A seat in Congress for the 99 percent

Pub date May 2, 2012

For the first time in two decades, voters north of the Golden Gate will choose a new member of Congress. Given the overwhelming party registration, a Democrat will fill the open seat. But what kind of Democrat?

We need a truly independent, progressive Democrat — determined to support the party leadership when it upholds our principles, and just as willing to challenge when it doesn’t.

We can’t defeat a heartless Republican agenda by being spineless. Rather than letting the reactionary GOP define “national security” or “fiscal responsibility,” we’ve got to stand tall for our core beliefs.

That’s why I’m running for Congress.

The retirement of Lynn Woolsey, a stalwart champion for peace and social justice, means that an open seat is up for grabs — and corporate interests are eager to grab it.

I’m convinced that the only way to beat corporate AstroTurf is genuine grassroots. And that’s the ongoing commitment of the Solomon for Congress campaign in this new North Coast district, which stretches from Marin County to the Oregon border.

Our campaign has become the grassroots leader in the race. While refusing to accept a penny from corporate PACs or lobbyists, we’ve relied on thousands of individuals to build our campaign from the ground up.

That’s why more than 1,000 volunteers are engaged in our campaign, why more than 5,100 individuals have contributed — and why the latest poll shows me on track to advance to the general election under California’s new top-two primary system.

This is a deep-blue, very progressive district. We can — and must — do much better than just sending a check-the-box Democrat to Washington.

Like so many in our district, I’m outraged at perpetual war and misplaced federal priorities that bail out Wall Street banks while pushing millions of homeowners into foreclosure.

I insist that we must fully uphold habeas corpus and other precious civil liberties, not throw them under the bus.

Nuclear power plants, including Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, must be closed. We can’t afford a wait-and-see approach. Nuclear energy isn’t safe or green; it’s not sustainable, and its radioactive waste is not an acceptable legacy for future generations.

We need a serious commitment to conservation and renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

And we must reject the austerity program that has wrecked budgets and ripped vast holes in safety nets from Sacramento to Washington.

We need a Green New Deal that combines job-creating public investment with a deep commitment to sustainability — while defending the ecosystem instead of big corporations.

North of San Francisco, with an open congressional seat at stake, wealthy interests have put big money on my main opponents.

While I’m outpolling her, multimillionaire Stacey Lawson is dumping huge quantities of money into TV and radio commercials touting her “middle class” values — while declining to mention her enormous wealth, much less the fact that she couldn’t be bothered to vote in two-thirds of a dozen elections.

The elections when Lawson failed to vote included the historic November 2008 contest that decided on the presidency and the anti-gay-marriage Prop 8 as well as a state measure seeking to undermine young women’s right to choose — requiring parental consent, waiting periods and penalties for doctors.

Genuine social change requires fighting for our ideals. Please help me occupy a seat in Congress for the 99 percent. Let’s work together to make it happen. *


Norman Solomon is a candidate for Congress in the new North Coast district that stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. A longtime activist, educator and policy advocate, he’s the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For more information: www.SolomonForCongress.com.