Yo, Tony

Over the past few years, I've written at least two dozen emails to Senator Tony Rand's office. A few of my notes have been pats on the back, but the majority have questioned actions in the Senate that I oppose. I can count on zero fingers the number of replies I've received.

Of course, that hasn't stopped Mr. Rand from writing to me on other matters. For example, today I received this email request to contribute to the North Carolina Democratic Party Senate Caucus.

One year from today, you will have the opportunity to help decide the direction of our state for the next decade.

The 2010 elections are rapidly approaching and their importance cannot be overstated. The Party that is in control of the legislature after those elections will be in charge of redistricting. Currently, Senate Democrats hold a 30-20 advantage, but if Republicans are able to flip just six races next November they could redraw the lines and secure control for the next decade.

State government is too important to North Carolinians' daily lives to allow that to happen. Senate Democrats have worked hard to create jobs, improve education and increase access to quality affordable health care. Senate Democrats have made the tough choices necessary to pass balanced budgets while protecting teachers' jobs, improving our University System and funding worker training programs at local community colleges. We fought for these priorities because they give North Carolina's students and workers the tools they need to succeed - even in the face of the challenges presented by the current recession.

We must begin organizing and working now to ensure we have the resources needed to win in 2010. We need your help to protect our majority in 2010. Will you make a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or even $100 to help Senate Democrats retain the majority? Please help us today.

The stakes are clear. My Democratic colleagues and I have constantly worked to protect education and help working families. Senate Republicans simply have different priorities. Over the past decade, they have openly opposed efforts to reduce class size, voted against extending health insurance to uninsured children and opposed critical economic growth initiatives that have created good-paying jobs across this state.

Senate Democrats understand that the citizens of North Carolina are going through tough times right now. That's why we have dedicated ourselves to working hard for North Carolina families. We capped the gas tax to help North Carolinians cope with rising gas prices. We cut taxes for small business owners, and made it easier for them to provide health care for their employees. We took action to help stabilize the housing market and help keep people from losing their homes to foreclosure.

2010 is going to be a pivotal election year and there is a lot on the line. Exactly one year from today polls will be open in every precinct in the state. Voters will line up and make their voices heard. With your help, each of them will have heard about the efforts of Senate Democrats to create jobs, protect education and improve access to health care. We need your help to get our message heard and our voters to the polls.

We will be working tirelessly over the next year to recruit quality candidates and run strong campaigns. Our goal is to return to Raleigh with a strong Democratic majority so we can continue to work to move North Carolina forward. With your help, I have no doubt we will be successful.


Senator Tony Rand

P.S. 2010 is just around the corner. We are proud of our broad based support from individuals across the state. Our goal is to recruit 100 new donors across the state during the month of November. Please help us by forwarding this email to your friends and family. Every dollar we raise this November strengthens our position come next November.

Sorry, Senator Rand. You're going to have to be successful without my help this year. Because the truth is, I personally would rather see a slimmer Democratic majority in the Senate, so that the very few (two?) progressive voices there could actually carry some weight. We've seen that happen recently in the US House of Representatives, as the progressive caucus has powered past the Blue Dogs on healthcare policy.

As it is now, the NC Senate leadership does whatever it wants and everybody else just goes along. There is little, if any, outspoken criticism, resulting in business as usual on almost every front. And they've done so with active support from progressives, support that has long been taken for granted here in North Carolina. Democrats have been able to argue that Republicans would be even worse, and that's absolutely true. Which makes it even harder to say "thanks but no thanks" to Mr. Rand's request.


I blame James

Via Twitter:

RT @LauraLeslie: New at the Tavern: 
Yes, it's true. Tony Rand is stepping down from the NC Senate. 
The details: http://bit.ly/3gaKUc #NCGA

It's not my fault

He NEVER listens to a word I say.

Careful What You Wish For

It's no secret that Democrats face a tough battle in 2010; and the NC Democratic Caucuses will end up shelling out more money than ever to protect the safest of seats along with those picked up in recent elections. There will be no gain of Democratic seats. The middle is shifting further and further to the right; just look at the Blue Dog's power to water down important health care and climate efforts in the U.S. Congress.

I'm as much of a progressive as you, James, but I'm also a realist. Look at the voter turnout composition in VA earlier this month; conservatives who haven't voted in years turned out in far greater numbers than the progressive-friendly groups like minorities and young people. 2010 is not the year that progressives are going to get elected in NC, let alone take over the leadership.

Given our state's major economic concerns and with redistricting right around the corner, the Democratic Caucus needs our help now more than ever. This progressive would much rather have the current NC Senate leadership in place to make those decisions than leaving them to the spitefully partisan Republicans who are already foaming at the mouth in anticipation of a 2010 showdown.

"The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all."
- John F. Kennedy, Jr.