Monday, June 28, 2010

Indiana Democratic Party State Convention: A New Generation of Leadership

Last weekend I had the pleasure of serving as a delegate for Delaware county at the state party convention. I was proud to see many college democrats in attendance, as well as interns and young staff working the Baron Hill, OFA & Joe Donnelly booths. Standing among 2,000 Indiana democrats was absolutely invigorating. I left convention Saturday night feeling energized and hopeful for the future of Indiana politics.

With two of the state wide candidates in their late twenties, 2010 is proving to be a fresh year for the Hoosier political scene. South Bend's Pete Buttigieg, 28, is a promising personality for the future of the Democratic Party. Buttigieg, a Rhodes Scholar, accepted his nomination for state treasurer. Sam Locke, 27, also accepted his nomination for state auditor. The secretary of state race was the only contested race with candidates Tom McKenna and Vop Osili. Osili came out on top and was elected to represent the Democratic Party for Secretary of State.

Let me elaborate on the Pete for Indiana campaign. I have been constantly impressed with this campaign since day one, but last week (June 24th) he blew me away with this refreshingly progressive statement:

Today I am announcing that my campaign will refuse all contributions from banks.

That means I will not accept corporate or political action committee (PAC) donations from any bank, including those doing business with the State Treasurer's office and those that accepted federal bailout money. Using federal limits as model, I am also imposing a cap on the amount individuals employed in the banking industry can donate to my campaign.

Despite whatever financial disadvantage it might create between my opponent and me, I decided to take this step publicly because it's the right thing to do. Hoosiers should never have to wonder whether decisions made in the Treasurer's Office about where their money is being placed are affected by campaign contributions - and when I am State Treasurer, they won't.

I am also pledging, once elected, to work with the Indiana General Assembly to introduce and pass legislation to prohibit all political contributions by banks to anyone running for the office of Treasurer, and to put contribution limits in place on individuals who work at banks.

Some advised me not to do this, because given the thousands of dollars the big banks and Wall Street firms are pumping into my opponent's campaign, I would be at a disadvantage.

I disagree.

Thanks to your help, this scrappy campaign has come out of nowhere in a matter of months and is now just hours away from securing the Democratic nomination. We've traveled the state introducing our ideas to voters and discussing the issues that matter most to Hoosier families. And, along the way, we've proven it doesn't take special interest backing to run an effective campaign - it just takes supporters like you.
Come November let's keep Indiana blue & push the Republican state wide leadership out of office!

Summer Politics

I am up late in Nicaragua trying to stay informed on U.S. politics... if President Obama gets Wall Street reform as is he deserves a lot of respect for addressing 3 extremely important issues, the economy, health care, and wall street. However, his open ended commitment in Afghanistan is a large shadow over the accomplishments of his administration. We have replaced the State Department with soldiers in their 20's trained to accel in combat.. These soldiers are given the responsibility to persuade a population that could not be more culturally different. Practicing a different religion and having a different skin color cannot be overlooked in our attempts to use soldiers to convince people to shop at a certain market or to support a local government official. Not to mention, every civilian casuality alienates entire villages. It seems President Obama expects Afghan civilians to endorse a war when they have had friends or immediate family members killed by reckless drone attacks, or soldiers put in impossible positions (stay alive without killing civilians). Finally even if we eradicate the Taliban and Al Qaeda we have put our faith in an election fixing, thoroughly corrupt bureaucrat, Karzai, to lead Afghanistan to stability. Terrorism will not be eliminated through nation building of failed states, the war in Afghanistan must come to an end. I will have difficulty taking pride in our President, and his accomplishments while he continues to support a military presence in Afghanistan that is taking U.S. lives and dollars, while making no long term impact on the well being of the Afghan population.

Yesterday he decided to more than halve the U.S. deficit along with other major G20 leaders and their countries by 2013. A much needed move, unfortunately the funds will come from financially strapped regulators (BP disaster) and social programs instead of from the Pentagon (limitless budget) or the War in Afghanistan.

I would like to hear some real debate on strategy going forward. I understand the strategic desire of officials using the need to have bases to keep Pakistan in check, but why can't we discuss how to keep bases without having our soldiers across the country? Just a thought to start discussion.

Video footage from