Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with Anthony Woods, who recently announced that he will be a candidate in the California 10th Congressional District (East Bay Region of Northern California) special election for which a likely fall date has not yet been confirmed. This seat is being vacated by Ellen Tauscher who has accepted a State Department post as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
I did not lead with any number of descriptions that could easily describe Anthony Woods because I don't think that this impressive young man can easily be typecast. He's got an impressive academic background as both a West Point graduate and Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduate. He was raised by a single mother without having insurance until he was 18 years old. Anthony also took a courageous stand and was honorably discharged from the military under the "don't ask don't tell policy" after earning a Bronze Star for two Iraq deployments. Oh and he's also just 28 years old and was raised in the district of which he wishes to serve.
All of those credential and qualities are very important in my eyes because of his energy and his desire to come back and help when he could be anywhere in the world right now.
While Anthony certainly has a resume that he can be proud of, my impression of Anthony is that he chooses not to be judged by what he has done but rather what he will do.
Here's Anthony's Harvard Commencement Address
I asked Anthony about his platform for congress and he rattled off universal health care, economic recovery and veterans issues as the three main issues. It was obvious that Anthony chose these issues as a result of his life experiences and has already put much thought into how he can be a new voice in Congress.
What I am most impressed with about Anthony Woods is that he can be a voice of optimism and unity. He's certainly not representative of politics as usual like some of the other candidates that have entered or expressed interest in entering this race.
For example, I read an article this evening about John Garamendi, current Lt. Gov of California, who seems to have picked this race because it's an open seat. Garamendi certainly has an impressive academic background also, but he's also a career politician.
Garamendi’s move is offensive because it (a) wastes an opportunity to grow the Party in a red district, and (b) kills the chances of candidates in the 10th District who are "rising stars," but lack name-recognition. I met one of these candidates this weekend – Anthony Woods, a 28-year-old gay African-American Iraq War veteran. Woods was discharged from the military because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and then got a degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has a compelling story, and deserves a fair shot in the special election.
If the Party was still made up of hacks subservient to a politician’s personal agenda, John Garamendi would get away with this. But with an influx of reformers and activists who don’t take no for an answer, "stay the course" will give him headaches down the road.
There are bloggers who are encouraging John Garamendi to run in CA-03 against Dan Lungren who is his Congressman.
This district is a safe Democratic seat that has gotten safer over the past few election cycles. Obama carried this district by an almost 65-33% margin. It is also my understanding that the Same Sex Marriage Amendment (Prop 8) was defeated by a large margin.
I'm going to support Anthony Woods in this race because I see the opportunity for someone who has the immense potential to be a great leader in Congress. He has an impressive background that is proven through his academic record and military service. Most importantly he has shown that he has a fresh vision for his district and this country.
Please consider donating to Anthony Woods for Congress. He's been one of the hot candidates and committees on Act Blue the past couple of weeks and I hope that we can continue that push.