This is my first diary on Daily Kos so I wanted to introduce myself and give everyone some background on my campaign to kick Tea Party Congressman Mike Coffman out of Congress, who is Colorado's version of Rush Limbaugh.
My name is Joe Miklosi and I'm running for Congress in the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District in Colorado, which President Obama won with 53%. We're in a Red to Blue district that includes the third largest city in the state, Aurora. It's going to be an extremely close election, so I'm not taking anything for granted.
Over the last four years I've proudly worked in the Colorado Legislature and fought for numerous pieces of important legislation on behalf of the middle class. Prior to joining the Legislature, I was the Executive Director of the Colorado Progressive Majority, where I helped to recruit, train and elect over 50 people from communities of color, women and progressive candidates across the state. The work that I did with these strong leaders has made a tremendous effect on my life, and it helped me focus some of my efforts in the Legislature. Just a few of things I've fought for include:
- I co-sponsored SB-2 to legalize civil unions in Colorado, and have been a vocal critic of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act.
- I sponsored the DREAM Act in the Colorado House of Representatives and I've worked to reduce the cost and increase access to higher education to all Coloradans.
- I sponsored and helped pass legislation that made Colorado one of the first states in the country to allow online voter registration. Since the legislation passed, we've had over 230,000 people use the online tool.
- I opposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and I refuse to balance our budget on the backs of seniors and people in need.
- I worked on the Audit Committee and helped eliminate $71 million in waste, fraud and abuse in order to help balance the Colorado budget.
- I voted to cut my pay and I've been advocating for members of Congress to stop receiving paychecks until they have passed a responsible budget.
During my time in the Legislature, and before that while fighting to elect a Progressive Majority, I've been able to work on some really important issues, but I don't get as much time to talk about why I'm doing this work. The honest answer is that my mom and dad raised me to fight for what I believe in. They taught me to work for your family and loved ones, but always find out how you can give back to your community.
My mom was a waitress for 35 years, including more double shifts than anyone in our family can count. She worked through back pains and sleepless nights (keeping up with two boys wasn't always a picnic!), all to ensure that we had food to eat and a roof over our heads. My dad was an elementary school teacher for 33 years, and he helped me understand what it means to work for a community, and to give back day in and day out. My family was able to climb the ladder that was available to middle class families back then, which helped provide me and my brother with more opportunities. I was able to go to college in Michigan, and then eventually attended night school at the University of Colorado. Beyond my 12 years in the public policy arena, I was also able to work for six years in the information technology sector at an internet start-up company. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone in Congress who's actually used the internet to create a business, and not just another person who thinks it's a "series of tubes?"
While I've been serving in the Legislature, I've also been working for Project C.U.R.E., a nonprofit organization in Centennial, Colorado that is the largest collector and distributor of donated medical supplies and equipment to thousands of hospitals in the developing world. We've helped impact millions of people in over 120 developing countries, and I saw firsthand our efforts during visits to Rwanda, Kenya and Guatemala on humanitarian trips.
Looking back, I'm proud of where I came from, what I've done, and thankful for the opportunities life has presented me.
Unfortunately for far too many Americans, the dream that my parents fought for has become more of a fantasy. People are falling between the cracks, and middle class families are not even getting by on a month to month basis. And what are our elected officials doing to make things better? I think we all know -- not enough. That's why I’m running for Congress – to work on commonsense solutions and fight to get that ladder back up for the middle class.
My opponent in this race is Tea Party Congressman Mike Coffman, who you may know because of his recent remarks at what he thought was a closed-door fundraiser where he said:
"I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."After Coffman found out that the press had the audio from his speech, he began to avoid reporters and canceled his public events. He was finally tracked down by a reporter outside one of his fundraisers, but he gave the same canned response over and over again, and once again embarrassed and disgraced his office. Then finally on the morning of Thursday, May 24th, Coloradans read a public apology from Coffman in the Denver Post where he said, "I have rejected the notion that [the President] is anything other than American." But then, just a few hours after his apology was published, he went on a right wing radio station where he was interviewed by a self-confessed supporter, and not only admitted that the apology was written "for political reasons" and that he made his initial attacks because he thought he was speaking at a "closed door gathering" and thought he was "off the record", but also went on to encourage the Birther movement saying "God bless those people. I understand their passion."
After this latest episode, I can't tell you how many people have come up to me and told me how ashamed they were to have Congressman Mike Coffman represent them in Congress. This is a man who apparently has no problem telling the public one thing, and then almost immediately turning around and telling his extremist supporters something different. This type of disgraceful behavior would be bad enough, but Coffman's policies and some of his other actions have been even more extreme.
Coffman is a member of the Tea Party Caucus, and he not only supports privatizing Social Security, but has jumped on the Rick Perry-led effort to deem it a "ponzi scheme."
Coffman is close buddies with Congressman Joe Wilson and the day after Wilson yelled out "You Lie," Coffman put his arm around Wilson's shoulder and said "You know Joe, I think something good is going to come out of this." You can watch a video of Coffman telling the story over at our website, www.IHeartJoeWilson.com.
Coffman has been willing to balance the budget on the backs of seniors while simultaneously handing out billions in subsidies to Big Oil. He's openly advocated for pushing us further and further into debt by extending the Bush Tax Cuts to the richest of Americans, while voting six times to keep the payroll tax cut from being extended for middle class families. Coffman openly opposes wage discrimination and equal pay for women, yet he has the gall to come back to our district and look women in the eye to say he's fighting for them.
I could go on and on about why Mike Coffman is too extreme for Colorado, and would be a better fit on right-wing radio, but this election isn't about just kicking him out of Congress. This election is about people coming together who are sick and tired of extremist Limbaugh-style politicians representing them in Congress.
When I'm elected in November, I'm going to be a strong voice for Coloradans, and I'm going to fight hard every day for the middle class. If you agree with me, and want to help me turn the sixth Congressional District in Colorado from Red to Blue, please consider making a contribution to my campaign.