I didn’t leave my political party, my party left me

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I’m often asked why, considering I’m a life-long Democrat, I am “leaving” the Democratic Party and running as an independent for Governor.  I start by explaining that as hard as it is to run as an independent, I thought the institutional barriers to winning a Democratic Primary were even greater.

But then I add that, to be blunt,  I don’t believe I am “leaving” the Democratic Party, I believe the Democratic Party has left me and tens of thousands of other people who understand that many Democratic leaders have turned their backs on Democratic ideals, principles and constituencies in order to kowtow to the corporate elite.

Former Democratic State Senator, State Comptroller, and Democratic candidate for governor, Bill Curry has an extraordinarily powerful piece on Salon.com today about this very issue.  While I’ve had my differences with Bill Curry through the years (probably more often my fault), he is one of the smartest, most astute, political observers on the scene today. In his latest piece for this national audience, Bill Curry writes;

 My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats

In 2006 the Atlantic magazine asked a panel of “eminent historians” to name the 100 most influential people in American history.  Included alongside George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain and Elvis Presley was Ralph Nader, one of only three living Americans to make the list. It was airy company for Nader, but if you think about it, an easy call. Though a private citizen, Nader shepherded more bills through Congress than all but a handful of American presidents.

If that sounds like an outsize claim, try refuting it. His signature wins included landmark laws on auto, food, consumer product and workplace safety; clean air and water; freedom of information, and consumer, citizen, worker and shareholder rights.

In a century only Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson passed more major legislation. Nader’s also the only American ever to start a major social or political movement all by himself. The labor, civil rights and women’s movements all had multiple mothers and fathers, as did each generation’s peace and antiwar movements.

Not so the consumer movement, which started out as just one guy banging away at a typewriter. Soon he was a national icon, seen leaning into Senate microphones on TV or staring down the establishment from the covers of news magazines. What lifted Nader to such heights was the 1965 publication of “Unsafe at Any Speed,” an exposé of the auto industry’s sociopathic indifference to the health and safety of its customers. In little more than a year Congress put seat belts in every new car and created the forerunners of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington’s rapid response affirmed Nader’s belief that people provided with critical facts will demand change and that sooner than one might expect politicians, however listless or corrupt, will give it to them.

This faith in the power of ideas and of public opinion — in the educability of people and thus in the viability of democracy — distinguishes Nader from much of what remains of the American left.

[…]

Throughout the 1980s Nader watched as erstwhile Democratic allies vanished or fell into the welcoming arms of big business.  By the mid-’90s the whole country was in a swoon over the new baby-faced titans of technology and global capital. If leading Democrats thought technology threatened anyone’s privacy or employment or that globalization threatened anyone’s wages, they kept it to themselves.  In his contempt for oligarchs of any vintage and rejection of the economic and political democratization myths of the new technology Nader seemed an anachronism. His critics would later say Nader was desperate for attention.

For certain he was desperate to reengage the nation in a debate over the concentration of wealth and power; desperate enough by 1992 to run for president. His first race was a sort of novelty campaign — he ran in New Hampshire’s Democratic and Republican primaries “as a stand in for none of the above.” But the experience proved habit-forming and he got mottre serious as he went along. In 1996 and 2000 he ran as the nominee of the Green Party and in 2004 and 2008 as an independent.

The campaigns defined him for a new generation, but he never stopped writing. His latest book, “Unstoppable,” argues for the existence and utility of an “emerging left-right alliance to dismantle the corporate state.” The book is vintage Nader and ranks with his best. The questions it poses should greatly interest progressives.

The question is, will any read it. It’s a question because on top of all the hurdles facing even celebrity authors today, Nader is estranged from much of his natural readership. It goes back, of course, to his third race for president, the one that gave us George W. Bush, John Roberts, Sam Alito, the Iraq War and a colossal debt. Democrats blame Nader for all of it. Some say he not only cost Al Gore the 2000 election but did it on purpose. Nader denies both charges. Both are more debatable than either he or his critics allow. In 1996 I served as counselor to President Clinton and met often with Nader to discuss that campaign. Early on he told me he wouldn’t be a spoiler. Judging by his message and schedule and the deployment of his meager resources, he was true to his word. In 2000 his allocation of resources was little changed: He spent 20 days in deep blue California, two in Florida; hardly a spoiler’s itinerary. But he was in Florida at the end and his equation throughout of Gore with Bush — “Tweedledum and Tweedledee” — outraged Democrats.

The Democrats’ dismissal of Nader in 2000 was of a piece with our personality-driven politics: a curmudgeon on steroids; older now and grumpier; driven by ego and personal grievance. But Nader always hit hard; you don’t get to be the world’s most famous shopper by making allowances or pulling punches. The difference was that in 2000 Democrats as well as Republicans bore the brunt of his attacks. What had changed? It says a lot about the Democratic Party then and now that nobody bothered to ask the question, the answer to which is, a whole lot.

Bill Curry’s complete piece can be found at:  Bill Curry article.

I urge all of you to take the time to read it. Had we done a better job of listening to Ralph Nader and Bill Curry we very well might not be in the mess we are today.

There is no need to agree or disagree with Nader and Curry on every issue to recognize that they speak the truth about the fact that we did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left. Us.

The question is how best to re-build a political movement that will ensure our beliefs and principles are heard and acted upon. That is one of the very reasons I am running for Governor this year.

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

If you want change – now is the time to step up and make it happen!

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Apologies to those that have already received this call to action – but the historic effort to get on the November ballot and ensure that the people of Connecticut have a real choice in this year’s election for governor hangs in the balance…

The August 6th 2014 deadline to submit 7,500 signatures to get on the November Ballot is fast approaching.

Many people have and will continue to collect signatures – but we need everyone’s help to make sure that sufficient signatures are collected.

If you have been collecting signatures please do all you can to collect even more names.

But this is vital; If you haven’t had a chance to get some names – PLEASE DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT the Pelto/Murphy petition form and get ten to fifteen family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and other fellow citizens to sign. 

REMEMBER:  Any voter can sign and every name moves us closer to our goal.

A Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition is attached to this email and you can also download via the following link:

Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition Form

Here are the Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition Form Instructions:

This exact form must be used. No other form will do.  The form must be doubled-sided with one side to collect the signature, name, birth date and street address of each voter. If necessary, securely glue or tape the two sides together if you can’t print on both sides.

There must be separate page for each town.  This means that if you are getting a signature from a voter who lives in Middletown and one who lives in Avon you must have them sign separate petition sheets – note that at the top of the page it says Petition Circulated in Town of __________.  Please put in the name of the town you are the petition signer is from.

Third, we are instructed to print the form out on legal paper – HOWEVER – if you use regular 8 ½ x 11 paper and the forms are completed correctly they will be accepted.   So you can print and copy this page on legal or regular paper BUT make sure that the final document HAS BOTH SIDES COPIED.

Fourth, when you have collected some signatures and want to submit them: 

(1)  Take the sheet(s) for your town to your local town clerk who will watch you sign the back, notarize it and take the sheet for that particular town.  They can also notarize the other towns you have but we will need to get those sheets to the appropriate towns.

(2)  If you have sheets for other towns and don’t have time to deliver them or can’t stop by your local town hall, you MUST still get all the sheets notarized and then send the sheets to:

Pelto 2014
PO Box 400
Storrs, CT. 06268

 If you have any questions, please drop me a note at [email protected] or call me at 860-428-2823.

Thanks so much for all your help

Together we can change the course of Connecticut – but we need everyone to help collect more signatures

Jonathan

If you simply can’t collect signatures, but still want to sign, watch the website for locations where you can go and sign or drop me a note and we’ll see what we can do to find another way that you can sign the petition. [email protected]

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

 

 

 

Looking for a place to sign a Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition this weekend

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[Just back often - additional locations will be added]

Saturday July 26th

Storrs Starbucks: 10:00 – 11:00am
1244 Storrs Rd., Storrs, CT
 
Rocky Hill Starbucks 10-noon
412 Cromwell Ave, Rocky Hill, CT 
 
Naugatuck Stop and Shop 10-noon
727 Rubber Ave, Naugatuck, CT
 
New London City Pier 2:00-4:00pm
 
West Hartford Barnes & Noble: 10:30- noon
Blue Back Square, 60 Isham Road, West Hartford, CT 
 
Manchester Barnes & Noble: 12:30 – 3pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 270 Buckland Hills Dr., Manchester, CT
 
Milford Barnes & Noble: 4:30 – 6pm
Barnes & Noble, 1375 Boston Post Road, Milford, CT
 
New Haven Green 4-7pm
 
Bushnell Carousel [Time TBD]
Bushnell Park, Harford, CT
 

Sunday, July 27th

Coventry Farmers Market 10:30 – 12:00
Nathan Hale Homestead, Coventry, CT
 
Stamford Farmers Market 11:00 – 1pm
39 Scofieldtown Rd, Stamford, CT
 
Cafemantic 12-2pm
948 Main St, Willimantic, CT
 
Greater Hartford Irish Music Festival [Time TBD]
132 Commerce St. Glastonbury, CT.
 
Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

A call for action – A request for help

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Whether the voters of Connecticut get the option of voting for a candidate other than Dannel “Dan” Malloy or Tom Foley/John McKinney depends on whether we collect a sufficient number of signatures by the August 6th 2014 Deadline to get on the November Ballot!

We have less than two weeks to reach our goal and ensure the people of Connecticut have a real choice in this year’s election.

Here is the link to download the petition:  Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition Form

While we’ve made great progress toward the goal of collecting 7,500 signatures, additional names are needed to ensure that we end up with a sufficient number to get on the ballot.

If you’ve been collecting signatures – please continue to do all you can to collect even more names.

And if you haven’t had a chance to help with the petition effort yet, please download and print out a Pelto/Murphy petition form and use the next 14 days to get family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and others to sign. 

REMEMBER:  Any voter can sign and every name moves us closer to our goal.

Here is the link to download the petition:  Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition Form

If you can’t download the form, email me at [email protected] and we’ll email you a pdf or send you a hard copy…but time is running out.

Also, here is the Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition Form Instructions;

This exact form must be used. No other form will do.  The form must be doubled-sided with one side to collect the signature, name, birth date and street address of each voter.  If you can’t print double sided then securely glue or tape the two sides together.

There must be separate page for each town.  This means if you are getting a signature from a voter who lives in Middletown and one who lives in Avon you must have them sign separate petition sheets – note that at the top of the page it says Petition Circulated in Town of ________.

Third, we are instructed to print the form out on legal paper – HOWEVER – if you use regular 8 ½ x 11 paper and the forms are completed correctly they will be accepted.   So you can print and copy this page on legal or regular paper BUT make sure that the final document HAS BOTH SIDES COPIED.

Fourth, when you have collected some signatures and want to submit them: 

(1)  Take the sheet(s) to your local town clerk who will watch you sign the back, notarize it and take the sheet for that particular town.  They can also notarize the other towns you have but we will need to get them to those other towns.

(2)  If you have sheets for other towns and don’t have time to deliver them to those downs (or can’t stop by your local town hall), you MUST still get them notarized and then send the sheets to the following address and we’ll have them delivered to the appropriate town clerk.

Pelto 2014
PO Box 400
Storrs, CT. 06268

 

If you have any questions, please drop me a note at [email protected] or call me at 860-428-2823.

Thanks so much for all your help

Jonathan

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

And from the Wall Street Journal – Spoiler Fears on Left in Connecticut Governor Race

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In a story entitled, Spoiler Fears on Left in Connecticut Governor Race – Jonathan Pelto’s Campaign Poses Risks for Gov. Dannel Malloy, the Wall Street Journal’s Jospeh De Avila writes,

Some Republicans argue a conservative third-party candidate cost GOP nominee Tom Foley the governorship of Connecticut in the 2010 election.

This year, a liberal third-party candidate has emerged, raising questions about the impact on Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s re-election plans for the fall.

Mr. Foley, a Greenwich businessman, is once again the GOP front-runner, leading his opponent in the Republican primary scheduled for Aug. 12. Mr. Malloy is the unchallenged Democratic nominee.

The men fought a close battle four years ago. Mr. Malloy received 49.5% of the vote and Mr. Foley 48.9%, with Mr. Malloy winning by about 6,400 votes. Conservative candidate Thomas Marsh garnered about 17,600 votes, roughly 1.5% of the total—enough to have given the victory to Mr. Foley.

So far this year, Messrs. Malloy and Foley are virtually tied in the polls.

Now, though, Jonathan Pelto has entered the picture. The former state representative and onetime Democratic Party star began submitting petitions earlier this month that would let him mount a third-party general-election bid.

Wall Street Journal

While Mr. Pelto’s campaign faces steep challenges, political observers said if he siphons off even a relatively small number of voters from Mr. Malloy, the governor could be in trouble.

“Malloy has to be concerned,” said Gary Rose, chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. “It’s obviously his base that [Mr. Pelto] can eat into.”

Conservative political activist Joe Visconti also is collecting signatures to run as a third-party candidate, although he is even less well known than Mr. Pelto.

Mr. Pelto formed the Education and Democracy Party for his run and has focused his candidacy on a critique of Mr. Malloy’s education policies. He welcomes the possibility that his candidacy could help elect a Republican.

“That would send a very powerful message to Connecticut Democrats and Democrats across the country—that you can’t walk away from these constituents and not have significant repercussions,” said Mr. Pelto, 53 years old. “Democrats across the country will have to recognize that one of the reasons he lost is because he walked away from public education.”

Jon Blair, campaign manager for the Malloy campaign, declined to comment on Mr. Pelto.

Mr. Pelto said he had collected the 7,500 signatures required by the state to get his name on the ballot. He has continued collecting additional signatures as a buffer, in case election officials reject any names in the certification process, which could take weeks.

Mr. Pelto’s criticism of the governor’s educational policies has its roots in a February 2012 speech where Mr. Malloy proposed tightening teacher tenure policies. Mr. Malloy also outlined changes to teacher evaluations and adding charter schools. The state Legislature later passed a compromise education bill.

In June, Mr. Malloy defended his record in a rare public statement addressing Mr. Pelto. He pointed to the state’s expansion of prekindergarten programs this spring and improvement in high-school graduation rates.

“I don’t need to respond to what Jonathan says,” Mr. Malloy said then. “I’m more than happy to have my record in education measured by results.”

The state’s major labor unions are supporting Mr. Malloy. The governor established collective-bargaining rights for personal-care attendants, raised the minimum wage twice and enacted the nation’s first paid-sick leave law, said Lori Pelletier, executive secretary treasurer of Connecticut AFL-CIO.

While labor-union leaders back Mr. Malloy, rank-and-file members are unsatisfied with him, Mr. Pelto said. “Their level of anger is high,” he said.

Some political observers said Mr. Pelto isn’t guaranteed to have an impact on the race. He lacks financial resources and name recognition, and his message is tailored to government employees, said Scott McLean, professor of political science at Quinnipiac University.

Mr. Malloy also has the advantage of being in office this time around.

“It’s just so rare to see an election that close with an incumbent,” Mr. McLean said.

Mr. Pelto was elected to the state House of Representatives at age 23 in 1984 and ran Gary Hart’s presidential primary campaign in Connecticut that year. He also helped run Democratic Gov. William O’Neill’s successful re-election bid in 1986.

His relationship with party leaders eventually turned frosty, though. He was fired in 1992 after six years as state Democrats’ political director. He resigned in 1993 from the House.

Mr. Pelto eventually established a political consulting firm. In 2011, he began writing a blog that has mainly focused on criticism of Mr. Malloy’s education policies.

Mr. Malloy’s supporters said Mr. Pelto’s bid is fueled by personal animosity toward the governor and his circle of advisers.

“I do think he has an ax to grind,” Ms. Pelletier said. “Running for governor is not about revenge.”

Mr. Pelto said his campaign isn’t personal.

“Grow up,” Mr. Pelto said. “Let’s have a debate about the issues.”

For the full article go to: http://online.wsj.com/articles/spoiler-fears-on-left-in-connecticut-governor-race-1405905844

Photo  by Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

We Need Your Help as we head for the August 6th Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition Deadline

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Friends,

We know Connecticut needs new leadership…

And we know we can provide our citizens and our state with the leadership our state needs and deserves

But to get there we need your help to make sure that we are on the November ballot.

Many of you are already deeply involved in the effort to collect petitions, but we’re reaching out to new people and touching base with those of you who are already because we need everyone’s help.

While we are making good progress with the petition process, we still have a ways to go to ensure that we 7,500 “good” signatures of Connecticut voters. We really need about 10,000 signatures to make sure we have a sufficient buffer in case names are disallowed.

Click here to Download the Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition:

The deadline is in less than three weeks – August 6, 2014 at 4pm.

For those of you who have been collecting names – PLEASE RE-DOUBLE your efforts…

If you haven’t had a chance to collect names, please download the petition form and do whatever you can to collect some signatures from Connecticut voters.

Click here to Download the Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition:

Even 10 to 15 more names will make a big difference as we work to make sure that we have the signatures and the buffer we need to qualify for a position on the ballot.

As many of you already know, the petition form is double sided – one side for the signatures, the other side for the certification process. If you can’t find a way to print out a double sided sheet then tape or glue the two sides securely together securely to make sure it is truly one page/double sided.

Once you have the petition form then please get your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others to sign.

Ask at the coffee shop, the farmer’s market, the grocery store and at local events.

If you get signatures from more than one town – REMEMBER – each town must be on a separate page.

Since the deadline is near, when you have collected some signatures – IN YOUR TOWN – simply deliver the petitions directly to your Town Clerk’s Office. The town clerk can notarize the forms as required. (If you have a chance, please send us a quick email as to the number you signatures you dropped off. Send your note to [email protected]

If you have signatures from other towns and can’t get to that town clerk (or if getting to your clerk’s office is difficult), then just send the notarized petitions to us at the following address and we’ll get them to the appropriate town clerk before August 6th;

Pelto 2014
PO Box 400
Storrs, CT. 06268

Supporters are reporting that they are having a lot of luck collecting names by simply telling voters – “I’m collecting signatures to get Jonathan Pelto and the new Education Party on the ballot for Governor so that voters have more choices. Your signature doesn’t commit you to voting for them, it only allows us to have a choice other than Malloy and Foley when we vote for governor this year.”

REMEMBER – ANY CONNECTICUGT VOTER CAN SIGN THE PETITION.

Here are the general instructions about the petitions;

This exact form must be used. No other form will do. The form must be doubled-sided with one side to collect the signature, name, birth date and street address of each voter. The other side is for the person collecting the signatures to sign – AFTER YOU HAVE COLLECTED THE SIGNATURES – you need to get the town clerk, notary, attorney or justice of the peace to watch you sign the certification of the form.

Again – Click here to Download the Pelto/Murphy 2014 Petition:

There must be separate page for each town. This means if you are getting a signature from a voter who lives in Middletown and one who lives in Avon you must have them sign separate petition sheets – note that at the top of the page it says Petition Circulated in Town of __________.

Third, we are instructed to print the form out on legal paper – HOWEVER – if you use regular 8 ½ x 11 paper and the forms are completed correctly they will be accepted. So you can print and copy this page on legal or regular paper BUT make sure that the final document HAS BOTH SIDES COPIED… if you can’t print out double sided blue or tape the form securely so it is truly double sided.

Fourth, when you have collected some signatures and want to submit them:

Take the sheet(s) for your local town clerk who will watch you sign the back, notarize it and take the sheet for that particular town. They can also notarize the other towns you have but we will need to get them to those other towns.

If you have sheets for other towns and don’t have time to deliver them or can’t stop by your local town hall, you MUST still get them notarized and then send the sheets to:

Pelto 2014
PO Box 400
Storrs, CT. 06268

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected] or call or text me at 860-428-2823.

Again, thank you so much for your help!

In less than three weeks we’ll have earned our place on the ballot and can proceed with our campaign to change the course of Connecticut.

But to get there, your participation is absolutely critical!

Please take the time to collect some signatures so we can safely qualify for a position on the November ballot.

Jonathan

Please drop me a note if you are willing to take on this additional task at [email protected]

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Great Profile Piece in Reminder News – Jon Pelto and Ebony Murphy petition to run for governor

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rnw-wm-hc-pelto-murphy-0704-1-jpg-20140706

From the Reminder News, written by Melanie Savage

 

Jon Pelto and Ebony Murphy petition to run for governor

After months of careful consideration, Mansfield resident Jonathan Pelto recently made the decision to choose a running mate and then petition to be included on the ballot for the upcoming election for governor of the state of Connecticut.

Pelto has been actively involved in Connecticut public policy, advocacy and electoral politics for nearly 40 years. In 1981, he was elected the youngest Democratic town chairman in Connecticut history, beating out Sam Gejdenson, who Pelto had worked for from 1979 through 1980. In 1984, he was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives and, over five terms, rose to the level of Deputy Majority Leader. He was a long-time member of the Appropriations Committee and Education Committee.

Pelto served as a pro-income tax point person during the historic 1991 legislative session, but was primarily recognized for his expertise in education policy. He helped write the Educational Enhancement Act and the Education Cost Sharing Formula and worked on a number of the other major education issues during the 1980s and 1990s.

After leaving the Legislature, Pelto ran a successful strategic communications company, helping associations, organizations, unions and American Indian tribes with public relations, media relations and advocacy programs aimed at educating, persuading and mobilizing targeted audiences. Through the years, he has been very involved in political campaigns serving as campaign manager or in a senior campaign position on the national, state and local levels. In 1984, Pelto managed Gary Hart’s successful presidential primary campaign in Connecticut and served as a political director in Gov. Bill O’Neill’s successful 1986 gubernatorial campaign. He also served as the political director for Connecticut’s Democratic Party from 1986-1992.

Since 2010, Pelto has served as an advocate and investigative journalist, writing for his blog, “Wait, What?” (www.jonathanpelto.com.).

Pelto’s decision to enter the race was prompted by a number of factors. “Connecticut’s political system is broken, and like the government in Washington, D.C., the leadership of Connecticut state government has lost touch with our citizens and the real problems that our people face,” he said. “The result is Connecticut is headed in the wrong direction and there is no sign that Gov. Malloy or the likely Republican candidate for governor, Tom Foley, is willing or able to put Connecticut back on track.”

Chief among Pelto’s concerns is Malloy’s handling of public education. “Gov. Malloy has earned the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the nation by proposing to do away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for certain groups of teachers,” he said. Malloy’s support for the Common Core and the associated testing scheme “is undermining our public education system,” said Pelto. And, said Pelto, Malloy “is engaged in an unprecedented effort to take away the local control of schools and turn them over to private corporations.”

“Malloy’s use of budget gimmicks and regressive tax policies means Connecticut is facing a $1.3 billion dollar deficit next year,” continued Pelto. While Malloy emphasized shared sacrifice, Pelto said that, “by refusing to increase the income tax rate on those making more than $1 million a year he has overburdened the middle class and property taxpayers while coddling the rich.”

Malloy’s economic development program “has been little more than giving scarce public funds to successful multi-million dollar corporations, rather than deal with the real barriers of job creation – overly high energy costs, inadequate transportation systems and a lack of appropriate job training programs,” added Pelto.

Pelto feels that his experience in politics will serve him well as governor. And having been “out in the real world for the past 20 years raising a family, running small businesses and trying to make ends meet, I truly understand the challenges we face,” he said.

There are many changes that need to be made to put Connecticut back on track, said Pelto. At the top of the list are several, including an open and honest budget and legislative process that allows all citizens a voice in their government. Connecticut needs to put an end to the dangerous anti-teacher, anti-public education “corporate education reform industry” initiatives that are undermining our public schools, said Pelto, “including repealing the Common Core and the massive, expensive, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Testing scheme.”

The development of a fair tax policy that reduces the burden on middle class families and local property taxpayers and ensures that the wealthiest residents start paying their fair share is a top priority, said Pelto, as is an end to Malloy’s record funding cuts to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities. “This is simply increasing the cost to students and their families and serves as yet another unfair tax, while limiting accesses for many of our young people who want and need some college level work to successfully compete for a job in the market place,” he said.

Pelto would put an end to Malloy’s “Corporate Welfare” program that gives big companies tens of millions, he said. Instead, he would use some of those funds to actually create jobs, for example, by funding an initiative to ensure that every public school has enough instructional assistants to help teachers support those students who need extra help. He would also strengthen the role of the government watchdog agencies, so that when state officials or state employees fail to fulfil their legal duties, they are caught and held accountable for their actions.

Ebony Murphy calls herself a “local girl.” She lived in Stamford until she was 15, then her family moved to Manchester for her Dad’s work. She was a three-time state champion in class track her senior spring at East Catholic. Murphy’s mom passed away from breast cancer at age 39 at the end of her daughter’s senior year. “I would say the toughest weeks of my life were attending my mother’s funeral, my senior prom, and then my graduation on three consecutive Fridays,” she said.

Murphy majored in English and African American Studies at UConn. She worked at the UConn Co-op and hosted a popular poetry open mike sponsored by the Creative Writing Program for her work study. “I had amazing teachers,” said Murphy, citing Gina Barreca, then state poet laureate Marilyn Nelson, poet and Vietnam memoirist Doug Anderson, and American history scholar Jeff Ogbar.

In 2005, Murphy taught an Upward Bound summer English class and then began teaching GED to pregnant and parenting teens four days a week and folding t-shirts at The GAP. She then worked in a DCF-funded group home run by a community-serving organization in Middletown. In 2008, she bought an apartment in the Asylum Hill section of Hartford and began working at Watkinson School teaching middle school English. “I finished my MA in curriculum and instruction from Uconn in 2010, and that year I married Jon Root, the son and brother of teachers,” said Murphy. Murphy was on the steering committee in the Young Women’s Leadership Program, now dismantled, and under the auspices of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) Last summer, she taught a class for the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s BOTS Center for Creative Learning, which serves some of Hartford’s homeless community. “I saw firsthand what happens when our society gives up on folks or forces them into the margins,” she said.

“Several people have asked me how I can really be pro public education when I have mostly worked outside the sphere,” said Murphy. “I truly believe that there are a wealth of education models that can work, but that pop-up charters run by folks with minimal classroom experience are not the ideal. I have seen up close and personal that when tremendous resources are dedicated to a student, and when all the adults conspire to get a kid where he or she needs to be, not based on some test score, but based on who the kid is, that overwhelmingly kids flourish.”

In 2012 Murphy received a generous scholarship from CT-NOW to attend the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. She was also accepted to Central’s EdD program in Education Leadership in 2013, but had to decline the offer when she got a job at Calhoun, a progressive school with a mission that makes education student-focused “It is expensive, yes, and I believe quality education cannot be done on the cheap,” said Murphy. “Bill Gates and President Obama, too, know that a quality, non-standardized education cannot be done on the cheap, as they send their kids to Lakeside School and Sidwell Friends, where the students are not subject to the Common Core or standardized tests besides the SAT,” said Murphy.

“Jon and I are running because we are both Connecticut-bred progressives, real ones, who are concerned that working and middle class families like the ones we grew up in are struggling,” said Murphy. Corporate welfare abounds, said Murphy, citing the Rock Cats asking Hartford taxpayers to build a $60 million stadium. Charter-school management companies circle like vultures, said Murphy. “Teachers feel betrayed. Public workers, the backbone of the working and middle classes, are being slandered and blamed,” she added. “Gov. Malloy is ignoring the will of the people on so many issues that the tone deafness galls. Now is the time to send a loud message that regular people should have a say in how government operates.”

You can read the full profile at: http://www.courant.com/reminder-news/windham-edition/rnw-hc-wm-pelto-and-murphy-0704-20140704,0,701982.story

Photo curtesy of Melanie Savage

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Connecticut Labor Leader attacks Pelto/Murphy (including on education)

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Yesterday, the Political Director of the Machinists Union posted a commentary piece at My Left Nutmeg (http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/) belittling Ebony Murphy and my effort to give voters an alternative to the Democratic and Republican candidates in this year’s election for governor.

My Left Nutmeg then provided me with the opportunity to respond.

If you don’t read MLN on a regular basis, you should.  The blog is Connecticut’s premier site for learning about, and participating in, the on-going effort to push a liberal/progressive agenda in Connecticut.

The two pieces are also reprinted below, but the Political Director for the Machinists Union lays out his case by making the following claims;

  • “Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap.” 
  •  “Malloy is trying hard to correct the mistakes he made in education.” 
  • “A Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000. The participants in this quixotic mission may find that they have earned the contempt of the very people they are trying to influence, both for them as people, and for our ideas.
  • These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results

 His full commentary piece is as follows.  After you’ve read the two pieces, please feel free to weigh in on this important debate at http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/ and here at Wait, What? 

GUEST POST: Jon Pelto and the challenge to the Connecticut Left

In an effort to have a discussion regarding Jon Pelto and the potential his candidacy could have on the race for governor, Bill Shortell, Political Director Eastern States Conference of Machinists and Carol Lambiase, International Rep, UE, retired, wrote the following guest post.

The biggest trend in US politics today is the growth of the Right: the flood of right-wing big money into elections at every level; right-wing populism in the form of the Tea Party; the broad attack on the unions; the explosion of the reactionary firearms obsession; the proliferation of small white supremacist groups; the domination of neo-cons in the State Dept….all fed by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In Europe there is a dangerous reassertion of fascism.

This is not to say that the left is dead, especially in places like Connecticut, but given our defensive posture, we must be carefully strategic in the allocation of our slender resources.

EDUCATION

Lately a key battleground has been the schools. The “achievement gap,” and the absence of a root cause analysis, has opened the door for privatization and teacher-bashing.  It is a fundamental principle that there will be no equality in educational achievement in the face of drastic economic inequality. In Connecticut especially, the contrast between the poverty of the cities and the wealth of the suburbs is shocking.

Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap. Neither can the governor of a small state, of course. In spite of Dan Malloy’s best efforts, the lingering Great Recession, and the pre-existing desolation of post-industrial cities, is a national, even an international crisis of capitalism.

THE DANGER OF TOM FOLEY

Foley enters this crisis masquerading as a moderate, just as did George W, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Does anyone doubt that if elected he would immediately attack the unions, layoff state employees, slash social services, cozy up to the gun lobby, and try to drag Connecticut into the whole Koch-led national right-wing insurgency?

Pelto’s candidacy, and the support  he is getting from the left, is a sign of frustration. We have no strong independent voice, and are rarely able to make policy. Nationally, hamstrung by a Republican majority in the House, the Dems are unable to implement even the narrow jobs program they espouse.

SPOILER?

There is room, even in these dangerous times for 3rd party candidacies. The minority party representation statute has been successfully used by Working Families in the cities. The Dems, who today have a comfortable majority in the General Assembly, cannot complain if 3rd parties run against right-wing legislators. In a safe Congressional district they would not be threatened by a left candidate who runs on, say, Fair Trade. In other times, and with electoral reform, we can envision an even greater role for third parties.

But not in the 2014 Connecticut Governor race. The stakes are too high; the differences in the candidates too stark. If there is a repeat of the tight 2010 race, a Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000. The participants in this quixotic mission may find that they have earned the contempt of the very people they are trying to influence, both for them as people, and for our ideas.

These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results. Malloy is trying hard to correct the mistakes he made in education. Let’s not forget all the national pressure there has been for this misguided “ed reform,” including among some inner-city people, who cannot wait for an end to the entire achievement gap to find a path out of joblessness.

This is a period for those of us on the left, to work within mass organizations, like the unions and the Democratic Party. We need to build our numbers and hone our ideology before grasping for a ring as heavy as a governorship.

And my response:

Pelto:  Labor Leaders to the Left:  ‘Shut up and sit down’

In an effort of fairness, Jon Pelto requested to publish a repsonse to today’s guest post…here it is.

While reasonable people can debate whether Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy deserves another four years in office, the discussion about my challenge to Malloy’s policies and his re-election aspirations took another odd turn with the publication of a commentary piece written for the blog, My Left Nutmeg, by the Political Director of the Eastern States Conference of Machinists.

My Left Nutmeg is Connecticut’s premier blog when it comes to presenting a platform for discussions about the ongoing efforts to further a liberal or progressive agenda in Connecticut so it comes as no surprise that Connecticut labor leaders would seek to use the blog to defend Malloy and belittle the challenge being mounted by the Pelto/Murphy 2014 campaign.

What is surprising is that Connecticut labor leaders would use MLN to continue their effort to mislead their members and Connecticut’s progressive community into believing that Malloy’s very likely loss in November will mean that Connecticut will became the next Wisconsin – and that we will see a successful Koch Brothers effort to destroy Connecticut’s collective bargaining laws and undermine the existence of the state’s public employees and public services.

In the piece entitled, JON PELTO AND THE CHALLENGE TO THE CONNECTICUT LEFT, the Machinists’ political director and his colleague write,

“Foley enters this crisis masquerading as a moderate, just as did George W, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Does anyone doubt that if elected he would immediately attack the unions, layoff state employees, slash social services, cozy up to the gun lobby, and try to drag Connecticut into the whole Koch-led national right-wing insurgency?

But of course, the authors fail to reveal that Wisconsin Tea-bag Republican Scott Walker achieved his goals thanks to the support of Tea-bag Republican majorities in both the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly.

Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation, known as 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, passed because the ultra-right controlled the Wisconsin State Senate by a margin of 19-14 and the Wisconsin Assembly by a margin of 51 to 45.

The truth is that regardless of who becomes Connecticut’s next governor, as a result of the legislative re-districting of 1990, 2000 and 2010, the Connecticut State Senate and Connecticut House of Representatives will remain safely in the hands of the Democratic Party.

While few really know what a Tom Foley administration would be like, one thing we can be sure of is that an effort to repeal collective bargaining in Connecticut would not receive the legislative support necessary to become law.

We can also safely say that Connecticut has already witnessed a “Wisconsin moment.”

It occurred in February 2011 when Governor Dannel Malloy become the ONLY DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR in the country to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for unionized teachers in so-called “turnaround” schools.

In response to Malloy’s historic, unfair and unwarranted attack on teachers, the Connecticut General Assembly stripped out those two provisions, before unfortunately passing the remainder of Malloy’s inappropriate corporate education reform imitative.

But as if their claim about Connecticut becoming Wisconsin wasn’t misleading enough, the labor leaders use their commentary piece to mock our ongoing effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and re-take control of our system of public education.

The authors claim,

“Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap.

Offered no solutions?

Such a statement is so absurd, that it doesn’t even deserve a response but I’d urge the labor leaders to take the time to read through the 1,636 Wait, what? posts that I’ve written on these subjects over the past 3 ½ years

Finally, as to whether a “left candidate” has a right to run, the Malloy apologists opine,

“In a safe Congressional district [we would not] be threatened by a left candidate who runs on, say, Fair Trade. In other times, and with electoral reform, we can envision an even greater role for third parties…But not in the 2014 Connecticut Governor race. The stakes are too high; the differences in the candidates too stark. If there is a repeat of the tight 2010 race, a Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000.”

And they conclude their attack on our fundamental right to stand up and speak out by actually writing,

These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results. ”

So let us truly understand what these Connecticut’s labor leaders are telling their members and the majority of citizens who oppose Malloy’s re-election.

They appear to be suggesting that my candidacy in opposition of Malloy’s effort to undermine state employees and teachers, destroy public education, coddle the rich, place an unfair tax burden on the middle class and institute a record breaking system of corporate welfare in which scarce public funds are being diverted from vital services to support multi-million dollar corporations is not only inappropriate but nothing short of a precursor to the events that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the 3rd Reich.

Let no one be mistaken, these are, in fact, dark times.

However, the growing array of people who are willing to stand up and demand change are not the problem.  The problem is that some insiders, including some in leadership positions, remain committed to the notion that the “left” can best serve our nation by shutting up and sitting down.

If there was ever an effective argument for why I decided to create the Education and Democracy Party and run for governor in 2014, the new commentary piece submitted by the leadership of the Machinists Union is that treatise.

Upon reading their piece, one can’t help remember the wise words of Woody Guthrie who wrote, “Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.”

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Connecticut’s Gubernatorial Race Will Be Influenced by Education, Teachers (CT Magazine)

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Connecticut Magazine has posted a new article entitled, “Connecticut’s Gubernatorial Race Will Be Influenced by Education, Teachers.”

As Connecticut Magazine explains,

For the Democratic party, the full-throttled support of teachers’ unions in Connecticut is a given rule—like “I before E, except after C.” But now, when topics such  as Common Core, teacher evaluations, charter schools and the “achievement gap” are added, Gov. Dan Malloy risks becoming that “after C” exception.

Malloy must claw his way to a second term. He is tied with Republican candidate Tom Foley in the most recent (May 9) Quinnipiac University poll of this year’s governor’s race. He barely beat Foley in the 2010 governor’s race, and now faces a challenge from his left flank as former Mansfield state representative Jonathan Pelto is running as a third-party candidate focused almost entirely on the education issue.

The balance could be tipped this year if some of the people who were excited to elect Malloy in 2010 fail to work with as much fervor for him again—or even choose to sit out the election due to his connection to education-reform issues.

Malloy’s relationship with teachers has been occasionally tense and pockmarked with terse exchanges. He’s haunted, for example, by a comment he made to the General Assembly in February 2012. Advocating for tenure reform, Malloy said for teachers to earn tenure, “the only thing you have to do is show up for four years.”

Before that, Malloy appointed Stefan Pryor as the state education commissioner. Pryor, a cofounder of Amistad Academy charter school, has taken heat from teachers’ unions which point out that he has never worked in a capacity as a teacher and lacks teaching credentials. Malloy, like many governors, initially supported all aspects of the federal Common Core public education standards and new teacher evaluation systems based on them. He has since softened his stance on these issues as it became clear that he might lose reelection without the support of teachers. Malloy also supported the installation of known urban-education reformer Paul Vallas as Bridgeport’s superintendent, and then the re-installation of Vallas after a judge’s initial ruling that he did not meet the criteria to be superintendent. Malloy’s backing of Vallas created further friction with the unions. Vallas has since left the district to run for lieutenant governor of Illinois.

[…]

“We do have a respect for each other,” says Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), the state’s biggest teachers’ union. “His door is open to us, and over this past year we’ve been able to iron out some of the legislation that may have been well-intentioned and implemented badly.”

[…]

“When teachers think they aren’t being heard, there is going to be frustration, anger, there is going to be anxiety, and frankly, maybe, a lack of a cast of a vote,” says CEA President Sheila Cohen. “They’ll probably go to the polls, the question is who will they vote for? There are a lot of people on that ballot, and (some teachers) could skip a line.”

Malloy’s missteps with teachers offer a natural voter base to Pelto, a liberal firebrand who doesn’t mince words when it comes to characterizing the governor’s positions on education reform.

[…]

On his blog Wait What? and in interviews, Pelto has said Malloy is committed to the “corporate education reform agenda” and criticized the governor for his support in the expansion of charter schools in the state. “We’re not Chicago, Philadelphia,” he said, pointing to places where charter schools have an established foothold. “But there’s something going on in Connecticut that is very different than anything we’ve ever experienced.

[…]

As Malloy courts the support of traditional parts of his political base, including the teachers’ unions and Connecticut’s Working Families Party, whose members have also strongly criticized education reform, he will have to choose whether to further distance himself from organizations such as Families for Excellent Schools (FES), which made a name for itself in New York City when it ran a slick advertising campaign attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio’s opposition to charters. It has been very active in Bridgeport’s education battles.

“We expect at some point to make an endorsement—we’re checking in with members constantly. For now, there’s no question Governor Malloy has been a tremendous advocate for kids and families, and I believe our members recognize that,“ FES cofounder and CEO Jeremiah Kittredge said in a statement.

But that kind of endorsement could do more harm than good for Malloy’s reelection hopes if it risks driving teachers’ union members to Pelto.

FES backed Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s controversial referendum to change the governance of the Bridgeport school board. It was a move opposed by the Working Families Party and Pelto.

In 2010, Malloy did not win enough votes on the Democratic Party line alone—but combined with the votes he took as the Working Family Party’s cross-endorsed candidate, he narrowly beat Foley.

The Working Families endorsement has yet to be determined, but the party has openly expressed nervousness about Malloy’s positions on charter schools. “We have been pretty concerned ourselves with the governor’s education agenda,” said Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Working Families Party.

To read the entire Connecticut Magazine piece go to: http://www.connecticutmag.com/Blog/Connecticut-Politics/July-2014/Connecticuts-Gubernatorial-Race-Will-Be-Influenced-by-Education-Teachers/

NBC Connecticut WVIT premiers Decision 2014 with Pelto interview

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NBC Connecticut WVIT premiers Decision 2014 with Pelto interview

NBC Connecticut’s new show premiered today.  Called Decision 2014, it will give Connecticut voters a first-hand look at the candidates and issues during this election year.

The inaugural show including a segment in which Gerry Brooks interviewed me.

I met Gerry Brooks in the late 1970s when he was a “cub” reporter at WPOP radio and following his shift to television in 1979, was interview by him on numerous occasions including at the 1984 National Democratic Convention when I was part of U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s national effort to change the direction the United States was headed.

I had managed Hart’s political operation in Connecticut, a campaign that produced his biggest win outside of Colorado, despite the fact that Connecticut’s Democratic Governor and the Democratic political establishment were supporting Walter Mondale.

Now thirty years later I had the honor of being interviewed by Gerry once again.

We’ve both aged a bit over the past 3-4 decades, but his commitment to using television as a vehicle to provide people with the information they need has been unwavering.

Being back under the “hot lights” with Gerry Brooks was a lot of fun.

Here is my segment;

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/Jonathan-Pelto—Decision-2014–Ep–1-Seg–2/266820751

And here is a link to the full show at: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Decision-2014-NBC-Connecticuts-Political-Talk-Show-266827001.html

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

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