(Thanks to Matt for allowing me to post on the front page during SEIU's Convention -- Tim)
Friday February 1: $470,060
Saturday February 2: $126,000
All told, SEIU spent over $1 million dollars in an "unprecedented effort" to help elect Donna Edwards in Maryland's 4th Congressional District earlier this year.
And as part of the "Justice for All" platform at SEIU's Convention -- you'll be seeing more primaries like this fought in the coming months and years. Here's SEIU's Political Director Jon Youngdahl explaining their "Accountability Project."
The goal is not simply to run primaries and win, but to elect representatives who will work and vote for universal health care, freedom to form a union without employer interference, economic fairness, an end to the war, and more. You can learn more about "Justice for All" here, or choose to dive into the extended entry for more information, great videos and photos from SEIU's convention.
But before you do, SEIU President Andy Stern is scheduled to speak at around 1 PM. You can watch it live from the convention in the extended entry (video plays)
* $10 million fund to take on elected officials who fail to live up to their promises.
* Calls for SEIU members to make at least 10 million phone calls to members of Congress after the election to hold them accountable.
* At least 50 percent of the union's organizing budget and 50 percent of its non-organizing staff at the national and local levels will be devoted to the effort
* A commitment to jump start a much broader, permanent grassroots movement of working people by actively involving at least one million SEIU members in the "justice for all" effort by 2012, and creating leadership roles for at least 200,000 (or about 10 percent of the union's membership).
Races will be targeted using several criteria, perhaps most important of which will be what their members on the ground in certain districts are saying. Part of the reason the SEIU got into the MD-04 race was because there was wide-spread dis-satisfaction with Al Wynn from their members in his district. Luckily for our representatives, avoiding a primary challenge isn't terribly difficult: just follow through on your promises and reflect the values and the needs of your voters with your votes in Washington. Now, that's not so hard, is it?
Not so hard, but happens all-too-often ...
Another important piece, maybe the more important piece, of this program is the recruitment mechanism. SEIU is going to recruit and train challengers where one's don't exist, and parter with many different organizations and communities (like the netroots) to make that happen. So, we don't have to wait for a Ned Lamont to show up on the scene -- we can create one.
There's much more about the convention, and Justice for All platform over at www.seiu2008.org
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