Though we started out intending to endorse state legislature candidates, as well as potential governors, we weren't prepared at all for the Blue Tsunami of House and Senate candidates that keeps growing. In 2016, we had nine federal candidates - at present, we have 130 and growing. We regrettably just don't have the time or staff to cover state and local legislative races, so no more than the ones already here will be added. We will, however, continue to cover gubernatorial races in hopes to help replace the evil Republicans like Snyder, Walker, Lepage, etc.
In March, Illinois made yet another fatal mistake that, like the 2016 presidential race, has left us with no choice but the "lesser of three evils" situation (disgusted with the Republican incumbent, a Republican state senator is now running as a Constitution Party candidate) when we could have had a state senator and former state Rep, who lives simply on $40,000 a year, is smart (a mathematician!), visionary, honest, and truly of and for the people of Illinois. But no, after four years of failure, increased state debt, third-world level healthcare everywhere but Chicago, nothing but cuts to social services and anything that helps the poor, we'll either have four more years of the same from a Republican mini-Trump, four years of an ultra conservative who'd never win Chicago, or another billionaire, this time in Democratic costume, with NO governing experience, connected to the infamously corrupt Chicago Machine, with more concern about which watch to wear than he has about the people of Illinois.
DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE! We allowed Pritzker's money to hypnotize us with big flashy mailers, TV and radio ads, and even Internet pop-ups. Illinois voters were STUPID, refusing to learn from the evidence right in front of us. Pay attention, find out about ALL your choices and be a knowledgeable voter!
Jared is escaping the Swamp after 10 years in Congress in order to serve the people of Colorado as their governor. He has always been a favorite of DUH since he eagerly supported H.R. 676 year after year and for his personal courage and integrity as an openly gay Representative and, with his partner Marlon Reis, the first gay parent in Congress, having a son and a daughter.
The son of a physicist and a school teacher who decided to pursue their true passions: art and poetry. They combined his painting with her poetry to create a small Colorado business called Blue Mountain Arts. Their entrepreneurship gave Jared an example to follow as, from his college dorm room, he launched American Information Systems, a dial-up service provider that brought the internet into many homes for the first time. He also helped take the family greeting card business online, and founded ProFlowers, a startup where he did everything from loading the trucks to taking the business public. Later, Jared co-founded Techstars, a startup accelerator where he mentored entrepreneurs from all walks of life, and Patriot Boot Camp, which helps veterans start their own small businesses after coming home from their service.
In in 2000, Jared was elected to the Colorado Board of Education where, as Chairman, he fought to raise pay for teachers while reducing class size for students. He also founded several non-profit public schools for at-risk children and served as superintendent of the New America School, which helps new immigrants earn their high school diploma.
During his decade in Congress, he supported and helped pass the ACA, as well as legislation that would rein in the excesses of Wall Street, provide more opportunities to young immigrants, and protect national iconic public lands. Continuing his dedication to education, he led the charge to replace the one-size-fits-all mandates of No Child Left Behind with a new system to help students from every background get the quality education they deserve.
On healthcare, he says, "I believe passionately in universal health care, and I always will...As with so many other issues, politicians in Washington will stop at nothing to make life harder for Coloradans for the benefit of special interests. In Colorado, we have an opportunity to aggressively reduce the costs of care, expand access to the services people depend on, and put Coloradans first.
Ben Jealous is a civil rights leader, community organizer, investor in startups for good, educator, former investigative journalist. and a Rhodes Scholar who has spent his life bringing people together to get big things done. While his name recognition may stem from his time leading the NAACP, he is now a political rising star running for Governor of Maryland.
Ben’s Maryland roots go back generations and includes activists before him. His grandmother worked at Planned Parenthood while his grandfather worked on the B&O Railroad. Ben’s mother helped to integrate Western High School in 1954 as a member of the NAACP’s Youth and College Division. Ben’s father was one of a small number of white men jailed during the Congress of Racial Equality’s efforts to desegregate Baltimore’s downtown business district.
Ben is a Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Columbia and Oxford University He is also the proud father of two children who attend public schools.
As a community organizer Ben helped lead successful campaigns to abolish the death penalty for children, stop Mississippi’s governor from turning a public historically black university into a prison, and pass federal legislation against prison rape.
While working as a journalist in Mississippi, Ben’s investigations were credited with helping save the life of a white inmate who was being threatened for helping convict corrupt prison guards, free a black small farmer who was being framed for arson, and spur official investigations into law enforcement corruption.
Ben has extensive experience as a non-profit executive, serving as the past president of the Rosenberg Foundation, and the founding director of Amnesty International’s U.S. Domestic Human Rights Program. At age 35, Ben was named the youngest ever National President and CEO of the NAACP. During the depths of a national recession, Ben guided the NAACP through an unprecedented era of growth, nearly doubling the organization’s revenue in just five years. The NAACP’s membership increased three years consecutively for the first time in 20 years under Ben’s leadership.
In 2013, Ben was named Marylander of the Year by the Baltimore Sun because of the role he played in leading the effort to abolish the death penalty, helping assure the effort to pass marriage equality was successful, chairing the effort to pass the DREAM Act, and expand voting rights.
Ben currently works as an investor for Kapor Capital, an investment firm that invests in companies working to create progressive social change. At Kapor, Ben manages the firm’s Baltimore office where he has invested in several Maryland companies working to make his state stronger.
His 21-page MD-Care plan is available for download on his website (and in DUH's Info & Resources Legislation section) and it won our endorsement, along with this in the introdyction : "A true Medicare for All system that extends affordable and quality healthcare to every Marylander – and saves countless lives in the process – is well within our grasp. Getting it done requires the courage to stand up to both the special interests who profit off our current system’s shortcomings and to those whose lack of political will continues
to hold us back."
Bob Massie is running for Governor of Massachusetts. We weren't going to weigh in on this race, but then we read Bob's bio.
Born with hemophilia, doctors told his parents he might never walk unassisted, but he struggled to prove them wrong. His parents eventually wrote a book, Journey, about the struggles of raising a child with a painful illness and dealing with health care systems. As an adolescent, his family lived in Paris where he was covered by the French national health system, and he was eventually able to roam the city on his own.
Back in the states, he became an activist at Princeton, and challenged the exclusion of women in the clubs and argued for divestment from South Africa. After college, he worked with Ralph Nader in Washington, and edited a volume on corporate power published in 1980.
He went to Divinity school at Yale, and then served as a minister in New York where he helped found a homeless shelter.
Determined to understand the relationship between corporate power and inequality, Bob earned a doctorate from the Harvard Business School in 1989. His dissertation led him to write "Loosing the Bonds: The United States and South Africa in the Apartheid Years." He was so inspired by the struggle for democracy he saw in South Africa, that he decided to run for office in Massachusetts. In 1994, he became the Democratic nominee for Lt Governor.
By then he had already embraced the crisis of climate change. In 1992, he organized a major event with Al Gore at the Science Museum, expecting that we would quickly recognize the immediate need to step up to this enormous challenge.
His own journey through the labyrinth of healthcare in the U.S., as well as his experiences with other countries' systems, allows him to say, "I am able to walk today because I received health care in another country where I was a foreign resident. In other words, my commitment to single-payer care and to healthcare as a right has been burned into my bones." We hear you, Bob!
Erin Is running for governor in Minnesota and is endorsed by the outgoing govenor, Democrat Mark Dayton and the Democratic Farmers-Labor Party, among many others including DUH.
Erin grew up in Janesville, WI. She was raised with her brother and sister by her mother, who worked at the canning factory, Sentry Foods, and cleaning houses; and her father who worked for General Motors building cars. While not well off, the stability of her dad’s union contract, along with a lot of hard work, provided what the family needed.
Erin and her siblings grew up to be nurses, a carpenter, a lawyer and a radiation technician. She says, "My parents worked hard and made a good life. The piece that stands out is how different it feels from today. There were good jobs available, even for people without college degrees. Those jobs came with good health insurance and a pension. They didn’t spend all day in traffic and didn’t have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. And in the end they didn’t hate their work."
Erin chose to go into nursing, becoming a surgical nurse at a big hospital in rural Wisconsin. She then moved to St. Paul to work at the University of Minnesota Hospital as a part of a transplant team.
Eventually, Erin went to work for the Minnesota Nurses Association, and worked for them in a variety of capacities, including as Executive Director. As the chief executive, she managed the budget, engaged in difficult negotiation, and ultimately made decisions about how to move the organization forward, no matter how difficult.
In 2004, Erin's mother was diagnosed with cancer and Erin spent much of her final 11 months with her. "Some of that time was good but too much of it was spent trying to help her navigate the health system to get the care she needed. We had real advantages – I’m a nurse and my mom had good insurance – but we still had to fight with the insurance company so she could get the treatment she needed. My experience with my mom is a big part of why I decided to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives."
Erin was nominated by the DFL to run for the Minnesota House and after winning a tough DFL primary, she was elected and has served since 2007.
As you might imagine, Erin has alot to say about healthcare, starting with, "I know healthcare from every angle...And from every angle, I see that corporate profits have been prioritized over patients and workers." She goes on to outline a plan for her state and it starts with, "I am a supporter of single-payer and a co-author on John Marty’s Minnesota Health Plan. A full single-payer solution isn’t possible without federal participation, but we can build the infrastructure here in Minnesota and lead the nation." Go to her website to read the rest about healthcare and he other visions for Minnesota.
Howie Hawkins (G) NY
Howie Hawkins recently entered the race for NY Governor, giving us reason to endorse a candidate in that race. Howie doesn't have the backing of the Democratic Machine like Cuomo or the celebrity, fashion, or money of Nixon, but he DOES have the historical creds, integrity, and balls to run in full-throated support of the New York Health Act (the NY single-payer bill currently almost passed in the state legislature), which the other two don't even mention on their websites.
Howie is a contender, one of the few Greens who managed to win enough votes in the 2014 gubernatorial race (184,419) to move the party up on the ballot. And this time, he has added a much-needed element of fierceness to his campaign. His upgraded website declares, ""Demand More!" and ""We are demanding more than piecemeal reforms. We are demanding system change." With all that demanding, it seems only right that DEMAND Universal Healthcare be one of his first endorsers!
His issue page on Healthcare outlines the provisions of the NY Health Act, summarized by, "The New York Health Act will provide comprehensive, universal health coverage for every New Yorker and would replace private insurance coverage. You and your health care providers work to keep you healthy. New York Health pays the bill." Familiar language to those of us who know H.R.676.
While Cuomo is probably being wined and dined by insurance company lobbyists and Nixon waits for the next day's stump speech script, Howie is the candidate who knows and can provide what people in the whole state (not just the city) need.
James Smith won the Democratic primary for governor and will face Republican Henry McMaster in the General. Though Southe Carolina is not yet ready to pursue a state single-payer system, the expansion of Medicaid (refused by McMaster) is the major healthcare issue they deal with there. James won our endorsement by vowing to accept that expansion and also because our indispensable Donna Ellington personally has endorsed him!
James was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. He is married to Kirkland (Thomas) of Mount Pleasant and they have three sons ad a daughter - Emerson, Thomas, Paul, and Shannon.
James is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and University of South Carolina School of Law. He's currently a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, a Major in the South Carolina Army National Guard, a small business owner, and practicing attorney in Columbia, South Carolina.
James can trace military service to every generation of his family dating back to the Revolutionary War, and his parents instilled in him those values of duty, service and leadership. He had served eight years as a JAG officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard when a 2001 visit to Ground Zero in New York stirred something inside of him. “It had a profound impact on me,” he recalls. It motivated him to resign his Officer Commission so that he could enlist as an infantryman, and, at age 37, begin basic training.
In February 2007, Smith deployed as an infantry officer as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. For a year there, he served as a Combat Advisor to Afghan Security Forces operating in remote areas in southern Afghanistan. Always crediting his infantry for any success and to his very survival, Smith worked side by side with Afghans to enforce the rule of law. His service was recognized by him receiving the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Purple Heart.
In the SC General Assembly, James has been a tireless advocate for a variety of issues. He has championed issues facing our veterans and active military. He has been a vocal leader for public education and governmental and ethics reform; fought for increased jobs and economic development across the state; provided protections for the environment, healthcare and the arts – all to make South Carolina the best it can be and a great place to live and raise a family. During his tenure, he has earned the respect of legislators from both sides of aisle and has established a solid reputation as someone who gets things done for South Carolinians.
His public service in the House can be characterized as “service before self.” The needs of his constituency are always first and foremost. He expects and demands holding accountable the forces too often seen in politics, which care more about their personal future rather than South Carolina’s future.
On healthcare his website says, "On the first day of the job as your Governor, with the stroke of his pen James will expand Medicaid and deliver healthcare to over 150,000 South Carolinians who are being denied access to health care simply because they live in the Palmetto State.
"By not accepting Medicaid expansion, Henry McMaster is sending our tax dollars to other states while our own citizens are using emergency rooms for their own healthcare needs. We need to expand coverage to increase access to high quality, affordable healthcare and keep our hard-earned tax money at home."
We're hoping that South Carolina will start there and then go on, under James Smith's governorship, to join other states in the process of passing single-payer laws.
Kelda Roys (PD) WI
Kelda has a huge mountain of money to overcome, first in her primary and then, if she wins, in challenging Scott Walker, one of the most greedy, selfish, unjust, sneaky, and dishonest governors in the country. But she dynamited a big chunk of that mountain when she catapulted herself to the attention of the repressed, titillated (no pun intended) American public by behaving like (gasp!) a MOTHER in a campaign ad wherein she breastfed her daughter. The subsequent media furor seemed to puzzle her when interviewed about the video. "This is real life," she said, "“I don’t want to have to hide a really big part of myself in order to win an election,” Kelda told HuffPost.
We are happy to say that we applaud her, in this "International Year of the Woman," for demonstrating that among the basic functions of being female is the ability to feed your children, not just trying to erase men's significance in our lives or in what they've done for us.
Kelda, 38, is a small business owner, former state representative, attorney, and advocate for women and children. A mom and stepmom of 4 girls, Kelda is relentlessly focused on building a Wisconsin where everyone has the chance to succeed. We also applaud her for being the only candidate in an overpopulated field that seems to know the facts about Medicare for All and to have thought of ways to apply the concept to Wisconsin, though all agree to accept Medicaid expansion funds. She states, "As governor, my first act will be to accept federal healthcare dollars. I’ll make Badgercare a public option and available to all to buy in. I won’t rest until every single Wisconsinite has access to quality affordable, comprehensive healthcare.”
Matt Brown grew up in Providence, the younger of two boys. His father was a doctor and his mother was an educator and social justice activist for children’s health issues and civil rights.
Matt went to Columbia University, and the summer after he graduated, he was back home in Rhode Island strengthening our communities: co-founding and leading City Year Rhode Island. City Year enlists thousands of young people ages 18-24 to tutor and mentor elementary and middle school children to meet critical needs in our local communities. After five years with City Year, Matt went to Yale Law School and moved back to Rhode Island after graduating.
At the age of 32, Matt successfully challenged the incumbent Democratic Secretary of State in a Democratic primary, won, and went on to win the general election with 68% of the vote. As Rhode Island Secretary of State from 2003-2007, Matt increased government transparency and dramatically improved Rhode Island’s elections by building the state’s first computerized voter registration system and launching Motor Voter e-Registration.
In 2007, Matt co-founded Global Zero, a non-profit charitable international organization dedicated to preventing nuclear war and seeking the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.
He has extensive plans for healthcare in Rhode Island and we encourage you to go to his website to learn more, but his commitment to creating a single-payer system there is clear in this: "Moving to a Medicare for All system in Rhode Island would shift health care spending from administrative costs and insurance executives’ high salaries, to allowing everyone in the state to get the medical care they need. On our first day in office, we will create an expert commission of health care and economic advisors - many of which we have worked with closely during the campaign - to create a plan to move Rhode Island to a universal health care system that covers everyone while lowering average costs for people and businesses in the state. The commission will conduct public hearings around the state to make sure the voices of Rhode Islanders are heard on this critical issue."
Matt goes on to say, "A universal health care system is our future. It must be. Going to the doctor is now unaffordable for many in Rhode Island, and unexpected medical bills can have disastrous consequences for working families across our state. That must change. We’ll start to make that change on my first day in office."
State Legislature Candidates
We wanted to make sure these guys didn't think we took our endorsement away! They earned it fair and square, but then we had to stop endorsing state-level legislative candidates.
Mark Bignell (PD) MI State Senate
Mark is still "delivering progress," only now it's to Michigan's State Senate instead of Congress. DUH respects his wisdom in choosing to climb the State legislative ladder, which will give him experience that will benefit his future political career.
Mark has plenty of experience choosing to defer his own immediate goals in order to take care of the needs of others. He did it for his family when they faced severe poverty; he's done it for his wife and kids, re-educating himself and finding an occupation that would support them; and now he seeks to do it for the people of Michigan's 33rd legislative district.
He knows what his would-be constituents want and need because he's been there with them, as one of them, as the Snyder administration has hurt their democracy, the economy, and the people. He knows how urgently change is needed and, as he's always done, he's stepping up to be an agent of that change. DUH endorses his platform which includes a single-payer system for Michigan, but we also applaud his desire to make a positive difference.
Robert Van Kirk (PD) MI State House
Robert is another awesome MI candidate, running for the State House in District 77. He credits his mother and grandparents for raising him with values that included defending those that cannot defend themselves and speaking truth to power which he witnessed his mother doing after his biological father abused her after he was born.
The desire to serve his community was also deeply instilled in Robert, which led to political awareness and action. DUH was impressed by his early healthcare advocacy while he was in graduate school at Michigan State earning his Masters degree in Criminal Justice. He chaired the Council of Graduate Students' Health Care Subcommittee which addressed the health care crisis graduate students faced when the university attempted to shift more of student health care costs onto the backs of students who could not afford such a move.
He currently serves as Parliamentarian of the Progressive Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party as well as the Membership Director of the Young Democrats of Michigan. He is also active with his local Progressive Caucus in Kent County and the Grand Rapids United Progressives, a group of activists committed to bettering their community.
As an openly gay man, acceptance and inclusiveness are also foundational to his goal of representing all people in the 77th District. DUH believes his passion for bettering his District will serve the people, as well as providing a strong first step into what could be a long, successful political career.