Posted by: sweeneyblog | May 24, 2011

Dennis Kucinich, Can We Talk for a Minute?

So I’ve heard that you have been making the rounds in my home state. A few community meetings, a meet and greet, that sort of thing, and believe me, I’m flattered by the attention. You probably don’t remember me but we actually have a long history together, you and I.

Back in early 2004, you came to my hometown of Olympia and spoke with such fire and passion. You talked about the lies of President Bush and railed against the Iraq War. You stood up for single payer health care, a strong environmental protection agency and people’s rights over the rights of corporations (this was before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizen United gave corporations even more rights). You inspired me to keep fighting the fight, that good people can get elected and bring voices of peace and social justice to the national stage.

I was so moved that when the presidential caucus came around, I was proud to be a state delegate for your presidential bid. I clashed swords with the Kerry folks who said that Kerry had already clinched the nomination, why bother with the Kucinich campaign? I told them that we needed Kerry to rally hard against the Iraq war if he was going to win, and supporting Kucinich was the best way to make that happen. I proudly cast my vote.

When you ran in 2008, I was excited to see you going toe-to-toe with the other candidates, although I have to admit, I was an John Edward’s supporter at the time (yeah, hindsight is 20/20). I loved your strong progressive voice pushing our candidates to be true to their base. You can watch some of his debate clips here.

But now it is 2011, and it looks like you might lose your seat in the next redrawing of Congressional boundaries. I am sorry to hear that for that is bad news for anyone who cares about the progressive issues you have given voice to in DC.  However, moving to Washington State to jump into an election here hits a sour note.

It’s not just that you don’t know Washington, our history, culture, employers, our environmental treasures, etc. You’re a smart guy and could figure it out pretty easy. I could argue you understand our progressive values pretty well. No, its more that I  really don’t think we need you here. If you think you can win here, then our local progressives who have been organizing, listening to working people, struggling with our local issues can win too.

It’s not a net gain for us to have you come here. We have good people here who can represent Washington. If you are headed for the 1st Congressional District, we have Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) who would make a fine congresswoman, or Mayor John Marchione, the current Mayor of Redmond. Both of them would make strong progressive candidates for Congress.

The other rumored landing zone for you would be the newly created 10th congressional seat. The popular view is that this new district will be carved out of Thurston, Lewis and Pierce Counties. This issue is very dear to my heart, as I grew up in Olympia. In this proposed district, there is Sen. Karen Fraser, one my favorite progressive voices, Sen. Craig Pridemore, and of course, previous congressional candidates Cheryl Crist and Denny Heck.

Dennis, you have spent the last 16 years of your life representing the people of Ohio. You are thoroughly versed in their issues, you know their concerns, their values and their needs. You stay connected with them. Last time I was in your congressional office in 2009, I was delighted to find the entire inside of your lobby decorated with drawings from school children in your district. You know your people.

I know it is a little while to wait, but Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is going to be up for re-election in 2016. I know that is six years, but it would be worth it to bump him off electorally, and you would be there, in Ohio, representing the people you know so well.



  1. Fantastic post Riley. Well said.

  2. I don’t feel strongly supportive or not supportive, …but, regarding facts:

    Since you cite Cheryl Crist as a wronged candidate, I would like to quote what she said most recently about this : “…When I ran in the 3rd CD several Democrats told me I should defer to the stronger resume and money-raising ability of Denny Heck. Now it is time for someone to defer to Dennis Kucinich’s stronger resume and seniority in the US House.”

    Furthermore, Dennis has lived Washington State, in two different areas, and has ties here. During his national campaigns, he spent a ton of time here and it was a hotspot of support for him. So I would say that our state got far more than 1 / 50th of his research and homework and networking. He is no more of a stranger than that woman from Indiana who moved out here and promptly got elected to congress for our state. You know… Maria Cantwell.

    just saying.

  3. I don’t see how Huey can call Maria Cantwell a stranger to Washington when she served six years in the state House of Representatives representing a swing Snohomish county legislative district before (promptly running as he suggested) for a congressional seat that had not had a Democrat represent it for several decades. A seat she lost during that bad election year of 1994. I don’t have a problem with Kucinich running here. But he’s going to have to confront the argument of whether he’s doing it for the public good or for his own federal paycheck. Now if he’d like to go after Reichert, two thumbs up!

  4. Ooo, I like the idea of him going after Reichert!

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