Thursday, February 10, 2005

How Do I Spell Relief? D-E-A-N

I got the following info from a MoveOn email. It was so good I wanted to make sure to share. If anyone from MoveOn tells me to remove it I will happily do so, but meanwhile I want the good Doctor's words out there. (I also removed the last names to protect privacy of the citizens who sent in the questions.)

Top 5 questions from MoveOn members
and Howard Dean's responses
1) What will you do to insure that all voters, in each state, have access to a universally transparent, accountable voting system?
-- Sylvia, retired teacher
(January 27, 2005; Winston Salem, NC)

If elected Chair of the DNC, I intend to work with Members of Congress, the state Democratic parties, secretaries of state, the Democratic Governors' Association, other stakeholders, and the grassroots to ensure that every legitimate voter -- regardless of their political affiliation -- is able to vote and have their vote counted. We must address the obstacles that some voters in some locations faced this past November, like inadequate numbers of voting machines at certain polling locations, faulty electronic voting machines, and voting rolls that failed to include some properly registered voters' names. And critically, we must take steps to ensure the verifiability of all electronic voting. For instance, we need to use the referendum process (in states that allow this) to ban unverifiable voting machines and to protect voters from partisan secretaries of state.

2) What would be your list of 'ideals,' things the Democratic Party stands for and will fight for?
-- Tom, commercial fisherman
(January 26, 2005; Eureka, CA)

Whether you call them ideals or moral values, there are a number of basic principles that I believe the Democratic Party should stand up and fight for. Here are a few: a livable wage is a moral value. Affordable health care is a moral value. A decent education is a moral value. A common sense foreign policy is a moral value. A healthy environment is a moral value. The feeling of community that comes from full participation in our democracy is a moral value. It is a moral value to make sure that we do not saddle our children and grandchildren with our debt.

3) What will be your strategy for sending the message that a progressive agenda is as much about "moral values" as is the Republican agenda, ie: that economic justice and equality, tolerance, civil rights and environmental protection are ethical and moral matters?
-- Anna, physician
(January 26, 2005; Hastings-on-Hudson, NY)

I believe that there are no red states or blue states, just American states. And I am confident that Americans will vote for Democrats in Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Montana and all over the Untied States if we show up, knock on their doors, introduce ourselves, and tell them what we stand for. But we will not win by being "Republican-lite" -- Democrats must have the courage of our convictions. Every chance we get, Democrats need to stand up for what we believe in, frame the debate, and call for reform. Each time that we do this we drive home the point that our progressive agenda is right where the majority of Americans are. Because Democrats -- not Republicans -- are the party of fiscal responsibility, economic responsibility, social responsibility, civic responsibility, personal responsibility, and moral responsibility.

4) What is your plan for creating an effective Democratic message machine to clearly and powerfully present our point of view?
-- Lynn, advertising
(January 26, 2005; Alexandria, VA)

I am running for DNC Chair because I want to reform the Democratic Party and make it a truly national party. Improving the Democrat's message machine will be critical to our success. To drive home the point that we are where the majority of Americans are on the issues, we have to better integrate national and state party operations -- the success of the former depends directly on the success of the latter. Two, taking a bottom-up approach to the development of the Party's message, we need to set core principles that define the Democratic Party and what we stand for. Three, the Party must take advantage of cutting-edge Internet technology to fundraise, organize, and communicate with our supporters. And four, we must strengthen our political institutions and leadership institutes to promote our leaders and our ideas. All of this won't be easy and it won't happen overnight. It will require exceptional cooperation between the National Party and the State Parties, unprecedented use of the grassroots, unparalleled message discipline, and significant financial support. But taking the White House and Congress and every other office back from George Bush and the Republicans will make all of our time and effort worth it.

5) Many people like myself were energized during the 2004 presidential election. I volunteered to canvas neighborhoods and I made phone calls for democratic candidates. I made my first financial contributions for a political cause. How are you going to keep people like me involved? Do you want to keep people like me involved?
-- Lisa, photographer
(January 26, 2005; Mechanicville, NY)

It was new supporters like you that were one of the bright spots in the last election cycle. If I am elected DNC Chair, we intend to make the Democratic Party a truly national party by becoming competitive in every race, in every district, in every state and territory. We need you and other grassroots volunteers to stay involved -- our vision won't become a reality without your help. And we will keep you involved by building on our grassroots successes, expanding community-building initiatives like Meetup, and getting ordinary people to run for office. It is time we support all Democrats carrying the message of reform.

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