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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

 
ICYMI:  We won one!

by digby

Congratulations Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts! We've got another progressive in the Senate!

And we have a chance to keep his former House seat progressive too. Here's what Blue America sent out last night:
Elect Carl Sciortino To Keep Ed Markey’s Congressional Seat Progressive

Only weak minded and self-deluded Republicans were surprised by Ed Markey's healthy win today in the Massachusetts special election to fill John Kerry's old Senate seat. Markey has been the foremost champion of climate change amelioration of any elected official in the entire federal government. And the Republicans put up some wealthy, crooked, right wing businessman to oppose him. That's why he ran away with a 9 point lead this evening... despite the last minute flood of money from rich rightists and hatemongers from around the country.

As Markey's colleague in the House, Alan Grayson, put it last weeked, "Who cares about climate change? Ed Markey does... When the Republicans took over the House of Representatives after the 2010 election, they shut down Ed Markey's Committee. But Ed Markey remains the leading environmentalist in the U.S. House of Representatives. Who speaks for the trees? Ed Markey does."

We may be celebrating today, but no one thinks Markey's win yesterday means it's time to relax. In fact, the very next thing we need to do is fill Markey's own now empty House seat. It's a deep blue district and a Democrat will certainly win there. Last year Markey was reelected with a stunning 77% of the votes! There are 24 counties in the district and Markey won every one of them. His "weakest" performance was a healthy 58% win in Southborough.

There are a number of Democrats running for the seat, even progressives, but only one, state Rep. Carl Sciortino, is of a leadership caliber worthy of Ed Markey and the kind of people who elected Ed Markey. Grayson is meeting with him today in Washington to give him some advice about how to win his race.

And Blue America endorsed him a couple of months ago.

"Ed Markey’s win today," Carl just told us, "is not just a victory for the people of Massachusetts, but a victory for the progressive movement. As Americans, we are fortunate to have his voice in the Senate-- but it comes at the cost of losing a true progressive leader in the House. There are real differences in the race to replace Senator-Elect Markey and we, as a movement, need to come together and make sure his legacy as a progressive leader in the House continues."

Amen! And there's no one running quite like Carl, one of the organizers of the Massachusetts legislature's progressive caucus and the guy willing to take on the toughest jobs most others would just as soon punt on.

He reminded me that "in 2004, I was told by my Democratic state representative that 'we’ve done enough for ‘you people,’ when I asked him why he wouldn’t support marriage equality. Then and there, I decided to run against him in the Democratic primary-- and I beat him by 93 votes. When I got to the Massachusetts House, I was told by liberal members that the state wasn’t yet ready for a Transgender Equal Rights bill, but I filed the bill, organized a coalition, and now Massachusetts has protections for its transgender citizens. When the Democratic leadership decided to slash the retirement funds public sector employees had been promised when they signed up for their jobs, I stood up to the Democratic leadership and fought and voted for middle class workers."

Yes, so maybe you can see why Blue America-- and why House progressives-- are so enthusiastic about Carl taking over Markey's seat. I just got off the phone with him and I hope I wrote this down correctly:
"In Washington, there’s no question we need more strong progressives-- not just working on issues of civil rights, but on issues of economic justice. Never in American history has the gap between the wealthy and the rest of us been so great. Families are working hard, but only just able to afford the bare necessities. I will sign onto the bill to raise the minimum wage and index it to the cost of inflation. I will join the fight to close corporate tax loopholes at the federal level, just as I did in Massachusetts. And as a citizen signer of the Grayson-Takano letter, I will fight to protect Social Security, as well as fight to keep protections for those living in poverty that are so often left out of the public debate. 
Please help me keep Ed Markey’s seat progressive by supporting my campaign."
We need to keep these seats as blue as possible.  It's not enough to have them held by a Democrat --- that's a given.  They must be held by real progressives.

Slowly but surely, folks, we are building some power within the congress. It's not everything, but it's a necessary component of progressive change.

More here from Howie about Carl Sciortino. 

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