I support and endorse Sharon Sund for US Congress. Sharon will represent the Third District in Minnesota.
For years, the Third District, in which I live, was represented by a moderate Republican, Jim Ramstad. Though I never voted for him, it was not all that annoying that he was in Congress because, as I say, he was moderate. Ramstad was pro choice, suppored stem cell research, he was not anti science and he was pro gay rights (but did not support gay marriage). I mention all this because it should reflect the electorate of the 3rd District which he represented.
Around the time of his retirement, of course, Republicans were busy jettisoning their moderates. When the seat became open two elections back, the Democrats put up a person who could be thought of as a moderate Democrat, and in particular, as a veteran Marine with experience in Iraq, and a lawyer, a candidate who could appeal to the sorts of republicans that must have been electing Ramstad since 1990. That was Ashwin Madia, and I worked for his campaign as much as I had time for, canvassing, phone banking, and blogging. Madia was a great guy but for reasons which I will lay out in a moment, he lost that election despite the coattails of Barach Obama and Al Franken, also running that year.
Madia was defeated by Eric Paulsen, coming from the Minnesota House. Paulsen is a Bush-Bachmann Republican. He opposes a good health care system, voted agains tthe American Clean Energy and Security Act, against all of the economic emergency bills that were proposed a couple of years back, he is uniformly against all gay rights and is in favor of discrimination against women. How did such a person win against Madia in this moderate district?
There are probably two or three reasons. First, Madia was a great guy and his positions were in line with what one would think the district would support, but he was not a dynamic presence on the stage, and therefore no matter what he said during debates and public performances, he did not pick up support during those events. Second, Paulsen matches the district more than one might have thought. Even though Ramstat was re-elected again and again, he also ran against virtually no opposition again and again. When I first moved to the district, and asked around, I discovered that most people didn’t even know if he was a Republican or a Democrat, or what his positions were or, in some cases, if he was a state or federal Representative. Putting it another way, there hadn’t been an election for office of the Third Congressional District since 1990. Third, the above mentioned coat tails were not as long as one might have thought. Remember, Franken only barely beat Coleman, having run what Franken himself calls “The most efficient election to the Senate ever.”
Once Paulsen was in place, he showed himself to be a follower. Mainly, a follower of Michele Bachmann. When his first re-election campaign came up, and he was opposed by Jim Meffert, I did an analysis of Paulsen’s voting record and found that it was almost exactly identical to Michele Bachmann’s (see: Who is Erik Paulsen, anyway?). I think that situation has not changed since the, though it became difficult to compare any one’s voting record to Bachmann because she stopped casting votes to go run for President.
Meffert, running against Paulsen two years ago, was also a moderate candidate, and I think he may have been put forward by the party for similar reasons as Madia; Ramstat was moderate, thus the district is moderate, thus put up a moderate. However, now that this strategy has failed twice in a row, it is clearly time to consider a different option.
And that option is clearly Sharon Sund.
Sund is not a moderate. She is not wishy washy or equivocating on any of the key issues.
She supports investment in education, opposes the unfunded federal mandate, and would never support the teaching of anti-science or bad science in the science classroom. Sund wants to increase Pell Grant funding, expand loan forgiveness, and supports maximizing STEM funding. Her energy and environment policy is pro-environmental and pro-jobs, supporting investment in green energy, and tax incentives for green technology development. At the same time she wants to redirect fossil fuel subsidies to develop green economies, invest in infrastructure, and repatriate jobs via tax incentives.
Sharon is unabashedly pro LGBTQ. She has made a campaign promise to co-sponsor the repeal of DOMA, supports marriage equality, social fairness and equality, and extends this to partner immigration rights.
Unlike Paulsen, Sharon Sund supported the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, she supports federal funding for Planned Parenthood, is Pro Choice and supports funding of Medicare for parents, children, and others, and supports reinvestment in Head Start and increasing tax credits and deductions for Child Care expenses.
One of the things that attracts me most to Sharon Sund’s candidacy is her position on science. Sharon is actually a scientist, holding degrees in science related fields. She did research and development work on a battery used in windmill-based electricity generation. She supports STEM funding and excellence in science education. You can check out her positions on science and other issues on her web site, but I’ve heard from her directly on these issues and I’m very positively impressed with her enthusiasm regarding the importance of science in policy. Some time in the near future I want to ask her about the Science Pledge and see if she’ll sign on to it. I’m guessing yes. I’ll let you know.
Here’s the thing: Sharon Sund is a clearly progressive candidate who overtly foregrounds science and related economic, educational, health, and social policy informed by science. I really could not have asked for a better candidate running in my district. I hope that you feel the same way. Running moderates in the Third District has not been an effective strategy against a Michele Bachmann clone. The choice has not been clear enough. Name recognition and machine politics have given an advantage to the Republican candidate, and this advantage is only getting stronger. Sund is a progressive who represents the views of many people in this district. She is a pro-science person, and many people who live in this district are in science related jobs (as is the case with all of the Minnesota suburubs). She is a pro-education candidate, and her district is probably the most pro-education district in the state. Sharon Sund can gain support a moderate could have never gained here. And with that support she can actually win this race and allow Minnesota to shift its delegation to a more progressive stance.
If you are not a resident of the Third District of Minnesota, I still need you to do something. I need you to Click Here and donate $10 to Sharon’s campaign. Having her in Congress will benefit you even if you live in Peoria. For that matter, it will benefit you even if you live in Tokyo. So send Yen!
If Sharon Sund is elected to Congress, the number of scientists in the House of Representatives of the United States will increase by about 15%. You can help make this happen!