As long as we've been keeping track, that's how long Terri Sewell has been running on progressive ideas.
Here's the latest talking point from Sewell's detractors: “Terri Sewell didn't start supporting progressive issues until AFTER her Ivy League buddy and soon to be ex SD 7 Congressman Artur Davis went down in flames for not supporting progressive issues …”
OK, I'm beyond disgusted at the way some so-called Democrats act like a good education disqualifies a person from public office — surely those aren't our values? — and I don't know what “SD 7” means either. But let's get to the substance of this complaint, the allegation that Terri Sewell isn't progressive and has modified her positions since June 1.
It's simply not true, as with so many things people try to tell us in the silly season of political campaigns. The ADC and AEA are backing Shelia Smoot these days, so maybe this argument shouldn't come as a surprise, but recycling the anti-Davis gameplan won't work against Terri Sewell because she's been progressive since day one. In fact, her enthusiastic support for health care reform legislation is probably the reason she beat all comers on June 1. Follow me below the fold for supporting information.
On March 5th of this year, Terri Sewell told the Downtown Democrats, “I will go to Congress and make sure that health care gets passed. A comprehensive health care bill that includes a public option.” She was the only AL-07 candidate that day who unambiguously came out in support of a public option for health care reform. Her slogan of “Health care should be a right, not a fight“ was a major piece of her primary campaign and very likely the reason her candidacy has been so successful.
Also on March 5th, Sewell said:
“I understand what the issues are … it's about job creation, it's the number one issue.”
“Education I believe is the best economic plan ever devised – a good education.”
“It should not be that the quality of the health care that you receive is dependent upon your zip code. But that is true. In 2010 in America, and in Alabama, and it's unacceptable.”
Those are progressive points, but Sewell didn't stop the progressivism there. When we interviewed her a few weeks later, Terri Sewell said, “The number one issue in the 7th Congressional District is exactly the number one issue for my parents' generation … and that's job creation. Job creation has to be our number one priority,” and then laid out a credible plan for bringing those jobs to the 7th CD. And here's what she told us when asked about other progressive issues:
Health Care – While the recently passed bill was not perfect, Ms. Sewell says was a step in the right direction. “Health care should be a right for all Americans … Health care should be about a right and not a fight.” She believes that competition is needed to bring down costs and a “robust public option needs to be back on the table.” She vows to push to keep that public option on the table if elected.
Equal Pay – Ms. Sewell says that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was just one step, but there is more work to be done to guarantee equal pay for equal work. “I grew up in a family of workers and I know that this state and this nation has been built on the backs of working class families who deserve to have good benefits, who deserve to have the right to unionize if they want to unionize.” [Sewell has also been endorsed by Fair Pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter.]
Reproductive Choice – “I believe that a woman's reproductive decisions should be made between herself and her doctor … I would fight to continue to have the legal protections that are afforded women in Roe v. Wade. And I would fight any erosion of that.”
Gay Marriage – “I believe it's a civil rights, human rights issue. And I believe that in 2010 that we should not discriminate against any group of people in this nation.”
Financial Reform – “I would be an advocate for transparency and accountability on Wall Street. It's critically important. … I would be all for and, in fact, because I understand it, would be a leading advocate of developing legislation that would provide transparency for Wall Street and financial services industries as well as accountability. It is, to me, disheartening that the very people that got us into this situation, we've bailed out, and they've given those same fat cats huge bonuses when we in Main Street are suffering each and every day.”
At the DFA social in July 2009, Sewell said (terrible video quality at that link) “We need strong, positive leadership. We need ethical, strong, positive progressive voices and that's what this campaign will be about. I know that we share a common vision, which is to see Alabama move forward.”
These are progressive positions, and they're coming from a woman who is smart, accomplished and has no ethical cloud hanging over her. Terri Sewell has been progressive on the issues since the first time I saw her — anyone trying to tell you she's reinvented herself since June 1 is simply not paying attention … or is outright lying.