Tag Archives: Vicki Cosgrove

McNerney Activist Falls On Hard Times

(Oh, my! This is terrible. However, we can help by going to The Progressive Connection and helping out one of our own. – promoted by atdleft)

Cross posted at The Progressive Connection

By mid-2005, Jerry McNerney’s second Congressional race against Richard Pombo was shaping up to be a rerun of the first one in 2004. A small core of his earliest supporters was dedicated to McNerney’s campaign in CA-11, but they were struggling to paddle against an increasingly strong current. Ellen Tauscher and the DCCC had introduced their candidate, Steve Filson, into this environment, and many in the district assumed that McNerney’s star (such as it had been) was on the decline. Into this breach stepped a veritable force of nature named Vicki Cosgrove.

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Vicki Cosgrove giving Jerry McNerney a hug as the winning votes

are found in the Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ office at the

end of the recount for
McNerney’s write-in campaign
in the 2004

Vicki, who is almost iconic in Bay Area progressive circles, was and is an ardent DFA supporter; she served as the Northern California Field Representative for the Courage Campaign and as a member of the steering committees of California for Democracy and East Bay for Democracy; additionally, she served as president of the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club in Berkeley. She knows everything that’s going on, and she knows everybody. In short, Vicki is the East Bay version of Paul Revere. So when Vicki Cosgrove stood up in the fall of 2005 and said, “I’m sticking with Jerry; he’s my guy,” there was a sudden sea change in McNerney’s fortunes.

Vicki introduced her friend Matt to the race, and he started the blog SayNoToPombo. And Matt, in turn told his friends about the race, friends like Eden James and other bloggers like kid oakland and Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny and FireDogLake. A few months later, a reader of SayNoToPombo, “AC,” made some comments that were published on that blog — AJ Carrillo at first thought that Steve Filson was the obvious candidate to back, but after following SNTP, he began to believe that McNerney might have a chance.

And Vicki Cosgrove immediately moved to draw these people in — by December, AJ was managing the campaign; soon Eden was coordinating volunteers and managing online outreach; then Eden brought in Miles Kurland, whose redesign of the JerryMcNerney.org website was a masterpiece of both readability and high-level functionality. In the meantime, Vicki had turned her eye towards fine-tuning the campaign’s message, bringing in Chris Finnie, a local professional copy writer who volunteered her time to polish McNerney’s ideas. And amidst all this activity, Vicki was using her vast social network to draw scores of committed activists throughout the Bay Area into the race — and they, in turn, activated their social networks. Think of Vicki Cosgrove as Jerry McNerney’s fairy godmother — whenever the McNerney campaign needed someone to fill a hole, Vicki pulled out her wand and managed to produce that person.

As much as McNerney’s election was an incredible combination of powerful forces that combined to defeat Richard Pombo, it all would never have happened without Vicki Cosgrove. In the early days, she worked full-time in McNerney’s office on a volunteer basis. Her husband, John, worked two jobs to support their family so that she could fully commit her energies to progressive activism. In the later days of the campaign, Vicki was brought on as a (minimally) paid staffer, handling scheduling for McNerney.

During this time, Vicki and her family continued to sacrifice so that she could devote herself to the campaign. Vicki started having gallbladder attacks during the months leading up to the 2006 election, but she ignored them so that she could see the McNerney race through to completion. In recent months, however, the attacks have become so much of a problem that she finally decided to have surgery to remove her gallbladder. But in the last few weeks, something has happened that pushed her surgery plans aside. Her husband, John, has become suddenly and obviously very ill, losing 40 pounds over the last month. After tests last week disclosed a growth on his pancreas, John’s doctors scheduled a Whipple procedure for April 18. John is expected to be in the hospital for at least 14 days for this surgery, which will remove his gall bladder and portions of his pancreas and duodenum. The surgery is typically followed by a course of radiation and/or chemotherapy. John will obviously be unable to work for a long time to come, and Vicki is unemployed.

Vicki will be applying for unemployment benefits this week, but that is not going to be enough to pay the bills.

So it’s my hope that the progressive community which has been so well-served by Vicki’s tireless efforts can join together and repay her for all she’s done on our behalf. The Progressive Connection is linking to a PayPal account to raise money for the Cosgrove family, to help them in their everyday expenses until they’re able to get back on their feet.

Please donate whatever you can afford — this is our chance to really come together as an activist community and take care of our own. Because if we don’t, who will?

[Note: This diary won’t accept the html for the PayPal button, but you can go to The Progressive Connection to make a donation. Sorry for the inconvenience.]