The name Tammy Baldwin is known pretty well amongst progressive and LGBT politicos, but for those who have never heard of her, Tammy Baldwin currently serves as a U.S. Congresswoman for the state of Wisconsin. Baldwin, 50, a Democrat in office since 1999, will be the first openly-lesbian U.S Senator if she wins in November. If she loses, she’s out of national politics for now, as her seat in the House may go to Wisconsin State Rep. Mark Pocanan, openly-gay Democrat who won last night’s primary.
Baldwin is facing former Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, who served as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush.
The Advocate notes that Baldwin “would be the first woman elected to represent the state in the Senate, and the first openly gay senator, distinctions that have earned her endorsements from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and LPAC, the new super PAC dedicated to lesbian visibility in politics.
The contest is expected to turn on the economy. Democrats seized on the Thompson victory to draw sharp contrasts with Baldwin, a seven-term congresswoman from Madison, based on the candidates’ economic visions.
“This is a very good night for Tammy Baldwin,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil in a statement. “Tonight’s results provide Wisconsinites with a crystal clear choice between a fighter for the middle class like Tammy Baldwin and a self-serving multi-millionaire like Tommy Thompson who would cut taxes for the rich and pay for it by raising taxes on the rest of us, ending Medicare and privatizing Social Security.”
Tommy Thompson of course is anti-gay. And of course, he doesn’t mention that — or any social issue positions — on his website. But Thompson in a 2007 presidential debate, when asked if it’s OK for a private employer to fire someone for being gay, stated:
“I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be.”
Thompson the next day walked that statement back.
Speaking of Thompson’s website, here are a few items from his list of “accomplishments” as Governor:
“Tommy used his veto pen a record 1,900 times to slash more than $287 million in spending. He never signed a budget in 14 years as governor without cutting spending with his veto pen.”
“Under Tommy’s leadership, Wisconsin became the first state to end the Aid to Families with Dependent Children federal assistance program, replacing it with a more fiscally efficient program that created a pathway to jobs for thousands of Wisconsin residents eager to work.
“As a result of Tommy’s efforts, Wisconsin cut its welfare rolls by 93%, from 98,000 AFDC families when he assumed office to 6,720 W2 cash assistance families by the year 2000.”
“In 1990, Tommy created the nation’s first private school choice program. He later expanded the private school choice program to include religious schools – another national first for Wisconsin. This would be a decision that Tommy would have to defend all the way to the Supreme Court.”
The last thing America needs is another U.S. Senator who is anti-gay, anti-women, anti-poor, and is looking to “balance the budget” on the backs of the poor.
Let’s also remember that when President Obama is re-elected, we’ll need as many Democrats in the Senate to override Republican filibusters and attempts to kill Obama’s agenda. That includes likely Supreme Court appointments and the repeal of DOMA and passage of ENDA.
If you’re LGBT, if you’re a progressive, if you’re a Democrat, or if you just believe in a country that should be for people and against hate, please try to help Tammy Baldwin, and please make sure you’re registered in your state to vote.
Here’s Baldwin’s statement from last night upon learning her Republican opponent will be Tommy Thompson:
“Tonight, the Republican primary electorate presented Wisconsin voters with a clear choice for the November election. Make no mistake, Tommy Thompson will stand with those who already have too much power and influence in Washington.
I will fight to do what’s right for the middle class and Thompson will put those at the very top and the big monied special interests in Washington ahead of Wisconsin’s hard working families. I will take on these powerful interests in Washington, and in the Senate, I will stand up for Wisconsin’s middle class, as I always have.
Unlike Tommy Thompson, I will fight for Wisconsin’s middle class by working across party lines to move our economic recovery forward — working to build a “Made in Wisconsin” manufacturing economy; providing tax cuts for small business to fuel job creation; ending tax breaks for outsourcing and giving companies tax incentives to create jobs here at home. That is the road to a stronger middle class, a stronger Wisconsin, and brighter future.
I believe Wisconsin deserves a US Senator who is unafraid to take on the big moneyed special interests in Washington. And I believe that the middle class needs someone fighting for them to make sure they have a fair shot at the American dream.
Tommy Thompson disagrees and he couldn’t be more wrong.
Tommy Thompson supports the policies of the past. Policies that have failed. Policies from the past that crashed our economy, and got us into our fiscal mess in the first place. He believes we should slash the very investments we need to move our economy forward, in education, innovation, and infrastructure — all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.
Tommy Thompson would actually cut taxes for millionaires like himself while increasing taxes on the middle class, increasing out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors, increasing the cost of higher education for students and their families, and ending Medicare as we know it for future generations.
That is not the America we believe in and it is not the Wisconsin we believe in. I believe that path is wrong for Wisconsin, wrong for our nation, and that we need to do what’s right for the middle class.”
Every vote, and every penny, counts.
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