The big news this past week out of MA-09 is that progressive challenger Mac D'Alessandro will make the Democratic primary ballot against anti-choice, anti-health care reform ConservaDem incumbent Stephen Lynch. He submitted 5,000 signatures to city and town clerks offices by the May 4 deadline. As long as at least 2,000 are certified valid (should be no problem with 5,000 submitted), Mac submits the 2,000+ certified valid signatures to the Secretary of State by June 1 and he'll give voters a choice against ConservaDem Lynch.
Mac took to YouTube to thank his grassroots supporters for their help making the signature drive a big success:
Progressive Democrats across the country have reason to be active in this race. There were 34 House Democrats who ultimately opposed health care reform; and Lynch's vote was among the most perplexing:
Then there are the real head scratchers. Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-NY) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) famously abandoned the reform push late in the game, after having voted for the House bill. Lynch, in particular, went on a very public crusade of opposition to the bill from the left, and cast his vote despite pleas from President Obama and AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka that he vote with the party.
Of the 34 anti-health care reform Dems, some are running for other office (Senate or Gov), some are retiring, but most are running for re-election. Best I can tell though, few if any have serious primary challengers. MA-09 will provide progressive Democrats nationally with an opportunity to send a message to a ConservaDem who abandoned one of the Democratic Party's central pillars - expanding access to health care and moving toward truly making quality health care a right instead of a privilege.
That appears to be why Mac's campaign has found itself on MoveOn.org's radar screen as a viable primary challenger worthy of progressive support:
In the wake of Rep. Stephen Lynch's vote against health care reform, many progressives have expressed frustration with him—and now he's facing a serious primary challenge.
Mac D'Alessandro is the New England Political Director for the progressive Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and he's pledging to "be on the side of consumers and workers, and not on the side of health insurance companies and big banks."
So get in the game! Now that Mac has demonstrated grassroots strength through the impressively successful signature drive, he has to raise money - and ConservaDem Stephen Lynch starts off with a $1.3 million campaign war chest. So, please, please, please head over to Mac's ActBlue page and contribute as generously as you can!
Mac D’Alessandro of Milton, Massachusetts, has spent his career fighting on behalf of working families. For the past nine years, Mac has worked for the Service Employees International Union, most recently as New England Political Director. Prior to working for the SEIU, Mac worked for Greater Boston Legal Services, directing legislative efforts to help families combat poverty. Mac earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology and Environmental Policy from Rutgers University and his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School. Mac, 40, is married to Jennie Mulqueen, an early childhood arts educator, and is the proud father of five-year-old Sophie and three-year-old Atticus.
SEIU's New England regional political director Mac D'Alessandro has taken the primary plunge against incumbent Stephen Lynch. (Lynch, for you Progressive Punch score followers, gets a lousy 2 rating, coming from Massachusetts, and has a lifetime progressive score on "Crucial Votes" of 81.87, which drops to 71.95 when focusing on 2009-2010.)
Greetings, Blue Mass Group! My name is Mac D'Alessandro. I'm the New England Political Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and, as of this week, I am a candidate for United States Congress from Massachusetts' 9th district. I am a progressive Democrat, and I'm running for Congress because I believe that the working families in our communities deserve a Congressman who will fight for them and who will actually be a leader on key issues that matter to them - from reforming our health care system (and building on the recently-passed reforms) to holding Wall Street accountable to investing in job creation for our communities to protecting our civil rights and ensuring equal protection under the law.
I have spent my career fighting for working families. I've been with the SEIU for nine years. Prior to that, I worked for Greater Boston Legal Services, directing legislative efforts to help families combat poverty. I live in Milton with my wife Jennie, our children Sophie and Atticus, and our cat Nile. Like most families throughout the district and across Massachusetts, my wife and I sit at our kitchen table on a regular basis, going over our bills and the family budget, paying for today while trying to save for tomorrow. We see too often that the well-being of Fortune 500 companies are put in front of the good fortune of working families like ours. That is why I'm running. The 9th district deserves more than just another representative; the district deserves someone who will champion our Democratic ideals in the U.S. House of Representatives as we fight to balance the playing field for working families like ours.
There were 34 House Democrats who opposed health care reform. Lynch was the only one from Massachusetts. And, of those from the 34 who are running for re-election, I still don't see a lot of primary challenges. Supporting Mac D'Alessandro's campaign can send a message nationally to Democrats wavering on other issues (like Wall Street reform). Mac very much represents what it means to be a "Better Democrat." Please spread the word, join the Facebook group, and contribute any amount you can.
A central tenet of the Democratic Party is that we want every American to have access to quality, affordable health care. Period. There should be no debate about that.
As such, Democrats who are wavering on whether or not to support the most substantial health care reform in decades should expect that Democrats in their district will want to replace them with better Democrats. Period. There should be no surprise about that.
It looks like conservative Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts' 9th Congressional district wants to make himself a test case.
Rebuffing personal pleas from President Obama and Vicki Kennedy, Representative Stephen F. Lynch said yesterday that he will vote against the Democrats’ health care overhaul, contending that it doesn’t put enough pressure on insurance companies to reduce costs.
The move is a shift for the South Boston Democrat, who voted in favor of the original House bill along with the rest of the Massachusetts delegation in November.
Expanding coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and prohibiting pre-existing condition restrictions is progress. The anti-choice, conservative Lynch is obstructing progress. He says the bill doesn't do enough, so he'd rather scuttle health care reform for another generation rather than pass this and attempt to build on it (if, in fact, that's his real contention).
Lynch wants to obstruct reform, wants to obstruct progress, obstruct the Democratic agenda. Fine. A better Democrat is already organizing a potential primary challenge.
Harmony Wu is seriously considering a run to represent the 9th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives. Like many of us, she has become frustrated with Congressman Steve Lynch's lack of commitment to progressive issues, especially health care reform. Please help progressive democrats collect signatures for Harmony Wu's nomination papers this weekend!
For those of you who don't know her, Harmony is a Needham mother of two who took it upon herself to coordinate Needham for the Obama campaign, and shocked everyone in the state with what she was able to deliver. Since then, she has been an inspired and passionate volunteer political organizer. She has led the charge for health care organizing in Lynch's district, mobilizing hundreds of people to call and visit Lynch's office in support of reform. Out of frustration, she has decided to consider a run against him both to show that there is passionate support for health care reform, and to hopefully remove him from office if he votes No.
This effort has sprung up in just the last twenty-four hours and has already gone from 0 to 60. (HT: Dayen at FDL)
The message: wavering Democrats are on notice. Oppose health care reform, oppose a reform measure central to the heart of the Democratic Party, scuttle health care reform for another generation, and expect to be replaced via primary by a better Democrat. The notice has been issued; and, we'll know on Sunday night how many of you we'll seek to replace.
Speaker Pelosi and the House leadership are abandoning the "deem and pass" route on health insurance reform and will hold separate votes on the Senate's insurance bill and the House's reconciliation fixes, The Hill reports. This is a good thing, for at least three reasons that I can see.
First and perhaps most importantly, deem and pass would have ticked off an already angry public. The current Real Clear Politics average on health care polling is 40.4% in favor and 49.1% against. And yet as we all know, polls on the ideas contained within the bill that don't actually mention the bill show support for such measures. The reason, the CW goes and I think, that so many people oppose they would like if they studied it isn’t about policy but about politics. Voters are ticked at the process – the fact that Republicans frequently used both budget reconciliation and "deem and pass" when in power bedamned. According to a poorly worded and biased question in a recent Fox "News" poll, "about a third of voters (31 percent) think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are 'playing by the rules' to get health care through, while 53 percent think they are 'changing the rules.'" That clearly isn’t true, but perception matters, and using "deem and pass" could have caused irreparable harm to Democratic perception.
Why are voters all of a sudden so angry about age-old procedural measures? Because they didn't know about them before. We live in a new and different media age with unprecedented access to political minutia - but that's another issue entirely.
Second, and this should be fairly obvious: If a bill, even one I desperately support that would help the nation for decades to come, doesn’t have the votes to pass, then it should not pass. That wouldn’t just be undemocratic, it would be anti-democratic. Voters know this, and thankfully the House leadership listened. Besides, deem and pass probably would have HARMED the bill’s chances of passing. Vegas oddsmakers give the reforms a 70% chance of passing on their own, but several Members, including Reps. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA), said they couldn’t go along with the procedural gimmick on a bill they otherwise support – and if I were in Congress, I’d likely side with them myself. So ditching deem and pass helps both democracy AND the bill.
Finally, a controversial, high profile bill made law through “deem and pass” would be subject to legal concerns. They might not be well-founded and could well lose every single Court challenge, but that’s no guarantee. Holding a regular vote, if nothing else, will help the bill avoid such challenges and go into effect earlier.
So hello health insurance and good riddance deem and pass.