Daily Kos is thrilled to announce the latest - and perhaps the most unlikely - addition to Orange to Blue: Scott McAdams, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Alaska.
Let's acknowledge the elephant in the room right away. Scott McAdams has an uphill climb if he's going to win this seat. But before teabagging Social Security-hater Joe Miller shocked the Republican establishment by beating incumbent Senator and dynastic heir Lisa Murkowski in last month's primary, no one would have given McAdams any chance of being elected in November. Hell, the day after Miller's primary win, a DNC flack couldn't even remember McAdams' name on national TV. Today, though, he's definitely a player in the race - a race which has been rendered extremely volatile by Murkowski's petulant decision to launch a write-in effort.
But why should we support McAdams over a number of other Democratic longshots, some of whom arguably have a better shot at pulling off upsets?
Contribute to Scott McAdams.
For me, it's pretty simple: more than anyone else I can think of, his candidacy offers the opportunity to put someone in the Senate who - as an adult - made his living working with his hands as a wage laborer. Someone who, after busting his ass as a commercial fisherman in the freezing Bering Sea, busted his ass teaching kids in his hometown. Someone who hasn't spent his life making lots of money while making life easier for the privileged. In short, someone like most Kossacks - a hard-working everyday citizen who cares enough about his community to try and crack open the millionaires' club. And in a body filled with corporate lawyers and corporate heirs, that's the rarest minority of all.
Now, there are plenty of other reasons to back McAdams. He's a solid populist with a good take on the issues (as you can see from his O2B questionnaire answers below the fold). He's going up against a nasty teabagger, Joe Miller - the Rand Paul of the North, a guy who believes Social Security and unemployment benefits are unconstitutional
- and Lisa Murkowski, who tacked nearly as far right as Miller during her primary. Any money we donate to McAdams would go a long way, as Alaska is a relatively cheap media market. And he would bring a kicking mustache to the Senate, a body whose male members are sorely lacking in facial hair.
But for me, at least, the biggest reason to help Scott McAdams win is that he represents the vast number of Americans who break their bodies for their job, who live paycheck-to-paycheck and raise families on nothing but the often too-low wages that they earn, but who almost never have someone with their background representing them in government. Scott McAdams is giving everyday Alaskans the opportunity to put someone like them in the Senate - a regular guy with talent and commitment, but who doesn't belong to corporate elites. And that is a rare opportunity indeed.
1A. Congress spent almost 16 months debating health care reform. As an Alaskan, it was incredibly frustrating to watch the complete breakdown of the process and honest negotiation between the parties. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues struggle to cover high health insurance costs here in Alaska. The reform bill that passed Congress will help Alaskans get competitive rates for insurance through the exchange. It will also expand the services offered to thousands of Alaska Natives receive through the Indian Health Service and put in place strong cost containment measures to bring everyone’s rates down.
Unfortunately, we still have real health care access challenges here in Alaska. In particular, I was very disappointed one of my opponents wants to dismantle Medicare and my other opponent voted repeatedly against increases to Medicare reimbursement rates that would have kept more doctors in the program. Unlike my opponents, I will fight to continue improving last year’s reform whenever shortcomings become apparent. My top priority is ensuring that all Alaskans (and all Americans) have access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance.
1B. We need to give the health reform bill time to work before looking at expanding Medicare. My first priority for Medicare is to increase reimbursement for doctors, especially primary care doctors, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants so older Americans don’t have to worry about losing their doctor when they turn 65. The priority for Congress when it convenes next year should be on creating jobs, continuing to rebuild our economy and bringing fiscal discipline to Washington to reduce the national debt.
- I support EFCA, including “card check.” I come from a union family; as I’ve said a few times on the campaign trail, my grandfather described himself as “a Methodist, a Mason, and a machinist, but not necessarily in that order.” As a former teacher and member of the Alaska Public Employees Association, I recognize the central role that unions and workers’ rights have played in building a strong middle class in Alaska and around the country. I will fight for commonsense measures like EFCA that improve the lives of American workers, which are not easy to push through a Senate dominated by big money interests and the millionaire’s club.
- I support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Secretary Gates and Chairman Mullen have been clear that our military readiness won’t be affected by DADT repeal, and I prefer their judgment to that of political pundits and cynical DC politicians.
4A. Immigration reform is going to be one of the most difficult initiatives that we must pass over the next few years. It will take more than just considerable legislative skill to craft a comprehensive solution to the current state of our immigration affairs: it will take bold action and a willingness to work with honest problem solvers in both parties. I’ll fight for a sensible solution that secures the border and solves the immigration issue in a humane and responsible way.
4B. We need to totally revamp our immigration system so that there is an efficient, rational method for allowing foreign citizens into the United States. For work purposes, we need sensible visa programs to ensure that American businesses have access to the workforce they need to grow our economy. At the same time, our policy must prevent companies from the short-term importing of foreign workers that will work at extremely low wages to undercut qualified Americans. This is an issue where we need our elected officials to be straight with voters and not fall into political grandstanding.
4C. It is critical that we closely analyze all aspects of comprehensive reform to determine, as best we can, the effects they will have on American workers and American families. I cannot commit today to categorically maintaining current caps on the total number of non-agricultural temporary worker visas. Given the broken state of our immigration policy over the past decades, it may very well be that some of the current caps are inadequate while others are sensible, and I wouldn’t make a commitment without having done my due diligence. I don’t make decisions based on political expedience, and I’ve never been one to commit to a position unless I’m well informed. I do unequivocally support comprehensive measures that guarantee wage fairness, like Davis-Bacon and the Service Contract Act, and strict enforcement of those measures. The government and contractors working for it must provide the prevailing wage so that workers are adequately compensated to support themselves and their families.
- I would not support Congress acting to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its greenhouse gas emission authority. Alaska is on the front lines of climate change from warming permafrost, receding glaciers and communities literally falling into the ocean. Also, the same pollutants causing climate change are causing our oceans to become more acidic, threatening our fisheries. I am the only candidate in the Alaska’s U.S. Senate race putting new ideas on the table to increase our nation’s energy security through increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, while responsibly developing our domestic oil and gas resources. I see Alaska as key to a renewable future for America: we have vast untapped renewable resources like tidal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind. We have massive reserves of traditional sources of energy, like oil and natural gas, which must be brought to market while we transition to a more sustainable future.
- I support, and will vote for, filibuster reform. Though I don’t claim, like my opponent Joe Miller does, to be some sort of grand constitutional scholar who knows all the thoughts and hopes of our Founders, it is clear that the Senate was meant to be a body governed by majority rule except in the few instances outlined in the Constitution where greater numbers are needed, like treaty ratification, constitutional amendments, and impeachment. We must end the legislative gridlock that has become par for the course in a broken Washington, D.C., and filibuster reform is an essential tool to do that. An often overlooked consequence of the current state of DC politics, where mere threats of filibuster are enough to kill legislation that the America voters support, is that average Americans have a much harder time figuring out who is standing in the way of progress.