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Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District is a gerrymandered monster stretching from industrial Reading to leafy Lower Merion, cobbled together following the 2000 census to create a slightly R-leaning district in Philadelphia's western suburbs. Ever since its creation, it has been a prime Democratic target. Dan Wofford tried to best Jim Gerlach in 2002, and I'm sure you remember Lois Murphy's nail-biter challenges against the incumbent Gerlach in 2004 and 2006. It has always been a tight district for Congressional races (but overall D +4), which is why Jim Gerlach had announced he was leaving it to run for Governor last year -- but finding minimal support there, Gerlach had no choice but to run for this office again, having made it clear to everyone that his heart isn't in this seat anymore.

Meet Manan Trivedi.  Dr. Trivedi grew up in Berks County -- the more rural part of the distict -- where his Indian immigrant parents worked at the Red Cheek apple juice factory. He attended college and med school at Boston University, then joined the United States Navy, where served as the battalion surgeon for a Marine Corps infantry battalion from 2001-03, commanding a medical team that cared for over 1,200 of our troops and hundreds of Iraqi civilians as part of the first ground forces entering Iraq.

For his service, Lt. Commander Trivedi earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Commendation Medal, and his unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

After his service in Iraq, Manan earned a Masters in Public Policy, specializing in health policy, at UCLA. He drew on his experience with combat medicine to become one of the early researchers to investigate the unique mental health issues affecting our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Trivedi went on to serve as health policy advisor to the Navy Surgeon General and was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. He also served as a health policy advisor to the Obama for America campaign. Manan is now back home in Reading, where he's a board-certified internal medicine doctor at Reading Hospital.

This is a good man. A few months ago a mutual friend encouraged Manan and I to meet, and we sat down for breakfast across the street from my office. At this point -- and this is not to brag but for context -- I do meet with candidates fairly frequently, and they all seem to want to know my answers to two questions: (1) how can I raise money from the Netroots?, and (2) how can I raise money from your law firm?

Manan was different. We spent the whole time in full wonk mode, talking about things Congress should be doing as part of the next wave of health care reform to increase the number of primary care doctors in America and the quality of that care. I hope his genuineness and humility comes across in this early campaign video:

And make no mistake, he believes in the things we do -- on health care, education, on energy and issues of war and peace, and more as you'll see in his Orange to Blue questionnaire answers below the fold. Also, Manan's not shy.  Last month, when 25 of 26 leading Democratic House challengers declined to answer whether they'd vote for the Senate HIR bill, Manan said yes:

Out of the more than two dozen Democratic challengers and open-seat House candidates, only 10 commented for this story. Eight outright declined to comment. Eight more didn't respond to several days' worth of requests via phone and e-mail.

The only candidate to say unequivocally that he would support the Senate bill, which could be voted on in the House next week, is a primary-care physician running to face Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.). Dr. Manan Trivedi said it's important to get the ball rolling on reconciliation. "The answer is yes," he said flatly. That was about as direct as the answers got...

It's worth intervening in this May 18 primary. There is another Democrat in this race -- Doug Pike, who was among those 20+ candidates who refused to take a stand.  You may have met Doug at Netroots Nation last year, and he's not like evil or anything ... but he's not the right guy, either, for a variety of reasons.

Basically, Pike is someone who at the age of 59 had decided to use his accumulated wealth and move into the 6th District for Congress, where he's largely self-financing this campaign. (His father, Otis Pike, was a Congressman from New York.) Before that, his main job was as an editorial writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he wrote some weird things -- endorsing St. Rep. Stephen Freind, whom he acknowledged as "a zealous opponent of abortion" but stated that some issues were "more important" at the height of the Gov. Casey era.  

[His weirdness on abortion dates back at least to 1988, where even an ostensibly pro-choice column of his insisted on the "gruesomeness" of the medical procedure which he called "this wholesale disposal of what abortion backers insist is less than a baby and what anti- abortionists know is more than a glob," asserting that the "annual toll still should turn the stomachs of people who have quietly gone along with Roe v. Wade," and extends to this campaign where he falsely claimed to be the only pro-choice candidate in the race.]

The other reason you might have heard of Pike is, ironically, the reason you haven't been hearing from Pike. His campaign manager was banned from this site and Swing State Project last September for sockpuppetry employed to bash Trivedi at the start of Trivedi's campaign. The campaign declined numerous opportunities over months to apologize.  And then Pike magically appeared here on April 7, not to apologize but to ask for your money via an O2B endorsement (after Trivedi had already done so), then posted a half-assed apology 24 hours later in that thread. And we don't have much tolerance for craven behavior like that.

[Trivedi, meanwhile, has been here diarying, quietly.]

Think about it like this.  With all apologies to my chosen profession, it's doctors we need more of in Congress, not lawyers. We certainly need more young veterans of this Iraq War to help bring it to a conclusion. And, honestly, we need more South Asians in Congress as well -- it's about time.  

Those who meet Trivedi love him. That's why the Chester and Montgomery County Democrats -- the two counties in the party which have endorsed so far -- endorsed Manan Trivedi.  Several incumbents who had backed Pike when he was the only declared candidate either declared neutral or flipped to Trivedi altogether, including liberal St. Sen. Daylin Leach and St. Rep. Josh Shapiro. And momentum is building.  Here's some of what he said at that Chester County endorsement meeting:

(Another good campaign speech here.)  Dr. Manan Trivedi has plenty of endorsements, from labor organizations, pro-gay groups like the Liberty City Democratic Club and from the grassroots -- but he doesn't have Doug Pike's million-dollar bank account. He needs each of us.

We only add candidates in contested primaries to Orange to Blue when there's an absolutely clear choice, and that's certainly the case here. Manan Trivedi is an excellent candidate in his own right, a smart young progressive who is running a campaign in touch with the grassroots of his district, and who would bring energy and honor to the fight against Jim Gerlach. The primary is May 18; he needs your help today.

Trivedi for Congress
Contribute to Manan Trivedi

1.  Do you support:

         a) A public health insurance option, offered by the federal government and tied to Medicare reimbursement rates plus 5% (H.R. 3200 § 223, as introduced in the House)?

Yes.  As a primary care physician and a health policy researcher, improving healthcare has been one of my passions during my career.  I strongly support a robust, Medicare-like public option because it is the only way we can bring down health care costs in the short-term, hold the insurance companies feet to the fire and truly provide individuals with a viable alternative to private insurance.

        b) The Public Option Act (H.R. 4789), which would allow all citizens to buy into Medicare?

Yes.  A Medicare buy-in is the simplest way we can have a public option.  Medicare is well-established, well-like program that works and so allowing those under 65 to buy-in to Medicare is the most cost-effective way at providing an alternative to private insurance.

2. Do you support the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409/S. 560), including the provision known as "card check"?

Yes. I support the Employee Free Choice Act and the card-check provision.

3. Do you support a repeal of the policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (10 U.S.C. § 654)?

Yes.  As a combat veteran of the Iraq War I recognize that your sexual orientation has nothing to do with whether or not you are fit to serve.  We are embroiled in two wars and we need good men and women who are willing to serve.

4. Do you agree that any immigration reform bill should:

         a) Contain a meaningful path to citizenship - one that does not include overly-punitive fines or a touchback requirement - for law-abiding undocumented immigrants currently in the United States;

         b) Ensure that expanded legal permanent immigration, rather than expansion of temporary worker programs, serves as the United States' primary external answer to workforce shortages; and

         c) Ensure that any non-agricultural temporary worker programs maintain current caps on the total number of non-agricultural temporary worker visas issued, and also include a meaningful prevailing wage requirement keyed to the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act?

I support all the measures above in a comprehensive immigration reform bill. I am the son of immigrants and we are a nation that continues to prosper because of the contributions of immigrants.  We need to pursue comprehensive immigration reform that assures that America continues to attract and retain the best and brightest from around the world.

5. Do you think Congress should act to suspend regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency?

No. Greenhouse gas emissions are a threat to our environment, our climate, and our health.  We need strong regulation to assure that these emissions are monitored and controlled.

6. If elected to the House, do you pledge not to join the Blue Dog Coalition?


7. If elected to the Senate, do you pledge to restore majority rule to the Senate and work/vote to end the filibuster?

I’m not running for the Senate, but I do think we need to amend the filibuster rule.  I support Tom Harkin’s idea of increasing the number required to filibuster after every vote so it becomes harder to block needed legislation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 01:21 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Much Appreciated (10+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the tip on this race.

    Adam and Eve had Iraqi birth certificates.

    by bink on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 01:24:04 PM PDT

  •  Orange to blue (0+ / 0-)

    Please educate me.  What's the history of the orange part?  Just the color here? and

    by chloris creator on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 01:28:43 PM PDT

  •  Very nice writeup here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sardonyx, GN1927, davehouck, math4barack

    of what seems to be a great candidate. Though did you accidentally say "her" instead of "his" in the paragraph right before the survey?

    "We must move forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"

    by Purdue219 on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 01:28:49 PM PDT

  •  That is a hell of an endorsement. You sold me (5+ / 0-)
    If I can get into a position where I can do so, I will contribute. Maybe somebody can contribute a little something on my behalf to him - He sounds awesome ! And we could use some more Awesome in our Congress.
  •  Is he a good fit for the district? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It seems like DKos has a nack for supporting really good candidates who happen to not be good fits for their districts. Darcy Burner was a prime example.  

    I think the first and most important question should be : "can he win?"

    You described the district as "slightly R-leaning" is why I ask.

    Toyota: Proof US Union Labor Still Does it Better

    by VelvetElvis on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 01:43:11 PM PDT

    •  He is. (7+ / 0-)

      First off, he's a better fit geographically than anyone else we've had.  Every other Dem has run strong on the Main Line and then, after midnight, gets sunk by late-counted votes from Berks County.  Trivedi starts from that base, and will do fine in the already-Dem parts of that district.

      If the question is "but can a South Asian win there?", the answer is (a) we can't be afraid to try, and (b) yes.  Trivedi always talks about his parents and his truly humble beginnings -- this isn't "the son of doctors or business owners" but someone who shares the working class roots of much of this district.

      This is a D+4 district. I will correct what I said above.

      •  I'm in a neighboring district (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, sardonyx, Populista, ItsJessMe

        and I agree w/Adam.He's a good fit.AND a good candidate. I have DFA meetings here in my living room and Manan came and spoke. We were very impressed.

      •  For the most part I agree with your (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B

        assessment Adam, though Dan is of course from Chester County but he ran in a much tougher overall environment.

        What I most want to be sure is that every possible lesson from the mistakes made by Lois's '06 campaign is fully learned.

        Those of us on the Lower Main Line end of the district also need to help make sure that the turnout here is every bit as big as it has been for our candidates in the past. It would be a terrible shame if Manan got the additional votes needed in Bucks (and Chester, Gerlach's home turf) but fell short here.

        Thanks much for taking the time to help us all know how big an opportunity we have with Manan.

        Democracy is a contact sport...

        by jsmagid on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 08:32:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  While I think that's a fair point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, davehouck, math4barack

      And while I'm also in the minority in not being as enthralled with Alan Grayson as most --

      Grayson is a firebrand progressive representing an R+2 district (and no serious Republican seems all that interested in challenging him).  FWIW - PA-6 is actually a D+4 district...

      That's not to say Trivedi is a firebrand - sounds like just a genuinely ideal public servant who also happens to have strong progressive views - but that I wouldn't personally let the district ward me off supporting a genuinely good candidate...

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 01:51:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just made my contribution (5+ / 0-)

    He looks like a great candidate; thanks!!

  •  Sounds like a great candidate. (5+ / 0-)

    As someone who worked on a campaign for a another first generation Indian American/Marine Corps vet (Ashwin Madia - ran in MN-03) I wish you and him the best of luck!

  •  He sounds great. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for the very informative story!

    I also have a slightly OT question for you, Adam B. I am currently looking for ways to get grassroots support for candidate Cheryl Hudpseth to challenge Lynn Jenkins in KS-2. I'm a bit out of the loop on the Orange to Blue drive - but if I can get her to answer the Orange to Blue questions and her answers are agreeable, will you post on her? Do you have any other suggestions for me (I've asked MoT at PeanutButter PAC for help, and am awaiting his response).

    I realize this is slightly OT but appreciate an answer anyway. Or would you prefer me to email about it?

    There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. - Bill Moyers

    by StepLeftStepForward on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 01:54:01 PM PDT

  •  Awesome post Adam, (5+ / 0-)

    I met Manan in Chicago at a fundraiser about a month ago--I heard about him through a friend that went to Med school with him.  Manan is down-to-earth, engaging and knowledgeable with a deeply versatile intelligence.  I am waiting to hear back from another DK ex-frontpager about whether he might be able to lend a hand and assist (!!!)--maybe you can contact him as well?

    Manan is what happens when the best of our citizens start committing their lives to their communities and our futures.  It augers well for the progressive movements when we have these candidates--let's work to put them into office, and then find more!

    Please contribute, if you can.

  •  Thank you so much (9+ / 0-)

    to AdamB and the entire Netroots community.  I'm truly honored to be a part of the O2B program.  I hope to represent a new breed of civil servant and I look forward to working with all of you to bring real, progressive change to DC.  With your help, we'll beat Jim Gerlach and I can lend my voice and experience to the continuing debate on healthcare, the need for good clean-tech jobs, environmental policies with teeth, real education reform, and a strong, yet smart and principled approach to foreign policy.

    If anyone is interested in getting more involved in my campaign or has questions on any of the issues in my race please do not hesitate to contact me at campaign headquarters in Chester Springs, PA. (610) 370-9489.

  •  Gerlach needs to go (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sardonyx, quadmom

    he's exceptionally vulnerable and there's no really good reason for him to remain in office in an increasingly pro-Dem district...Dr. Trivedi has the qualifications to oust him, so hopefully this will be another part of the Turning of the Tide...

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." Dom Helder Camara

    by dizzydean on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 03:38:40 PM PDT

  •  This was a great write up! Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quadmom, Populista

    I was wondering who to vote for here. (I live in the PA-06) So thank you for giving me more information then was on the two candidate's websites.

    Do you have more info on Manan Trivedi's views on gay rights and gay marriage? His site doesn't seem to mention them. Thanks!

    •  His Liberty City Democrats Candidate ?aire (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      Q3. Do you support the rights of LGBT people to the following:
      Civil Unions?
      Domestic Partnership?
      Second-parent adoption?
      Protection from workplace discrimination?
      Protection from housing discrimination?
      Protection from acts of violence based on their sexual orientation or gender identity?

      I support each and every one of the rights above. Marriage in this Country is a lot of things to a lot of people. The most important aspect of marriage for a member of Congress to consider is its legal ramifications. Regardless of religious or social pressures, Congress must view marriage as a contract made between two people that impacts their assets, inheritances and other rights. It is unconscionable that in the 21st century our society still denies a group of people these or any rights that are available to the society at large. Legalizing same sex marriage would certainly solve this problem. In the view of many, civil unions would also solve the problem but without offending social conservatives. I am content to allow states to decide for themselves how they deal with this issue, provided that leaving 10% of their population without basic rights is not an acceptable solution. As for adoption, anti-discrimination and hate crime legislation, I support Federal statutes in these areas to guarantee rights for LGBT individuals.

      He won their endorsement.  There's 5 pages of material there.

  •  He's fantatsic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, quadmom

    He came and spoke at our College Democrats meeting and was one of the stronger candidates we had heard. Even though we are heavily involved with our own race (PA-7, Bryan Lentz), I definitely think supporting Manan is worthwhile and would donate time and money if I had any of either.

    Reality has a well known liberal bias.-Stephen Colbert

    by pierredude on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 05:52:05 PM PDT

  •  I am getting there... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quadmom, ItsJessMe

    I donated to Congressman Alan Grayson's Saturday money bomb.

    I am almost ready to jump in with Bill Halter.

    As I get familiar with Dr. Trivedi (as an American Indian, I am glad to see someone from a similar background running) - I will be there for him as well.

    As I told the DCCC caller today - this cycle I am giving ONLY to candidates that I feel comfortable supporting and will pick and choose. (I did make a mistake with Eric Massa, but at the time, his behavioral tendencies were not known)

    The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past - Milan Kundera

    by Suvro on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 06:42:56 PM PDT

    •  I told a DCCC caller that too last week (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Suvro, quadmom

      He tried hard to argue with me but really, what ground did he have?  I said I'll continue to contribute at the same levels but to candidates I select on my own.  He sputtered.  So I hung up.

      "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them"

      by ItsJessMe on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 07:05:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great write up Adam (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, quadmom

    I appreciate the time you put into it, and he seems like an awesome candidate.  I'll donate and follow this one!

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them"

    by ItsJessMe on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 07:05:58 PM PDT

  •  No money needed to help (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, jsmagid

    As Daren at 3:22 pm commented, DFA currently is polling Manan's race to test its strength.  I'm on the steering committee of the Montgomery County chapter of Democracy for America (MontcoDFA), and my group is the one that endorsed Manan within DFA.  With literally hundreds or races going on nationally, DFA only highlights the few that show significant grassroots support. Because my chapter has been generating that support, the national organization is now polling to see if Manan's race should receive national attention.
    That's where you come in.  The poll will only run for a limited time so if you vote for him, that will go a long way to spotlighting this hot Pennsylvania race.


  •  I met this man (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B

    In earlier this month, walking the streets of my Borough.  I was impressed, he definitely struck me as a true progressive.  Although this was the first time I ever met anyone running for Federal office, so I wasn't sure if he was just good at guessing what I wanted to hear.

    This diary, probably cinches it for me. I will be voting for Manan in the May 18th primary.

  •  Comments on the video (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the post Adam and best of luck to Manan.  I had a few comments on the first video.  Something to think about for future shoots

    1. What's with the cropping of the head?  Not being able to see the full face, including the head, tends to create distrust in the viewer.
    1. Not enough lighting: for political videos it is best to blast the face with as much light as possible.  People subconsciously take note of subtle facial features and expressions.  If they can't see some feature or expression, then they become conscious of it.  At best this is distracting, at worst this loses them.
    1. For close up outdoor shots, don't wear glasses that darken in bright light.
    1. Start in the district and finish in Washington with the Congress building in the backdrop.  This will show a logical progression.  Starting with the Congress backdrop may give the wrong impression.

    Dr. Trivedi, you are great candidate.  Quibbling about the video may sound trivial (it is compared to your bio).  But that's the political world you are stepping in to.


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