Want to help defeat conservatism right in the heart of Red America? How about Alabama, Heart of Dixie, where 29 year old attorney Josh Segall is the latest addition to the DCCC's Red to Blue list. If elected, Segall won't be just another Blue Dog Democrat -- he's a true progressive, a better Democrat in a place where merely more Democrats would be welcome.
The Democratic party can and should take back Alabama's 3rd District this year. The seat was held by a Democrat from 1875 until the 1996 election when Glen Browder retired and (now governor) Bob Riley won election to Congress as a moderate Republican. It was an open seat in 2002, a terrible year for Southern Democrats. The DCCC pulled out of the race late and Joe Turnham was completely off the air for a full two weeks before election day. He lost by only 3800 votes. It's kind of poetic justice that the DCCC is stepping in to help Segall -- late, but not too late to make a critical difference in the race.
Josh Segall is running in AL-03 against 3 term incumbent Mike Rogers, the least effective Alabama Congressman in recent, and maybe not so recent, memory. He's been a rubber stamp for Bush, ranked 403rd out of 435 by Congress.org and is such a sucker he voted for CAFTA after receiving assurances from textile plant officials that the trade agreement would be be good for the local textile industry. Good for the business owners who paid Alabama employees to pack up the manufacturing equipment for shipment to Central America; not good for East Alabama workers whose wages have plummeted as manufacturing jobs disappeared. In the video below, Segall makes the point that sending jobs overseas should be regarded as a national security issue.
- Network neutrality legislation and bringing affordable broadband internet access to every household in Alabama,
- Health care benefits for national guardsmen and reservists,
- The GI BIll for the 21st Century,
- A moratorium on unfair trade deals such as CAFTA
- Investing in renewable energy and alternative fuels.
- The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
And he's pro choice, recently telling a reporter "We should have fewer abortions, and I wouldn't advise it for a family member, but I don't think the federal government should decide that for you."
Introducing Segall for a recent liveblog, Howie Klein said:
Rogers is a classic rubber stamp Republican with an abysmal and indefensible voting record. Yes, it's Alabama but Rogers is part of the right-wing jihad against working families and on those kitchen table issues Alabama is just like the rest of the country. And right now, they are steaming. Even in Alabama Bush's approval rating is in negative territory, with barely 45% of the voters feeling he's doing an acceptable job.
Rogers has the appearance of a beaten man lately, so much so that the publisher of the Anniston Star (they backed Rogers last time he had significant opposition) wrote this, emphasis mine.
We sat down with our congressman, Mike Rogers, the day after he voted for the unpopular but apparently necessary financial bailout bill. He seemed different, not particularly energized by the prospect of two more years in the House.
He was fatalistic, as if he were a helpless observer-victim of political earthquakes over which he had no control, whose direction and personal consequences were unknowable. "I might be defeated," he said flatly.
Segall is a long shot but he could win, and what I gathered from our sit-down with Mike is that he doesn't care all that much.
Maybe having to vote in favor of that 700 billion dollar bailout has left Mike Rogers demoralized, or maybe he realizes that he's in over his head in Washington. After all, he still thinks the decision to invade Iraq was a good oneand that al Quaeda was in Iraq and that the Chinese were drilling for oil off the Florida coast. Whether out of touch or out of his depth, Rogers needs to be out of Congress.
Here's video of a recent debate between Segall and Rogers. It's rather long (15 minutes -- I'll work on a highlights cut soon) but you can tell from just the opening statements that Josh Segall has substantive ideas for improving conditions in East Alabama. Unlike Rogers, he's not satisfied with the status quo. Josh is the kind of Democrat who will rebuild the Democratic brand in the South -- pushing infrastructure improvements, alternative energy and other legislation that will make a real difference in the lives of working families.