Points By Drew Pritt

May 23, 2008, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Pictured above at the 2004 Democratic National Convention is U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and my good friend, Renee Crawford. Renee is the Associate Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. She is currently building a coalition to restore the rights of Wisconsin felons to vote post incarceration. Her life’s work has always been dedicated to protecting and promoting voting rights of Wisconsinites in a variety of ways and has been long time political activist in Milwaukee. Renee also was elected as the 5th CD Dean Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Boston in July 2004. She is co-founder of Grassroots Northshore. She maintains the Crawford’s Take blog in her spare time and articles from it have been featured on http://www.fightingbob.com, http://DailyKos.com, and http://www.wispolitics.com as well as many other blogs nationwide.


What I am about to suggest as not been endorsed or approved by either Renee Crawford is representative of, is sponsored by, or is in any way connected to any professional organizations she is compensated by or involved with.

As some of you know, I explored a bid for U.S. Congress in Wisconsin’s 5th District while living there. You see Renee and I met while working for one of the greatest guys we both know, attorney Matt Flynn. In fact, Flynn’s bid for U.S. Congress in 1978 was the nearest a Democrat has gotten to capturing this seat in a long time. However, the current occupant is the scurrilous Jim Sensenbrenner (R). Sensenbrenner is the author of the Patriot Act. He has been unwavering in his support of the Bush administration’s ‘war on terror’ as well as the War in Iraq. In 1998, Sensenbrenner had an important role in the impeachment of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, acting as one of the House managers. In 2005, Sensenbrenner authored the Real ID Act, which requires additional scrutiny of citizenship before issuing drivers’ licenses and creates a federal database of state-issued identification. He attached the controversial act as a rider on military spending bill HR418. Sensenbrenner also believes in criminal prosecution of broadcasters and cable operators who violate decency standards as opposed to the current FCC regulatory methods. But he doesn’t believe in free speech.

On June 17, 2005, Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, abruptly ended a meeting where Republicans and Democrats were supposed to be debating the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act and walked out in response to Democratic members raising issues regarding human rights violations at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay and the ongoing Iraq war. He ordered the court reporter to halt transcriptions of the proceedings, C-SPAN cameras covering the meeting be shut off, and that discussion on the issue be halted. Sensenbrenner defended his actions by claiming that the Democrats and witnesses had repeatedly violated House Rules in discussing issues he believed to be unrelated to the subject of the meeting. His abrupt walkout was contrary to House parliamentary procedure, which is to adjourn either on motion or without objection. Political journalist Matt Taibbi described the incident in a profile of the 109th Congress published around Oct. 2006: “Last year, Sensenbrenner became apoplectic when Democrats who wanted to hold a hearing on the Patriot Act invoked a little-known rule that required him to let them have one. “Naturally, he scheduled it for something like 9 a.m. on a Friday when Congress wasn’t in session, hoping that no one would show,” recalls a Democratic staffer who attended the hearing. “But we got a pretty good turnout anyway.” Sensenbrenner kept trying to gavel the hearing to a close, but Democrats again pointed to the rules, which said they had a certain amount of time to examine their witnesses. When they refused to stop the proceedings, the chairman did something unprecedented: He simply picked up his gavel and walked out. “He was like a kid at the playground,” the staffer says. And just in case anyone missed the point, Sensenbrenner shut off the lights and cut the microphones on his way out of the room. Commenting on Sensenbrenner’s actions, Jon Stewart remarked on the Daily Show, “Oh my God, he literally took his gavel and went home; we are officially being governed by children.”

Since Republicans talk about values, this is not a man with values that represent the state he is elected from, that produced such giants as Bob LaFollette, Bill Proxmire, Gaylord Nelson, and Russ Feingold.

Ah, but enter Renee Crawford. She would be a perfect successor to this seat. She is a wife, a mother, and an activist. She fights for those who do not have a voice. She has invested her time, her money, and her talent into making the 5th District better. She is the child of an interracial couple and is in an interracial marriage. She understands from that what sort of discrimination occurs but she doesn’t let that hold her down. She works to insure that her children, her family and friends, and most of all her community have a better life. She is a defender of a woman’s right to choose. She is an advocate and a supporter for strict campaign finance reform and a national health care system. Most of all, she would be one more vote to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops safely home.

So I guess this is the beginning of a DRAFT Renee Crawford for U.S. Congress bid. What do you think???


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