Blue America endorsed Bill Ostrander in the 9 person race for the Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo CA-24 congressional seat. He ran a strong issues-oriented campaign, very much in line with Bernie's political revolution, to which he ascribed. He wasn't left standing on election night and voters in the 24th will have to pick between a garden variety careerist Democrat or a corruption-tainted GOP extremist. There are no good choices there.
A few days ago, Bill called me and told me he's backing another "Berniecrat" though, Wendy Reed, who made it through the primary and will face off against Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in November in the district next door. McCarthy, one of the most corrupt members of Congress-- only Paul Ryan has taken more money from Wall Street than he has this year-- has raised $6,727,189 this cycle something like 250 times more than Reed! In line with their policy of never challenging GOP leaders, the DCCC has refused to help Reed take on the onerous task.
We need to do something about that, since McCarthy is not especially popular there; now a white minority district, with over 36% Hispanic population.
CA-23 includes much of Bakersfield and Lancaster, as well as Tehachapi, Rosamond and lots of wide open spaces and national wilderness preserves that McCarthy wants to sell off to developers, including Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.
This morning, Bill sent me this note telling me why he is so enthusiastic about backing Wendy's campaign, over and above just helping her beat the odious McCarthy:
CA-23 is the district next door. The two districts meet at Los Padres National Forest, the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge and at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, space very much valued and cherished by people in both districts and space that Wendy has pledged to protect from rapacious developers. She is a land use planning activist who has worked in the community for 3 decades and, like myself, was immediately drawn to Bernie's values-and-policy oriented campaign. She went back to school to earn a Masters degree in Public Administration and is a land trust founder, and a climate change educator, with experience working with federal, state, county, and local agencies.
I saw a mailer that McCarthy sent out about her called "The Choice Is Clear." It featured a picture of Wendy and Bernie and excoriated her as a liberal. She probably didn't have the resources to create and send out a flier like that herself but I know it brought her a tremendous amount of positive attention.
I was impressed that her top two platform commitments are:
1) to get money out of politics/politics out of government-- as she said, "reversing or superseding Citizens United, eliminating loopholes for contributions, establishing limits for expenditures, excising lobbyists from the halls of government, establishing clear conflict of interest and insider trading restrictions and enforcing them mercilessly, prosecuting patronage at all levels of government, and supporting effective public funding for elections-- to restore representational self-government, and
2) to bring resources to this part of our state to invest in local infrastructure, upgrade the health and safety of our industries, and face the challenges of climate change. These aren't partisan issues and they appeal broadly to people in central California regardless of party ID.
McCarthy was advertising that he is a friend to veterans while he was whipping GOP efforts in Congress to slash Veterans Administration funding and services, and eliminate safety nets for military families. He blamed President Obama for FEMA's denial of services and loans to the Kern River Valley after the Erskine Fire, while he was whipping GOP efforts to slash FEMA funding, staffing, and services. McCarthy and the Republicans even tried to eliminate FEMA as an agency in 2012.
McCarthy appears to do nothing for central California and nothing for the taxpayers of the 23rd district. That, along with Wendy's reasonable and innovative approach to the problems in our area, is why I'm asking my supporters and the Blue America members who did so much to help me to contribute to her grassroots campaign today.
Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,
--Howie, for the entire Blue America team