But, first up today: It was another day in America, so another mass shooting. We cover today's breaking news out of Northern California where at least 5 were killed and 10 shot by a gunman who was eventually shot by police in a very rural and economically depressed part of the state. The shooter reportedly fired, sometimes randomly, at some seven different scenes and targeted an elementary school before he was finally taken down. While still officially unidentified as of airtime, the gunman is said to have had a history of domestic violence and neighbors who complained that he was threatening and had recently been heard firing off large magazines of gunfire in recent days. Despite his record, however, he was somehow able to legally obtain the semi-automatic rifle and two hand guns found with him after he was killed.
Republican elected officials who represent the area offered "prayers", as usual, in the wake of this latest shooting. Democratic Gubernatorial hopefuls in the state vowed to take action to help curb American's continuing gun epidemic.
In not-unrelated news, it happens to be "National Run for Office Day", as declared by a host of progressive organizations. To help celebrate, we're joined today by ROSS MORALES ROCKETTO, co-founder of Run for Something, a national progressive organization dedicated to helping first- and second-time progressive grassroots candidates — particularly millennials, women and people of color — step up and run for state and local offices.
The group, "born of the tears of the 2016 election", hopes to run more than 1,000 candidates across the country next year, for everything from state representative to city council to local library boards and Boards of Education. They also saw at least 32 of their endorsed candidates win races in last week's 2017 off-year elections, including a number of stunning underdog Democratic victories by first time candidates against long-entrenched Republican office holders.
Rocketto explains how and why he formed the group along with a former Hillary Clinton Campaign staffer; how they determine which candidates to endorse and help; what is needed to run and win a successful grassroots progressive campaign; and how you — yes, YOU! — may wish to consider visiting their webpage and getting started to run for something yourself in 2018!
"What we're really trying to do is recruit and support the next generation of progressive Democrats running down-ticket," he tells me. "We think that 2018, for example, is going to be the year of the down-ballot candidates. We know that only 5% of state legislators across the country are millennial, and the millennial generation is going to be the largest voting bloc in the next set of presidential elections. That's what we're setting out to do specifically in 2018."
"We've been hearing from people all across the country that in this particular moment, they want to make a difference in their communities. And, honestly, one of the best ways and the most effective ways to make a difference in your community is to run for office locally," Rocketto says. "The things that impacts people's lives the most on a day-to-day basis tend to be at that local level. And that's what's been so powerful about the stories that we hear from our candidates that are running."
He goes on to cite stories of some of them, like 22-year old Heather Ward in Pennsylvania, who ran and won last week for school board "in a district that is largely Republican" to become the youngest ever to serve on the board, and transgender candidate Danica Roem who unseated a virulent homophobe in Virginia's House of Delegates. We also discuss other progressive groups similarly working to recruit grassroots candidates, like Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution, which supported a 30-year old Marine vet Lee Carter, who unseated the GOP House Majority Whip in Virginia while running as a Democratic Socialist.
Also on today's program: Late updates on Alabama's disastrous GOP nominee for US Senate, Roy Moore following new allegations yesterday of a violent sexual assault against a minor; Several hearings held today in the US House and Senate; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report.
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