The Inbox - 8/15/18

The Inbox is an occasional roundup of local news and campaign updates from the candidates themselves, presented to provide a view of the midterms from ground level. 

Yesterday was the anniversary of Social Security, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. I want to honor this great moment in American history and discuss with you what we must do to save Social Security.

In 2017, The Trump Administration approved massive tax giveaways to the wealthiest among us and multinational corporations, and that money came right out of the pockets of low and middle-income Americans — many of them retirees.

But how exactly did Trump’s massive cuts hurt retirees? The Administration’s new policies required billions in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. To put this into perspective, one in seven Coloradans receive Social Security benefits, and over 71 percent of them are above the age of 65. One in seven Coloradans are also on Medicaid, and 81 percent of them are above the age of 65. Attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are attacks on senior Americans, and they have got to stop.

Scott Tipton stood right beside Trump and voted for those tax cuts, a direct attack on many of his elder constituents. Tipton has also voted to end Medicare, to cut Medicaid, and to privatize Social Security. He’s voted against providing supplemental food assistance to low-income seniors, and he’s clearly forgotten about, or just doesn’t care about, his retired constituents.

Unlike Scott Tipton, I stand with retirees, which is why I’m honored to share with you that I’ve just been endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans. I couldn’t be prouder to receive recognition for my commitment to improving the quality of life for older Coloradans.
— Diane Mitsch Bush (CO-03)

I know that Governor Cooper and Secretary Trogden understand how much the people of my district want and deserve a better deal on the I-77 toll road debacle. I oppose these tolls and always have. I agree that the best resolution is for the state to own and operate the road. Unfortunately, we cannot get there while the GOP controls the Legislature.

I call on my opponent, who supported and defended the toll roads until recently, to explain why he voted to tie the Governor’s hands to cancel or modify this contract. The drivers in this area want this situation to be resolved fairly; they are tired of watching the toll project proceed unhindered while my opponent offers no solutions and plays political games to deny the Governor a “win.” When I am elected, I pledge to work with Governor Cooper and be an effective advocate for this region in order to bring a satisfactory resolution to this critical situation.

In the meantime, I support the Governor’s suggested path toward immediate negotiations, subject to Legislative approval, to improve key provisions of the contract, expand non-toll options in the area, and engage citizens as we move forward.
— Ruth Marcus (NC SD-41)

I’ve been endorsed by Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 412!

This is such an exciting endorsement, and let me tell you why. As a union member, I have fought along side Plumbers and Pipefitters to make sure that skilled workers and their families voices are heard and protected in Santa Fe. As a Representative, I look forward to working with Plumbers and Pipefitters to make sure that skilled workers and their unions are protected. I won’t give in on the fight because when our unions succeed, our communities succeed, and that’s the future we’re fighting for.
— Billie Helean (NM HD-57)

The ecological disaster on our southwest coast is horrifying. I’m heartbroken by the photos of dead sea turtles, manatees, fish and even a juvenile whale shark. Our state had the opportunity to grow in a responsible way, with input from environmental groups and careful planning, but instead our leadership has spent decades ignoring the warning signs and putting profit above all else.

The stories I hear from our local residents are even more heartbreaking. I’ve talked to many people who can’t afford to pay their bills and are struggling with medical expenses, insurance increases and low wages. One woman told me she can’t afford to keep buying the medicine she needs unless she divorces her husband of 36 years and gets put into a different insurance category.

Republicans have been in control of Florida for 20 years. The problems we are facing are huge, but they are not insurmountable. We have smart, dedicated, experienced people all over this state who could be finding solutions and making things better, but our government at every level is ignoring them.
— Linda Jack (FL HD-36)

Kathleen Williams Picks Up Giffords Endorsement

Congratulations to LEAPer Kathleen Williams, who continues to get national attention for her strong gun safety platform in a state that could use some more of it:

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has endorsed Democrat Kathleen Williams for Montana’s sole seat in the U.S. House, hailing her “courageous stand” against legislative attempts to weaken the state’s gun laws.

Gabrielle and her husband Mark Kelly founded Giffords following an assassination attempt in 2009. Along with Moms Demand Action, it is one of the largest gun safety organizations in the country, and the data compiled through the Giffords Law Center is invaluable to this project. Her endorsement of Williams confirms what my own research found during her primary - she is the best candidate in her race to move the dial on this issue in Washington.

“Kathleen Williams, a former state legislator, is a proud gun owner, but she’s running for Congress to do what’s best for Montana families, not corporate gun manufacturers,” Giffords said in the campaign announcement. “In the Legislature, Kathleen courageously stood firm against attempts to weaken gun laws in Montana, which has one of the highest firearm death rates in the nation.

Williams is running against freshman Republican Greg Gianforte in November. Gianforte made national headlines during his special election victory by assaulting a reporter. He has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NRA and, in return, voted for legislation in the House that would deregulate silencers. The race is listed as "Lean Republican" by Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato, but modeling website The Crosstab has Williams as a one point favorite.

The Inbox - 8/13/18

The Inbox is an occasional roundup of local news and campaign updates from the candidates themselves, presented to provide a view of the midterms from ground level. 

I’m no stranger to dealing with manure, and I know it’s a skill that will come in handy when I get to Congress.

For too long our representatives have shrugged their responsibilities to the communities that elected them, and representatives like my opponent Congressman Ken Buck are bought and paid for by special interests.

Did you know the Center for Responsive Politics estimates that the average net worth of a member of Congress is around $8 million dollars? If we want a government that works for all of us, we need to start electing ordinary Americans who understand the issues facing the communities they are supposed to represent.

As the next Congresswoman from Colorado’s Fourth District, I’ll work across the aisle to fight gridlock and dysfunction. Colorado families are facing tough times, and we need Congress to fight hard for everybody, not just those at the top.
— Karen McCormick

Our government has been controlled by the same people and corporations for far too long. This election cycle, that’s going to change.

It’s time for the people to take back our government!

This year record numbers of women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and political outsiders are running for office - and not only are they running, they are winning.

I am proud to be running for Congress in a district that has never had a woman representative.

I am proud to have pledged to run this campaign without corporate PAC money––and when I’m elected, I will be proud to represent people instead of corporations.
— Kara Eastman

We talk a lot about what we’re fighting for: Health care for everyone in this country, more money in the pockets of working Americans, battling corruption through campaign finance reform and not taking any special interest/PAC money, a return to civility — but it’s also important that the people of TN-7 understand what we’re fighting against.

On that note, as a father and a potential constituent I believe my opponent Mark Green needs to be asked about his support for the extremist Roy Moore, who as Senator Corker tweeted was ”a bridge too far” even before the sexual misconduct allegations. Please help me share this recent Facebook Post and Tweet calling for local journalists to ask Green about his Moore support, which he has never been asked to explain.

Extremism is bad for America. It’s time to put country over party. Please join us in keeping this congressional seat out of the hands of those who seek to divide us.
— Justin Kanew (TN-07)

Yet again, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is siding with predatory, for-profit “universities” over students’ access to quality education. This time, she has officially ended a policy that required for-profit schools to prove that graduating students are able to get good paying jobs.

I’ve worked in education for more than two decades promoting education access in Nevada. Time and again, I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of students who were misled by expensive, for-profit universities only to be left with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and no job prospects.

The “gainful employment” rule set forth in 2010 was a step in the right direction that forced for-profit colleges to improve their curriculum and keep costs low. But under DeVos, the Department of Education has made it clear that protecting profits of for-profit universities is more important than giving students access to quality and affordable higher education. It’s unacceptable and we must stand up to protect our students.
— Susie Lee (NV-03)

Fred Guttenberg has suffered like so many others across America.

His daughter was shot dead at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, this February.
Gun violence is destroying a generation of Americans.

This is a political problem. The American people are begging for change. Congressman Lee Zeldin, the number 1 recipient of the NY delegation of NRA money, repeatedly sides with the NRA and refuse to do anything.

That’s why I’m honored that, this Monday, Fred will be joining me here on Long Island to endorse my campaign and — as we rally to finally do something about our nation’s gun violence epidemic — take back Congress and defeat pro-gun zealots like Lee Zeldin.
— Perry Gershon (NY-01)

Billie Helean's Monday Motivation is on Gun Safety

LEAPer Billie Helean has been sending brief videos called "Monday Motivations" to her email list, which is something I think is beneficial not only to a campaign's supporters, but to the candidate as well. I've enjoyed them very much and have included a number of them in Inbox posts as they come out.

Today's is especially applicable, as Billie uses a meeting with Gabby Giffords as a prompt to discuss her ideas around gun violence and gun safety. All of Billie's Monday Motivation videos are worth a watch, but I wanted to make sure this one got the extra attention of its own post, so I've embedded it here.

BIllie is running for one of the 70 seats up for election this year in the New Mexico state House against an incumbent that won by only 1,100 vote in 2016. Democrats currently hold a six seat advantage in the body.

Gun Control Takes Center Stage in IA-03

There was a time when political candidates could go an entire election cycle without being asked about gun safety, without having to put forth a platform that addresses the issue, and without voters weighing it as a critical part of how they vote. It's a testament to the Parkland students and gun control advocacy groups everywhere that this just isn't the case any more:

Gun control is a key issue in Iowa's midterm elections.
“I’m a mom of two teenage boys. I wonder if they’ll make it home from school safe,” said Cindy Axne, who is running for Congress in the 3rd District against Republican incumbent David Young.

She believes in the Second Amendment but said more needs to be done on the federal level to keep communities safe.
“I want universal background checks to keep guns out of hands of people with mental health or violent issues,” Axne said.

Axne and the rest of the candidates endorsed by LEAP Forward don't all have the exact same views when it comes to firearms and gun legislation. But what they all have in common is that they understand that gun violence is a political problem, and like other problems facing the country, voters expect candidates for office to treat it like one. 

Candidates should expect to be pressed on this issue, not only by activists, but by their local media and constituents, and through LEAP Forward, I'll continue to do everything I can to promote candidates like Cindy Axne who have the best answers to these questions.