CO-2: sharing our foreign policy vision with the candidates
This week was my first of a series of meetings to talk to prospective members of Congress before they are even elected, and provide them resources on foreign policy issues and share the vision of foreign policy that our supporters in the district want to see.
My first stop on my 2008 congressional district tour was Boulder, CO. Rep. Mark Udall is leaving his seat to run for the Senate seat that opened up when Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) decided to retire. There are three strong candidates running for the seat: Joan Fitz-Gerald, Jared Polis and Will Shafroth. All three have pledged to vote against funding for the war in Iraq unless it is used for withdrawal of US troops, which already puts them on track for a better voting record than Udall, and indicated they were likely to be open to our message about reforming US foreign policy.
I was joined in the briefings by Babak Talebi of the National Iranian American Council and Carolyn Bninski and Adrienne Anderson from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. We provided resources, talking points and recommendations on promoting diplomacy with Iran, working to eliminate nuclear weapons, the local environmental impact of nuclear development and ending the war in Iraq. It was a great opportunity to discuss these issues with the candidates while they are in the midst of campaigning, and lays a good foundation for a relationship with whichever candidate wins the primary on August 12.
In addition to meetings with the candidates, I was able to lay the groundwork for some collaboration with other groups that are doing wonderful and important work in Colorado. It was good to hear from Carolyn about Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice’s work to hold Rep. Udall accountable on ending the war in Iraq. Jane from Colorado Progressive Coalition had useful information about the local political climate, and their work pressuring Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave on a number of important progressive issues, including ending the war. I also got a tour of Boulder from Debra, who has started a meetup in Boulder for Peace Action West supporters to get together and plan local actions to end the war. (Contact me if you are interested in planning local actions in your area too!) In this challenging work, it is always inspiring to meet people who are doing important, effective advocacy and I look forward to continuing to work with all of them.
When not engaging in interesting political discussions, I also enjoyed escaping the bay area heat wave and getting a taste of Colorado. If you find yourself in the area, I recommend having some tea at the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House and having some chicken (or tofu) curry at Kim To Go.