Young progressives in critical races

by: Brian Tashman

Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 16:30


PFAW Action Fund is sponsoring OpenLeft through the election with a series on young progressive candidates around the country.  

On a personal note, Carlucci is a great candidate. We finished 8 votes shy of marriage equality in the State Senate and have already picked up several through Democratic primaries. He would flip an anti-equality seat if he wins to a pro-equality vote, and is very much worth your support –Adam  

In 2010 the Right Wing is not only focused on taking control of Congress to advance their dangerous agenda, but is also trying to make huge gains in elections in state legislative elections right before the process of congressional redistricting begins.  In fact, former RNC head Ed Gillespie is spearheading an effort to invest $22 million to elect Republicans in competitive State House and Senate elections in order to win or retain Republican majorities.  Young progressive candidates are running in many of the critical races which could determine if the chamber is controlled by conservatives or progressives.  

People For the American Way invites you to visit the PFAW Action Fund’s new website, which features young progressive candidates who are running for election across the country.  Young progressives are not only making vital policy decisions today, but have important roles in promoting the progressive movement in the future.  

Please meet two of the young candidates endorsed by PFAW Action Fund who are running in two of the most competitive State Senate contests in the country: David Carlucci of New York and Kendall Van Dyk of Montana.

Brian Tashman :: Young progressives in critical races

The New York State Senate is one of the most divided and chaotic legislative chambers in the country.  But now that “Democrat” Pedro Espada lost in a primary to PFAW Action Fund young and genuine progressive candidate Gustavo Rivera, progressives have a chance to push through legislation with less acrimony and infighting.  However, New York Republicans believe that they can retake the State Senate from the Democrats, who control just 32 of the 62 seats.

David Carlucci is the 29 year-old Clerk of the Town of Clarkstown, where he was recognized by Google for making headway in modernizing town government and making his office more transparent and accessible to the public.  He recently announced his candidacy for an open Republican seat in the State Senate, and is running against one of the local GOP’s most powerful politicians: 17-year Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef.  

Carlucci’s campaign is focused on enacting tougher ethics laws, real campaign finance reform, stronger environmental protection, and fiscal responsibility, and he has won the support of Congressmen Elliot Engel, John Hall, and Nita Lowey.  A consistent proponent of LGBT rights and marriage equality, which has a chance of passing in the next legislative session, Carlucci is endorsed by the local Progressive Democratic Caucus and the Empire State Pride Agenda, which works towards LGBT equality.

Earlier this week Carlucci turned down a pay raise as a way to save money during the state’s ongoing fiscal troubles, and the NY progressive blog The Albany Project said that Carlucci has “shown himself to be statesman-like. He’s indicated that he believes that the burden of a poor economy and strained municipal budgets must be shared between the civil servants and the taxpayers.”  

His Republican opponent, however, gave himself a $17,000 pay raise right before announcing that he wanted to leave his position as County Executive (to which he was reelected in 2009) to run for another office.  Later, he gave a close aide a six-figure patronage appointment for a titular post that he did not make open for applications from the public.

Like Carlucci, Montana’s Kendall Van Dyk is running on a reform platform while challenging one of the state’s top Republicans: 2008 gubernatorial nominee State Senator Roy Brown.  The Montana State Senate is one of the most closely divided legislative chambers in the nation, with Republicans holding a slim two seat majority.    

Van Dyk, 30, was the state field coordinator for the conservationist group Trout Unlimited and an organizer for the environmentalist Northern Plains Resource Council.  After serving as the regional director of the progressive group Big Sky Democrats, he decided to run for the State House at the age of 25 after seeing how big energy companies drove up energy prices to record levels following the Republicans’ disastrous deregulation plan.

As the Chair of the State House’s Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Parks, he worked to pass the state’s first stream access law in over two decades.  Montana Conservation Voters called him a leader in promoting “clean, renewable energy” and rewarded his legislative efforts by naming him “Conservation Legislator of the Year.”  Now, Van Dyk is taking on one of the Conservation Voters’ “Dirty Dozen” politicians in one of the state’s most competitive elections.      

Since Republicans took control of the State Senate after the 2008 elections, Roy Brown voted in favor of weakening the minimum wage, supported a referendum to criminalize abortion, and attempted to undercut the power of the Environmental Protection Agency.  In the last session Brown voted lockstep with the platform of the Focus on the Family and Chamber of Commerce state chapters on every single issue, while he received failing grades from environmental, civil rights, labor, and reproductive-rights groups.    

Progressives in Montana have good reason to call him “Big Oil Roy”: after working in the petroleum industry for Marathon Oil, Roy Brown has been a consistent opponent of environmental legislation.  He fought against the state’s $1 billion investment into “green-collar” jobs, wanted to provide oil and gas companies a tax holiday, and resisted efforts to give the public input into government and business decisions that effect the environment and public health. While Van Dyk has spent his career working towards protecting the environment, Roy Brown has spent his years in politics protecting polluters and oil companies.  

With such closely divided chambers, the progressive and reform-minded voices of David Carlucci and Kendall Van Dyk are needed more than ever.  

Please visit the PFAW Action Fund website and the candidates’ homepages today to see how you can help them win in these critical races!


Support David Carlucci

   Visit His Website

 Contribute to his Campaign


Support Kendall Van Dyk

  Visit His Website

   Contribute to His Campaign


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David is great! (0.00 / 0)
I've had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions and he's amazingly personable and bright.  I'll be hitting the district tomorrow with a whole gaggle of people getting the word about Carlucci!

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