Tag Archives: Brown

GOP Needs to Offer More to Budget Crisis than “No”

( – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

by California Labor Federation Legislative Director Angie Wei

Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway has an answer to just about any question directly relating to our budget crisis. “No.” No revenues. No vote of the people. No Republican budget proposal. No closing corporate tax loopholes. No spending cuts. No, No, No, No, No.

Conway explained her caucus’ flurry on “No’s” to the LA Times recently:

The reality of it is, if we put up a ‘budget’ of our own it will get picked apart, criticized.

That may be a good answer for a politician. But it’s the last thing we need to hear from a public servant.

Poor Conway says she might get “criticized.” But isn’t that part of the job when you’re working in the public arena? You put your ideas out there, you speak your values, some may agree with you, some may not. That’s the point of public discourse.

Conway doesn’t respect the public enough to engage in that discourse. Because she knows the math doesn’t add up.

There is no way to prevent cuts to education, public safety, and programs for the vulnerable from cuts without maintaining our current revenues. Conway flat-out lies to the public when they claim that there is some magical solution to the budget crisis involving the elimination “waste, fraud and abuse” or attacking public workers pensions. No one who has looked at the budget deficit objectively agrees. If we fail to extend existing taxes, our schools and universities get cut. It’s that simple.

The truth is, benefits for poor families, health care for the working poor and home care services for the disabled and the aged have already been decimated with over $11 billion in cuts made this year alone. Further cuts not only put families on the streets, those cuts would also lead to the loss of billions of federal matching dollars. This is the classic pennywise, pound foolish scenario. Or billions of pennies given up for tons of idiot pounds.

Making the shortfall worse, Conway and her big corporation-loving allies won’t give up costly and ineffective big business tax giveaways. Enterprise Zones have been proven to create no net jobs, instead cannibalizing jobs from one area of the state to another. Costing taxpayers nearly a billion dollars, Republicans have been defending them to the cliff of fiscal failure.

Allowing companies to elect how they want to pay state taxes is another terrible plan, again defended by Conway and her caucus.

Conway isn’t willing to extend existing taxes. She won’t let the people vote. She won’t issue her own proposal. She didn’t even vote for the governor’s spending cuts.

Is this political cowardice? Childishness? Incompetence? All of the above? If all Conway and her hardline Republican colleagues want to offer to the budget crisis is the word “No,” I guess that’s their business. But we shouldn’t be paying legislators to say “No,” we should be paying them to do their job by working together to prevent devastating cuts to schools, public safety and other important services that serve the public.

We pay elected officials to make tough choices. Conway has shown she’s unwilling or unable to make the choices that will move our state forward. Here’s a “No” that Conway should have to hear from taxpayers if she continues to obstruct solutions to our state budget crisis: No paycheck for politicians who don’t do their jobs.

Brown Signs SB 2X for Renewable Energy

In the midst of over a year of energy disasters around the world, Californians have been given a reason to celebrate and look forward to a safer energy future. Today Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a historic mandate that will put California back at the forefront of the clean energy movement.

Senate Bill X1 – 2 (Simitian), better known as SB 2X, mandates that providers of electricity in California increase their supply of renewable energy to 33 percent by the year 2020. Iterations of the bill limped along the past three years, once making it all the way to former Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk where it fell victim to his veto pen; other times it didn’t even round up enough votes of support to pass out of the legislature.

This year was a different story.  

These factors made the timing ripe:

   * California’s 2010 election results helped replace some of the legislators who were in the pockets of the polluting industries with new environmental champions who put the best interests of the public first. It also gave us a new governor who sees the connection between support for the clean energy sector and the movement towards economic recovery for the state.

   * Grassroots actions including hundreds of calls and emails from constituents urging support for SB 2X to targeted swing-voting legislators helped demonstrate increasing public support from around the state.

   * The idea of investing in renewable energy became connected with economic recovery, helping garner bipartisan support for SB 2X. A record high of six votes in the legislature came from Republicans whose districts are expected to receive jobs and other economic benefits from the new standard.

The movement towards clean, safe energy also received mounting momentum from the number of recent tragedies that have occurred around dirty energy extraction and production. April, in fact, marks the one year anniversary of the biggest environmental disaster in our nation’s history – BP’s Gulf Coast oil spill.  Here are some of the others:

   * The nuclear crisis in Japan, where the full extent of the damage is still unknown

   * The explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia which resulted in the deaths of 29 workers

   * The pollution of groundwater supplies around the nation as a result of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas

With a laundry list like that, it’s hard to find a reason not to support SB 2X. Aside from being the safe option, though, SB 2X will stimulate one of the bright spots in California’s economy. Investors have been waiting for this kind of green light indicating that California is moving forward on renewable energy. Without the mandate for an increase in renewable energy that SB 2X calls for, investors would be more likely to take their projects and jobs to other states.

Aware of the economic potential of SB 2X early on, labor worked in coalition with the environmental movement to see that Californians be put back to work with the green jobs of the future. Asked about SB 2X, California Building Trades President and CA League of Conservation Voters Board Member Bob Balgenorth said:

“We worked hard for two solid years to get this bill passed, because Building Trades workers understand that a healthier environment and a stronger economy go hand-in-hand. This measure provides multiple benefits for Californians: thousands of megawatts of new renewable energy, the cleaner and healthier environment that will result, and billions of dollars worth of construction projects for tens of thousands of California workers. This great legislation was enacted because the labor and environmental communities worked together, for the benefit of all of us.”

As Governor Brown signs SB 2X into law, let’s not forget that the impacts extend beyond California. This is where environmental legacies stem from. And with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu by the Governor’s side as he signed the bill into law, it’s hard not to hope that our influence will extend to the federal government once again.

Republicans Must Let Voters Have A Voice

As soon as Jerry Brown’s State of the State was finished, like clockwork, the Republican responses deploring Brown’s call for voters to have a voice on whether we extend existing taxes or cripple public education and other vital services started pouring in. The temerity of this governor, suggesting voters should have a say in how we solve the state budget crisis! they said. Voters told us in past elections what they wanted so we don’t have to ask again, they reasoned. It’s all the unions’ fault! they cried.

Edit by Brian for space. See the extended for more.

OK, I certainly understand the Republicans relying on hysterical rhetoric in an effort to distract from their indefensible position that voters should have no say in decisions that will affect each and every one of us. The Governor argues for a balanced approach that includes deep cuts and an extension of existing taxes to structurally reform our budget. In effect, Brown says we need to make tough choices to get our fiscal house in order so that we can focus on the future. Schwarzenegger, despite all his macho blustering, wasn’t tough enough to do it. Brown is. And, unlike his predecessor, Brown is making his case to the public instead of brokering backroom deals.

Now, Brown’s plan isn’t perfect. Cutting higher education and services for the most vulnerable is not a recipe for economic recovery. He and the legislature must explore all options to mitigate deep cuts to health care, higher education and programs that are literally a lifeline for seniors and those with disabilities. But the underlying message that we can’t kick the can down the road any further is one that should bring together bipartisan support. However, that would take reasonable people making rational decisions outside of their own political interests. Apparently, for Republicans, that’s just too much to ask.

Joel Fox, who runs the Small Business Action Committee (a business lobbying group), tried to justify his fellow Republicans’ irrational behavior in a post this morning on his Fox & Hounds website. Fox has an interesting spin:

Let's consider for a moment that voters approve Brown's proposal for a five-year tax extension. What happens after five years when the taxes disappear? If the business climate has not improved, if long-term pension obligations have not been modified, if spending has not been limited, then California will be in a deep hole and we will have this argument over extending taxes all over again.

Well, Joel, that sure sounds nice. Too bad it’s about as accurate as a Glenn Beck history lesson. The fact is, California’s economic crisis wasn’t created by regulations or pension obligations. It didn’t occur because of spending. In fact, spending has been reduced by more than $20 billion over the last several years. 

What Fox fails to note is that when our economy was booming we still had pension obligations. The so-called “business climate” was then what it is now. It’s a classic example of the old Republican bait-and-switch: Try to distract the public by misplacing blame. 


The truth is, California’s budget crisis was created by bankers and CEOs on Wall Street — they crashed the economy, destroyed millions of jobs, created waves of foreclosures and left California families holding the bag… and we bailed them out. Wall Street should be paying states and taxpayers back for the hardship it caused, not the other way around, as Fox seems to prefer.

Former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich notes that the Republican attacks on public employees and pensions are merely an attempt to shield Wall Street and corporations from blame:

Public servants are convenient scapegoats. Republicans would rather deflect attention from corporate executive pay that continues to rise as corporate profits soar, even as corporations refuse to hire more workers. They don't want stories about Wall Street bonuses, now higher than before taxpayers bailed out the Street. And they'd like to avoid a spotlight on the billions raked in by hedge-fund and private-equity managers whose income is treated as capital gains and subject to only a 15 percent tax, due to a loophole in the tax laws designed specifically for them.

Admittedly, the Republican attacks make for nice sound bites. But Californians are beyond that. We’re sick and tired of seeing our communities crumble while Sacramento bickers. With every school that closes, firehouse that shuts down and job that’s eliminated, voters’ resolve for real, adult solutions grows deeper. Jerry Brown is the first leader we’ve had in a long while to offer a vision for long-term economic recovery that’s grounded in commonsense and transparency. When he became Governor, he checked politics at the door.

So while Fox and his Republican ilk will continue to try to distract us with political doublespeak, Californians won’t be fooled. We’ve got our eye on the ball. This is our chance to finally break the vicious cycle that has left our state in perpetual turmoil. And Californians demand they have a say in their own future. If Republicans want to stand in the way of that, they do so at grave political risk, because the public won’t tolerate Republican attempts to block our right to vote on issues that will deeply affect our families.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski summed it up:

We agree with the governor that the current budget crisis can’t be solved without a balanced approach, and the voters deserve to be heard. We fully support his call to bring to voters an extension of existing taxes to save our schools from even more devastating cuts. Without the extension, our kids will pay the price with school closures, more teacher layoffs and larger classroom sizes that will cripple public education…The California labor movement looks forward to partnering with the governor to revive our economy and move us forward as a state. While the road ahead is full of potholes, we’re confident that we have an experienced leader in the driver’s seat who can navigate California back to prosperity.

Vote — All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

We come from all walks of life. Some of us are students, some are workers, and some are jobless. Some of us are laden with student debt. Some of us work to support our children, some work to support our parents. Some of us have had to postpone starting a family, and some of us have had to move back in with our parents just to make ends meet. But we all have one thing in common — we are the young voters of California. And it’s time for us to flex our muscle at the polls, take control of California’s future and fight off the right wing’s attempt at a hostile corporate takeover of our state.

Our generation has been hit disproportionately hard by the recession. According to a recent report from the AFL-CIO, a third of all adults under age 35 cannot pay their bills, and 70 percent don’t have enough saved to cover even two months of living expenses. We just can’t afford to sit back and wait for things to get better, because if corporate candidates like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina triumph on Tuesday, things will undoubtedly get worse.

These Wall Street candidates have spent hundreds of millions in order to buy this election, and if elected, they plan on doling out massive tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and corporations in California, while at the same time slashing the vital services, education, health care, unemployment benefits, civil liberties and much-needed jobs for young people trying to enter the workforce.

So what’s at stake in this election?

Our jobs. Both Whitman and Fiorina have extensive track records of outsourcing tens of thousands of jobs as corporate CEOs, and Whitman’s plan for California centers around laying off 40,000 state workers, which could cause our unemployment rate to jump a full percentage point. Whitman also believes in the categorically untrue concept that giving tax breaks to the rich will somehow create jobs. It didn’t work when Bush did it, and economists agree that the concept is totally bogus.

Our education. Meg Whitman plans to cut another $15 billion from the state budget, and nearly half of the budget goes to K-12 and higher education, which would inevitably mean more draconian cuts to schools and universities that have already been decimated under Schwarzenegger.

Our health care. Carly Fiorina vowed to repeal the new health care law that has allowed so many of us to go back on our parents’ health insurance while we finish school and look for work in this tough job market.

We can’t allow these extreme right-wing candidates to trample all over our generation. We’ve got to take matters into our own hands, and the best way we can do that is to hit the polls en masse on Tuesday, just like we did in 2008. Let’s not forget, it was the young people – both voters and volunteers — who secured Obama’s triumphant victory. And we have the power to do it again, if we commit to vote and getting others out to vote as well. As the President said last week to more than 37,000 Californians at a rally at the University of Southern California:

You’ve got to talk to your friends.  You’ve got to talk to your neighbors.  You’ve got to make phone calls.  You’ve got to knock on doors.  You have to make sure that you are as fired up and as excited now as you were two years ago – because the work is not yet done.

If you’re like me, you’re sick of the tired rhetoric from the media that young people just don’t vote as often as older adults. It seems like that message has become a self-fulfilling prophecy – many young people mistakenly feel like their votes don’t count as much, and subsequently they’re less inclined to vote.

But with an election as close as this one, our votes are more valuable today than ever before. If we do the expected and stay home on Election Day, we’re essentially handing the reins over to the mega-wealthy corporate shills whose Big Business agenda will make their super-rich friends even richer, while the rest of us are left fighting for the crumbs. It’s on every single one of us to vote, and do everything we can to get out the vote to our friends, family, co-workers, classmates and neighbors.

Writer Mike Hardcastle said it best:

Don't vote and you effectively kiss away your ability to have any influence as to how the issues play out in your world, and dude, that's just lame.

Home care is not a partisan issue

Even lifelong Republicans who recognize the importance of the IHSS program are voting for Jerry Brown for Governor.

Check out these comments from Meg Whitman’s own website:

“I’m being forced to vote Democrat for the first time in my life…. I am shocked that a Republican would make me go to the Dem side, but I have been informed that you intend to do away with or seriously cut “I.H.S.S.”  K. Jones, Roseville

“Meg Whitman doesn’t get it…. Every day I have to feed my daughter and help with toileting and think about what Meg says about us ‘criminals’. It is despicable. At least Jerry Brown can do the simple math and he knows that this is one program that saves money. ”  C. Rose, Riverside

“I am a single father with a son who suffers a disability and needs round the clock care. IHSS provides me the resources to act as my son’s caretaker…. I make less today (a little over minimum wage) than I did 20 years ago, but the important thing is that my son is properly cared for…. Just as current governor Schwarzenegger has repeatedly attempted to dismantle the IHSS program, Meg Whitman threatens to do the same. I will be voting for Brown this November!”  A. Fietz, Grass Valley

This is NOT a partisan issue.  IHSS was signed into law by Republican Gov. Ronald Reagan and has been supported by legislators from both parties ever since.

But Meg Whitman wants to follow in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s footsteps by continuing to attack IHSS, one of the most humane and cost effective programs in state government.

Last year, when Schwarzenegger claimed that the fraud rate in the IHSS program was “as high as 25 percent,” his claim was disproven and widely ridiculed. The Sacramento Bee accused the governor of “spouting misleading rhetoric about waste and

fraud,”  while the San Jose Mercury-News called his allegations “phantom claims.”

Yet in her campaign commercials this year, Whitman pledges to “save $1 billion” by eliminating IHSS fraud. Since the total budget for the program is $1.4 billion, she is telling us that the fraud rate in IHSS is more than 70 percent!  That would be funny if it wasn’t so unfair and nasty.

The future of IHSS is at stake on November 2nd.

Labor Day Kicks Off Final Push in Battle for Soul of California

This Labor Day, California is at a crossroads. We can either continue the economic race to the bottom – exacerbated by corporate policies and Gov. Schwarzenegger’s slash-and-burn budgets – or we can chart a new course to rebuild California from the bottom up. The heart of California’s economy, our workers, are struggling with near record unemployment, stagnating wages and devastating budget cuts that are eroding the California Dream.

This November, Californians have a critical choice to make about which direction our state should take to deal with the enormous challenges we face. This election is simply a battle for the soul of California.

In the race for Governor, the choices couldn’t be starker.

Meg Whitman epitomizes the disastrous corporate policies that fueled the collapse of our economy. Her proposals to give the rich tax breaks at the expense of middle class programs and public safety would choke off any hope of economic recovery. Her promise to eliminate 40,000 state jobs would spike unemployment and force businesses to shutter. Her long record of outsourcing and eliminating jobs in the private sector to boost CEO profits shows how dangerously misplaced her priorities are.

Jerry Brown has spent his entire career fighting for working families. As Governor, he created 1.9 million jobs. He proposes to create a half million new clean energy jobs, positioning California to be the national leader in the new green economy. He supports investment in infrastructure and education, the two most critical areas in driving job growth. He respects the contributions workers make to the economy and would prioritize an expansion of the middle class.

California voters face a similar choice in the race for US Senate. Barbara Boxer is a champion for California’s workers. She’s led the fight to rein in Wall Street, prioritize good jobs and pass national health care reform. Failed CEO Carly Fiorina , on the other hand, thinks our economy should be more like China’s. She calls outsourcing of American jobs “right sourcing.”

Labor Day marks the beginning of the final push by California’s workers to elect Brown, Boxer and other leaders who will create jobs and restore hope of broadly shared economic prosperity. In the coming weeks, more than 25,000 union volunteers will lead the largest grassroots voter mobilization in California history. Workers will be out in force every week between now and the election to combat Whitman’s avalanche of campaign spending by doing what we do best – talking one-on-one with friends, neighbors, co-workers and members of our communities about the stakes in this election.

Every generation has a defining moment. This election is ours. And California’s workers stand ready to take a leading role in rebuilding our economy and restoring our once vibrant middle class.

Meg Whitman Loves Latinos… Except When She Doesn’t

Where does Meg Whitman stand on immigration? Well, that all depends on when she’s being asked, where she’s being asked, and who is doing the asking.

* Last year, in an attempt to cater to her Republican base as she prepared for a heated primary, Whitman told reporters she believes the state should “prosecute illegal aliens and criminal aliens in all of our cities, in every part of California.”

* This spring, in a stark reversal, Whitman spoke out against the Arizona immigration law when it first passed in April.

* When Whitman’s primary opponent, Steve Poizner, began gaining traction by veering far to the right on immigration, Whitman’s campaign advisor, former Governor Pete Wilson, produced an anti-immigrant radio ad, touting Whitman’s opposition to “amnesty” and her plan to block immigrant families the having access to education, driver’s licenses and other vital services. He said she’d be “tough as nails” on immigration. Gov. Wilson is the notorious architect of Proposition 187, the initiative that sought to deny immigrant families these same basic rights.

* Whitman’s hypocrisy became even more evident when she told a reporter, “You haven’t seen an ad from me with the border fence,” while at the same time airing TV ads across the state that prominently feature the border fence.

* Just one week after winning the primary, Whitman again changed direction, and began airing Spanish-language ads during the World Cup, indicating she was against the Arizona immigration law.

* But in late July, she went on a conservative talk radio station and said she thinks the Arizona law should stand.

* One week later, Whitman opened a “Latino outreach” office in East LA, and was greeted with a mob of protesters, furious over her perpetual flip-flopping on immigration.

* At the same time, she was also being lambasted by the right-wing John & Ken show, again for flip-flopping on immigration.

[Edit by Robert: Click through to read the rest!]

By our count, Whitman has changed her position on immigration at least five times since announcing her candidacy. And in her cynical ploy to mask her true positions, Whitman managed to alienate both the left and the right… and certainly isn’t making a case to Latinos. A recent poll shows that Jerry Brown still has a commanding lead among Latinos — 42 percent for Brown compared to just 18 percent for Whitman.

That’s because California Latinos remember that Jerry Brown stood up for immigrant workers when he marched with Cesar Chavez and gave farmworkers the right to form and join unions to collectively protect themselves from being exploited at work. And they also remember that Whitman has been changing her mind on Latino issues whenever it suits her.

Columnist Thomas D. Elias points out this example:

In one of her Spanish-language ads, Whitman says “The Latino kids attending public schools in California today will be tomorrow’s doctors, engineers, businessmen and teachers. I want them to have the opportunity to go as far in life as their God-given talent will take them.”

Unless, notes Democratic Party communications director Tenoch Flores, “their hard work and talent take them to a California institution of higher learning.” If they make it there and their parents are illegal immigrants (regardless of the kids’ own status), Whitman’s policy statements say they shouldn’t be allowed to stay long. In the spring primary, she said such “Latino kids” should be banned or removed from community colleges and the Cal State and University of California systems. Will Latinos remember those declarations?

Our answer is yes, they do remember. And they will still remember in November, regardless as to how many more million-dollar ads Whitman airs.

Paid for by the California Labor Federation. Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by a candidate.

Brown, Boxer hold marginal leads

An Ipsos/Reuters poll out this morning shows Jerry Brown leading Meg Whitman 45-39 in the Governor’s race and Barbara Boxer leading Carly Fiorina 45-41. http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-p…

Obviously, these races are going to be hard fought and there is a lot of work to do. Brown’s lead is very good news, seeing as Whitman has saturated the airwaves for months and Brown hasn’t had a presence at all. Boxer’s lead is narrower, but as the campaign goes on, Fiorina’s tenure at HP will be one of the main focuses and that will give Boxer more of an edge. Brown and Boxer haven’t hit the airwaves (at least I haven’t seen any ads), so they still have a lot of room to get their numbers up.

The Battle for California’s Future Begins Tonight

The results of tonight’s primaries set in motion a battle for the soul of California. It’s Main Street vs. Wall Street, with the winner having an opportunity to shape California’s future for decades to come.

After months of obscene campaign spending, billionaire CEO Meg Whitman will use her seemingly unlimited fortune to try to stage a hostile takeover of our state. She’s made clear that, if elected, she plans to bring a Wall Street agenda to California. What that means for working families is more massive tax giveaways for corporations and the wealthy, and wholesale cuts to education, public safety and programs that our state’s most vulnerable rely upon. Whitman’s economic philosophy, which she honed as a corporate executive and director in places like Goldman Sachs, is simple: What’s good for Wall Street and the wealthy is good for everyone. California families know all too well just how flawed that philosophy is.

The contrast between the candidates couldn’t be starker. Jerry Brown shares the Main Street values that built this state’s economy into a global powerhouse and expanded our middle class. Brown has a spent a lifetime fighting for working families. He presided over the creation of nearly 2 million jobs as Governor. He fought the exploitation of workers by large corporations as Attorney General. His experience, values and leadership are exactly what this state needs to get back on track.

It’s equally critical that Sen. Barbara Boxer is sent back to Washington to continue to fight for working families on key issues like financial reform, health care and workers’ freedom to join unions. Boxer is a champion for working families. Californians can’t afford to have a Senator like failed CEO Carly Fiorina, who joins Whitman on the “Wall Street Express” ticket.

With record unemployment, a huge budget gap and a rapidly shrinking middle class, the challenges California faces in the next four years are epic in proportion. Because the stakes are so high, the California labor movement intends on engaging like never before. We’ll counter Whitman’s massive spending with an unprecedented grassroots campaign to reach voters on the issues they care about: jobs, health care, retirement security and rebuilding the middle class. We’ll work harder than ever to re-elect Sen. Boxer to the US Senate and send more worker-friendly candidates to Sacramento.

The battle for California’s future begins tonight. Workers look forward to meeting the challenges that face our state and using this election as the springboard for California’s economic rebirth.

Art Pulaski is executive secretary-treasurer at the California Labor Federation, which represents more than 2 million workers in 1,200 unions throughout the state.

Growing Our Democratic Majority in the House

House Dems could pick up 20 or more seats this year, building on remarkable successes winning three special elections this year in long-held Repub districts:  Mississippi Travis Childers (54%) beat Greg Davis (46%) in a district Bush carried with 63% in 2004; Louisiana Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. (49%) beat Woody Jenkins (46%) in a 2004 59% Bush district; Illinois Bill Foster (52%) beat Jim Oberweis (48%) in a 2004 55% Bush district held by former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert for 21 years.

The San Francisco Bay Area’s nearest competitive Congressional races include Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11), a top target of the Repubs, and Dem challengers Charlie Brown (CA-4), Bill Durston (CA-3) and Jill Derby (NV-2). You can meet and support them all at a Sunday June 1 Champagne Brunch Reception, details at http://www.democracyaction.org…

• Congressman Jerry McNerney knocked off Environmental Enemy #1 Richard Pombo in 2006, brings renewable energy expertise to the House and constituent services to his district, and now faces former State Assemblyman, former State Board of Equalization conservative Dean Andal.

• Lt. Colonel Charlie Brown (USAF-retired), a decorated Vietnam veteran with a son serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq, and a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Red to Blue Candidate, nearly beat (2006 49%-46%)and subsequently drove out corrupt incumbent John Doolittle (R), and now likely faces opportunistic ultra-conservative Tom McClintock, a Southern California carpetbagger.

• Dr. Bill Durston, former Vietnam Marine platoon leader and now emergency room physician, has been endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America and faces Dan Lungren, a Bush lock-step voter, in a district that now has the smallest Republican advantage of any GOP-held California Congressional District.

• Jill Derby, born on the Flying Flapjack Ranch and running to bring Nevada values to Congress – independence and straight talk – has a rematch (2006 50%-45%) with first-termer Dean Heller after her year as Nevada Democratic Party Chair registering 30,000 new Dems in this critical Swing State – her voters will be Presidential voters in this critical election year.

Overall, Dems have 33 House seats in potential jeopardy (6 toss-ups), and the Repubs 43 (13 toss-ups), per the Cook Political Report http://www.cookpolitical.com/r… The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza also ranked House races at http://blog.washingtonpost.com…