Every once in a while a grassroots leader emerges who is not only smart, hard-working and philosophically aligned with Blue America, but whose very life embodies the progressive American Dream.
Eloise Reyes is one of those leaders. To spend time with her is to be inspired anew at the promise of what America used to mean and can mean again.
Eloise grew up in Colton, California, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mom and a Mexican American Dad (who didn't know he was a US citizen as a child!) They were poor people who raised up a bunch of kids who became lawyers, police officers, business owners, public servants and college professors. All those kids worked in the fields alongside their parents, they studied hard and made their way into America's middle class. Eloise became a lawyer, establishing her own private practice while devoting herself to long hours of pro bono work with Legal Aid for many, many years. She became successful and gave back by becoming a committed grassroots activist, working to make life better for her community and her country.
Eloise benefited from a strong family and a strong society that went out of its way to offer opportunity and security to people like her --- and she's committed to making sure that society is available once more to future generations.
Eloise is running for congress against a cookie cutter Democrat named Pete Aguilar who is backed by the DC establishment --- a Democrat so inept that he came in third in California's jungle primary to two Republicans in this deep blue district in the last election. The result was that the progressive majority had no Democrat on the ballot for congress when they cast their votes for President Obama in massive numbers. Why the DCCC thinks it's a good idea to back someone who couldn't do better than that in a presidential year remains a mystery, but they are doing it. And Pete Aguilar could lose this seat again.
This seat can be won by a Democrat next time quite easily --- if the right Democrat is on the ballot. This is a deep blue district and if the party succeeds in getting their malleable, empty suit (who doesn't even speak Spanish!) on the ballot to face the incumbent Republican, it's just as likely that the progressives in this district won't bother to vote. But they will vote for Eloise Reyes, who is extremely popular and known to be committed to the progressive values of her community. She is someone the people in California 31 relate to as one of them --- because she is one of them.
And she is one of us, too. Here's Eloise on the Chained-CPI:
I grew up in a family where everyone did their part to make ends meet. My brothers, sisters and I all worked the onion fields alongside our parents to help pay for our school clothes. I understand what it means to work your whole life, pay into Social Security and expect to live out your final years without having to make critical choices between food or medicine or rent. It’s simply wrong to try to balance the budget on the backs of our seniors, veterans and the disabled.
I’m running for Congress to make sure that never happens to anyone in San Bernardino, Upland, Redlands or anywhere else in America. Whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat who proposes it, "chained CPI" is just another way of saying "benefits cuts"-- and I will always hold Congress accountable when it comes to keeping the promises we have made to our seniors.
Imagine what it would be like to have Democrats like Eloise in Congress, leaders who would step up and proudly declare their opposition to cuts to the very programs that allow working Americans like her parents and her to take chances in their lives, change jobs, start businesses, get advanced degrees, knowing that their risk is mitigated by a society that provides some minimum level support if and when you become too old or sick to work.
Eloise Reyes will commit to preserving the very best of the American promise. She knows how valuable it is. She's lived it. Blue America is proud to endorse her for the congressional seat in California's 31st district and we hope you'll join us by donating what you can to her campaign here.
We are all in this together,
Digby, for Howie, John, and the Blue America team