• NH-Sen: Oh, darn. Ex-Sen. Bob Smith isn’t planning to run in the GOP primary for Judd Gregg’s open senate seat. He said he prefers to remain a Florida resident.
• OH-Sen: Add a fourth candidate (and, with Tyrone Yates, a second African-American with a less-than-statewide profile) to the mix in the Ohio senate primary: Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones. Last week he told Ohio Daily Blog that he’d be forming an exploratory committee this week. (No telling if that actually happened.)
• OH-02: You may remember David Krikorian, an independent who racked up double-digits in last year’s Schmidt/Wulsin faceoff. He’s announced that he’s going to seek the Democratic nomination for a rerun, as a loud ‘n’ proud Blue Dog.
• IL-05: It’s the last weekend of campaigning before the Mar. 3 primary for the special election to fill Rahm Emanuel’s seat. With 12 candidates and projected low turnout, basically anything can happen. While Emanuel hasn’t endorsed, Politico does observe that there’s a Sara Feigenholtz sign in his yard in Chicago.
• DCCC: Chris Van Hollen announced his 2009-10 chair for candidate recruitment: Rep. Steve Israel (of NY-02). He also announced that Robby Mook, most recently Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign manager, will take over as the DCCC’s political director.
• FEC: This ought to make James’s job a lot easier: Russ Feingold has introduced legislation, widely expected to pass, requiring Senate candidates to electronically file their campaign finance reports with the FEC, the way House candidates already do. Currently, Senate filings are paper-only.
• KY-St Sen.: Here’s a bit of good news that’s a few weeks old that eluded us until now: a Democratic candidate, Mike Reynolds, won the Feb. 11 special election to fill the state senate seat vacated by Republican Brett Guthrie (elected in KY-02 in November). The 32nd, based in Bowling Green, is in a deep red area at the federal level, but apparently still maintains a downballot Dem tradition. The GOP still controls the state senate, 21-16-1.
• NYC: SSP doesn’t usually delve into county-level governance, but this involves one of the legal community’s most legendary members: Bob Morgenthau, the District Attorney of New York County (aka Manhattan), has decided not to go for a 10th term. Currently 89 years old, he’s been in office for 35 years.
• Retread Watch: Yeah, there’s some precedent for this. But isn’t it a little sad that twice-defeated House loser Jeb Bradley is considering a run for New Hampshire state Senate?
Recently the small Western Kentucky town of Benton had their annual Tater Day. What is Tater Day you may ask? Well, it is a festival that started in the late 1800s as a celebration of the first day of spring. Residents of Western Kentucky would gather together and trade sweet potatoes. It features a parade, that circles the town and a Ms. Tater Day pageant.
It also has political overtones and many candidates down through the years have come to meet their constituents in Western Kentucky and participate in the Tater Day parade.
This year, Heather Ryan and Greg Fischer were there to meet the fine people of Benton, and participate in the parade. Their opponents, Exxon Ed Whitfield, Mitch McConnell and Bruce Lunsford decided not to participate. Personally, I believe that a Representative or Senator should take every opportunity to meet the people they want to represent.
Well, two of the hardest working candidates to expand our Congressional majorities are Heather Ryan and Greg Fischer. Ryan is running against Exxon Ed Whitfield in Kentucky’s First Congressional District. Here she is meeting with a veteran constituent:
Unlike Exxon Ed Whitfield, Heather Ryan believes in meeting the veterans of our district and hearing their concerns. Of course Exxon Eddie doesn’t want to meet them because he voted against them. Heather would never vote against the welfare of our veterans as Exxon Eddie has here:
Whitfield voted for budget that cut veteran’s programs. Voted for final passage of the $2.6 trillion budget conference report for 2006. The report cut Medicaid spending by $10 Billion, every penny of the Social Security surplus, increased the national deficit by $167.5 Billion over 5 years and paved the way for drilling in ANWR. Furthermore, the conference report cut fudning for veterans’ healthcare by $13.5 Billion over 5 years. Yet the budget still found room for $106 BILLION in tax breaks for those who need it least. [HRC 95, Vote #149, 4/28/2005; Passed Republicans; 214-15: Democrats; 0-195; Independent; 0-1]
Whitfield voted against a $53 Million boost for Veteran’s Health Care and Benefits on MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND 2005 (FAILED BY 1 VOTE – WHITFIELD’S VOTE). The bill would have aded $8 million for combat-related trauma care, $6 million for poly-trauma centersto support wounded trops once they return to their homes, $9 million for VA medical and prosthetic research and $7 million for 100 additional staff to process claims for compenstation and pension benefits. Finally, the amendment would provide $23 million to help approximately 4100 spouses of service members with children whose spouse died during the War on Terrorism between September 11, 2001 and November 30, 2004 by making them eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. The amendment failed, 213-214 [HR 2528, Vote #224, 5/26/2005; Failed; Republicans; 19-210; Democrats; 193-4; Independent; 1-0]
You see, here at Ryan for Kentucky we believe in respecting our veterans with much more than talking points. We believe they have earned our respect, and all the benefits they and their families are entitled to. We consider it a disgrace that our Congressman rubber-stamped the Bush plan to send our soldiers to war without the proper training, equipment, and planning to accomplish their mission, and then allowed such disgraces as Walter Reed. Here is Heather’s take on respecting our veterans:
As a veteran of the United States Navy, and an active member of the American Legion, my dedication to the men and women in uniform is unyielding. The current service member is highly skilled, highly trained and highly ignored by this administration. The American people
were duped into an ill-conceived war under false pretenses and the administration continues to over utilize a national guard system which was never intended to be used for sustained combat missions. Congress must insist that an exit strategy be planned and implemented immediately. By the Bush Administration’s own account, the nation will be forced to reinstate the draft system again should we continue to over-tax our National Guard with sustained combat. I am not a supporter of reinstating the draft for as history clearly shows us, the draft is merely for those of us who are not wealthy enough to buy our way out of
active duty. We must not allow this ill planned and ill executed war to continue to destroy the brave men and women in our armed forces while simultaneously placing our nation at a heightened risk with a limited national guard.
Every day we see reports about how our veterans services have fallen into severe disrepair. The men and women who served this country deserve better. Our VA system needs a complete overhaul; from the GI Bill to health care to disability benefits, without a modernized system, we do those who served our country a grave disservice. Veterans deserve better.
Of course, Heather is a fellow veteran, so her views stem from experience.
Here is Heather decorating the Ryan for Kentucky van with a personal thank you note for Whitfield, McConnell, Bush, Cheney, and the Republicans for our $3.29 gas!!
I think she speaks for all of us with that thank you note!! Just to think, many in this country consider $3.29 gas cheap!!!
Heather is an awesome grassroots candidate who isn’t afraid to rub elbows with the average people she wishes to represent. Exxon Ed Whitfield was a no-show on Tater Day. Wanna see who Exxon Eddie sees fit to rub elbows with instead of veterans and his constituents?:
Well, that makes sense since Exxon Eddie has been an adoring rubber-stamp of W’s policies that hurt our veterans, while doling out hundreds of billions in corporate welfare to men like President Bush, and well himself!!!
Here is Heather and her daughter Ireland, our youngest member of Ryan for Kentucky, and future Democratic leader!!!:
Heather wasn’t the only awesome grassroots Democrat at Tater Day. The Progressive candidate for Senate, Greg Fischer also saw fit to meet the good folks of Benton and Western Kentucky. It seems his grassroots supporters were waiting:
Maybe they are so excited because Greg Fischer will fight for the Transformational change that will ensure all Kentuckians have access to healthcare:
Since career politician Mitch McConnell took office, the number of Kentuckians without health insurance has skyrocketed to 520,000. And currently there are 47 million Americans uninsured; the health care system in the United States is broken. An inefficient delivery system combined with non-patient focused bureaucratic barriers has caused health care costs to spiral out of control.
A single, serious injury or illness can be financially devastating for an insured, tax paying citizen. By the year 2010, healthcare cost as a percentage of gross domestic product is estimated to be 20 percent in the U.S. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that by 2017, healthcare spending per person will approximately double to $13,000 per person, and total U.S. health care spending will double to more than $4 trillion. This level of spending is simply unsustainable.
Attempts by politicians to address the issues have largely been ineffective as a result of the failure to consider hard facts and predictions, some based on concrete data from our own government organizations and agencies. The common notion that health care in the United States, although expensive, is ranked at the top globally, is a myth. As an example, America’s infant and maternal mortality rates currently rank below France, Canada, Germany, Australia, and Sweden, all with lower health care costs.
Transformational change is needed to address this crisis. A system is needed that not only serves as a catalyst for health care quality improvements, but also reduces the health care cost on businesses and individuals. A new system-understood by all American citizens and focused on prevention and public health-is needed.
The good news is health care solutions exist to spark this change. Additionally, our current national spending of $2.2 trillion provides adequate funding for the solutions.
Greg Fischer’s first legislative priority will be passing a bill that prevents members of Congress from accepting their gold-plated tax-payer funded health care coverage until universal health care is a reality for every American. Maybe then we can get started on real change for health care in America.
Solutions must be value-based and built around these principles:
Universal health care access for all citizens- All Americans deserve the dignity of quality health care that guarantees eligibility, is affordable and portable, preserves the private practice of medicine, and allows freedom to choose among doctors and other health care providers.
System modernization – We must improve the utilization of health care system dollars to lower health care delivery costs and improve patient safety. Involving all health care providers in the development of standards for electronic health information management is one example of common sense system modernization.
Wellness and prevention Because a significant part of health care costs in America is driven by behavior, a focus on improving personal health and prevention of serious diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and coronary disease is imperative. The creation of reimbursement incentives around wellness and prevention not only improves quality of life but will also help to lessen serious laterstage illnesses.
Innovation – Americans are the world’s most innovative citizens. We can encourage innovation and reduce costs by removing bureaucratic barriers for the development of less invasive treatments, better medications and devices for testing and treatment.
Here is Greg looking remarkably at ease among the voters of Western Kentucky despite chasing millionaire establishment candidate Bruce Lunsford in the primary, and millionaire Mitch McConnell when he wins the primary. Neither opponent saw fit to grace the good people of Western Kentucky with their prescense:
Wanna see where Bruce Lunsford’s sympathies lie?
Thats Ernie Fletcher, former corrupt Governor of Kentucky who Lunsford endorsed after losing the Democratic Primary to Ben Chandler in 2003.
In Kentucky, we have two awesome candidates to expand our Congressional majorities with fighting Democrats who won’t be afraid to fight for us. Please help these campaigns as they both face millionaire oppositon, and the golden-plated smear machine of Mitch McConnell.