This year 34 senate seats are up for election, including Maryland, Nevada, Illinois, and California. These are my endorsements for these key races.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Maryland
To succeed the champion, Senator Barbara Mikulski, I couldn’t think of anyone better than Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards. Before being elected to Congress from Maryland’s 4th District, she had worked for Lockheed Corporation at the Goddard Space Flight Center with the Spacelab Program. She decided to go back to school earning her JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Following this, in 1994, she co-founder and became Executive Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, where she led the effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. She later would work for Public Citizen working on campaign finance reform, and as Exectuive Director for the Arca Foundation, where she took a leave of absence to run for Congress.
In 2006, she ran against Congressman Albert Wynn, losing in the Democratic Primary, 49% to 46%. In 2008, she ran again defeating Wynn, 60% to 35%. After the Primary, Wynn announced he would abruptly reign effective June 2008, but rather than yet another election, Governor Martin O’Malley signed legislation into law that allowed the respective parties to chose candidates by committee, to save time and money. Edwards won this election being allowed to serve out the remaining six months of Wynn’s term.
Since taking office, Edwards sponsored a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision, advocated for heroin overdose antidote access, sponsored 10/10 Load Forgiveness, is against Voter IDs, has supported extending unemployment from 39 weeks to 59, supports legislation against gender-biased pay discrimination, and protecting Social Security. Running for United States Senate, she has committed not to take any donations from Wall Street, she has received endorsements from Emily’s List, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democracy for America (DFA), and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC).
“Born to the job? The fact is, our country’s systems and institutions have largely been led by people who have always looked like that senior elected official, not like me. . . . I don’t believe anyone in this country was born to anything.” (Source)
Attorney General Kamala Harris, California
In the race to succeed Senator Barbara Boxer, there is no one better than Attorney General Kamala Harris. Before becoming the 32nd Attorney General of California, she graduated from Howard University and UC’s Hastings College of Law, and then served as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County, California, from 1990 to 1998. She then she became Managing Attorney of the Career Criminal Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office until, in 2000, San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne recruited Harris to join her office, where she was Chief of the Community and Neighborhood Division. In 2003, she defeated San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, and ran unopposed in 2007 for re-election. As District Attorney, she focused on LGBT hates crimes against children in teens, creating a special Hate Crimes Unit. Harris is recognized as one of the top 100 layers in California.
A clear front-runner for the California Attorney General in 2010, she won the Democratic Primary. As Attorney General, she has stood up for immigrants, has requested a funding boost to seize more guns from those who shouldn’t have them, supportive of high-speed rail, against human trafficking, backed closing a loophole in the California assault weapons ban, greater protection for veterans against predatory school practices, and has urged to tighten rules on payday lenders. Running for the United States Senate, she has received the endorsements of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Los Angeles Police Protection League, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“There is no question that we need to have changes in the system so that there is greater fairness. That is a lot of the work that we have been doing.” (Source)
Governor Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire
Running to become New Hampshire’s Junior Senator is Governor Maggie Hassan, the second woman to hold the office since Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Before becoming Governor, she attended Brown University and Northeastern University School of Law, receiving her JD in 1985. She passed the bar and then started a career in private practice. She then became an associate counsel at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 2002, she ran for New Hampshire Senate in District 23, against Republican Russell Prescott, and lost. She decided to run again in 2004, winning 52% to 48%. In 2006, she defeated Republican Natalie Healy, 60% to 40%. In 2008, she defeated Republican Marshall “Lee” Quandt, 57% to 42%. While in the Senate, she served as Assistant Democratic Whip, Majority Leader, and President pro Tempore. In 2010, former Republican Senator Russell Prescott ran against her, and defeated her, 53% to 47%. In 2011, she announced her candidacy for Governor, winning the Primary by 53%. During this campaign, she was endorsed by the National Education Association, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton. She won the General Election against Republican Ovide M. Lamontagne, 55% to 43%, carrying every county. Her victory made her the only female Democratic Governor in the entire country.
Since becoming Governor, she was elected Vice Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, urged the Demoulas family to settle their dispute which negatively impacted their workforce, vetoed concealed to carry legislation, introduced legislation to help veterans get into housing, and supported job training programs. Running for United States Senate, she has received the endorsements of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Sentinel Source, and Derry News.
“He was going to school and he was having a chance to learn and make friends. What that reflection taught me is that what we do in a democracy is work every generation toward including more and more people into our economic and civic life, and when we do that, it strengthens all of us.” (Source)
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, Illonois
Running to become Illinois’ Junior Senator, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is one of the most resilient, thoughtful individuals serving in Congress. Graduating in 1989 from the University of Hawaii with a BA in Political Science, and then received her Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University. Following in her family’s footsteps, as a grad student in 1990, she joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Georgetown. Becoming a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve in 1992, she chose to fly helicopters because it was one of the few combat jobs open to women. As an Army Reserve, she went to flight school later transferring to the National Guard, entering the Illinois National Guard in 1996. Before being deployed for Iraq in 2004, she was studying to get her Ph.D in Political Science at Northern Illinois University. On November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, she lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee, being the first female double amputee from the Iraq War. She received a medical waiver, she continued to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard along with her husband, Major Bryan W. Bowlsbey, a signal officer and fellow Iraq War veteran. Duckworth received a Purple Heart and was promoted to Major at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she was presented with an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal. She was appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs by Governor Rod Blagojevich from 2006 until 2009. She later worked as a staff supervisor at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, and retired from the Illinois Army National Guard in October 2014 as a Lieutenant Colonel. She returned to school and completed a PhD in Human Services at Capella University in March 2015. In 2009, Duckworth was nominated to be the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, which the Senate confirmed. In 2006, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of the 6th Congressional District decided not to run for re-election. So she ran and won 44% in the Democratic Primary, and lost to Republican Senator Peter Roskum, 49% to 51%. In 2011, due to redistricting, she now lived in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, winning the Primary, and defeating incumbent Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, 55% to 45%. In 2014, she was challenged, and defeated Republican and United States Marine Corps officer, Larry Kaifesh, with 56% of the vote.
Since taking office, she has focused improvements in transition assistance for veterans returning to civilian life (particularly for those with disabilities), mandatory funding for veterans healthcare, has criticized the No Children Left Behind Act, criticized President George W. Bush’s Administration for it’s provision on veteran’s care, and is staunch supporter of gun control. Running for the United States Senate, she has received the endorsements of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the SEIU Illinois State Council, the Chicago Tribune, The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Fund and the Sierra Club.
“You don’t have to suffer war injuries to understand how tough life can be. The military has a great support network—hundreds of people helped save me, heal me and move me on with my life. Not everyone can count on help like that when tragedy strikes their families, their health or their careers; the recent recession has been devastating for many families. The least I can do as an elected official is to try to make sure working families are not left behind and to offer them help through benefits like education and a higher minimum wage.” (Source)