Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DSA)
If you haven't heard already (and who hasn't?), Alexandria won her primary in the 14th District against entrenched corporate Democrat Joe Crowley. There is no doubt that she's a fighter and will definitely stand up for healthcare for everyone, along with the rest of her platform issues.
Alexandria was born in the Bronx into a proud Puerto Rican family, which motivates her to include in her platform acting in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico to help end the suffering they are still going through thanks to Trump's ignoring their needs. She is a longtime educator, organizer and activist for the people in her community and beyond.
From an early age, Alexandria grew up with a deep understanding of income inequality. The state of Bronx public schools in the late 80s and early 90s sent her parents on a search for a solution. She ended up attending public school in Yorktown—40 minutes north of her birthplace. It was clear to her, even then, that the zip code a child was born in determined much of their destiny. The 40-minute drive represented a vastly different quality of available schooling, economic opportunity, and health outcomes.
Alexandria went on to study at Boston University, where she earned degrees in Economics and International Relations. While there, she worked for the late Sen. Kennedy handling foreign affairs and immigration casework for constituent families. After graduating, Alexandria returned returned to the Bronx to pursue work in education and community organizing. As an Educational Director, she worked with high school youth to expand their skill-sets in community leadership and social enterprise. She also piloted projects to help improve skills in young childhood literacy and writing for middle-schoolers.
As the markets crashed in 2008, Alexandria's father passed away from cancer and her family was suddenly thrown into financial crisis. As the financial reality caught up to her family, Alexandria stepped up, working two jobs and 18-hour shifts in restaurants to help her family keep their home.
That experience put Alexandria on the other side of laws and policy, as she went from reviewing economic outcomes to having first-hand experiences with struggling families. That gave her a much deeper understanding of how policies impact lives beyond the white papers. It’s one thing to write healthcare policy—it’s an entirely other matter to have to deal with healthcare, housing, and education systems ourselves.
Alexandria decided that the Bronx and Queens could do better than Crowley, who doesn't even live in the state, let alone the district. The 14th District is one of the most progressive in the City. "It’s...one of the most diverse communities in the United States. Here we are homeowners and renters; we live in dense urban areas and peninsular communities, We speak over 100 languages, encompass many different religions, and have two different baseball teams, each with their own rabid fan bases," she says on her website. She believes the district will join her to champion improved and expanded Medicare-for-All, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, tuition-free college and criminal justice reform.
Proof has been in the results for Alexandria. Starting with getting on the ballot in April, she and her supporters have created a cascade of firsts: Alexandria is the first NY-14 Democratic challenger in a generation; the first NY-14 candidate to run without any lobbyist money in modern history; and the first woman of color to *ever* run in NY-14 (a district that’s 70% people of color).:
As fellow Democratic Socialists, we at DUH appreciate her take on the capitalistic approach to healthcare that we all suffer from. "Free market medicine leaves too many Americans struggling, often forced to make impossible choices between medicine and shelter, treatment and food." She goes on to say, "If we are to realize medical justice in our time, we must not only expand the Medicare program to all citizens but also broaden it to include access to vision, dental, and mental healthcare."
Go get 'em, Alexandria!
J. Michael Galbraith (D)
Mike is running in the 5th District, currently the seat of Republican Bob Latta who voted against CHIP and for the draconian AHCA. A financial analyst, Mike obviously understands the benefits of Medicare for All to business and the economy.
Mike grew up in Maumee, Ohio. Despite a busy household, his mother managed to squeeze in a job as a real estate agent. His father owned and ran a construction business in addition to serving as a State Representative in the Ohio Legislature.
After graduating high school in Maumee, Mike went to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. In 1968, after graduation, Mike began his career in the international financial markets in Europe where he and his wife Ditte met.
They returned to Northwest Ohio in 2003, at which time Mike earned his Master of Business Administration Degree from Bowling Green State University, He then went to work as a financial advisor, first for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and subsequently for Thriven Financial for Lutherans. He is also an adjunct instructor for the Departments of Finance and Managem ent at Bowling Green State University.
In 2012, Mike started his own business, GALBRAITHselect, setting up and managing a fund investing in real estate lien certificates.
He is a member of the Rotary Club of Toledo and serves on its Water Services Committee.
Madeleine is running in PA's 4th District. Born and raised in Glenside, Pennsylvania, Madeleine got her start in politics around the dinner table with her five brothers, and thankfully, one sister. Discussions at the Dean house were never dull: debating politics and being quizzed on current events with the entire family. Soon after graduating from Abington High School, at age 18, she was elected to serve as a local committee-person.
At 19, Madeleine volunteered on her first campaign for Joe Hoeffel’s re-election to the state legislature — a seat she holds currently. While on the campaign trail, she met her future husband, PJ Cunnane, who was also serving as a committee-person.
Madeleine graduated from La Salle University, and earned her law degree at Widener University. Madeleine returned home and practiced law with the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers and went on to serve as the executive director. Mad then opened a small, three-woman law practice in Glenside, and served as in-house counsel for her husband’s growing bicycle business.
While she and PJ were raising three young sons, Mad changed career paths to serve as an assistant professor in the English Department at La Salle University for more than 10 years, teaching persuasive writing and rhetoric, business writing, legal writing and ethics. She continues to write and is a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Patriot News and other publications.
Madeleine then became a public servant herself. She served as a local township commissioner and soon after, was elected to be a state representative in 2012.
Since elected to the State House, Madeleine has been an outspoken member, championing progressive priorities like public education, combating addiction, equal rights, access to healthcare, ethics, criminal justice reform, and gun violence. Following the shooting at Sandy Hook, Madeleine founded and served as Co-Chair of the PA SAFE caucus. The group is an active coalition of legislators and advocates dedicated to passing legislation to end gun violence.
In a legislature comprised of only 19% women, Mad was appointed to the Governor’s Pennsylvania Commission for Women. The commission was designed to advise the governor on policies and legislation that promote equality and health.
Back home, Madeleine has worked closely with local officials to bring millions of dollars in infrastructure projects that promote safer, more livable, and greener communities to the area she represents.
Madeleine believes every person deserves to be able to have access to affordable, quality, and comprehensive healthcare and she supports "a single payer or Medicare for All bill that is economically balanced to fulfill the promise that our government made in 2010."
Madeleine also "stands unequivocally with women in their right to control their own bodies. She believes safe, accessible, quality reproductive health is a fundamental right and need of our communities. As a member of the Women’s Health Caucus and an appointee to Governor Tom Wolf’s Commission for Women, Madeleine has helped ensure that a woman’s right to choose is protected and will continue to protect any and all attacks to Roe V Wade as a member of Congress."
Mary Gay Scanlon won her primary in the 5th District. She attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School after graduating cum laude from Colgate University. Mary Gay then served as a Judicial Clerk for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Mary Gay began her advocacy for children with the Support Center for Child Advocates where she has served as a volunteer attorney or board member since 1985. This led to her appointment as co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Children at Risk, continuing her fight for better lives for children. She then served as an attorney for the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania where she fought for access to a quality public education and the rights of students with disabilities. At the Education Law Center, she led two class action lawsuits to enforce the rights of students with disabilities. Additionally, she represented parents and students in individual cases to defend and enforce their rights.
Her expertise in education law and policy led to her being appointed to state-wide interagency councils implementing federal special education laws. She testified before the Pennsylvania legislature about the negative effects of zero-tolerance policies, drafted legislative and regulatory proposals and produced training materials about many other areas surrounding Pennsylvania education policy.
From 2007 until 2015 Mary Gay was an elected Democrat on the Wallingford Swarthmore School Board where she was then elected as Vice President and President of the Board. Being involved in local-level government has given Mary Gay a deep understanding of how government works at its most basic level.
Mary Gay has served as the national Pro Bono Counsel at Ballard Spahr for 14 years. In that role, she directs and supervises over 650 lawyers in 15 offices providing more than 43,000 hours of pro bono legal services annually to low income clients and nonprofit organizations. From the beginning, her career has been dedicated to serving others and she has been fighting for progressive values for over 35 years.
Mary Gay has fought to protect the right to vote, serving as Co-Chair of the Voting Rights Task Force of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, a program that combats voter suppression and gerrymandering.
According to her website (we encourage you to read the whole Healthcare issue page!), "Mary Gay supports universal healthcare and believes that every American should have quality healthcare without being subjected to financial hardship. She supports a transition to Medicare for All, but believes that in making that transition, we must protect the Affordable Care Act and support a public option system..." But it went on to say, "Mary Gay wants to reach full universal health care coverage through a single-payer, Medicare for All system. [She] will support Medicare for All legislation that provides a strong safety net during the transition period to single payer coverage. Many Americans received health care for the first time in their lives under the ACA, and many like their employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Rather than eliminating these plans immediately, Mary Gay will support a path to single payer that allows a public option during the transition period. This transition period will expand health care to all people living in the United States, support all-payer rate setting, reduc[ing] health care costs, and eliminat[ing] premiums." We at DUH don't support the public option or Medicare buy-in approaches, but we agree that the transition to singe-payer must include quick implementation and a continuity of care during the transition. We appreciate Mary Gay's thoughtful analysis of the problem and believe it's that kind of thinking that's most likely to get bipartisan votes and thus, pass the law.
Jess King (PD)
Jess King is running from the PA 11th (used to be 16th). We like her slogan, "America is for all of us." Jess is a working mom who is living her Mennonite faith. After graduating Bard College with an MBA, she fulfilled her commitment to a year of unpaid service to the community. But her love of serving the people in her community didn't stop there. She went on to become founding Executive Director of the Union Project, an effort that restored an abandoned church into an arts and social enterprise incubator. Jess has been Executive Director at ASSETS since 2010 and has expanded the organization's impact ten-fold, helping new businesses to start and established ones to flourish, transforming Pennsylvania communities through business.
Marc Friedenberg (PD)
Marc won his primary in the 12th District by a hair - 223 votes! - but he's a solid winner to us! Unfortunately, though he had our endorsement since April, he was dropped from the page mistakenly when PA districts were changed. We're sorry for this error and are set to more actively support him in the general.
Marc Friedenberg is a native of Northeast Philly, the oldest son of Charles and Lori. He is a man of many talents, first earning a Master’s Degree in Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State. Marc has always had a passion for figuring out how technology could be used to improve people’s lives.
Marc then attended Columbia Law School, pursuing his interest in cyber law and Internet privacy. After graduating in 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession, he worked for two law firms and pursued cases against the Wall Street banks that caused it. His skill with computer technology helped to sift through the data and prove that fraud had occurred.
While suing the big banks, Marc saw firsthand the greed, corruption and carelessness that has taken over our economy and our government, and has never forgotten those experiences while talking to working people out on the campaign trail.
In 2012, Marc was recruited for a teaching position at his alma mater, Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology, and returned to State College, excited by the opportunity to give back to the community as an educator. Today, he serves on the Faculty Senate and teaches classes related to cyber law and the global economy.
On healthcare he says, "I’m proud to support the fight for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all insurance program. All of us get sick at one point or another, and all of us get old. It’s time we had a simple, easy to understand national health insurance system in place so that we’re all covered. I will also fight to protect and expand Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Taking care of each other is a moral decision, and our federal budget needs to reflect our moral priorities." Exactly.
Joe Cunningham (PD)
Joe won his primary in SC's 1st District. He brings a rich variety of life experience to his campaign, with fatherhood being recently added with the birth of his first son, Boone. In addition to now learning the process of diaper-changing, Joe earned his Bachelor's degree in Oceanic Engineering from the College of Charleston, working as a runner for a small law firm and as a deckhand on tugs and barges in the summers, saving his money to help pay for his education.
After graduating, Joe worked at a small firm designing, permitting and overseeing the construction of marina and coastline development. During that time, Joe worked with various state, local and federal agencies and environmental groups in acquiring all necessary permits and striving to ensure the development did not negatively impact the marine environment. In addition to having his private pilot’s license, Joe also earned his SCUBA certification.
While earning his law degree, Joe worked several jobs, gaining valuable experience in both civil and criminal areas of the legal profession. At the prosecutor’s office, and with a limited license to practice law, he worked with local and state law enforcement agencies, presenting indictments, arguing motions and prosecuting felonies. He also served as President of the school’s Student Bar Association and was eventually elected as the American Bar Association’s Vice-Chair of the Law Student Division, where he fought to curtail the ever-rising costs of legal education. Upon graduating law school, Joe accepted a position at a small boutique firm in Charleston. Contrary to his Republican opponent's attempts to label him as a "Washington insider," he still practices with the same law firm.
His stance on healthcare is less than perfect, but along with some good information and lobbying by H.R. 676 supporters, his personal experience with the current system may be enough to convince him to go further for the people in SC1 and the nation. "After going through the medical uncertainties of my wife’s pregnancy and the arrival of my son, I understand how stressful—both emotionally and financially—the increasing cost of healthcare can be. In times when your family members are at their most vulnerable, we shouldn’t have to focus on the costs."
Sean Carrigan (D)
Sean is running in South Carolina's 2nd District. He retired from the Army in 2015 after 28 years of service, during which he was selected to run the largest general medicine ward at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. We had a dilemna about Sean in that he mistakenly thinks the ACA can be fixed by a Medicare buy-in (how much on top of what we've already paid in?) for 55-year-olds. He also seems to favor the erroneous idea of a long-term implementation (using the establishment language of "responsibly") replacing the ACA with Medicare for All. But his support of Roe v. Wade, his concern for veterans' care and his understanding that M4A "will create a win-win-win scenario for our citizens, our businesses, and our communities," as well as his strong character won us over. Besides, we happen to know that there's a kick-ass advocate down there who can educate him on the realities of the buy-in approach!
James Smith won the Democratic primary for governor and will face Republican incumbent Henry McMaster in the General. Though South 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
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 the military service of 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 "a profound impact" on him. It motivated him to resign his Officer Commission so that he could enlist as an infantryman, and, at age 37, he 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 awarded 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 political figures who care more about their personal future (and wealth) 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.
Marc is the first Republican we endorsed and he's running as an Independent in Tennessee's 2nd District in November. He will face Republican incumbent Tim Burgess.
Like many of the new Democratic candidates, he is focused on fighting the corruptive influence of money in our government and we welcome him, hoping he'll encourage other Republicans to come forward. As he says, "It's time for our politics to be about solving our nation's problems and moving us into the future rather than fighting to gain and maintain power. We have to form coalitions with like-minded people of any party, to lock arms as Americans, and fight to be sure all Americans have access to health care, jobs paying wages that provide an honest living, and the education and training necessary to get those jobs."
Marc is a small business owner himself and will encourage emerging industries to create thousands of new, skilled jobs with good wages. People will need the training and education to pursue them. Marc believes every kid deserves a shot at the American Dream, and will fight to take Tennessee’s promise of a free college education to every citizen nationwide.
Marc takes a pragmatic approach to the benefits of Medicare for All, believing that guaranteeing health care for every American will "free up resources and allow companies to invest in our economy instead of having to spend precious resources on supplying healthcare to their employees," thus being able to hire workers. But he also compassionately understands that "We must provide Medicare-For-All for our citizens. No one should be financially ruined just because they or their child gets sick."
Veronica Escobar (D)
Veronica is running in the 16th District. Beto O'Rourke, the current Rep., is a Democrat who has not signed on to HR 676 and supports the Medicare buy-in notion. Veronica is a former El Paso County judge who has a history of expanding access to care through the hospital system, as well as helping to create the El Paso Children’s Hospital, the only stand-alone children’s hospital on the border.
Since winning her primary, Veronica has improved her stance on healthcare. "The current debate at the national level is focused on cutting care – especially healthcare to women – and giving tax-cuts to the wealthiest Americans. We should instead be focused on fixing a broken healthcare system and covering more Americans, especially those in need of mental health-care and those like El Paso residents, whose states refuse to allow them access to coverage.
I will fight for health coverage for all. The only way to care for everyone is to have a single payer healthcare system, and I will work tirelessly at the federal level as I did at the local level to ensure you have access to quality healthcare."
Beto O'Rourke (PD) SEN
There will be those who accuse us of abandoning our principle criteria for endorsement with this one and indeed, it grieves us that among all the other things Beto has proven to be NOT a party-liner about, he spouts the DNC politispeak about lowering drug cost and creating a public option. Have no fear that WHEN he beats wingnut Ted Cruz, we will be among a torrent (Healthcare for All Texas and Cathy Courtney, get ready!) of groups and individual activists eager to pull him onto the Medicare f or All bandwagon! In Beto, we'd at least have a chance - with Cruz, deaf ears.
Beto O’Rourke is a fourth-generation Texan, born and raised in El Paso. After graduating from Columbia University, Beto worked in New York for a few years before deciding to move back to his hometown and start a small technology company, Stanton Street, which was so successful it hired dozens of people in high skill, high-wage jobs that one might not expect to see in a border community.
Outside of work, Beto became deeply involved in the civic, business and community efforts in El Paso. He ran for El Paso City Council in 2005 and served for two terms before running for U.S. Congress in 2012, taking on an eight-term incumbent and winning, a good omen for the race he's now in. As a Congressman, Beto has made it a priority to host monthly town halls in El Paso to hear directly from his constituents. For nearly five years he hasn’t missed a single one. And he’s running his campaign for U.S. Senate by visiting all 254 counties in Texas, some in which a Democrat has not been seen in years.
The fact that Beto cares passionately about Texas and the people who live there can be measured by the number of times he's said "fuck" throughout his campaign (we applaud each one, BTW - THAT'S authenticity!) and like all our other candidates, politician or not, he's a real guy who's written his own story, good and bad, in his own way. And at the end of his healthcare page, he says, "Achieving universal healthcare coverage— whether it be through a single payer system, a dual system, or otherwise – so that we can ensure everyone is able to see a provider when it will do the most good and will deliver healthcare in the most affordable, effective way possible." Fuck, yeah, we can get him!
Lee won his primary in Utah's 1st District. Like many new candidates, he was born and raised in Utah to a working class family. He worked in the agricultural fields, attended the public schools, and has been serving professionally in his communities for over fifteen years.
Since receiving a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah, Lee has served Airmen at Hill Air Force Base’s Family Practice Clinic, helped keep families together through the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, and is currently working for the Utah State Hospital, helping people suffering from mental illness in county jails. He credits these experiences for seeing "first hand that hard times can fall on even the best of us and that Utahns truly are compassionate and believe in second chances."
Lee's policy on healthcare includes learning from other countries. "I support a single-payer, universal healthcare system that would ensure healthcare access for all our citizens. To develop this healthcare system we should study the systems in countries like Luxembourg, Switzerland, Netherlands, and France to identify what does and does not work. Using this research we should then create a system that works best for our citizens." We like the idea of of a uniquely American system that includes the wisdom of what works (and doesn't) for other coutries.
James won his primary in the 3rd District. He grew up in Kearns, Utah, a proud Navajo. There were many moments in James' life when he witnessed injustices happening such as his grandparents on Navajo land without running water or electricity, yet living within miles of a hydroelectric dam. After high school and a stint as a missionary for the LDS (Mormon) Church in Argentina, James returned to Utah and attended Salt Lake Community College and then Westminster College in Salt Lake City where he graduated both institutions with honors.
In college, he began working for the Diné Policy Institute, a public policy institution based in the Navajo Nation. After graduating from Westminster College, he moved to Arizona so he could work there full-time.
James returned to Utah to attend the Master of Arts in Community Leadership program at Westminster College. His research focused on poverty and living wage policies. Immediately after, he started a doctorate program in the Sociology of Labor Markets and Social Policy at Utah State University where he is working on his dissertation research. James is a Diversity Fellow in Sociology an Ethnic Studies at Salt Lake Community College and an adjunct professor in the Master of Arts of Community Leadership program at Westminster College where he teaches social change theory.
James is also involved in community work, most notably as one of the co-founders of the Utah League of Native American Voters and the Utah Alliance for American Indian Education. He works on the board of directors for the Rape Recovery Center and the Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance. He is a member of the American Sociological Association, the Pacific Sociological Association, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the American Federation of Teachers.
Then in 2016, James and we all witnessed the atrocities at Standing Rock. Rubber bullets, water canons in freezing temperatures, and arrests and jail for protesters protecting their water and their rights as sovereigns of the land. Sacred sites were bulldozed and a pipeline put in. James saw that the wars against indigenous peoples had not ended, only shifted in how they were waged.
Another major blow was the rescinding of Bears Ears. The project, decades in the making, led by elected tribal leaders and a community effort to manage lands that were sacred and of great cultural importance, was dismissed by the federal government, delegitimizing the voices of Native peoples in Utah again. It is under these circumstances that James knew he had to run for Congress. That's where policy can be formed to solve systemic problems. James understands how systemic problems have root causes that must be addressed. He believes, "Our collective success depends on our ability to work together for a better society for everyone."
And that includes healthcare. "Everyone should be valued and cared for. Our healthcare system in the United States is backwards because it treats health as if it is a commodity that can be bought and sold on a market. Well, healthcare isn't a commodity; it's a right. We can learn from what other countries have done, which is create a system that is freely accessible to all and costs less than what we pay now, then make it our own...We need to examine the cultural and systemic variables for why we have a bloated healthcare system that serves insurance companies better than it serves patients. That's why I will fight to create a universal healthcare system guaranteeing healthcare to all people."
Bernie Sanders (I/DS) SEN
We could just put "LOL" here, but since Bernie is the fuel that lights our fire, we should go on and on and on. But we'll let him tell you about the issues. You'll notice on this campaign website page that Bernie includes several things other candidates hardly, if ever, mention - the creation of an HIV/AIDS-free generation, plans for Puerto Rico and Guam, and the empowerment of Tribal nations and Native Hawaiians. If that's not enough for the people of Vermont, let alone the nation, then, as Mrs. Landingham famously said, "Well, Jed, then I don't even want to know ya."
Leslie Cockburn (PD)
Leslie won her primary in Virginia's 5th District. Leslie's distinguished career in journalism spanned thirty-five years. A producer for CBS News “60 Minutes,” a correspondent for PBS “Frontline,” a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, a writer and author, Leslie has won two Emmys, two George Polk Awards, two Columbia Dupont journalism awards, and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. She has covered major events of our time, from the financial meltdown to nuclear weapons, from radical jihad to the drug cartels. She covered the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Colombia, Cambodia and Central America.
Leslie and her husband Andrew bought their farm in Rappahannock County, Virginia in 1999. Rappahannock County hugs the Blue Ridge Mountains, has many more cows than people and has yet to install a stoplight. It is a place where income disparity is acute, where the community services, as fine as they are, must be enhanced to serve all. It is a place where the loss of Medicaid would destroy families and gut the special needs programs in schools. It is a place where stripping disability from Social Security would devastate the lives of older Virginians. It is a place where the proposed massive cuts in the Farm Bill would cripple farmers.
Leslie has done many years of community service on the boards of the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Krebser Fund in Rappahannock, both dedicated to conservation. She has been engaged in battles against unnecessary power lines, pipeline and uranium mining. She is equipped to stand up for the rights of Virginians in the pipeline battles that are raging in several counties. She can see the folly of repealing stream protection and allowing the poisoning of our waterways.
Leslie is a graduate of Yale University. She and Andrew (Washington Editor of Harper’s Magazine) celebrated their 40th anniversary this year and have three children and four grandchildren.
On healthcare, Leslie says she "thinks it is wrong that Congress gets the “Gold Plan” for its own members while legislating deep cuts for others." She supports single payer Medicare for all. Leslie will add her name to the Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act (HR 676). She will fight to reduce the extortionate cost of drugs changed by Big Pharma, in some cases a thousand times what it costs to buy the same drug in Canada. She will fight the fraud and waste in the medical industry.
Anthony Flaccavento (PD)
Anthony is the winner in the primary for Virginia's 9th district. Anthony says,"I ’m running to help level the playing field for the 9th District of Virginia; to put people and communities first. To restore our land and rebuild our livelihoods. To build a strong, diverse and resilient economy from the bottom up." Hehas done that work as a farmer, an entrepreneur, and the author of a book about "building healthy economies from the bottom up, because I know that good work almost always starts with local communities." Anthony, or "Flacc" as he's know, wants to take that work to Washington.
We give him a big gold star for saying out loud, "It’s time for us to move away from incremental steps that do nothing to improve health or challenge the power and profits of the insurance industry and Big Pharma. It’s time to begin the transition to a system of universal health care, or “Medicare for all."
Christine Brown (D)
Christine is running in the 4th District. As a child, her upbringing was in a happy, middle-class environment, her mother a nurse, her father a permanently injured WWII vet and small business owner. She credits their "unabashed determination to defend what they believed in, whether I agreed with them or not" as what sparked her interest in the political debate that she still loves today.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University in 1975, Christine's first lasting work experience was for Yakima County in the Human Services Department, administering state funds that would help the developmentally disabled. I worked with a citizen’s advisory board appointed by the Yakima County Commissioners.
Seven years later, Christine got out of the office and onto TV, where she would find her "niche" at KAPP-TV, the ABC affiliate in Yakima. She worked her way up from part-time host of a daytime, dialing-for-dollars program to the newsroom, first as a reporter, then as an anchor. Over a 30-year television career, she would develop skills as an interviewer, reporter, producer, videographer, anchor, News Director and ultimately Station General Manager. I worked at KAPP-TV for five years before moving to the Tri-Cities where I worked for KNDU-TV (NBC affiliate) for 25 years. We're thinking she'll at least have some good video!
Throughout her TV career, Christine learned or honed skills she'll need in Congress. Being a skilled listener, she believes "to genuinely help people directly affected by an issue, you must have the patience, compassion and empathy to listen with great intent to their concerns. Skilled listeners are better equipped to then ask the right follow-up questions, look for and examine the proof and rely on facts, not fiction, to make informed decisions. We should accept nothing less from our elected officials."
DUH liked her thoughtful and pragmatic examination of the history and controversy of healthcare in this country, as well as her established advocacy for M4A. The energy and enthusiasm with which she participates in marches and rallies is not just political - we believe she really enjoys it! She's the only challenger to Republican incumbent Dan Newhouse and we suspect she's a fighter!
Sarah Smith (PD)
Sarah is running in the 9th District. As she says, "True representation begins with shared experiences." Like millions of Americans, Sarah lives a typical American life, the same as most of her constituents. She's a young working woman, squeezing her small budget to get by, going to work when she's sick because she can't afford to miss a day if she wants to pay that healthcare premium, never seeming to make a dent in her student debt. She knows what her constituents' lives are like because she lives one herself.
Early in her college days, Sarah felt the recession of 2008. Her family was forced to move, leaving her on my own at the age of 17, new to Washington state and rapidly building student debt. She saw the devastation of the economy first-hand as a foreclosure specialist, a paralegal, and a bodily injury insurance adjuster. Witnessing the constant struggle of everyday people drew her to activism, from volunteer work with Planned Parenthood to direct support for immigrant families. She shares Bernie Sanders' vision country where we take care of the students, the elderly, the vulnerable, the easily left behind. Her motto is, "I will never forget where I come from and who I serve: the everyday American people, and nobody else."
Her story about Medicare saving her father's life, as well as her statement on healthcare as a right earns her DUH's endorsement.
Randy Bryce (PD)
Randy is running for Congress from the Wisconsin 1st and our hopes for him increased with the "retirement" (retreat?) of the reviled Paul Ryan, Speaker of the Houset. Randy is a vet, a cancer survivor, and an iron worker. With his now famous announcement video, it could be said that Randy was the first bucketful of the coming Blue Wave, inspiring more and more "real people" candidates to emerge. He was the first one we endorsed from outside our own states and we now have over 118!
Besides that video, he has an extended statement supporting healthcare for women and the transgender community that sealed our endorsement. "Randy believes it’s important that all those who identify as women have the healthcare they need. As a Congressman, Randy would support and advocate for policies that ensure people of all genders identities and expressions – including trans men and non-binary identified individuals and others – have full and equal access to comprehensive, culturally and technically competent and reproductive healthcare."
Tom Palzewicz (D)
Tom is running in the 5th District, the seat Jim Sensenbrenner now occupies. It would be great if a Democrat could replace that Republican! Tom has a variety of experience, including in the Navy on a nuclear sub; as a banker helping people understand investment and financial strategy, and as a small business owner. Though he tends to be brief and to the point in his issue statements, he declares (rightly) that "Universal healthcare is the only logical solution to our country’s healthcare needs."
Margaret Engebretson (D)
Margaret is running in the 7th District of Wisconsin. She joined the Navy right out of high school and credits her 24-year experience there, as well as in the Naval Reserve and Minnesota Air National Guard, with teaching her the values of honor, courage, and commitment which have guided her decision to run for Congress. Margaret has also been a union railroad worker, repairing locomotives and then dispatching BNSF freight trains across the country before deciding to take advantage of her GI Bill benefits to attend college.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2004 with a degree in history. She later attended the University of Wisconsin Law School and focuses much of her work now on guardian ad litem cases to protect children and people with disabilities in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin.
Following the 2016 elections, Margaret joined together with people in Polk County to help organize their local Democratic Party.
About healthcare, she says, "As a veteran of the United States military, I’m fortunate to have never had to worry about my health care. That should true for every American. We need a Medicare for All public health insurance program that guarantees everyone their coverage." She goes further,, "We must also defend Medicaid. Wisconsin’s failure to accept the federal Medicare expansion has had a devastating effect on our rural hospitals. Proposed federal cuts to Medicaid would just make things worse. Rural Wisconsinites need the same access to health care as anyone else."
Gary Trauner (D) SENhttps://traunerforwy.com/about/
Gary is running for the Senate seat currently held by Republican John Barasso. We LOVED the video on his Home page! Gary is a 28-year resident of Wilson, WY. He is a husband, father, businessman, community volunteer, and elected official, He and wife Terry have raised their two sons there and the family enjoys outdoor activities that allow them to revel in the open spaces and uncrowded vistas that make Wyoming so special.
Gary has been an active participant in his community, serving as a past Chairman of the Teton County School District #1 Board of Trustees, a countywide elected position, and as a former Vice-Chairman of the Teton County Pathways Task Force. Gary currently serves as the Executive Director of the Jackson Hole Youth Lacrosse Club, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Aspens Pines Water & Sewer District, a governmental infrastructure utility, and as a Board member for the Charture Institute, a conservation think tank that oversees 1% for the Tetons.
Although he has considerable professional experience with both private and public companies, Gary is, at heart, an organizational and financial entrepreneur. Gary served as the Chief Operating Officer of St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Jackson, WY. Prior to that, he was co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of OneWest.net, a regional Internet service provider, and Vice President – Finance of Teton Trust Company, one of the first private trust investment firms in the State of Wyoming.
Gary graduated from Colgate University and obtained a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Stern School of Business at NYU with a concentration in Finance and Accounting. Terry, Gary’s wife, is an entrepreneur and founder of Trauner Fay Designs, an interior design firm based in Teton County, WY.
Gary has a comprehensive understanding of our healthcare mess. He says, "Even with the advances made through the Affordable Care Act, the current state of health care policy in America is immoral, unacceptable and unsustainable. It must change." Gary lays out correctly and completely the aspects of single-payer healthcare for all on his Healthcare issue page and is careful not to mention H.R. 676 or Medicare for All by name in his deep red state. We're betting on Wyoming voters to look at Barasso's determination to follow Trump's disastrous idea that doing away with the ACA and chipping away at Medicare, and Medicaid would somehow be a good thing. In any case, we want to see him ride a buffalo into the Senate!