I first introduced you to Alan Grayson several months ago as our best hope for Florida's district 8.
Now he belongs to all of us. Alan’s opponent, Ric Keller, would have us believe that as a millionaire, Alan Grayson is not one of us. But, in truth, his is another remarkable story alongside Barack Obama's. From humble origins and through excellent education opportunities, he rose to prominence. His is a story of the promise of America.
Most likely this diary will whiz off the front page in a matter of minutes, but for those of you who are around, I'd like you to meet Alan Grayson. Join me below.
Alan grew up in “the projects” in the Bronx. He heard the E-trains rail past his home day and night. When he was 11 years old, he lived through the harrowing ordeal of a bully throwing him under a moving bus -- literally. The next year he took the subway to school by himself.
After a studious high school career, Alan was accepted to Harvard. Although he worked as a custodian and night watchman, he was able to graduate in only three years. Next, he graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and then earned a Ph.D. from John F. Kennedy School of Government.
After grad school, Alan was employed as a judge's assistant at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He worked with Judges Ginsburg, Bork, Scalia, and Starr. He then joined Judge Ginsburg's husband's law firm, where he represented government contractors.
In 1990, Alan left the practice of law, and started a new business – IDT Corporation. Alan was the first President of IDT. Today, IDT publicly held company, with $2 billion a year in sales. Alan took his profit from IDT, and invested it in many other small companies. He now owns between one and ten percent of a dozen different public companies.
Alan and his lovely wife, Lolita, have 5 wonderful children: Skye, Star, Sage, and twins, Storm and Stone. Excellent education opportunities are a priority for Alan, not just for his children, but for all of America's children.
Alan Grayson has filed dozens of lawsuits against Iraq contractors on behalf of corporate whistle-blowers. He won a huge victory in 2006 when a federal jury in Virginia ordered a security firm called Custer Battles LLC to return $10 million in ill-gotten funds to the government. The ruling marked the first time an American firm was held responsible for financial improprieties in Iraq.
Alan Grayson has built a formidable presence with a powerful, unapologetic, progressive message. In his primary campaign, Grayson highlighted his work fighting against government fraud and waste, and defending whistleblowers who leveled allegations of malfeasance against Iraq War defense contractors.
This video will give you a sense one man's determination to fight against government corruption.
After he handily won his primary over four Democratic rivals, the DCCC declared Grayson's hotly contested race (Orlando, FL-08) against Ric Keller one of Red to Blue's Races to Watch. Alan Grayson is my Congressman. I knocked on doors (and plasma screens), and talked on phones until November 4th to send him to Washington.
I love this video interview. Thank you, thank you, thank you Matt Stoller of Open Left for the video and the script from Netroots Nation. This is Alan Grayson working for you! (Emphasis mine.)
Alan Grayson: I'm Alan Grayson, and I'm the Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida's district eight. And I'm the attorney of record in every single case now pending in Federal court involving war profiteers in Iraq. These are cases in which I represent whistleblowers. The Florida Civil Rights Association named me Humanitarian of the Year for my work in this regard, Taxpayers Against Fraud named me lawyer of the year, and I've been featured in Vanity Fair magazine, in media like CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and even DailyKos, imagine that.
I'm running because I'm fed up with the government mismanagement, the Bush administration's shameless pandering to war profiteers. I think they set out on a deliberate course to make this war good for the people who were their friends. And I want to try to hold them accountable when I'm in Congress. When I'm in Congress... the Bush administration's worst nightmare is going to be me with subpoena power because I know everything that they've done, and I'm going to hold them accountable for it.
Matt Stoller: But wait wait, let me just interrupt you there, the Bush administration's gone in 2009.
Alan Grayson: Oh but all the people they set up as the new kings and queens of America are still around. What Eisenhower said, that we need to fear the military industrial compex, has become true because they have manufactured a five year war that they want to perpetuate for a generation or even a century so that they can keep lining the pockets of their friends, the war whores.
Matt Stoller: So, people are going to say, let bygones be bygones, or let's have some sort of truth and reconciliation commission, what do you think needs to happen?
Alan Grayson: We don't need truth and reconciliation, we need punishment. We need people to be held accountable for all the mistakes that they made that have screwed us up in this war and screwed us up in this economy. The economy is falling apart, the chickens are coming home to roost. You cannot spend $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in America for a war that never should have taken place in the first place.
Matt Stoller: But be specific, what do you mean by punishment?
Alan Grayson: We'll put people in prison. We'll take away the thing that they care about the most, their money. They stole, they hurt the troops, they killed people, they hurt the taxpayers year after year and they've destroyed this economy. They're not going to get off scot-free.
Matt Stoller: Who's 'they'?
Alan Grayson: The people who have been running this government and their assistants who have been running companies like Halliburton. Think about it, we have a Vice President who was the head of Hallburton, who got a $23 million parting gift from them when he became Vice President. And he was the one who instigated this war and made Halliburton the largest army contractor in existence.
Matt Stoller: But wait a minute, Democrats, not a majority of Democrats, but they just immunized the telecom and cable companies that were wiretapping. Why would they hold any of these war profiteers accountable?
Alan Grayson: I can only tell you what I'm going to do, what I'm going to try to do. I'm going to be just one of four hundred and thirty-five, but everybody understands that the country has to move in a different direction. And I'm the one whose going to say this is the direction I think we should be moving in. We need to hold people accountable, no more corporate welfare. No more people who think they can benefit from other people's sadness, their disabilities, their problems. That's not going to be feasible any more in the new America. In a new America, all boats will rise, and we'll judge things, as Darcy Burner just said a few minutes ago, by what is good for everybody, not what's good for the friends of George Bush.
Alan Grayson is going to Congress. I can't wait!