Progressive Neighbors, an organization originally formed to support the candidacy of Sen. Jamie Raskin, now has a separate life of its own and says that it endorses candidates in four of the eight Montgomery County legislative districts: 14, 18, 19, and 20.
However, most elected officials are just not interested. Only two of the four Senate incumbents bothered to return PN’s questionnaires, including Sen. Raskin. Among the nine delegate incumbents, just three responded.
If the organization was the NRA or Marylanders for Life, this would not be shocking. But Progressive Neighbors aspires to be an endorsement that Democratic candidates covet. Indeed, they made repeated efforts to get electeds to submit questionnaires.
PN sent the following odd note–sort of like a rejection letter for a job to which you never applied –to Del. Anne Kaiser:
Dear Anne; [sic]
We are writing to inform you that the Progressive Neighbors Steering Committee did not vote to recommend an endorsement of your candidacy to our membership in the June 2014 Primary election for House of Delegates Legislative District 14. Per our bylaws, endorsements must be reviewed by the membership and reaffirmed by the Steering Committee after member review. That process is beginning now with a mailing to our membership, and we believe it more considerate that you hear of our actions directly from us, rather than indirectly.
Thank you for completing our questionnaire, which the Steering Committee carefully considered. We also thank you for your willingness to serve our community and your efforts to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. While we are not endorsing you at this time, we welcome the opportunity to work with you in the future to help bring about a more equitable and just society for all. Unless you object, we will be adding you to our email list, if you’re not already on it, so you’ll continue to be informed about our positions and issues. (If you’d rather not be added to our email list, please let us know.)
Del. Anne Kaiser shared with me her reply:
Thanks for your email. I must admit that I am a little confused by it, and would hate for you to inadvertently misinform your members. I find it curious that you mention that you have “carefully considered” my questionnaire: I did not submit one for your consideration.
I am a proud progressive, who in my 12 years in office has been on the vanguard of the progressive movement in the State of Maryland. I have been a key leader on issues including: making the Dream Act a reality, supporting tougher gun laws, raising the minimum wage, promoting transgender and marriage equality, repealing the death penalty, advocating for clean energy and the protection of our bay. I am a passionate supporter of our unionized brothers and sisters and fiercely fought for their collective bargaining rights. As a member of the Ways & Means committee I have worked tirelessly to make our tax code fairer for all and as chair of the Education Subcommittee, I have advocated and promoted policies to enhance our nation leading K-12 system.
I hope that you’ll carefully consider the points that I have made when communicating my position, more honestly, to your members.