The first time I spoke with Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach, I was astounded. I asked him if he knows Alan Grayson. At the time they hadn't met. I was asking because I'm always looking for candidates who are something like Alan. No one is more like Alan-- and in so many profound and wonderful ways-- than Daylin. Both are what we would have called in my Brooklyn neighborhood "stand up guys"-- courageous, smart and dedicated to taking on the tough jobs and seeing them through. And, lucky for us, both men are utterly committed to a progressive agenda for our country and our people.
And that brings us to the new Blue America contest. We're hoping to help Daylin beat back Steny Hoyer and his lobbyist brigade, which, predictably, is trying to insert a more conservative and establishment-friendly candidate into the PA-13 seat (Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County). Daylin and I have something in common-- our undying admiration for Neil Young's music. When I worked at Reprise, Neil was one of my favorite artists. And when Harvest Moon went double platinum, I was one of the lucky people to receive an RIAA plaque for 2 million albums sold. This week, everyone who contributes to Daylin's campaign on this page has an equal chance to "win" the Neil Young platinum award.
When I talked with Daylin about it, I thought he was going to ask me to give it to him instead! "As a boy trying to find my way, I found myself mesmerized by the social activism of songs like 'Ohio,' 'After the Goldrush,' 'Southern Man' and 'Ambulance Blues.' Neil Young showed me the power of music and words to change the world. I thought if Neil has something this profound to say, maybe I have something important to say too. I doubt that I'd ever have accomplished what I have without Neil Young showing me what was possible."
Powerful stuff, especially when you consider what Daylin has been up to as a state senator. He's been taking on tough issues that most politicians are afraid to get anywhere near-- from legalizing marijuana and pushing marriage equality to labeling genetically engineered food. He's been a major opponent in the state legislature of Republican efforts to privatize and voucherize public education and has been one of the leading voices against GOP efforts at voter suppression. He supports the Grayson Takano No Cuts approach to dealing with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. "At a time when corporate profits, executive compensation, the stock market and wealth disparity are at near record highs, it is obscene to even consider balancing our budget on the backs of seniors and veterans," he told us. "I fully supported President Obama's election, but I can't support any drift towards corporatism to appease tea-party extremists... Republicans are, on a daily basis, showing their complete indifference to the poor, kids, the elderly and public safety as they not only perpetuate sequestration, but gloat about it. The clock ticks as America waits for some actual human beings with a soul to emerge from the Republican caucus."
Have you seen Daylin's Liberal Lion campaign video? If you had any doubts why we've endorsed Daylin in this primary, I assure you the clip will bring light to the question.