Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is "Staying The Course" in Idaho's best interest?

I wanted to write a letter explaining why I support Jim Hansen but while I was doing "research", I found a post written by Julie Fanselow on her political blog, "Red State Rebels" and she said it better than I could. Please take the necessary time to get to know what Jim stands for...and educate your friends, family, and neighbors. Can America really survive two more years of the "same"? "Staying the course" is just as unhealthy for how America's government is being run, as it is for the way the war in Iraq is being handled...

..."Conventional wisdom says Democrat Jim Hansen has no chance of beating GOP incumbent Mike Simpson, even in what's looking like a very Democratic year. I say: Let's prove conventional wisdom wrong.

Jim Hansen has run an amazing and inspirational grassroots campaign. In town after town across southern Idaho, he has shown up for lunch at the senior center and walked the halls of schools and hospitals, talking with thousands of Idahoans to learn what's on their minds. Sure, all politicians do a little bit of that, but for Jim, it's not "just politics," it's his passion. It's how he grew up, watching his Dad - Rep. Orval Hansen, a Republican who served 1968-1974 in Congress - travel from town to town and really listen to folks.

Jim tells the story of one man he met in southeast Idaho who is a lifelong Republican, but who will be voting Democrat this year because his son was killed in Iraq and he still doesn't know why we're there. He tells of people who say that they've never, ever seen the incumbent in their town. And that's the main reason we need to retire Mike Simpson: He has reached a point where he takes his constituents for granted, at best, and that's probably being charitable.

Jim Hansen is a man of his word, and a man who has refused to let money run his campaign. If he wins, he will have won on a principle of taking no money from PACS and capping individual donations at $100. What a message that would send to the rest of America - that seats in Congress need not go to the highest bidder.

Mike Simpson has been ruined by the toxic combination of power and money. This June 7 item from The Hill newspaper depicts a Mike Simpson who was "barely been able to contain his dislike" for Bill Sali, who had just won the Idaho 1st District GOP primary with 26% of the vote. "There’s a serious question about whether he can win the race," Simpson said, adding that the obstinate Sali made controversial conservative firebrand Helen Chenoweth-Hage look "like a dream." But within one week ... one week ... Simpson had endorsed Sali and sent him a $2,000 check. "I can tell you that Congressman Simpson is committed to keeping the majority in power," his spokeswoman told the Spokesman-Review.

At a fundraising concert and rally last night for Jim Hansen, someone onstage said "If Tom DeLay is the disease, Jim Hansen is the cure." Well, I'll take that a step farther: If Mike Simpson is the disease, Jim Hansen is the cure. Mike Simpson has been rising ever higher in GOP power circles. He's tight with John Boehner, who replaced DeLay, and who has come under scrutiny in everything from his ignorance of Mark Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages to his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Like too many Congressmen from both parties (but, let's face it, mainly from the GOP), he seems to increasingly have an attitude that he is above the law. That's about as far away from "conservative" as you can get.
There is going to be some long-overdue House cleaning this fall. Shouldn't Idaho have a hand in it? Let's do our part by retiring Mike Simpson and sending Jim Hansen to represent real change and true Idaho values in Congress.

Click here to learn more about Jim, and here to donate to his campaign via my ActBlue page."

I want to also include a reference to one of the comments, from Elizabeth:

So many of us complain about money in politics and corruption in DC, but the most many of us are willing to do is vote. That leaves the rest of the process in the hands of the wealthy and corporate interests. We need to exert our ownership over the process, but that also includes responsibilities that extend beyond the voting booth.
Jim is the real deal, and his self-imposed campaign contribution limits show that. The Party isn't too happy about his position, because it is in opposition to the status quo for fundraising. The more the merrier.
Jim is providing an opportunity for average people to participate in the campaign process in a meaningful and powerful way. I wish he could speak personally to every voter as there would be no question who would win the election.
Here is a letter to the editor I sent to the Statesman. They've confirmed the letter but it hasn't been published yet.

"Mike Simpson says his campaign donors “philosophically agree” with him on the issues. Does that mean Simpson is in philosophical agreement with donors such as convicted felon Jack Abramoff or his former coworkers at DC lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates, Laura Neal and Lawrence Grossman? Do Simpson’s contributors represent his values?

According to the FEC, the majority, over 76%, of Simpson's campaign money comes from PAC and corporate contributions. Top donors include those from Cassidy & Associates and from Cavarocchi, Ruscio, Dennis Associates, another lobby group with ties to Abramoff.

Only 18% of individual contributions are from Idahoans, representing 7% of the total dollar amount. Of that 7%, nearly 60% is from Idaho Power executives. Does this mean that Simpson has more in common, philosophically, with corporations and lobbyists than ordinary Idaho citizens?

It’s clear that corruption is rampant in national politics, and Idaho’s representatives are not insulated. Craig and Otter have also been beneficiaries of the Abramoff cartel’s largesse.

Why the good, hard working people of Idaho would find this acceptable is beyond me. While elected Republicans claim to share the values and beliefs of Idaho citizens, it’s clear their hands and hearts lie elsewhere. Vote for change in November."

Additional posts:
Mike Simpson says pork is a constitutional right
Republican Congressman Mike Simpson sent out a "Dear Colleague" letter ... In his letter, Simpson vigorously defended the practice of congressional ... Simpson went on to say that earmarking was fiscally conservative and that in fact, ...
mike simpson: protector of idaho
when will people start to realize that this land, the land in question in this bill, is their land? visit it or not, its ours! mike simpson can't decide to sell it, it is not his. the whole damn congress shouldn't have that power. when ...
hey, mike, who's turf are you standing up for?
"we are getting more authoritative," said rep. mike simpson (r-idaho), an appropriations committee member who behind closed doors ... that last quote is from the same mike simpson who insisted that pork projects are a constitutional right.
Jim represents Idaho citizens, not PACS
We also need to be aware of the 2nd Congressional District race between Representative Mike Simpson and Jim Hansen.

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