Saturday, January 14, 2006

Kaptur Campaigns for Cegelis

Today I spent the afternoon at the International Association of Machinists Union Hall in the north-east part of IL-06. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), the senior-most Democratic woman in Congress with a record of supporting labor issues, was there to attend a "Conversation with Christine" on job creation and labor issues. All I have to say about Congresswoman Kaptur is wow! I think she is the type of person we need in Congress. And Congresswoman Kaptur thinks Christine Cegelis should be in the House with her:
Christine Cegelis is the type of person we need in Congress. She is already asking the right questions. Her focus and understanding of issues key to your community is what will enable her to win the primary and in November.

Below I'll do my best to present my notes from the event covering the Congresswoman's talk given to a room full of Cegelis supporters. What follows is my best recollection, often paraphrased, of her remarks which were unscripted:

Congresswoman Kaptur began by praising the supporters who came to the event:
America needs change. Congress needs change. But we need change not by people who want to buy an election. We need change by people who count votes, not just dollars.

Liberty requires eternal vigilance. It requires we give something of our personal life because freedom isn’t free. Christine can not win without you. Some of the people who worked on my campaign when I first was elected are still some of my closest friends to this day. The people in this room who gave up their time on a Saturday are truly members of the Cegelis family. Thanks for caring about our country enough to send one of your own to our nation’s capital.

Next Congresswoman Kaptur focused on the disconnect between Congress and ordinary Americans, focusing on how money and privilege have taken their toll on our government:
In DC were in trouble. We were just talking about the number of hungry people in America. It's an enormous tasks for food banks just to feed people. In my church we packed more basics and food baskets than ever before. There is something very serious going on in this country. Unless we elect people like Christine who understand what it is like to struggle day to day we will never change in DC.

This was met with much applause. She then cited examples from the failures of Hurricane Katrina and the "misguided" senior prescription drug bill as failures of Congress to represent the people. To hammer the illustration home, it was red meat time as she spoke of our President's background of privilege:
The President is from my generation, He didn’t have to struggle. He didn’t get good grades. Daddy took care of him. He failed at his business. Daddy bailed him out. He did not have to go through what Christine and ordinary Americans have had to go through. We have people in charge who have never had to struggle. They just don’t get it. Bush never had to multi-task in his life, but he’s in charge of the country. Somebody always bailed him out. We need Christine’s voice to help redirect our ship of state.

Regarding jobs, Bush never left United States in his first years in office. In his first year he brought the President of Mexico to my congressional district. I was a leading opponent of NAFTA at the time. Isn’t that interesting. His father helped negotiate the deal. Now with 1 million jobs lost and Mexico's workers wages cut in half, he doesn’t want to see the results. He doesn’t want to see the millions who have been disadvantaged by benefiting those who trade instead of those who work.

The Congresswoman next spoke of the increasing disenfranchisement of ordinary citizens due to money in politics:
We need people in Congress to offset the arrogance and blindness of the Executive branch. The seats in Congress become more precious because it's all we have left. I’ve been asked to run for state wide audience. What scares me about this is the money involved. That isn’t what our country should be about. Every young personal who follows the rules and works hard should be able to be a Senator, a Representative, a Governor, or a President. Fewer and fewer and fewer people of our experience are given the privilege of serving their country in this way.

Campaign financing and the fact that it’s moved inside the halls of government has polluted our Congress. What we have now is a Plutocracy not a Democracy. That’s not how it was suppose to be. When you have a person like Christine asking where will the jobs of our future come from, someone who had to struggle, who’s worked, who knows what is means to make a budget work, knows what it's like to raise kids, start a business, you know she understands the issues. This is the type of person we need in Congress. What do people really know about production, the market, the issues, if all they know is privilege? You can run a country into the ground and put it $8 billion in debt as we've seen. We need people who can offset this disconnect between privileged and ordinary Americans.

Much applause ensued as she tipped to Cegelis. Praise for Cegelis' understanding and leadership on the issues followed. I much of this as I was distracted by some media people present:
Christine understands health insurance. The nation and state governments could do something about this issue if people like Christine who started a business and understands what it takes to pay for it or who have been have been without it, have a genuine understanding of the issue.

Our dependence on oil is a problem and the automotive industry is hemorrhaging jobs. What can America do to make our country energy independent? In my family we have an oil furnace and are converting it to bio diesel. This then puts money in the pockets of the local farmers. The whole area of new fuels that Christine talks about is part of our future. She understands the issue and is leading the way to bring this future industry to her district. We need to empower every American again through energy independence. Christine has focused on the use of alternative sources of energy as America’s future is in alternative energy. Christine is on record supporting it. Maybe when Christine is elected to Congress maybe we can work on this together.

Congresswoman Kaptur's closing summed up just what this primary is about:
Together by electing the right people to Congress, who ask the right questions first, who are children of struggle, and who understand first hand the issues of their district, we can change Congress for the better. People like Christine are the people we need in Congress. That’s why I’m so proud to be here today in support of Christine Cegelis.

This recieved a standing ovation that lasted what seemed five minutes. The event and the Congresswoman were wonderful. Take Congresswoman Kaptur's advice. Support Christine Cegelis by volunteering some of your time or contributing to her campaign today.