Marleine Bastien: Help Me Change How Business Is Done In Washington

Sharing this on behalf of my friend and client Marleine Bastien.

Help Me Change How Business Is Done In Washington

My Dear Friends:

Several months ago, I declared my candidacy to be the Congresswoman for District 17. I want to change the way business is done in Washington. For too long, we’ve bailed out companies that hurt our communities. We have used our resources to wage unnecessary wars.

On Tuesday, January 12th, a strong earthquake hit Haiti. Thousands, including members of my own family, lost their lives. After the earthquake, I went to Haiti to advocate for a strong and immediate recovery. I brought food, water, tents, and medication to those in need. While there, I was struck by the vibrancy of the community and the incredible resilience of the Haitian people.

Americans are also resilient in the face of adversity, but we need leadership to achieve goals like affordable healthcare and fair economic recovery. Our country needs to regain its strength if it is to continue to extend a helping hand when other nations suffer, or even, to protect its own people when the next Hurricane Katrina strikes.

My recent experiences have strengthened my resolve to become your Congresswoman.

Our economy needs to be rebuilt. I am running for Congress to make government work for you instead of rich corporations. You deserve to have stable, gainful employment to take care of your family, send your children to college and save for your retirement. Your children deserve the best education so that they can look at the future with hopeful eyes and trusting hearts, not with the anxiety of a fearful nation.

My life has been one of service. My parents taught me the importance of caring for others and giving back. For more than 28 years, I have championed issues like immigration reform, affordable housing, health care, good jobs, women’s and workers’ rights. I have been deeply engaged in the district, and I know the challenges facing our community today. We are tired of more of the same. We need new visionary leadership, and I’m ready for the challenge.

But I cannot do it without you. Please make a $20, $50, $100 donation to my campaign before the March 31st reporting deadline so that I can fight for you in Washington. You can give as much as $2,400. Go to and make your donation today.


Marleine Bastien

Profiles of Obama’s Courage on Health Care

These columnists remind us what a long, hard slog it has been to get to this point in the healthcare debate. Good to reflect on when it’s so easy to be discouraged at how far short this deal may fall from our ideals. If the voters agree with the conclusion that this shows courage and determination, we may yet see better results in November than we have been led to expect.

New York Times Columnist Charles M. Blow: Could Obama Be Invincible?

Barack Obama Is Not A Wimp – Politics – The Atlantic

Fair Districts Florida Redistricting Amendment OK’ed for Ballot

Congratulations to everyone who worked to make this happen by gathering signatures. Now, we just have to make sure it passes.

From: Ellen Freidin <>
Date: Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 4:20 PM
Subject: We are on the ballot!

Phenomenal news! I want you to know before it becomes public that we just received notice from the Division of Elections that, thanks to the hard work and donations of thousands of people who care about our state, our amendments will be on the ballot!!! This is a huge accomplishment and it would not have happened without you!

We cannot thank you enough. Below is the press release we’ll be sending out.

Our work is not over though. Now we must let all Floridians know about the importance of voting for the FairDistricts amendments. We’ll be laying out our plan for victory for our supporters soon, but first we need to staff up and transition from petition gathering to a full-fledged campaign.

Can you chip in whatever you can afford to help fund the transition?

Let’s win this!


January 22, 2010

Redistricting amendments on the ballot: Florida voters earn historic chance to vote to stop politicians from rigging districts

After November passage voters will choose elected officials – not the other way around

Tallahassee, FL – Today, Floridians took a giant step towards ending the incumbent and political party protection plan that masquerades as legislative and Congressional redistricting. The non-partisan group gathered more than 1,650,000 petitions signed by Florida Republicans, Democrats and Independents from the Panhandle to the Keys. As a result, today the Secretary of State certified Constitutional Amendment 5 for the November 2, 2010 ballot, and is expected to soon certify its partner, Amendment 6. Florida voters now have a powerful opportunity to stop legislators from rigging and manipulating district boundaries in order to stifle competition while perpetuating their own political power.

“These critical reforms will finally end the legalized conflict of interest that allows legislators to design their districts and those of Congress for their own political purposes,” said Bob Milligan, who was elected State Comptroller during the Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush administrations.

Under our present system, there are no rules that limit legislators from drawing districts to favor themselves or their parties. Districts in Florida are bizarrely shaped, often meandering for hundreds of miles or from coast to coast. Communities are carved up so that voters living in the same neighborhood are often represented by different members of Congress or state representatives.

As a result, incumbent legislators almost never lose their re-election bids. Only three (out of 140 up for election each cycle) were defeated in the last six years. How could this happen? Because legislators draw up their own districts for one purpose: to ensure that they stay in office!

Former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham said, “Florida’s legislators are choosing their voters instead of voters choosing their representatives. There are presently no rules to stop this self protection plan. And when this happens, the voters don’t have a real choice! These amendments will change that.”

With voter approval in November, Amendments 5 and 6 will establish constitutional rules that will:

  • Prohibit politicians from designing districts to favor themselves or their parties;
  • Require them to make the districts compact and community based; and
  • Make it impossible for legislators to draw districts to diminish the ability of minority voters to elect representatives.

“I am so happy that the voters of Florida will finally have the opportunity to vote to put these fairness standards in the Florida constitution. These amendments provide new protections for all voters and especially minorities,” added Representative Perry Thurston of Broward County.

State Representative Darren Soto, Orange County, said, “Today’s certification bodes well for achieving fair districts in the state of Florida. I think that these new protections will be very popular with my constituents as well as all of the voters of our great state.”

For additional information and the exact language of Amendments 5 and 6, please visit


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The CAPITOL STEPS at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Jan 20-24

I think we all need a laugh at the expense of our politicians about now.

Come see the CAPITOL STEPS at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets available now at

Date(s): Wednesday, 1/20/2010 –
Sunday, 1/24/2010
Tickets: $35, $25

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop warns, "The Capitol Steps will cause your sides to split!"

Don’t miss the insightful, irreverent and always amusing humor of Capitol Steps, the talented band of former Senate staffers who satirize the people and places that employed them. Known for their hilarious musical skits of Capitol Hill personalities and current events, their 27 albums and sold out shows keep audiences on both sides of the aisles laughing out loud. They put the MOCK in democracy, and are even funnier than Congress! You’ve seen and heard them on NPR, NBC, PBS, and ABC. Now see them live!

Capital Steps

Congratulations Volunteers: Over 6000 Names in Support of Health Care Reform!

Had to share this email from Alan Ehrlich. Congratulations to all the volunteers on this remarkable achievement. Whatever happens in Washington, they can say they did their part.

From: Alan G. Ehrlich
Date: Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 5:19 PM
Subject: Over 6000 Names in Support of Health Care Reform!

As I write this to you, the members of the House of Representatives are debating the health care bill and getting ready to vote. We are urging everyone to call Representative Ron Klein, at the following toll-free number, 866-713-7303, and ask him to support the health care legislation (including the public option!) Congressman Klein has been feeling heat from those opposed to reform, so he needs to hear from supporters!

We started collecting commitments to support President Obama’s health care reform proposals and asking our Broward County neighbors to promise to call our representatives and senators at the beginning of the summer.
To date, we have collected over 6000 names at the Courthouse and Library right here in West Broward!
With these kinds of numbers in support of reform, members of Congress are going to be able to vote according to the wishes of their constituents.

Our events will continue this week. Pick one or two and come on out and help! All of these health care reform events can be found by going to the following link,, logging in , clicking on “Find Events”, and plugging in your zip code; then you can sign up. You can also let me know when you can join us.

Monday, November 9th:
Starting at 11:30 AM, until 1:30 PM – We will be collecting pledges of support for health care reform at the West Regional Courthouse at the intersection of Pine Island and Broward. Please join us out there!

Wednesday, November 11th:
Starting at 11:30 AM, until 1:30 PM – We will be collecting pledges of support for health care reform at the West Regional Courthouse at the intersection of Pine Island and Broward. Please join us out there!
Starting at 6:30, until 8:30 PM at the AFL-CIO office at 1700 NW 66 Avenue (near Plantation High School) in Plantation
– This will be one of the last OFA organizational meetings before Congress votes on the final health insurance reform bill. PLEASE COME OUT to find out what OFA is doing in Broward County and how we can all help to make sure that health insurance reform becomes a reality within the next few weeks! Call Robby Donaldson at 954-632-9574 for more information.

Friday, November 13th:
Starting at 11:30 AM, until 1:30 PM- We will be collecting pledges of support for health care reform at the West Regional Courthouse at the intersection of Pine Island and Broward. Please join us out there!

Saturday, November 14th:
Starting at 11:00 AM and going on until 3 PM – We will be collecting pledges of support for health care reform in front of the West Regional Library behind the Courthouse at the intersection of Pine Island and Broward. Please join us out there!

Please continue to write or call Senator Nelson (954-693-4851) about supporting the public insurance option!

Revamping health care is not an evil socialist plot to take away American rights. It’s a patriotic movement to guarantee them!

Alan Ehrlich

The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan on Activists and Obama

Andrew Sullivan has an interesting take on why it makes sense for activists to pressure Obama to hang tough on the public option. Key quote:

What part of “we” in “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for?” does the Beltway still not understand? And why has it taken this long for the Obamaphiles to tackle their leader. He’s the follower, for Pete’s sake, remember? The people who voted for him are the leaders.

In a follow-up, this sometime conservative writes about how liberal activists are different from the Tea Party crowd in their intellectual honesty:

Because the time to pressure your establishment is when it is in power. Back in Bush’s first term and well into his second, a few of us actually did stand up to the unconservative spending and borrowing, the unconservative Federal Marriage Amendment, the illegal torture regime, and the unconservative recklessness with which both the Afghan and Iraqi wars were waged. Funny thing: none of the tea-partiers were with us. In fact they were mainly cheerleading a trillion dollar war based on false pretenses long after its bankruptcy was exposed.

In Memorium: Julie Hamlin

Jack Shifrel just alerted me to this (The Sun-Sentinel also has a story about Julie’s passing):

Julie Hamlin, who had been President of the Hallandale Beach Democratic Club, suddenly & unexpectedly passed away last week. Julie was a terrific person and a committed communty activist who was admired and respected by everyone in her community & beyond. Losing her so prematurely is a very sad loss.