Last weekend my family attended the second ever community swearing in ceremony for one of our favorite Congressional reps: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. Her FIRST community swearing in ceremony took place 20 years ago, when she was first elected to Congress, and at that FIRST ceremony she was sworn in before the local Brooklyn community by a then little known local judge named Sonia Sotomayor. (Note the community swearing in is purely ceremonial and intended to celebrate with your local friends, allies, and constituents).
Nydia is the reason why Sotomayor is now a Supreme Court Justice.
Here is Nydia testifying for Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court:
And here is video of Nydia at the 2012 Democratic Convention:
My family got invited to the Community Swearing in Ceremony for Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez. Not sure why we got invited since she is not our Congresswoman and our own Congresswoman (Yvette Clarke) has not invited us to anything. But Nydia is one of our favorite members of Congress and one with whom I have had many excellent conversations with at parties and political events.
Whenever Nydia and I see eachother we give eachother a big hug because we both know we have fought through, in our own ways (her far more than me!), a lot of tough times trying to get both better and more Democrats elected and trying to get our government more effective and progressive on ALL levels. I appreciate her hugs because I know it means we are on the same page, and I hope she realizes I appreciate her efforts as well.
20 years ago the judge who swore her in before a crowd of assembled Brooklynites was Sonia Sotomayor. This year, to celebrate her 20th year in Congress, Nydia chose to be sworn in by the Hon. Judge Deborah A. Batts, who was introduced as the first black, openly LGBT federal judge in the country (if I heard correctly).
Gives you a sense of what it means to know Nydia Velasquez. From the Hon. Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Hon. Judge Deborah Batts, the career of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez spans 20 years of major progress, with Nydia ALWAYS being at the forefront of that progress. read more »
Every year I spend a fair amount of time trying to size up the state of the country when it comes to elections. I look for specific candidates I feel are worth pushing for (sometimes before others are pushing for them, I should note) and I try to get a feel for the overall trend in the nation. In 2006 and 2008 I felt Dems were going to win big...bigger than polls were indicating and many supposed "long shots" I endorsed as having a chance wound up winning. In 2010 I, along with most observer, knew that the tide was flowing towards the Repubs. I played it more defensive though I rightly predicted that the teabagger wave wasn't going to be quite as overwhelming as most pundits suggested. Still, 2006 and 2008 were aggressive years for me, 2010 defensive.
I am feeling this year is another good year to be aggressive. I am optimistic. I think Obama will win and we will keep the Senate. Taking the House is quite a long shot, but not impossible. Still I think it is best to try to make gains in the House (which I think we will do) in preparation for what I am hoping will be a strong Dem year in 2014.
With this in mind, I want to highlight 3 NY State races. There are more close NY State House races, but these are the three that I think are leaning Repub that we can turn to Blue with some hard work. Winning even one of these three races will help Obama when he gets re-elected. And winning all three is a possibility. I should note that one of the main sites I use to judge races is a conservative site. I figure if I know what the right wing is thinking, it helps me be realistic in our chances. All three of these races are listed as "Lean R." In 2010 I wouldn't have touched these races. But in 2006 and 2008 I would have given us a good shot at all three. This year? I think it is in between but well worth making the effort. Not that ALL of these would be Dem pick ups, so by contesting them strongly we are putting Repubs on the defensive. That is something we don't do enough of.
You can donate to any of these campaigns at the bottom of this Act Blue Site (my latest Act Blue site...on other sites I have already raised about $5000 for Dem candidates across the country).
NY-11 Mark Murphy
This has been a traditionally Republican district that has slowly trended Dem...though conservative Dem. It still leans Repub but it is a weak hold for them and the Repub incumbent has run into a few scandals. So I think we have a shot at it since Repub scandals are what made this a possible Dem district in the first place. Plus the Democrats in the Brooklyn end of this district have suddenly gotten more unified and eager to prove their worth. So there may be a push for the first time from the Brooklyn end to win this one.
NY-18 Sean Patrick Maloney
I have met Sean Patrick Maloney and liked him a few years back. He is running against right wing nut job Nan Hayworth. It leans Repub but things have been picking up. Maloney has been endorsed by Democracy for America, NYS AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers Region 9A, New York State United Teachers, and many others.
NY-19 Julian Schreibman
This one has been off my radar but we have a shot at it. NY State as a whole has been trending Dem for years (ironically upstate more than Brooklyn, which has trended more Repub!). So this race should be part of that trend.
You can donate to any of these campaigns at the bottom of this Act Blue Site.
I have been pushing pretty hard to win this November. Not for Obama. I am sure Obama will win (well...about 90% sure and I have been for some 6 months now). It is Congress I am worried about.
We are at risk of losing the Senate and we really need to gain in the House. I think we can do both...MAYBE even take the House if we push really, really hard.
So I have been pushing with 3 Act Blue Pages to try and win key races that are looking close. If we want to dominated Congress anytime soon, these are the races we need to win. Follow me below the fold for more...but first, I also have a suggestion for those who are feeling the Democrats aren't Progressive enough. If you can't bring yourself to stand by Obama, don't write a diary about a third party candidate (it will only end in tears!). Instead put some time/money/effort into helping the Progressive Majority endorsed candidates. They are a fantastic bunch and Progressive Majority is one of our most important organizations getting Progressives elected to important positions in local and state government. They are our future.
But looking at Congress, please help me with these three efforts...I am doing better than usual in my fundraising efforts and would like to seriously compete with the Koch Brothers in fundraising ("To Dream...the Impossible Dream..."). read more »
I really didn’t want to touch this race; however, some of my advisors convinced me to say something about it or be branded a chicken/lol.
You see near every time I write something about Charles Barron I get these strange (and often inane) calls or e-mails, from different folks with different strokes. And it doesn’t matter if I write something critical or something positive. They are out there and they are watching.
When I said his wife (Inez) was better qualified than Kathy Black to be school’s chancellor; I didn’t get a peep from the Barron sycophants; similarly when I devoted two columns commending him on his symbolic protest vote(s) against a particular Bloomberg budget. How come? And it has been like this for years: whatever I write relative to “Chucky-Bee” is under the microscope. So be it. read more »
A couple years ago I wrote about certain forces (and interests in this city that had placed a bull’s-eye on Congresswoman Yvette Clarke’s back. I got the usual suspects to call in (and e-mail) saying I am too focused on the political gossip of Brooklyn. I wasn’t kidding. In fact I have written a few times now that that Yvette Clarke was in some people’s gunfights. I even elaborated on some of the speculative reasons why this was happening.
I went further to say that Councilmember Darlene Mealy was one of the possible (female) challengers to Yvette in 2012. I also speculated (to many) that David Yassky would re-emerge to challenge Yvette after the lines were redrawn. After all, the district had to pick up some new voters (mainly white), and he did do well in his 2006 challenge -coming in second in a field of four. read more »