progressive community to tell us which challenger we should support next. We accepted nominations last week, and now we’re holding a vote on 10 Congressional challengers — including 4 Californians:

Click here to cast your vote today!

Here are short summaries of each of our nominees, ordered by Congressional District:

Jeff Morris — CA-02: Jeff is a Trinity County Supervisor and he's challenging Republican Wally Herger in California's 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from just north of Sacramento up to the Oregon border. Jeff believes that our country must redefine its role in the affairs of the world, which should start with disengaging from our fully integrated presence in Iraq. Click here to learn more at Jeff's website.
Bill Durston — CA-03: Bill is a Vietnam War veteran and is challenging Republican Dan Lungren in California's 3rd District, and a recent poll shows the race to be a statistical dead heat. Bill has pledged that he will not vote for any further funding for military operations in Iraq that is not tied to a prompt, orderly, and complete withdrawal of U.S. forces. Click here to learn more at Bill's website.
Charlie Brown — CA-04: 26–year Air Force veteran Charlie Brown is running for the open seat in California's 4th District. This is a reprise of 2006, when Charlie ran a strong campaign and finished within 3 points of the incumbent Republican. This year, the polls show him in a statistical tie with right–wing Republican Tom McClintock. Click here to learn more at Charlie's website.
Debbie Cook — CA-46: Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook is challenging Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher.  As a former PTA president and school volunteer, Debbie believes that the best education solutions are created locally by teachers and parents. Click hear to learn more at Debbie's website.
Alan Grayson — FL-08: Alan is running against Republican incumbent Ric Keller in Florida's 8th Congressional District. Alan has spent the last four years of his life combating some of the worst abuses of the Iraq war, filing dozens of citizen lawsuits against crooked contractors who have cheated American troops and taxpayers. Click here to learn more at Alan's website.
Annette Taddeo — FL-18: Annette is challenging Republican incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida's 18th district. Annette is running for Congress to put her experience as a business owner to work and to bring real change to Florida's 18th Congressional District — which won't be hard considering Ros-Lehtinen's record of strong support for President Bush. Click here to learn more at Annette's website.
Colleen Callahan — IL-18: Colleen is running for an open seat in Illinois' 18th Congressional District. Colleen wants to bring our troops home from Iraq and use some of the billions of dollars spent each month on the war on domestic programs such as schools, healthcare and infrastructure. Click here to learn more at Colleen's website.
Gary Peters — MI-9: Gary is challenging Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg in Michigan's 9th District. Gary is a former Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, and an accomplished businessman who served as Vice President for two major investment firms. Click here to learn more at Gary's website.
Dennis Shulman – NJ-05: Author, educator, and clinical psychologist, Dr. Dennis Shulman is challenging right-wing Republican Scott Garrett in New Jersey's 5th District. Blind since childhood, he has overcome significant obstacles to earn an Ivy League diploma and rise to the top of his profession — and become an ordained rabbi. Click here to learn more at Dennis' website.
Sharen Neuhardt — OH-07: Sharen is challenging Republican incumbent David Hobson in Ohio's 7th Congressional District. Sharen has promised to end the war in Iraq and to bring our troops home safely and responsibly, and is also committed to expanding health care coverage for the tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured. Click here to learn more at Sharen's website.

Click here to cast your vote today!

The response to our request for nominations was tremendous, and I have little doubt that the members of the progressive community will make their voices heard on which of these fine candidates to support.

Voting will be held open until this Friday the 17th at 5pm Pacific Time, so I hope you'll click here to cast your vote today!

Today I Endorsed Barack Obama

(This could be the first time that all three top Democrats are in California on the same day.  Plus there’s this endorsement from one of our finest Representatives. – promoted by David Dayen)

I wanted to share some exciting news with you, as today I announced my endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.

Like so many Americans, I first heard Senator Obama when he delivered his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Deep down, I knew I’d witnessed history in the making.

Barack Obama represents a bridge to the future.
He embodies the hope and new direction that our country so desperately needs.  As I’ve watched Senator Obama campaign for the Presidency, I am convinced that he is a real agent of change; a man who can lead our nation in a new and positive direction.  

This century cries for social, environmental, diplomatic, global, and neighborhood solutions to the misery that confronts far too many people in our own country and around the globe.  I share Senator Obama’s vision and active commitment to building a society based on activism, progressive values and a keen sense that we must act now and outside of the usual bounds of partisanship and expediency.

I know that a President Obama would find a prompt and effective way to end the occupation of Iraq and that he would strengthen US diplomacy and international development as an instrument of national policy to prevent crises that lead to war and conflagration.    

I know that a President Obama would place education, health care, poverty, economic security, criminal justice reform, climate change and all of the important domestic issues at the top of his agenda.  

And, I know that a President Obama would make the eradication of HIV/AIDS at home and abroad a top priority.  

I founded One Voice PAC as an organization dedicated to helping elect truly progressive candidates who will challenge the status quo. To that end, I am honored to endorse Senator Obama’s candidacy and I hope you will join me in helping him secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Fighting inequality, starting at the top

(Welcome back Representative! – promoted by Bob Brigham)

We have a problem with our economy. The raw numbers say the economic pie is growing, but the larger pieces are all going to a small minority of Americans — meaning that for most Americans, wages are barely keeping pace with inflation.

We see this rising income inequality clearly in recent IRS data, which show that the share of income going to the wealthiest Americans is the highest it has been since before the Great Depression. To pick but one example of this disturbing trend, last year the average CEO made more in one day than the average worker made over the entire year.

Clearly, it's time to reconnect the economic fortunes of front-line workers to those of their CEO's — who are commonly making making tens of millions of dollars annually — by cutting off tax subsidies for these enormous compensation packages if they are more than 25 times the salary of the lowest paid worker in the company.

When the economy is growing and the only people who are benefiting are the wealthiest among us, we have a problem with our priorities.

When the share of income going to the wealthiest Americans is growing, and the number of people living in poverty is rising as well, we have a problem with our priorities.

When issues like income inequality and poverty are not part of our national political debate, we have a problem with our priorities.

It is time to finally put to rest the ridiculous idea that if we just take care of the wealthy then the rest of the economy will take care of itself. The evidence is overwhelming: it is just not true.

That's why I have introduced new legislation designed to fight income inequality in America starting at the top: by reconnecting the economic fortunes of those in the executive suite with those of their frontline employees.

My bill, the Income Equity Act of 2007, is a simple, common sense piece of legislation that would limit the amount of executive compensation corporations can deduct as a legitimate business expense to 25 times the pay of a company's lowest paid worker.

It's not the government's job to tell corporations what they can pay their executives, but American taxpayers have the right to choose whether or not to subsidize these out of control executive salaries. If a corporation chooses to provide compensation packages that are disconnected from the wages of average workers, then I believe we should have a say over how much of that compensation is tax deductible.

If you'd like to help us build support for this legislation in Congress, you can click here to email your Representative today.

While this particular driver of income inequality can be slowed through specific legislation, it speaks to a larger trend that will require comprehensive changes to fully address. In short, the basic assumptions of the Bush “ownership society” have been shown to be bankrupt: the culture of individualism; the conviction that people who aren't getting ahead “just aren't trying”; the belief that government's only responsibility is to protect business and the wealthy, and the rest will magically take care of itself — these ideas are not just unsustainable, but fundamentally at odds with the sense of collective responsibility that is a core part of who we are as a nation.

On a very basic level, we understand that our fates — rich and poor alike — are ultimately connected.  I believe that we should aspire as a nation to be judged not by how well we do by the wealthy, but rather, in the words of gospel, by how we treat “the least of these.”

I hope that this legislation is something that will start a conversation about the best way to address widening inequality here at home, and best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Drawing the line in Congress: fully funded redeployment now

(Absolutely! – promoted by Lucas O’Connor)

Cross-posted at my DailyKos diary

As many of you may know, just over six years ago I cast the lone vote against giving George Bush an unchecked authority to wage an undefined war against an undefined enemy for an unspecified period of time, an authority his administration has invoked in going into Iraq, in the establishment of military tribunals, even in conducting warrantless surveillance of Americans.

Thankfully, today I am no longer a lone voice, as evidenced in no small part by vibrant communities like this one. The majority of Americans want to end the occupation of Iraq and bring our troops home, but despite the fact that George Bush refuses to change course in Iraq, Congress has not taken the necessary steps to end his administration’s failed policy.

So how do we change this?

With the emergency supplemental debate looming (the precise date is still unclear), it is critical that we lay the groundwork beforehand to ensure our momentum heading into the debate.

To that end, I have joined with my fellow co-chairs of the Out-of-Iraq caucus, Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters, in writing to President Bush to tell him that when Congress takes up the next emergency supplemental for Iraq, we will not provide another dime for his failed policy. Our letter makes it clear that the only funding that we would vote for is funding to protect our troops and contractors and bring them home, and 77 other Representatives have already joined us in signing this letter.

This is what we call “Fully Funding Redeployment,” and while we’re off to a strong start with 80 signers, we are trying to reach 100 by the end of the month to put us on strong footing for the coming debate.

But we’ll need your help to get there. You can see a list of current signers here, and if your Representative is not on the list I hope that you’ll click here to email your Representative and urge them to sign on to the Lee Letter. And if your Representative has already signed the letter, then you can still click here to invite friends and family that live in a different district to email their Congressman.

The coming debate on the emergency supplemental promises to be among the most important we’ve seen in Congress in decades, and I can’t thank you enough for the amazing effort you are putting in towards ending President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq — both here, on your own blogs, and in your own communities.