This afternoon the Sammamish/Issaquah MoveOn group met at beautiful Sammamish Public Library.  The featured guest was 8th Congressional District candidate Karen Porterfield.

Porterfield, who received the endorsement of the Washington State Democrats at the state convention last week, said she’s not accepting PAC money and is limiting individual donations to $500 max.

She speaks intelligently and authoritatively.  Her website, http://www.karenporterfield4congress.com, is well done. She takes strong stands on issues.  She wants to protect and extend Medicare. “We also need the government to offer universal health insurance to everyone based on Medicare.”  “Social security works!  Privatizing it as has been proposed by Republicans, including Representative Reichert, would take the ‘security’ out of social security and provide a windfall for the financial institutions that have proven to be unreliable at best. ”

When the Republican took control of the White House in 2000, the federal government had a budget surplus. By choosing to finance two wars “off book” (not included in the regular budget cycle) while cutting taxes, the Republicans spent our saved surplus and produced a growing deficit; one that will burden our children….

Now, when government should be investing more in infrastructure to stimulate the economy and get people back to work, there is a push by the Republicans to slash government spending to pay for additional tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Government can and should play a vital role in putting people to work. Relying solely on the private sector to create the jobs needed to jump start the economy is only a partial solution. Providing tax breaks to the very wealth does NOT support the so-called “job creators”.  If that failed policy had worked our economy would be running at full throttle.

As the result of many years of irresponsible tax policies, our current tax structure is unfair to many individual tax payers and has not incentivized the so called “job creators”. I support the Buffet Rule, which ensures that we all pay fairly and equitably.

I love her campaign’s motto: “Her special interest is us.”

Karen Porterfield

A questioner asked Potterfield how she’d do better than Darcy Burner and Suzan DelBene, both of whom were unable to unseat Republican Dave Reichert.   Porterfield said that she thinks neither Burner nor Porterfield campaigned sufficiently in Pierce County and southern King County.  Other causes of their losses were:  Burner’s trouble with her resume claims and Suzan DelBene’s bad luck to be running in 2010, which was a landslide win year for Republicans.   Despite that, Reichert beat DelBene by only a few points. Furthermore, the new 8th CD encompasses many new voters (1/3 of the total?), and they won’t know much if anything about Reichert.

Someone else asked: how can you beat Reichert if you don’t accept PAC money. Reichert will have a lot of money.   Porterfield responded by saying that Reichert won by small margins. His support is pretty weak. Furthermore, an independent group has rated Reichert as the 433 most effective House member (i.e., third from worst).

I asked her whether she can run as a progressive without alienating conservative and moderate voters. She said she’ll run as a populist, but there are certain core issues she will stand up for strongly, including women’s rights. I tried to ask a follow-up question, but she cut me off to give another person a chance to speak. (Good for her.)

She didn’t directly answer my next question, about how she plans to push for taxes on the rich without falling victim to claims that “she wants to raise your taxes.” But she said that we (Democrats, liberals) haven’t done a good job explaining the role that government plays.  Government shouldn’t protect businesses from failure but it needs to be there for regulations, courts, police, etc.  Tax cuts don’t create jobs. Demand for goods and services creates jobs.

She said she supports reinstating Glass-Steagall.

The right wing endlessly repeats their mantra that government is bad (“an unchallenged drumbeat”) , that teachers, policemen and firefighters are bad.

One audience member was obviously a conservative, since he said something like: did you know that the richest 10% of taxpayers pay 50% of the taxes already and that the top 60% pay 100%? He also said that government spends too much.  Someone said, “Those numbers are specious.”  I pointed out that the richest 10% have 50%/whatever of the wealth.  Remember the Buffet rule!  I didn’t get the chance to say that Washington State has perhaps the most regressive state tax revenues in the nation.

[Concerning the role of government … I point out that the venue for the meeting was at a publicly financed public library. It’s a lovely building.]

Porterfield has the smarts and knowledge to succeed as a House member.  Certainly she’s smarter than Reichert, who didn’t even know what Glass-Steagall was when a questioner asked him whether he supports it at a Newcastle forum in 2010.  Like Burner and DelBene before her, she has not held elected office, though she has been involved in politics in other ways for years.

After Porterfield left the meeting, the group spent time planning future actions: attending talks at Seattle Town Hall, making signs, holding signs on local roads, fixing up their facebook page, procuring cards which give points on “What Obama Has Accomplished”, meeting for a book club, working on the Inslee campaign, and hosting Karen Porterfield for a picnic or home visit. An Organizing for America/Obama rep invited people to participate in OFA activities.

The Sammamish/Issaquah MoveOn consists mostly of elderly people from a retirement community in Issaquah. But they sure don’t sit around watching TV all day. Many of them are busy attending events and holding rallies and demonstrations. Some of their signs were very clever. There was a row of teapot posters with little photos of group members, each teapot having a progressive slogan on it (e.g., “Protect Medicare!” and “Fair taxation!”).

I mentioned to several members of the group about the initiative to build progressive media in Washington State, since without such media it will be hard to get our message across to the voters.