Yo Philly! Progressive Election Weekend Kickoff
by DanielUA, Fri May 12, 2006 at 06:11:53 AM EDT
In the buildup to next week's elections, Young Philly Politics, the blog aimed at young and young-at-heart progressives is having a Happy Hour/Party/Candidate Meet and Greet. The night will be a chance to have fun, see each other face to face, meet other progressives, and hear from three candidates that need and deserve the support of the progressive community. We had somewhere in the range of 75 people at the last Happy Hour, and with our co-sponsor, Philly for Change, and I expect we will have even more for this one.
The three candidates that we have chosen to strongly support, for a number of reasons are: Valerie McDonald-Roberts for Lt. Governor, Anne Dicker for State Rep., and Tony Payton for State Rep. Invite whomever, show up, have fun, party with other progressives, and learn how you can help make the difference over the final few days!
The Details: TONIGHT, May 12th, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the Khyber (upstairs), 56 S. 2nd St, in Old City.
In the extended entry, a quick look at three future progressive stars of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party:
The last party was a lot of fun. This one will be as well, as we hear from the rising stars of the progressive PA community.
First, our future Lt. Governor, Valerie McDonald-Roberts:
"Liberal" has become a proverbial "four-letter word" in some circles. What does liberal mean to you? How does that view affect your work as a public official?
John F. Kennedy said "...if by a liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties...if that is what they mean by a "liberal" then I am proud to be a liberal."
I carry this quote around with me because it embodies what I believe in and how I view my service to the people.
-Valerie McDonald-Roberts, Interview with Keystone Politics
Roberts is a wonderful candidate, and as Chris said, her race may be the most important one of the spring for Pennsylvania. She is a chance to switch the Lt. Governor from conservative to a dynamic progressive in one fell swoop. For more, check out Albert's front paged interview with her from yesterday. She is the real thing.
The second candidate is Anne Dicker.
We woke up this Tuesday, to Anne on the cover of the Philadelphia Weekly. The article described her as being the head of a new grassroots army. You know what? They are right.
Anne is a progressive, hard working, smart, tough minded woman with a grasp of what it means to be a community leader. As most on this site know, Anne founded Philly for Change. Philly for Change grew out of the Howard Dean movement. When Dean flamed out in the primaries, it would have been easy for those in the group to move on, or at least bide their time until the next Presidential election. Instead, under Anne's leadership, they did something that far too many Philly progressives have been unwilling to do: they regrouped, and shifted their focus inward, on Philadelphia and Pennsylvania politics. Now on Tuesday, Anne will become a progressive, accountable, accessible State Represenative that we desperately need.
Our third and final endorsed candidate is Tony Payton, Jr.
Many people know Tony's story by now... Despite that very real and serious desire to do good by the people in his neighborhood, Tony's campaign received no support from the political elite from day one. Tony, not one to take these things lying down, fought back and challenged the petitions of his main opponent. Now, Tony is the only candidate left on the ballot and the party's leadership is STILL not supporting him.
Again, we're lucky that Tony is smart. Like Anne, he is doing the one thing that the party doesn't do: talking one-on-one with voters. Tony has spent every spare moment in the past weeks knocking on doors in his district. As a result I feel pretty good about his chances of winning (though he can still use all of help in these last days).
Unlike with Anne's race, with Tony, the real fight will occur after he wins. That old axiom, "if you can't beat `em, join `em" comes into play here as the political elite that treated Tony like an insurgent will greet him as the conquering hero when he wins. Tony will be faced with a lot of choices. It's easier to cast your lot with outsiders (like us) in politics when you are not on the inside, but if elected, Tony is going to be offered campaign cash, jobs for friends, speaking gigs, and generally a lot of ego boosting.
Anne is someone ready-made to resist this kind of support. She ran openly because she was compelled to by the members of Philly for Change and because of the time and energy they have so far been willing to expend to get her elected. Beyond the people in her district, Anne is indebted to literally hundreds of people who, in return for their support, only want Anne to be the progressive leader they don't see anywhere else.
Tony on other hand does not have such a base. And the truth is that to keep him in office, or honest, we have to help him build a similar level of support that relies on ethical and progressive behavior, not money and favors to stay in office. Tony wants to do this, but it does get at lonely at the top, and if readers of this blog and members of the progressive community at large aren't willing to help Tony make it through his first few years, he's gonna have a hard time.
Because, I have no doubt that the drooling, sycophants and political princes who want to claim his soul post-primary, will turn against him in 2008 when they realize that they can organize a stronger candidate (like one who stays on the ballot) against him to take back "their" seat.
Finally, and not to be missed-- we will be talking about how our very own Chris Bowers is going to get himself on the State Democratic Committee. He simply needs 100 write in votes, and I think we can get to that easily. Hell, if we can walk out of there with a committment of just thirty people to simply email one or two people they know in the district, Chris is half way home.
So, Philly and Delware Valley, come have a beer with us, meet the candidates, and help us all in our little battle to start changing how Philly and PA politics operate.