The “Ben Lodmell for Congress” local campaign office is moving closer to our grand opening with a meeting today of local supporters with his staff members from Mobile to make plans for a painting and furnishing party . Anyone reading this diary who has contacts in the First District, please feel free to join us and/or to contact others who might be interested.

This is going to be a race, folks. Make no mistake.  There are already a lot of “little people” on board in this campaign. If Jo Bonner  expects a cakewalk he may just be in for a surprise.


“Big Ben” Lodmell is a big man in many ways.  At 6’6″ and about 280 pounds, he is an imposing figure.  Boyishly good looking, with a quick sincere smile, he makes friends easily.  His impressive intellect is not on public display in a prideful way, but hearing him slip easily into Spanish, Portuguese and French when the occasion requires it will immediately let one know that this is a well educated and intelligent man.

With an extensive background in international finance, he understands how fiscal policies affect the economies of great nations as well as ordinary families.  His experience as an administrator of human service not-for-profit agencies have touched his heart and created a burning desire to help those who need it the most. Ben has the vision that lets him see that helping the poor, the unemployed, sickly, elderly, and, most of all, the children in our society is not expensive gravy to be dolloped on when there is extra money available, but rather the beef, the essential function of government that makes all other functions possible.    If you live in the First District, plan now to vote and campaign for “Big Ben” Lodmell. If you do not, but you want to participate in improving Alabama and America in a very real way, write your check to “Lodmell for Congress” and mail it to 106 E. Church St. Atmore, AL 36502.  Thank you.

Remember: “yard signs are pretty, but dollar signs win elections”.  

AL-01Lodmell on Oil Prices and Policy

Ben Lodmell Democratic Candidate for Congress in Alabama’s District 01 released this policy statement today.

They don’t call oil “black gold” for nothing. At $100 a barrel, which we saw earlier in the year, it is easy to understand that comparison. That’s seven times more than the price of crude oil 30 years ago! Which has some experts more than a little worried about how high the price may go if tension in the Middle East escalates, especially with Iran, or if instability in other oil producing countries gets out of hand.  If such a scenario unfolds, they say, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” when it comes to the price of oil.

Even so, there are worse fears than that. Some oil industry experts predict there may not be enough oil to go around if increasingly industrialized nations like China and India begin sucking oil up faster than it can be produced and refined.

 But you and I and our neighbors here in the 1st District don’t buy crude oil. So why should we be concerned if the price of gasoline, say, goes up another half-a-buck or so? Why? Because the cost of gasoline is only the tip of the American economic iceberg.

The fact is virtually everything we consume contains some kind of oil component. The fact is our economy is already faltering because of it.

Yes, experts are saying the price we pay for gas at the pump will probably jump to about $3.40 a gallon by spring and may be as high as $3.75 later in the year. But before that up-tick in gas prices puts an added crimp in the take home pay of working families, many will see at least a 33% hike in the price of heating oil. And that’s just the beginning of the inflationary spiral. The fact is that oil affects the cost of just about everything we manufacture and eat and anything and everything that’s shipped by truck or plane.

In short, oil has an ever-tightening strangle hold on the throat of America’s economy. It threatens the way we live, thanks in large part to our ever-growing dependency on foreign oil, which amounts to about 60% of our needs. Couple that with the all-for-oil approach by the Bush-Bonner gang in Washington, and we have a real recipe for disaster. What is the Bush-Bonner approach to the energy crisis? Damn the consumer! Damn the environment! Damn the world! Full speed ahead, with exploration, drilling and pumping, wherever there’s a buck to be made! To hell with polluting the earth and the atmosphere and despoiling the oceans! Give the oil producers what they want. Give them what they pay for with their unconscionable and corrupting political contributions. Give them subsidies and drilling rights, and protect their tax breaks. That’s what Bush wants. That’s what Jo Bonner has voted for time and again. That’s the Bush-Bonner plan. It gins up the profitability of major oil producers to unconscionable heights, while every fuel-sensitive industry in the country suffers and every man, woman and child America pays the ever-increasing price.

This near-criminal idiocy has got to step. Our country must get out of oil, plain and simple! And we must do it fast or watch our way of life erode away. What we must do is create a “clean energy economy” with the same kind immediacy and national commitment that enabled America to put a man on the moon in 10 years. The Apollo Alliance is a national movement with just such a goal. But to make that goal America’s goal, we must first change whom we send to Washington to make the rules. That means the Bush-Bonner gang has got to go, every last one of them. And when I get to Congress, you can bet that creating a clean energy economy will be one of my top priorities.

AL-01: Lodmell on Special Interest money; his pledge

I just read the list of “Target Seats” from the DCCC and I’m not happy.  Has the entire South, except for Florida, slipped right off the map?  Have they learned nothing from 2006, when we picked up far more seats than expected? If we ignore the South by saying “we can’t win down there”, it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. I believe that some of these honest and hardworking young Dems have a chance, but only if we pay attention and give them some support (especially financial support). Take a moment to read what Ben Lodmell has to say in this press release/pledge to supporters.

MOBILE, December 26, 2007 – “This Democrat will not solicit any special interest money in the coming election campaign against the incumbent Republican Congressman Jo Bonner.”

With these words, Ben Lodmell, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, today vowed not to let big business be a corrupting influence in the 1st Congressional District of Alabama. In a letter to supporters, Lodmell wrote, “The people can trust that my allegiance is to them and only them. They have my word on it.”


Lodmell said he is making this pledge because big business has “hijacked” congress. “It’s as plain as the cash in Congressman Jo Bonner’s campaign coffers. You can see it in his voting records,” Lodmell said.

Lodmell described “Bush’s man in Mobile” as “a millionaire many times over who knows the value of a buck and where to get it. Let’s just take a look as his money guzzling Congressional campaign record.” Since his first campaign in 2002, Bonner has collected over $4 million in political contributions, while personally contributing less than 1%. “More than half of the cash raised,” Lodmell said, “came from political action committees, with who knows how much more coming from other special interest groups whose main purpose is making sure they bought the right kind of political action in Congress.

“Worse yet,” Lodmell said, “most of these contribution have gone into funding extremely expensive political advertising and self-promotion campaigns that manipulate the truth beyond recognition.

“Heck, Jo has already collected $365,719 this election cycle and he hasn’t even begun campaigning – or maybe he has, at least as far as collecting special interest money is concerned.”

“And who are the usual suspects that pour dough into Jo’s campaign pockets election cycle after election cycle? ” Lodmell asked. “There’s the oil and gas industry, agriculture, the utilities, insurance, healthcare and tobacco interests, bankers, the timber and transportation industry, and the old reliable defense contractors, just to name a few.

“And what do these purveyors of bad government get for putting Bonner in office and keeping him there? He votes for subsidies and tax incentives that gin up their profitability at public expense. And he votes against limiting business activities that might curtail that profitability, also at the public’s expense.”

Lodmell ended with this admonition to his supporters: “Bonner isn’t the only one playing the money game in Washington. It’s systemic. And as a result, what we have in Washington is government of business, by business and for business. The people no longer matter. Just money.”

Ben Lodmell declared his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Congress from the 1st District in August. He describes himself as the people’s representative. “I’m a fiscally responsible pragmatist and an independent-thinker who can bridge the ideological extremes that often get in the way of getting the people’s business done in Congress.”  


AL-01 Statement by Lodmell on Energy Bill Defeat

Please read this statement and consider whether this powerful new voice in Southern Democratic politics deserves your $upport.

Bush-Bonner gang torpedoes energy bill;

‘example of corrupt government at work’

Contact: Ben Lodmell, Candidate for Congress

              PO Box 40926 – Mobile, AL 36640

              Telephone: 251-404-2663

MOBILE, December 10, 2007 – When the Bush-Bonner gang torpedoed the Energy Bill last week it was “a near-perfect example of corrupt government at work,” according to a statement issued today by Ben Lodmell, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama’s first congressional district.

“Had it passed, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 would have reduced oil imports, raised automobile fuel-efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and required electric utilities to increase use of renewable energy, all of which are beneficial to the country,” Lodmell said. “But Bush’s man in Mobile, Rep. Jo Bonner, joined with every other Republican in Alabama’s congressional delegation to make sure the historic bill died so their friends in the oil and gas industry could remain fat and happy.”

What prompted Senate Republicans to cut off debate on the bill, which had been passed by a 231-to-181 margin in the House a day earlier, was a $21 billion tax package. Included was the rollback of $13.5 billion in tax breaks enjoyed by some of the country’s largest oil and gas companies. Among other things, the taxes would have been used to extend tax credits for wind, solar, and biomass power, as well as hybrid cars.

Adding to the Republican push to kill the Energy Bill was an earlier threat of another presidential veto if the bill passed with the contentious tax package and renewable energy requirement included.

“If enacted,” Lodmell said, “the bill would have required vehicles to average 35 miles per gallon, a 40% increase over current standards. The bill would have saved 1.1 million barrels of oil a day. It would have increased yearly ethanol production by seven-fold. And it would have required electric utilities to up their use of renewable energy sources by 15%. According to some estimates, that would have cut energy bills by as much as $18.1 billion by 2020 and up to $32 billion by 2030.”

“Clearly, the big winners here,” Lodmell said, “are no surprise. They’re the special interest groups the Bush-Bonner gang loves to make more and more profitable – the oil and gas companies and their cousins in the public utility industry, none of which is bashful about financially supporting the re-election campaigns of the politicians who support them.

“The big losers, however, are the American people, whose government has been taken from them and corrupted by those self-same special interests whose only interests are their own.”

Lodmell said it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Senate and House negotiators came up with a stripped-down compromise bill that in the last analysis satisfies no one but the President and his Congressional lackeys and their special interest benefactors.

“The only bright light in an otherwise dismal display of this corrupted Republican government at work,” Lodmell said, “is that Americans will have a chance at the ballot box next year to take our government back.”

Lodmell declared his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Congress from the first district in August. He describes himself as the people’s representative. “I’m a fiscally responsible pragmatist and an independent-thinker who can bridge the ideological extremes that often get in the way of getting the people’s business done in Congress.”


AL-01 Major statement by Candidate Lodmell

This is a statement released today by Benjamin Lodmell, candidate for the First District Congressional seat in Alabama. Reprinted here with Lodmell’s permission. Please support his candidacy with contributions to his Act Blue account.

Alabama can be in play, but only if we assume that it is doable.


I wonder if Bush’s man in Mobile, Republican Congressman Jo Bonner, missed the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story on the soldier who suffered a nervous breakdown after collecting body parts during two tours of bloody carnage in Iraq? I wonder if Jo knows the Army discharged that soldier, claiming he had a “personality disorder” that pre-dated his military service and not post-traumatic stress syndrome. I wonder if Bonner knows the Army denied that soldier his full veteran’s benefits – or that the Army demanded the return of $14,597.72 from the soldier’s re-enlistment bonus? Or that more than 22,000 service personnel have been discharged similarly since 2001?

I wonder if the Republican congressman from the first district knows that the U.S. military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back some of their re-enlistment bonuses because they can no longer serve, having lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing – and, in some cases, all of the above? Or that 20,000 troops returned home with brain injuries that were not even classified as wounds received in combat?

I wonder if Bonner knows that? Or that as 60,000 veterans have been waiting six months or more for an appointment at a VA hospital? Or that the VA has a backlog of over 600,000 disability claims? Or that it takes an average of 177 days to have those claims adjudicated?

Surely he must know about the scandalous living conditions and care being provided wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. And if that’s not close enough to home for Jo Bonner, all he has to do is talk with Alabama’s Department of Health, which recently threatened to crackdown on a Baldwin County veterans’ nursing home following the death of two patients and allegations of improper medical care.  

Of course Jo Bonner knows. The question is what did he do about it and when? And more importantly why did he and his White House boss so eagerly send hundreds of thousands of America’s God-blessed men and women into an infernal combat quagmire only to have many thousands of them return bloodied and dismembered but proud and unbowed to a bureaucratic nightmare and an ungrateful Administration that failed to properly care for them?

What took you so long to vote for the funding, Jo, when just about everybody in America knew the enormity of your failure? It wasn’t the money, Jo, was it? It was politics, plain and simple. And that kind of partisan politics stinks to high heaven.

Ben Lodmell

Candidate for Congress

Alabama’s First District

AL First District Incumbent Josiah Bonner

I am so honored.  I got a letter from Congressman Josiah Bonner, the Alabama First District’s version of Bush-puppet. In it he explained to me that voting for or against S-CHIP isn’t really a vote for or against children.  No, it is, according to the patented convoluted Republican line “a part of an ongoing conversation on the expansion of government-controlled health care and the value of the free market”.

Boy! I sure feel better about it now.  It isn’t about children. It’s about a “conversation”. And, of course, Alabama’s and America’s children and families will have time to enjoy this “conversation” while sitting in hospital emergency rooms across the country, waiting for non-emergency care that would have been covered by the S-CHIP program the Republicans killed.

But, seriously folks, how long will American voters let them get away with just plain bald faced lying about their motives? Government-controlled health care? Didn’t I hear somewhere that S-CHIP benefits are provided through private insurance companies and that private insurers back this bill consistently?  Didn’t someone mention that it is funded by an increase on the most deadly legal product available to our citizens- tobacco – and that a majority of smokers back this bill?

Bonner, in his letter, goes on to say “S-CHIP should continue as it was designed ten years ago-for children of low-income families, not adults, illegal immigrants, or wealthier families.” Well, okay.  That is probably why the bill was written by Democrats and some good, honest Republican mavericks to support children of low-income families, not adults, illegal immigrants or wealthier families. D’ya think? 

Hey, Jo.  I haven’t been following your career from the beginning, but what I hear is pretty interesting.  I hear you were not a rich man when you ran for Congress but, with the help of some really good, honest folks, like Karl Rove, Tom DeLay and the tobacco companies, you got elected.  I also hear that you are now worth several million dollars.  And I know that, as a member of Congress, you and your family have really good health care coverage. Why, with all this going for you, are you so reluctant to help the people who elected you to your gravy train. 

Oh, and Josiah.  One more quote from your letter.  “Additionally, I have co-sponsored two bills?which would reauthorize and extend S-CHIP for another ten years while accomplishing many of the goals the majority’s bill failed to reach”. Please, Sir.  Doesn’t your rapidly growing nose get in the way of your typing? Your bills wouldn’t have even covered the children currently protected and certainly wouldn’t expand coverage to the other children who are without health care.  No Sir.  Your problem is you don’t seem to regognize that we are talking about flesh and blood children here, not just pawns in the cruel Republican chess game.  You are still locked into Karl Rove’s dream of a one party nation.  It is a dream you are helping to advance, Sir, but it may not be the party you had in mind.  Everybody loves children, at least every real American I know. Lies and deceit can only carry Bush and his clones so far and the end of the road is quite visible from where you are standing.

Benjamin Lodmell will be happy to take over your Congressional seat and HE will serve the people, not the GOP and the tobacco companies.