I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

SENATOR Feingold

A letter from Russ:

"Dear Friends and Supporters,

On Sunday, November 12th in Racine, I will hold my 1000th Listening Session with the people of Wisconsin. Before reaching that milestone, I want you to know that I've decided to continue my role as Wisconsin's Junior Senator in the U.S. Senate and not to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.

Like many Americans, I am excited by the results of the November 7th election. My fourteen years in the Senate have been the greatest privilege of my life and I am extremely pleased with what we have accomplished. During so much of that time, however, we Democrats have not only been in the minority but have often been so deeply mired there that my role has often been to block bad ideas or to simply dissent. That is a very important role but I relish the thought that in this new Congress we can start, not only to undo much of the damage that one-party rule has done to America, we can actually advance progressive solutions to such major issues as guaranteed healthcare, dependence on oil, and our unbalanced trade policies. The Senate of the 110th Congress could also well be a place of greater bi-partisan opportunities for change; something I am very proud to have been effective at in both Republican and Democratic Senates.

I hope all of you know how much I have appreciated the incredible response you have given me and the efforts of our Progressive Patriots Fund since January, 2005. In addition to all of our work in Wisconsin and D.C., I have traveled to seventeen states trying to promote the election of progressive Democrats in all states. At every stop from Birmingham, Alabama to Burlington, Vermont, to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, to Las Vegas, Nevada, people have agreed with my view that we need to stand up for a strong, principled Democratic party that is willing to replace timidity with taking the risks of promoting a platform of bold solutions to our nation's problems. Unfailingly, people responded well to my positions: opposition to the Iraq war; calling for a timeline to redeploy our troops from Iraq so we can focus on those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001; my opposition to the flawed provisions of the USA Patriot Act that threaten the freedoms of law-abiding Americans; my call for accountability for the Administration's arrogant disregard for the law especially with regard to illegal wiretapping; fighting for fiscal responsibility including tough common sense budget rules that will help end the reckless policies that have heaped a mountain of debt on our children and grandchildren; as well as my strong belief in guaranteed healthcare for all Americans and substantial investment in alternative energy sources and technologies.

Yet, while I've certainly enjoyed the repeated comments or buttons saying, "Run Russ Run", or "Russ in '08", I often felt that if a piece of Wisconsin swiss cheese had taken the same positions I've taken, it would have elicited the same standing ovations. This is because the hunger for progressive change we feel is obviously not about me but about the desire for a genuinely different Democratic Party that is ready to begin to reverse the 25 years of growing extremism we have endured.

I'm sure a campaign for President would have been a great adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this time, however, I believe I can best advance that progressive agenda as a Senator with significant seniority in the new Senate serving on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and Budget Committees. Although I have given it a lot of thought, I cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a race for President while I am trying simultaneously to advance our agenda in the Senate. In other words, if I really wanted to run for President, regardless of the odds or other possible candidates, I would do so. However, to put my family and all of my friends and supporters through such a process without having a very strong desire to run, seems inappropriate to me. And, yes, while I would strongly prefer that our nominee in 2008 be someone who had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning, I am prepared to work as hard as I can through the Progressive Patriots Fund, and consistent with my duties in the Senate, to maintain or increase our gains from November 7 in the Congress and, of course, to elect a Democrat as President in 2008.

Most important, I want to continue my work as a Senator from this wonderful State of Wisconsin. Our fourteen year ongoing conversation that has taken place in hundreds of communities in Wisconsin in the form of open Listening Sessions is the principal reason I have been perceived as "ahead of the curve" on many key issues. Simply listening to the reasoning and passions of Wisconsinites remains the best source of good ideas and common sense I've ever encountered.

I love this country very much and am so lucky to be able to serve it in the United States Senate. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My Recommendations for Tuesday

I won't call them "Endorsements" because they would carry all of the weight of a paper hammer. Instead, they are recommendations on how I hope these races turn out.

I urge you to support for reelection, Governor Jim Doyle. He has turned around a huge budget deficit, and has done a competent job in Madison. He's not perfect, he's not all that inspiring. But, his commitment to Education, something of utmost importance to me, and our futures, sets him FAR above challenger Mark Green.

House, 5th District:
I urge you to support Bryan Kennedy over incumbent F. Jim Sensenbrenner. Sensenbrenner is a partisan hack, who when challenged, takes his toys and goes home. Support a real change, vote Bryan Kennedy.

House, 8th District:
Kagen. Why? Vote Kagen. Gard is a pinched, self-serving, you-know-what. Can't stand him. Oh, and I'm qualified to say this because this is my home district. I grew up in the Green Bay area, and I know the people there. I still have a LOT of family up there. Kagen is the only choice in this race.

Does it really matter? Seriously. Van Hollen doesn't understand what the job is, and Falk is, according to Van Hollen, underqualified. Vote Falk.

Marriage Amendment:
Vote NO! VOTE NO!!! A Fair Wisconsin votes NO! This is such a backwards attempt at criminalizing something that is already illegal. Who the hell cares if someone is gay? Who the hell cares what they do with their lives? They should be afforded all of the same conveniences and legalities that everyone else is. I seem to remember something in an important National document that states "all men are created equal." I guess the Republicans didn't get that memo.

Death Penalty:
Vote NO! Vehemently, and without shame, vote NO. This is another attempt to turn Wisconsin's clock back to the "good old days" of 1850. It's called rehabilitation people.

Howard-Suamico Schools Referendum(s):
Vote YES and YES. Most of you in the Milwaukee area don't know anything about this one, but I do. The first question is to build a new, sorely-needed elementary school in Suamico, and the second is to do improvements on existing buildings. The district is expanding at an alarming rate, as families move out of the cities to the quiet "suburbs." Vote YES and YES to ensure that these kids have a classroom to go to every day.

There are many other races that I could profile, but haven't the time at this point. This should get you started anyway. I know, big surprise, I recommended the Democratic ticket. I don't hide my allegiances, and will flat out say right now that I REALLY hope the Dems take back both the House and Senate, and we can get back to doing the business of this country, rather than just for big business.

Thursday, November 02, 2006