Howard Dean started Democracy for America to break the logjam of backroom politics as usual, and his brother Jim has catapulted DFA to a new level.
By asking average people across America to investigate the congressional candidates and vote for their favorite progressive, the “Grassroots All-Star Contest” has opened the door to candidates who take courageous positions on the issues critical to our future. I am so honored to be in first place among the 98 outstanding congressional candidates in the contest. I thank all of you who took the time and gave me the nod and hope you will be there for me in the final round.
After a long career on the front lines working on environmental sustainability and then pioneering progressive talk radio, and after my experience in television commentary on all the cable networks, I decided I needed to get elected to really be a force for change.
I have run twice now for office. My first race, after a long run on WLS Radio in Chicago, was in the U.S. Senate primary in Illinois – yes, that means against Barack Obama.
Who knew he might be POTUS? I was amazed by him as we went through the debates and believe he will be an inspiration to the whole world as President of the United States.
I reviewed some debate tapes from that race recently and found this interesting slice where Senator Obama, when asked about his opposition to the war in Iraq, starts his answer by giving me credit for my early opposition of the war on the radio (BEFORE the war, that is).
WBEZ Public Radio February 4, 2004
In another debate tape, I was asked head-on if I would have voted for the war resolution just 6 months afterward when it was very unpopular to say no.
Fox TV October 4, 2003.
Senator Obama called me one of his sharpest opponents in that race and endorsed me “heartily” in my second race challenging 14-year incumbent, Republican Joe Knollenberg, in my hometown back in Michigan. After being outspent 7 to 1, I lost narrowly 51 to 47%. I also came in second place in DFA’s 2006 “Grass Roots All-Star Contest.”
It’s time for me to win.
I’ve worked very hard to advance a progressive agenda and learned a whole lot along the way. The one thing that hasn’t changed is my belief that we need our leaders to speak with conviction and be willing to act with the courage of that conviction – even when it threatens your job prospects – and, when I’m your congresswoman from Michigan, my re-election. We need that kind of courage in droves now. I’m inspired by people like Paul Wellstone, Russ Feingold, Al Gore and, of course, now Barack Obama.
I hope my hard work and conviction is enough to win it all in DFA’s Grassroots All-Star contest.