Leaving MyDD

I have accepted a campaign-style job that may or may not last beyond the midterms. This position, as is the norm for such things, does not permit blogging. I hope/plan to return to MyDD when I can but whether that’s as soon as November or not until I go back to grad school, I do not know.

Thanks to Jerome for allowing me this wonderful opportunity, first under the name “Transplanted Texan” as a Biden volunteer in 2007, then as a weekend blogger in 2008, and finally as a routine front-pager for the past 12 months. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage in the political process this way, and to interact with the motivated Netroots and MyDD community.

I’ve spent the last four days driving across the continent, from Coeur d’Alene, ID to Washington, DC with stops in Montana, Minnesota, and Ohio. This really is a remarkable country we live in. The land formations, natural resources, and people – we are truly blessed. Let’s appreciate what we’ve been given, and let’s not screw it up. Not this November or ever.

I’ll miss MyDD. If you’ll miss me, or just want to express your appreciation for my posts on Glenn Beck, Katrina recovery, or clean energy, please say so with a donation to our ActBlue candidates. No, I’m not so arrogant as to think anyone cares that much about my posts – I just want to be sure to get in one last plug for competitive progressives like Alan Grayson, Matt Dunne, Jack Conway, and Bill White! (Matt, btw, just got his second newspaper endorsement in a competitive primary for an open governorship, and aired his first TV ad this week.)

Anyways, God bless, good luck, and I look forward to returning down the line.

Momentum in Open Race for VT-Gov

By now you know I've pushing progressive candidate Matt Dunne for the open Vermont governorship. Vermont hasn't had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean, and Matt's got the right background to win this tough election and the right ideas to govern.

His campaign has had some major momentum this week. First, with the first newspaper endorsement of the cycle, the Addison County Independent has embraced Matt Dunne:

Matt Dunne, however, is the candidate at the crossroads of this new generation. He gets it, understands its power and the opportunities waiting to be tapped, can articulate what is both practical and promising, and can set the state on a path to seize that new energy.

While we have no doubt that others could lead the state well, we think Dunne’s unique background as a community developer for Google, his leadership under President Clinton with Ameri-Corps, his family connection to Vermont’s dairy farming will provide a new kind of leadership style that will forge alliances — not for political purposes (a benefit of not being part of the current political leadership) — but for the betterment of the state. Finally, of all the candidates, his vision and intuition perfectly match the times....

We not only think he can do the job, he’s the candidate to help the state seize the day for the next decade and for our sons’ and daughters’ futures. Vote Matt Dunne for governor in the upcoming Democratic primary.

The endorsement follows the campaign's announcement that they met the fundraising goals they'd set for a drive that ended Tuesday night. This means they'll be on television with their first ad soon.

The primary is just a couple weeks away, and absentee ballots are already out. With a low turnout expected, GOTV and final fundraising will make the difference. Please help Matt out at ActBlue.

Matt also used this week to unveil a detailed economic plan for Vermont.

Climate Hero McKibben on the Midterms

Bill McKibben knows a thing or two about overwhelming opposition.

McKibben is a scholar-in-residence at Vermont's Middlebury College (my first choice until they wait listed me!) and the author of the first book about climate change for a general audience, 1989's The End of Nature. In 2006, McKibben organized the largest protest against climate change in American history, and was apalled to learn that it was the largest in American history. All it was was him getting on the phone to call some friends, then getting together to walk across the state. THAT was the largest in history? So he launched 350.org, which has organized thousands of rallies in hundreds of countries in just two years, including 5,200 actions on just one organized day in 2009.

One electoral race McKibben has gotten involved with this cycle is VT-Gov. McKibben has endorsed Google executive and former state senator Matt Dunne, and climate isn't even the central tenant of Matt's campaign (that would be jobs). Matt is currently in the middle of a massive fundraising drive, and needs just $34,855 more by Tuesday night to air his first TV ads. We need those ads - Vermont hasn't had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean.

McKibben is an international figure now, but cares enough about Matt's campaign - even though he'd never Matt before - to attend small house parties in the traditional New England style. Here's a video he recorded at such a party urging folks to support Matt so he can raise "enough money to be able to compete with the reeeeally rich guys... That doesn't require tons of money; it does require everybody doing their part."

Please watch, then donate at MyDD's ActBlue page. No, I'm not employed by the Dunne campaign - in fact, I'm unemployed, and yet I'm still donating to Matt. I believe in his message just that much. Below the fold, McKibben's original endorsement, a much higher-quality video.

There's more...

Meet Matt Dunne – The Issues

On Wednesday, I introduced you to Matt Dunne. Vermont hasn’t had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean, and Matt’s background makes him the right candidate first for the race and then for the job. Wednesday’s post described his career in technology, dedication to service, and legislative accomplishments. Please support him at ActBlue – absentee ballots have already been mailed out and his first commercial is ready to go on TV, so he needs our support now.

While Matt’s background makes him the candidate who can win, it’s the issues that make him the candidate who should win. He is focusing his campaign on jobs and economic development, and his environmental advocacy has gained national attention. I’ll go into detail about those two issues, but know that his website also offers plans on health care, agriculture, education, civil rights, women’s rights, and government transparency.

Dunne’s top economic priority is bringing broadband Internet to Vermont, which has perhaps the lowest penetration rate of any state. That means Vermont falls further and further behind as the country’s economy moves online. A letter in the Rutland Herald said the author heard “a Windham County businessman [tell Matt] that the day high-speed Internet comes to the town of Dover he’ll hire 15 people.” Matt’s background as an executive with a local software company and now with Google makes him the right person to get this done. In a recent interview with the AP, picked up by MSNBC, he expanded on this vision of economy-by-technology:

"We need to, and I believe have an opportunity to, go from one of the lowest broadband penetration states in the country to the first state that brings fiber-optic high-speed Internet to every home in the state," Dunne said in an interview. "And that's an incredible opportunity for us to move from a state that's not thought of as being a technological center to being a technological center."…

Deploying broadband and improving cell phone service statewide are keys to other issues on which Dunne is focusing his campaign. He wants to streamline and improve education through greater use of distance learning… On energy, Dunne thinks "smart metering," which can tell electric customers moment-to-moment how much power they're using, combined with Vermonters' famed frugality, will enable the state to shave megawatts off its power demand…

"I've heard from business people in the state of Vermont that they have difficulty recruiting engineers, because when they recruit engineers even from the University of Vermont, that engineer finds out that the home they could afford as a first home as a young engineer doesn't have broadband, they go someplace else. When they find out they don't have cell (phone) reception, even at their place of work, they choose to go someplace else."

More below the fold, including a video from climate hero Bill McKibben.

There's more...

Meet Matt Dunne: The Background

Matt Dunne is a Democratic candidate for Governor of Vermont, a state that hasn’t had a Democratic Governor since Howard Dean but offers an open seat this year. Although Matt is running in a competitive primary with several other qualified progressives, he is on MyDD’s Going on Offense Act Blue page. After getting to know him in 2006, I believe he’s the right candidate for the race and the right man for the job, and I hope you can help him out.

I’ll run through his broad support and stalwart progressive platform tomorrow – a platform that has earned him the endorsement of climate hero Bill McKibben – but it’s his background that makes him the best general election candidate. Any Democratic nominee in this state will be a progressive, so primary voters need to make sure they pick one whose background can match the GOP opponent. (Lt. Governor Brian Dubie is a commercial pilot, farmer, and veteran.)

Although Matt is only 40, his resume is one of the most impressive you’ll ever see, delving into academia, business, technology, service, and policy all. You could even throw in agriculture, since he grew up and still lives on his family’s 100-acre farm. He’s also a proud father of three (seriously, ask him to show you photos, you’ll never see a bigger smile), including a newborn son less than two months old.

Business and Technology: Matt is currently Google’s Manager of Community Affairs, and helped to persuade the company to relent on its secrecy policies and reveal the locations of its servers. He has previously worked as Director of Marketing for a local software company and helped manage the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT.

Service: Matt was Director of AmeriCorps VISTA under both Presidents Clinton and Bush. He based his 2006 campaign for Lt. Governor around “service politics,” asking his supporters to participate in service projects rather than traditional rallies. After the campaign he founded the Service Politics Institute.

Politics and Policy: Matt was the youngest person ever elected to the Vermont State Legislature when he was just 22. He served for six years, and after leaving to head AmeriCorps returned for four more years as a State Senator. According to his website, he “advanced legislation to drive the development of regional technology incubators, streamlined regulations and encouraged foreign companies to locate in Vermont... Matt successfully fought efforts to cut healthcare to the poor, increased funding for individual development accounts, pushed for federal recognition of Vermont's civil union policy, gave veterans preference for state jobs and promoted incentives to encourage the production and use of clean, renewable energy.” Matt's concern for and the poor led him to support the pre-scandal John Edwards in the 2004 and 2008 primaries. He left the state senate to become the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2006, and though he narrowly lost, he significantly outperformed the party's gubernatorial nominee, meaning a lot of independent voters split their ticket to support Matt Dunne.

Academia: Matt served as Associate Director of Dartmouth’s College Nelson Rockefeller Center for Public Policy from about 2002 to 2006. This is where I met him – I was very involved at the Rockefeller Center during my time at Dartmouth, and when he stepped down to run for Lt. Gov., several of us in the College Democrats regularly volunteered for his campaign. Matt founded the Policy Research Shop at Rocky, helping students learn how to effectively research and present public policy to the Vermont and New Hampshire state legislatures. He also grew up the child of a professor and is one of the smartest people you’ll ever meet.

More details about any of these ventures can be found at Matt's website or in profiles from the Vermont newspapers Seven Days and Manchester Journal.

Matt is tied for second in fundraising in the crowded Democratic field and has reached all of his publicized fundraising goals so far. Please help him out at ActBlue. His resume and 2006 showing prove he’s the man to beat Dubie this fall and pick up at least one new statehouse in a tough election year.

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