Marc Friedenberg is not a politician. He is an academic. A particular kind of academic. He is a graduate of Columbia law school and an expert in cyber law and internet privacy. While in practice, he sued big banks for fraud. He saw the banks as centers of greed, corruption, and carelessness.
Tom Malinowski interned for New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley. He went west for university and earned a Rhodes Scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley. He worked for New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then left to earn an M.Phil. from Oxford. He worked for the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and then the Ford Foundation. He worked in the State Department writing speeches for Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madelaine Albright. Under Clinton he became Senior Director of the National Security Council managing international communications and writing foreign policy speeches for the President. With Democrats out of office, he became the head of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch. For over a decade, he was a leading opponent of the US use of torture, of tyranny in Myanmar, and of groups like the Taliban.
Gil Cisneros went to work for Frito Lay after he left the Navy -- in operational resources. He was a shipping and manufacturing supervisor. He was a Republican when he started. He had been a Democrat for two years before he was laid off in 2010. Weeks after he was laid off, he won the lottery.
Debbie Mucarsel's mother left a prosperous, but apparently, dangerous life in Ecuador with her several daughters. An immigrant to California at age fourteen, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell would watch her mother work two jobs to keep going. She would watch her three older sisters become Americans. She would figure out what works in North America, what allows people to become successful.
Kendra Horn made the most of her return to Oklahoma. She put together a campaign for Congress. She focused on health care and on women’s issues. She discusses the importance of gun safety. Her other issues include education and job training and infrastructure. Her transition to being a Member of Congress is going well. She voted for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, explaining the only other choice was Republican Kevin McCarthy. She got appointed to the Armed Services Committee, explaining the appointment will allow her to look out for Oklahoma’s military installations. She has been looking out for other Oklahomans. With two Oklahoma Republican Congressmen, she introduced a bill to fund the Indian Health Service, notwithstanding the government shutdown.
Before his election, TJ Cox focused on combinations of business and good works. He founded the Central Valley NMTC Fund -- a certified community development organization which uses the federal New Markets Tax Credit program for disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods. TJ Cox’s victory in 2018 was an adventure in and of itself. He originally planned on a candidacy for CA 10 – a district that had attracted nearly a dozen Democratic candidates. He was unlikely to be one of the top two in the non-partisan primary. He switched to CA 21 – persuading the 2016 losing Democrat to leave the race. Elected, he is on the Agriculture Committee. A good place for someone in California’s Central Valley. Addressing the government shut down, he introduced a bill to allow government employees not getting their paychecks, to borrow up to $6,000 from the government.
Lucy McBath ran to unseat Karen Handel. She had no intention to be in politics. She was a stewardess for Delta Airlines. She worked for Delta for thirty years. The impetus for Lucy McBath to run for office was Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. Lucy McBath had been living an apolitical life. Her son, Jordan Davis, was murdered. The murder got national attention. In a Jacksonville, Florida convenience store parking lot, Jordan Davis’ car radio was too loud, his music was offensive. Dunn told the teenagers in the car to turn the music down. One kid in front did. From the back, Jordan Davis told him to turn it back up again. Dunn didn’t like Jordan Davis’ attitude. So he shot him. He kept on shooting as the car drove away.
Ben Mcadams was an amazing state Senator. He was able to get good ratings from organizations with opposing views. He received a 75% rating from Parents for Choice in Education. He received a 77% rating from the NEA. He was the highest scoring Democrat, with an 82% rating, from the Utah Taxpayers Association. As mayor of Salt Lake County, he was required by the legislature to create a new homeless shelter in the County, but not in Salt Lake City. This was a political problem for Ben McAdams. It may have been intended to be a political problem for Ben McAdams. The neighborhoods outside of Salt Lake City did not want a homeless shelter. Neither did the neighborhoods in the City. He decided he needed to know what it meant to be homeless, what it meant to be in a shelter. He might have asked experts. He might have arranged for a study. He decided to pretend he was homeless.
Nancy Pelosi is taking charge. She met with Ocasio-Cortes. Ocasio-Cortez got it. Those leading the opposition to Pelosi are to the right of the Democratic mainstream. Pelosi was preferable as Speaker. Is this Pelosi taking charge? Nancy Pelosi wondered if the DPCC should have a chairman. Now it has three co-chairs. Shortly after her announcement, David Cicilline RI 01 announced he was no longer running for Assistant Leader. He is interested in the DPCC.
Joe Crowley of Queens is Chair of the Democratic Caucus -- until the new Congress takes over. A sign of the times, he was defeated in the primary by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. A moderate Irish urban Democrat defeated by a Puerto Rican Democratic Socialist. Some newspapers and many Republicans reacted as if radicals were taking over the Democratic Party. As Democrats approach flipping forty Republican seats, the flippers are mostly moderates. Left wing radicals rarely flip Republican held Congressional seats. The Democratic Caucus that will elect a new Chair and a new Vice-Chair will be more moderate than the Caucus that elected Joe Crowley. Will the leadership be moderate?