The Send Joel to Congress Petition

  • Author:
  • Send To:
    Residents of the 20th Congressional District
  • Sponsored By:
    members of the Real Majority Project
  • More Info at:
Here in Dutchess County the following towns are in the 20th Congressional District: Amenia, Clinton, Hyde Park, LaGrange, Milan, North East, Pine Plains, Pleasant Valley, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Stanford, Union Vale, Washington, and districts 3, 5, 7, and 8 of the 3rd Ward and districts 2, 6, and 7 in the 4th Ward in the Town of Poughkeepsie-- and the other counties in the district are Columbia, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties.

If you live in one of those counties and would love to send a proven effective, progressive county legislator and long-time community activist to represent you in our House of Representatives, then sign on to this petition with your comment and pass it along to all you know asap!

Congratulations to our new Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand for being appointed by Gov. Paterson to fill now-Secretary of State Clinfon's seat; this is pertinent (obviously), as-- "If appointed to the Senate, Gillibrand's replacement would be chosen through a special election within 60 days, as the governor lacks the authority to appoint a member of the House of Representatives, Bulman said."
[from "Gillibrand in Mix for Senate Seat" by Neil Kirby (Post-Star): (GOP already volunteering to run)]

[Note-- we've also been informed by some folks at a local Board of Elections that apparently section 42 of the state's Public Officers law is applicable here; see:]

After listening to WAMC all morning and hearing over and over again about how every Republican under the sun is throwing their hat in for this seat-- and not hearing about any Dem stepping forward-- and after many folks today reached out to contact me urging me to throw my hat in the ring, I've decided to step up to the plate myself on this in good faith.

Not trying to overly toot my own horn (but sometimes this is necessary; sorry!)-- I've been extremely effective in moving a progressive agenda forward as part of the first Democratic majority in our County Legislature in thirty years, getting quite a few resolutions passed for four years even as a member of our County Legislature's minority-- and in just this past year alone I got literally twenty-three of my resolutions passed through our County Legislature (many times with bipartisan support; see full list below; also see much more on this at my blog-- at

It is also a fact as well that both Rhinebeck and Clinton were G.O.P. bastions for decades before I won election to our County Legislature in 2003-- and in 2005 and 2007 elections I got more votes than any other Democrat in County Legislature.

As a member of the minority in our County Legislature from 2004 through 2007 (see much more on 2008 a bit below!), I got $100,000 added to our county budget to make sure homeless veterans no longer turned away from shelter, successfully led the fight to stop G.O.P. proposal to end county-run senior home care in the county, added tens of thousands of dollars to senior home care for the county budget, initiated a 30\% discount on defibrillators for county residents from, initiated the Resource Recovery Agency taking back compact fluorescent light bulbs, initiated our county's Health Department outreach to restaurants re: trans fats in cooking oils, initiated increased purchase of hybrid vehicles for county fleet, initiated move for Family Justice Center for victims of domestic violence, led county research for past decade on groundwater contamination from MTBE, and author of annual reports since 1997 exposing millions of county tax dollars in legalized kickbacks (see;

[I also have been the main organizer for over a dozen years now here in Dutchess County of the annual Martin Luther King marches, Labor Day rallies, and Holiday Interfaith Candlelight Vigils for Economic Justice, and brought together 200 folks from across the region last Nov. 16th for a Rally for a Green New Deal on the FDR Mid-Hudson Bridge (event posted to international website--]

Inspired by the best parts of President Barack Obama's extensive grass roots campaign (I supported Obama before last year's February primary and witnessed his inauguration earlier this week myself in D.C.), if sent to Washington to represent you all in Congress, I would work hard to bring our troops home as soon as possible from both Iraq and Afghanistan, make sure that workers who want to have the protection of a union can do so, usher in a truly fair system of taxation for small businesses and all of us (ending the current regressive system of taxation and corporate welfare once and for all), put into place a real green-jobs economic stimulus (a bailout for Main Street-- not Wall Street), save $350 billion annually for the country and countless lives with a single-payer system of health care for all (as Rep. Maurice Hinchey and the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation has long called for), truly rid Washington of special interests for once and all with Clean Money Clean Elections campaign finance reform, ensure strong environmental protection, invest in affordable housing, enact real and humane reform of our criminal justice system (that would save tax dollars as well)-- and fully investigate members of the Bush administration for various crimes.

Sadly, all too often it has become apparent to me that far too many politicians of both major parties don't seem to be worried enough about keeping upstate families afloat-- instead of being properly focused on dealing directly with the greedy speculators on Wall Street who have just about completely destroyed our economy in the currently hyper-deregulated environment.

Isn't it time that we had representation in Congress that will stand up unapologetically for us here on Main Street (instead of Wall Street)-- beyond the Beltway and the special interests pulling the puppet strings there?

Shouldn't our government should be about democracy-- about helping small businesses survive and thrive and keeping people in their homes-- instead of serving puppetmaster campaign donors?

People power-- not money power.

If I am sent into the House of Representatives, I would also be a congressman in the mold and spirit of smart and principled progressives like Rep.'s Maurice Hinchey and Dennis Kucinich-- and Sen.'s Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold, and the late great Paul Wellstone.
[see ; ; ]

I would also be proud (unlike some others, unfortunately) to be a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus along with Rep. John Hall and Rep. Maurice Hinchey, the single largest partisan caucus in the House of Representatives, representing about a third of the House Democratic Caucus with 71 members(!).

See the Congressional Progressive Caucus advocates "universal access to affordable, high quality healthcare," fair trade agreements, living wage laws, the right of all workers to organize into labor unions and engage in strike actions and collective bargaining, the abolition of significant portions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the legalization of same-sex marriage, strict campaign finance reform laws, a complete pullout from the war in Iraq, a crackdown on free trade and corporate welfare, an increase in income tax on the wealthy, tax cuts for the poor, and an increase in social welfare spending by the federal government."

"Many national progressive organizations works to support the efforts of the caucus, including the Institute for Policy Studies, The Nation magazine,, National Priorities Project, Jobs with Justice, Peace Action, Americans for Democratic Action, Progressive Democrats of America, NAACP, ACLU, Progressive Majority, League of United Latin American Citizens, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, National Council of La Raza, Hip Hop Caucus, Human Rights Campaign, Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, and the National Hip Hop Political Convention" (see Wikipedia for more on this).

Those are the organizations I've been working with for the past fifteen years as an effective community activist and for the last six years as a county legislator-- help send me to Washington this year so I can work them to make REAL change happen for us for once.


Government of, for, and by the people-- it ain't too late, is it?

[your contributions welcome too; letters to the editor as well!]

Send a message-- let's not wait until 2525 for true democracy, folks.

Obama was right-- and is right-- yes we can!

Joel for Congress
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
(845) 489-5479/ (845) 876-2488

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Here below-- 24 resolutions initiated by yours truly that actually got passed in County Legislature last year:

[unfortunately County Exec has stopped these from being implemented; many not aware of this]

1. For saving $480 million on electric bills in decade with version here of Cambridge Energy Alliance
[ ]

2. (in April) for solar panels on County Office Building/22 Market St./Poughkeepsie (then all buildings)
[ ; ]

3. (in April) for free energy audits of all county buildings at Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Trane, et. al. ; ; (Dem started drive for this-- not County Exec)

4. For Dutchess to save on power costs w/Municipal Electricity Gas Alliance (like many municipalities)
[ ]

5. For Dutchess ESAN "Recommendations for Stream & Flood Management in Dutchess" to be followed\%20Recomendations\%20for\%20Stream\%20Flood\%20Management-Final.pdf

6. For local version of links on county website voluntary carbon-cutting contest
[OCIS actually followed thru-- see: ]

7. For Green Map on county website to list farmer's markets/green resources (as in Westchester)
[ ; ]

8. For Dutchess County to be included as part of Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act

9. For an at-store plastic bag recycling law (as in Suffolk/Westchester counties and New York City)
[ ]

10. For recycling plastics #3, #5, #7 and recycling bins being placed next to public trash containers
[note-- first part of this was followed through on; not second, tho: ]

11. For particulate matter pollution to be measured in Dutchess (as it was until 2002;
[ -- American Lung Association of New York State]

12. For Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies recommendations: air pollution/quality standards to be real
[ ]

13. For bike rental program in Dutchess at no cost to taxpayers (as in Washington, D.C.)
[ ]

14. For bulk rate discount sale to county residents of rain barrels and compost bins
[ ; ]

15. For county's Health Department to publicly report on chloramines in public water supplies in county
[ ; ]

16. For wetlands (even smaller ones) to be protected from being paved over by real estate developers
[ ; ]

17. For greatly expanded recycling in Dutchess and across the state with Bigger, Better Bottle Bill
[ ; ]

18. For listing of restaurants using oils without trans fats on our county's Health Department website
[ ]

19. For Dutchess County to hold Home Heating Summit re: home heating oil crisis (like Ulster, Orange)
[ ]

20. For a one cost-saving "Green House Project" nursing home in Dutchess County; seniors happier

21. For Voting Integrity Task Force (towards keeping lever machines-- not optical scan machines)
[ ; ]

22. For ending market manipulations on Wall Street of skyrocketed gas and home heating oil prices
[ ; ]

23. For greatly expanding the current circuitbreaker for school property taxes (Little/Galef bill)
[ ]

24. For $153,000 to be added to the Dutchess County Budget for 2009 so that our county's ten Office for the Aging Senior Friendship Centers can stay open five days a week (instead of going to four days a week, as proposed-- I was able to convince colleagues in both parties of this after initial reluctance from both sides).