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My name is Billy Kennedy, and I am running against incumbent Republican Virginia Foxx for US Congress, North Carolina, District 5.

I am here today to answer your questions and to hear your ideas and concerns.  I can stay for around 45 minutes, and will come back later to answer questions I can't get to within that time frame.

UPDATE: THANKS, EVERYONE!
I've really enjoyed this and look forward to your continued counsel and ideas! Gotta run for now but this will be the first of MANY DKos diaries. First quarter deadline is Wednesday. If you can throw a few bucks my way, I'd really appreciate it!

I am happy to answer specifics on my platform in this diary and over the upcoming months, but first I want to let you know what kind of Democrat (and person) I am.

I am a progressive Democrat. I believe in and will fight for real and accountable banking reform; continued free and universal public education; economic development that focuses on real job creation and rewards investment in renewable energy; an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and equal rights for all people. I don't believe we should give up our efforts for strong health care reform either and fully support Alan Grayson's Medicare-for-All bill (H.R. 4789), allowing all Americans the right to choose to buy into the Medicare system at cost.

I fight hard for what I believe in. I always have. I am running to fight back against what I view as a corrupt takeover of Washington by powerful financial and political self-interests that are tearing our country apart.

The Democratic Party I know and have been a part of is a party that has a history of standing up and speaking out for the interests of "ordinary" Americans who work hard, worry and sacrifice for their children's futures, and who count on their elected officials to do right by them.  A Party of the People that doesn't ask Wall Street and the insurance companies to do the right thing but that demands it.

There are some excellent Democratic legislators in Congress who have stood up for our Party's principles and who have fought hard for progressive values, but the fact is many Americans do not believe that we have yet delivered on the hope and change we promised the people in the last election. The people of my district (and nationwide) are sick of politicians who care more about protecting their jobs than the jobs of hard working people -- politicians who have allowed their self-interests to supercede the interests of those they were elected to represent.  Bad decisions follow.  As Matt Bai of the New York Times reminded us recently, "Lobbyists don't kill legislation - legislators do."

I am a Democrat who has not lost his way, who wants to retrieve the Democratic Party of the People, and who is willing to stand up and take on a Republican incumbent who is bent on destroying American hopes and dreams and futures.

My Republican opponent wins elections by bringing out the worst in people. She tries to hide her voting record by inciting fear and anger among the people of the 5th district and by repeating, word for word, the recommended spin words of Frank Luntz.

My opponent is just one cog, but one effective cog, in the political gears that turn everything to their personal profit, inciting us to rage and hatred against each other instead of against what is really responsible for our current bad fortunes: the financial and political interests that have bought off not only my opponent, but many other members of Congress as well.

We can and must turn this around.  We can do this by returning to and effectively voicing the message of the Democratic Party that we supposedly own and must take back.

I believe Alan Grayson was dead on when he said:

The fact that an unapologetic progressive Democrat could amass such support, not by trading favors for money, but by striking a chord with so many ordinary people, refutes the pervasive meme of Democrats divided and despondent. Particularly when it's a Democrat who says that "you can't beat a Republican by being one." Particularly a Democrat who quotes Harry Truman and Howard Dean: "If you run a fake Republican against a real Republican, the real Republican will win every time."

I can beat one rightwing, extremist Republican in one red district with your help. I have a strong team of both paid and volunteer staff.  I have an excellent campaign plan and strategy.  My campaign has caught fire and energy.

And I'm not afraid of Virginia Foxx.

My first diary here is intended to let you know that there is a strong Democrat who believes in the principles of the Democratic Party platform, who is proud of our Party's history of standing up for "ordinary" Americans, who you can count on to speak out and stand up in Washington, who would appreciate your counsel and financial support, and who is eager to hear from you.

You can read more about my positions on my website or ask your specific questions below. I welcome our exchange.

Originally posted to Billy Kennedy on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 09:19 AM PDT.

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