by Nathan Empsall, Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 05:00:51 PM EDT
I originally planned to write several “Going On Offense” posts in the days leading up to March 31, but finding time to blog is tricky when you work at a church during Holy Week and an environmental non-profit in the month before Earth Day. Still, I feel it’s important to make time for at least one of MyDD’s “Going On Offense” Act Blue candidates: Paul Hodes.
Hodes, elected to Congress just four years ago, is running for Judd Gregg’s open Senate seat. It’s vital that we win this one – in 2006, New Hampshire had two Repub Congressman, two Repub Senators, two Repub chambers in the state legislature, and a Repub-dominated Executive Commission (the body that approves the Governors’ nominees). Back then all Democrats had was the Governor, but now, all the Repubs have is one lone retiring Senator. If we can’t win even this open seat, we really are sunk this year.
For me, this election is as much personal as it is political. I first met Hodes when he was still just a Concord lawyer and children’s musician, and was impressed from the start. I originally planned to vote for the moderate GOP incumbent Charlie Bass – my Democratic identity was still forming – but after meeting Hodes on several occasions and interviewing him for the Dartmouth Free Press, I was sold. He’s an intelligent and earnest guy with a deep love for New Hampshire, and made for a welcome addition to the House of Representatives. As you can see in my interview, he campaigned on universal health care, and earlier this month took a big step towards delivering on that promise. The US Chamber of Commerce flooded the state’s airwaves with negative ads but Hodes stuck to his progressive guns and voted for reform. He was there for us even in the darkest days of February, writing in the Huffington Post:
There are lessons to be learned from the last year, but wimping out isn't one of them. Losing a special election in Massachusetts and seeing Democrats retiring in the Senate does not mean that we should back down from what we believe in. It doesn't mean we should give up on quality, affordable health care for every American. It doesn't mean we should give up on working for a new energy strategy for the 21st Century. And it certainly does not mean we should give up on fighting for the middle class families that put us in office.
I have one message for Democrats around the country: Get over it. It's time to pick ourselves up and work together to get done what we set out to do and win in November… The Washington Republican Party and their tea-party allies would take us back to the Bush years that were disastrous for our country. Now is not the time for Democrats to shy away from a fight, to back down or run away from who we are. There is too much at stake.
There would be sweet justice in winning Judd Gregg’s seat. Gregg made a fool out of President Obama with the Commerce Secretary nomination, urged obstruction in a December memo, and acted hypocritically on budget reconciliation. His party’s likely nominee, Kelly Ayotte, wouldn’t be much better. Hodes is using her opposition to health care reform to remind voters of the 34,000 small businesses in New Hampshire that will get tax credits under the new law.
In addition to his support for universal health care, Hodes is a great environmentalist – which comes easy when you live in a state with such beauty as the White Mountains. Energy was another prominent theme in his ’06 campaign and this year he’s one of just five Senate candidates to date endorsed by the Sierra Club.
The Hodes campaign wants you to text JOIN, GREEN, or YOUTH to 46337 or visit their website. Both would be helpful, but even more helpful would be to visit ActBlue and donate some much needed cash before tomorrow night’s FEC filing deadline. $5 to each of our “Going On Offense” candidates or even just $10 to the Hodes campaign would go a long way.