Archive for Heath Shuler
The annual precinct meetings of the North Carolina Democratic Party are coming up. They’re currently scheduled for Saturday, March 5, with a make-up/alternate date on March 8. Exact places and times should be available soon at the county party website, and will probably also appear in the Citizen-Times and Mountain Xpress.
There’s supposed to be one in every precinct in the state, and that includes the precinct you live in. At these meetings, the various precincts will start the process by which the party organizes itself every two years: they will elect precinct officers, elect delegates to the county convention, and maybe get a head start on grassroots campaigns to support Democratic candidates. They’re a great way to meet politically aware folks in your neighborhood, too, and offer an opportunity—through the process of drafting resolutions for the county convention—to educate your neighbors about the issues that are of greatest concern to you.
I’ve been a precinct officer for close to eight years now, having been first elected to that position (by five of my neighbors) in March of 2003. When I started, I thought that “precinct chair” had a romantic ring to it (though I was mildly disappointed that I wasn’t going to be a “precinct captain”). My election coincided with the beginning of the Dean campaign, and at that time I believed that if someone wanted to reform this country, then the only effective strategy was to work within the Democratic Party.
Honestly, that didn’t work out so well. Read More→
There’s a serious debate going on regarding how area progressives ought best to interact with our Congressman. Some feel that offering him any support at all is a tacit endorsement of his conservative stances. Some feel that he’s the furthest to the left we can hope for in the 11th District. Still others feel that his persistently dissonant voting record is exactly what our district needs.
I’ve said that the only way to get more progressive leadership in WNC is to build progressive infrastructure outside of Asheville. There’s something happening out in Jackson County, but there’s no regional movement towards more progressive values. That being said, Heath Shuler has been a strong voice for environmental protection, workers’ rights, and education.
That conundrum laid plain, here are a couple more Shuler soundbites to get you cogitating.
Politico: Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), who challenged Pelosi for the leadership spot, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “there’s been really no communication whatsoever” between his group and the California Democrat. “We still have not had the connection between the Blue Dog members and the leadership.”
“We’re not about the ideologues of either political party. We’re talking about how we can bring our country back to the middle where we need to be and start with compromise,” Shuler said. “I think the Blue Dogs represent 80 percent of America. You look at the political structure on both sides — they only represent 10 percent on each side of the American people. Blue Dogs represent 80 percent of America.”
Our Heath has been making the headlines lately, and I thought I’d get some of the major items here in one place:
In vote to repeal Health Care Legislation, Shuler sides with Democrats
As states move to redistricting, Shuler submits bill calling for bipartisan redistricting commissions
What’s your take, Hooligans?
From the Smoky Mountain News:
Shuler selects a familiar face to help bid for national prominence
Andrew Whalen, an up-and-coming political insider who helped craft U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler’s entry onto the political scene five years ago, has rejoined the congressman’s staff.
Whalen, 30, announced he would leave his position as executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party at the beginning of the year. He will take charge of Shuler’s leadership political action committee, 3rd and Long.
[. . .]
“As he started expanding his national profile we started talking about this,” said Whalen, who will also serve as a senior advisor to the congressman. “He wants to win that majority back — and I certainly wanted to be part of his team.”
Welcome back, Andrew. Buncombe is as you remember it, just left of the Balsams.
It was looking pretty iffy at Netroots Nation last summer when Lt. Dan Choi gave Sen. Harry Reid his West Point ring and his discharge papers. Reid promised to keep the ring for him until the DADT repeal was signed. Today he did.
6) What’s your opinion of the Defense Department’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy if the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend its repeal?
A Department of Defense review of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is under way and is expected to be completed by Dec. 1, 2010. If the review and our military leaders recommend repeal, I will support their recommendation.
The vote came in the House of Representatives yesterday, and Heath Shuler got on the right side of history by supporting the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the Senate (though I could certainly guess), and I don’t know what the NCGOP plans on doing in their efforts to deny rights to American citizens. However, I know that yesterday Heath Shuler did the right thing, and I’m proud to have voted for him.
I’m writing him a short note to thank him for this vote. I hope you’ll do the same.
Coinciding with the release of the WikiLeaks documents and the deficit commission report, exchanges with friends on the Hill, in the liberal blogosphere, and in the news reveal how differently insiders and outsiders see the world.
North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler’s run against Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader put him (as intended) in the national spotlight. Prior to the mid-term elections, while the liberal blogosphere routinely opposed Blue Dogs in the House, Shuler (the Blue Dogs’ Whip) was rarely mentioned. Now, with the Blue Dogs cut off at the knees and after Shuler’s symbolic run against Pelosi, he is in the crosshairs more than prior to the election.
Recent online Shuler-bashing presented me with the occasion to speak up for our little congressional district. Some blogger friends insist that Shuler has to go. Somebody has to primary him in 2012. They don’t have anybody to offer as an alternative — that’s our job. But turning a district that in 2008 voted for McCain by five points into one that could elect a progressive congressman isn’t like flipping a light switch. It’s a process. And things look very different here on the ground in NC-11 than they do from a computer half a continent away.
Shuler has run for office three times, and in each election the nature of his relationship with Pelosi has been a headache. She’s also shaped his political character as a member of Congress: From the moment he arrived on Capitol Hill, he has been chronicled as a political exotic at the far end of Pelosi’s Democratic caucus.
Once he plunged into elective politics in his conservative-oriented district, however, Shuler quickly discovered that there was no escaping Pelosi’s shadow. In his initial run for Congress — when Pelosi wasn’t that well-known outside Washington — Shuler nevertheless came under a barrage of attacks designed to frame the local football hero as a potential ball carrier for Pelosi’s team of liberals.
Those attack ads have come in waves each cycle. PE-LO-SI, PE-LO-SI is practically a Friday night football jeer in North Carolina’s Eleventh Congressional District, and Shuler has worked at putting distance between himself and the “San Francisco liberal.” But since the Blue Dog whip so publicly challenged Nancy Pelosi’s leadership this week, that’s all behind us now. Boy howdy, the GOP will never run *that* play again.
Health insurers last year gave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $86.2 million that was used to oppose the health-care overhaul law, Bloomberg reports.
That money health insurers spent to deny you better health care? That was your money. (via Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire)
Smart, responsive and elegant, the Copenhagen Wheel is a new emblem for urban mobility. It transforms ordinary bicycles quickly into hybrid e-bikes that also function as mobile sensing units. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion, and road conditions in real-time.
Appearing from Asheville on CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning, Rep. Heath Shuler made no commitment about his plans to challenge current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader in the next congress. Since the Blue Dog Coalition got sacked for a big loss on Nov. 2, the challenge would be understandable. Their bench strength got cut by more than half. The Citizen-Times reports:
“To move our party forward, we are going to have to go more of a moderate direction,” he said.
When pushed on whether he should be that moderate leader, Shuler continued to be vague, but did say if she doesn’t get out of the race – and no one else throws their hat in the ring – he will “press forward.”
Shuler added that he could “do math” and understood he “didn’t have the numbers to win.”
Before the election, Shuler had said he might challenge Pelosi for Speaker if Democrats held the House. After Nov. 2, the conservative North Carolina Democrat announced he might run for Minority Leader if no “viable alternative” came forward to challenge Pelosi. An announcement to run, then, signals that Shuler believes current Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and current majority whip Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina are not viable alternatives.
Shuler will get another chance to make something happen tomorrow on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.