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Ilya Sheyman is a long time Kossack who has worked as the Mobilization Director at, Field Director at Democracy for America and Online Organizing Manager at TrueMajority/USAction. He's now considering running for Congress in Illinois' 10th district. To support his candidacy and pledge a contribution, visit

Fellow Kossacks-

My favorite heroes of Madison are Wisconsin’s Assembly Democrats. Virtually without any parliamentary authority to stop Scott Walker’s union-busting attack on the American dream, they turned to the grassroots power of progressives, and produced a historic stand for working Americans everywhere. Even though Scott Walker eventually rammed through his bill to strip workers of their rights, they helped build a powerful movement to reshape America. I think we could use a few more Democrats like them.

(Follow me below the fold to read more, and I'll stick around in the comments this morning.)

The Assembly Democrats literally implemented the much-discussed inside-outside strategy. First, they worked with grassroots leaders to bring the people outside in the streets into the Capitol building, using tools only at the disposal of elected officials. Then, the protests that filled the capitol dramatically strengthened the Democrats’ hand to peel off Republican votes and initiate a recall campaign.

Unlike in 2008, when progressives mobilized FOR a politician, in Wisconsin, we were mobilizing WITH politicians. To them, ‘Solidarity’ wasn’t just a rallying cry – it was another word for practicing government of, by, and for the people of America.

America needs more politicians like Wisconsin’s Assembly Democrats – and soon. 2012 must be our year. It could be our last chance to turn back the rising tide of corporate power, before it totally swamps both parties, and the hope we have for defending the American dream. We will need to go all-out to defend good paying jobs, and lay the groundwork for a 21st century economy that meets the needs of all.

I think Wisconsin can be a model for taking back Washington - which is why I’m considering running for Congress in Illinois’ 10th district.
The Republicans in Washington, with plenty of help from Democrats, have a dangerous long term plan to dismantle the American dream, and we need the progressive movement to stop them.

I’ve seen first hand the power of grassroots progressive organizing in America. I’m a long time Kossack and most recently worked as the Mobilization Director at Before that, I was the Field Director Democracy for America and Online Organizing Manager at TrueMajority/USAction.

My vision for the future of progressives in Washington is an updated version of Markos’ classic phrase “more and better Democrats.” For that strategy to succeed today, we need something greater than more and better Democrats in office – we need more Democrats in the streets, doing a better job to hold government accountable. It’s a commitment to our communities, and ourselves, as Washington takes aim at the very institutions that hold our communities together.

The progressive movement to defend the American dream that was built in Wisconsin is the kind of movement that can break the power of the self-interested elites who wish to have their way with our country. The way forward is with more and better Democrats, in office and out, collaborating to use all the tools of power we have to build an America that cares for its workers, children and environment.

What does that America look like? Here are the issues I'm talking about as I travel around the district:


It is time to invest in our shared prosperity by passing a new jobs bill that would provide a life vest of unemployment assistance to those drowning without work, that would guarantee state aid, so that communities wouldn’t have to continue letting go of cops, firefighters or teachers, and that would stimulate public and private sector job creation through direct hiring for infrastructure projects and the creation of a national green jobs bank that will provide loans directly to small businesses.


I support a fixed timetable to extricate ourselves from the quagmire in Afghanistan and to finally bring every brave man and woman home from Iraq—so that we can start building bridges and roads, schools and hospitals, mass transit and a green economy right here in Buffalo Grove and North Chicago instead of Kabul and Baghdad.


I will defend our commitment to Health and Retirement Security with a plan that asks the wealthy to pay their fair share into Social Security, keeping its promise to future generations. And I support gradually expanding Medicare to cover every single American, and stand behind the promise that quality, affordable health care should in fact be a birthright of every single American.


I will fight for real immigration reform that finally takes 12 million of our neighbors out of the shadows and gives them a pathway to citizenship and an ability to realize their dreams and aspirations right here in the United States of America.


I will work with allies in our community and in Congress to introduce a Civil Rights Act for the 21st Century that guarantees the full spectrum of over one thousand rights, responsibilities and privileges that come with equal citizenship to all our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

If you believe in the same potential I see for this movement and for America, I encourage you to show your support at My campaign will be grounded in the ideas described here, but before I enter the race, I need to know whether we have the support to make this strategy work in 2012. I see the potential, I hope you do too.

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