Monday, January 29, 2007

Il-6: Trending Democratic

Having an interesting discussion on the Swing State Project blog about Il-6 and how its trending more and more Democratic. Here is why I think we can knock off Roskam even though DuPage has historically been solidly Republican. First off, while most of IL-6 is in DuPage County, there is a significant chunk (about 20%) of the vote in Cook County. Duckworth won Cook County last year (results below), and a solid Democrat could presumably do likewise in '08.

2006 Cook County Results
Duckworth (D) - 18,544 - 52.8%
Roskam (R) - 16,576 - 47.2%

That leaves us with DuPage County, which has historically been a Republican bastion. Here there are a couple of factors at work. First, the Demographics are changing to become more urban and diverse - tendencies that generally trend Democratic.

DuPage population (2005 estimated)
1990 - 2000 - 2005
Total - 781,666 - 904,161 - 929,133
Black - 15,462 - 27,600 - 38,094
% Black - 2.0% - 3.1% - 4.1%
Hispanic - 34,567 - 81,366 - 104,992
% Hispanic - 4.4% - 9.0% - 11.3%

These changes have helped fuel the area's increasingly Democratic voting trends. Below are the Congressional results for DuPage the past few years - clearly a trend going the right way.

2002 - 2004 - 2006
Republican - 92,403 - 114,790 - 74,806
65.7% - 55.0% - 51.7%
Democrat - 48,005 - 87,769 - 68,028
34.2% - 42.1% - 47.0%

Unfortunately, because of the Republican history of the county (which includes several very Republican leaning townships not in the IL-6 congressional district) DuPage County has no local Democrat officials and only a few elected Democratic state officials with only miniscule portions of their districts in DuPage County. A Democrat came very close (49.3%) to winning state house seat 46 in 2006, but came up a little short. We need to continue to build the emerging Democratic infrastructure in DuPage over the next 2 years, if we do so we can definitely knock out the very conservative Roskam.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Are you kidding?

Did anyone else see Roskam's justification for voting for H.R. 6 and tax cuts for oil companies? Get this:

“The bill is overflowing with unintended consequences. One of the most disturbing is severely damaging the retirement savings of seniors. Retirement and pension accounts hold forty-one percent of domestic oil and gas company shares. When our domestic companies’ production levels shrink, so do the hard-earned and well-deserved savings of our seniors."

Oh please. Only a trial lawyer could come up with such baloney. Remember this quote - If in the future he votes for legislation that will hurt seniors (he's already voted against allowing the government negotiate for cheaper prescription drugs), I will be sure to bring this quote back up.

Of course, its complete nonsense that he voted against repealing these corporate handouts because of seniors. Remember, having the government collect the $14 billion it should be collecting would leave lots more money available for Social Security (which doesn't depend on the inequitable owning of stocks), Medicare, and the promotion of clean energy (I'm sure a few retirees have stocks in clean energy companies too).

And how much of this corporate handout are actually going to the stockholders? According to the 13th Annual CEO Compensation Survey:

*The top 15 U.S. Oil Barons are paid 281 percent of the average CEO
compensation in comparably sized businesses. The top 15 U.S. Oil
CEOs were paid an average of $32.7 million in 2005 while the average
compensation for CEOs of large U.S. firms in all industries was
$11.6 million.

*Top three highest paid U.S. oil chieftains in 2005:
#1 William Greehey (Valero Energy) = $95.2 million
#2 Ray R. Irani (Occidential Petroleum) = $84.0 million
#3 Lee Raymond (outgoing CEO of ExxonMobil) = $69.7 million

And lest anyone think that is the pay required to get a CEO capable of running an oil company:

*The second- and third-largest oil companies in the world are both foreign firms, British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell. Both pay their
CEOs considerably less than comparable U.S. oil companies. While
they operate in the same global marketplace, their average pay was
$4.8 million, compared to the average of $39.2 million for the top 2
U.S. oil CEOs.

If Roskam really cares about the minority of retirees that have stock in oil companies, perhaps he should look into doing something about CEO pay disparity? Of course, maybe the $127,065 he's received from energy interests is the real reason he voted to keep their corporate hand-outs. It certainly isn't to protect an average American retiree. That is one of the lamest justifications for voting the wrong way I've ever heard.

Roskam breaks promise on environment

I've already bashed Roskam for his vote to give tax breaks for oil companies instead of working for clean energy solutions, but there has been 2 new developments since then. First of all, President Bush made clean energy and reducing oil consumption by 20% a major part of his State of the Union address the other day. Second, I came across this letter in today's Chicago Sun Times. Until then, I didn't even realize that Roskam had signed a pledge to support clean energy during the his campaign. Can we trust his word on anything? We'll see how the rest of his term goes, but breaking a campaign pledge and harming our enviroment in the first 100 hours is not a good start.

Roskam's vote for Big Oil

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) did not support the Clean Energy Act despite his campaign promise to work toward a new energy future. Almost a year ago, President Bush acknowledged that we are ''addicted to oil.'' Unfortunately, instead of being invested in clean energy solutions, billions of taxpayer dollars have been used to subsidize big oil companies at a time of record profits for the oil industry.

On Jan. 18, the U.S. House took the first step and passed legislation that will repeal $14 billion in Big Oil handouts and use that money to fund the clean energy technologies that reduce our dangerous dependence on oil. Unfortunately, Roskam voted against the Clean Energy Act despite his signature on a New Energy Future promise that he signed during his election campaign. One can't help but wonder how Roskam will keep his promise to put us on a path to a new energy future when his very first vote cast on energy policy is in favor of the oil companies.
LuCinda Hohmann,
field associate,
Environment Illinois

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Social Security

The purpose of this website is mainly to track the way Roskam is wrong on most issues, but there is something else about the man that really motivates me to get him out of Congress - his complete lack of character. This is highly evident when analyzing where he stands on Social Security.

Coming into 2005 with Republican majorities in Congress, privatizing Social Security was President Bush’s top domestic priority. Of course the American people rejected privatization, which would have cut benefits and put their retirement security at risk. Facing widespread rejection towards the privatization proposal, Republicans like Roskam tried to hide their position.

He said he would privatize Social Security in an NTU Survey, a conservative anti-tax group, but then said in an AARP survey that he was against privatization. A clear flip-flopping contrast in opinion. When he was in the state house, he ducked out on a vote that would have revealed his position despite making all the other votes that day.

But lack of character doesn’t end with distorting his position, rather than just ducking the Social Security issue he actually had the audacity to distort and attack his opponent on the issue. In ads he accused Tammy Duckworth of wanting to raise Social Security taxes. The problem was that his accusation was completely made up. He cited an AARP response, but the AARP denied this and in fact sent out thousands of letters saying that Roskam’s ads were false.

He again falsely accused Tammy Duckworth of wanting to give welfare and Social Security benefits to illegal aliens, this time using the Chicago Tribune as a source. The problem, it was a false statement the Tribune never said. The Tribune responded with an editorial, “Don’t quote us on that” calling out Roskam’s lies, as did Senator Obama in this clip.

Clearly Roskam has no scruples about distorting others positions and saying whatever will appeal to the particular crowd he is speaking to. His next opponent should be ready for more Roskam distortions. Luckily for us, the Democrats have taken Congress and it appears Bush’s privatization plan isn’t going anywhere. The easiest and most common sense reform for Social Security is to lift the $90,000 cap on Social Security taxes.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Is Roskam just inept & inefficient - or is he hiding?

Has anyone else been to Roskam's website yet? It is truely frightening how bad it is. Basically, there is nothing there. His office address is not listed. His bio - nothing. Now I don't have very high expections for him, but its already been almost 3 weeks since he was sworn into office and over 2 1/2 months since he was elected. How hard is it to put your contact info onto your website?

I thought to be fair, I'd check out a few other newly elected member's websites. Started with the other newly elected Illinios Democrat, Phil Hare (Il-17). Yup, his contact info was listed. In Wisoncin, newly elected Democrat Steve Kagen (WI-9) has his contact info on hiw website. I visted the websites of our western neighbors Iowa and checked newly elected Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley (IA-1)and Dave Loebsack (IA-2). Sure enough, they had their office contact info listed too. Okay, what about the new Indiana Reps. Joe Donnelly (IN)- check. Brad Ellsworth (IN-8) - check. Baron Hill (IN-9) - check. Hmm, it seems like every other new member has at least managed to get their office contact info on their website in the first month.

Did we really elect someone to Washington who can't even get their basic contact info up on their website within the first 3 weeks? There has already been several pieces of good legislation passed in this time, it would seem to be a simple thing to do to add your contact info to your website. Then again, maybe after the way Roskam has voted so far he doesn't want anyone to be able to find him.

Jan 24, 4:00 pm new update- The contact info in finally up on his website. Way to go! Hope he does a better job representing his constituents.

Roakam's Conservative Guns

Below is an excerpt of a recent Daily Herald article. Not surprisingly, it seems Roskam is going to stick to his conservative guns, despite the fact that he only won by the smallest of margins and the issues being voted on are all common sense solutions that are favored by over 80% of all Americans. I especially love the contrast to Republican Mark Kirk, who actually does exhibit independence. Roskam did get one thing right though, if he continues to be a rubber stamp to his party and vote more conservative than his district, there will be efforts to educate his constituents about this and to dump him in 08!

How suburban House members voted this week
Daily Herald
January 15, 2007

The suburbs' seven House members found different ways of fitting into their new positions during the key first week of Congress.

For freshman Republican Peter Roskam of Wheaton, it meant sticking to his conservative guns despite winning by only a narrow margin last fall.

With Democrats pushing four high-profile, populist measures, Roskam voted for one of them. He backed the implementation of the rest of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, but voted against lifting a ban on federal stem cell research funding, an increase in the minimum wage and allowing the federal government to negotiate discounts with drug companies for Medicaid.

"The freeing thing about going through a campaign is that the direct mail is going to come no matter what," Roskam said. "Vote your district, vote your conscience and stand for what you believe and articulate why you believe it, because your opponents will attack you no matter what."

Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston said she wasn't surprised Roskam didn't move to the political center."This is a new direction for our country and Peter is following the old path," she said.

While Roskam kept to the philosophy he laid out in his campaign, his Republican colleague, Rep. Mark Kirk of Highland Park, moved to the center, supporting all four pieces of the Democrats' much-hyped first 100 hours push to deliver on promises the party made last fall.

"I'm an independent guy. I've always been pro-choice, pro- environment," said Kirk, who fended off a tougher-than-expected challenge last fall. "What I would hope to be is a new Republican voice that is pro-defense, pro-science, pro-economic development and a fiscal hawk."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Roskam votes for big oil

So Roskam once again goes with the hard line conservatives and votes for tax breaks for Exxon and other big oil companies (H.R.6). I guess he missed the headlines about the record setting $10.7 billion in quarterly profits Exxon recently made. What about helping the working classes Mr. Roskam? Maybe he voted because Big Oil companies contributed $70,765 to help him get elected? I guess he does take after his indicted former boss and K-Street project founder, Tom Delay, when it comes to influence peddling.

Giving away $14 billion dollars to companies making record profits is a terrible idea. If we are ever to become energy independent it makes sense to use this $14 billion towards an apollo like enery project. From the Apollo Alliance, I've learned that $14 billion can potentially: Power 4.2 million homes with wind energy. Create 29,000 jobs in the solar industry. Or fund incentives to help 5.6 million Americans purchase hybrid cars. But unforturtunately, Roskam once again votes the wrong way. He is way too conservative for Illinois.

Roskam votes against hard working Illinoisans Chides ultra-conservative Rep. Roskam for Vote Against Long Overdue Bill to Raise the Minimum Wage to $7.25/hr

Ultra-conservative Rep. Roskam voted against bipartisan legislation to boost earnings for nearly 13 million American workers and their families for the first time since 1997

Lomard, Il – As thousands of Illinois workers and their families celebrate the passage of legislation in the House to increase the minimum wage, the first step in an effort to increase the minimum wage for the first time since 1997, criticized U.S. Rep. Roskam today for his/her vote against H.R.2 – legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years. The long overdue, bipartisan bill passed by a wide margin of 315-116 – including 82 Republicans -- Wednesday night in the U.S. House of Representatives without the support of Rep. Roskam. The minimum wage has not been increased in nearly a decade, making this the longest span without a minimum wage increase since the wage was first implemented. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is at its lowest level in 50 years. In fact, workers earning the minimum wage will only make $10,712 over the next year, $4,367 under the poverty threshold for a family of three. Nearly 13 million people would likely benefit from the increase – 5.6 million directly and 7.4 million indirectly.

“All boats should rise with the tide – not just the yachts,” said Jeff Cruz, spokesperson for the Change America Now! campaign. “For far too long, ordinary hardworking Illini have been denied a livable wage, but the passage of this bill to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour with such strong bipartisan unity is an extraordinarily positive step forward. It’s just disappointing that Rep. Roskam chose to stand on the side of the corporate specials interests instead of standing on the side of working families and supporting an increase in the minimum wage.

100 Hours: Raising the Minimum Wage

During the first 100 legislative hours of the 110th Congress, one of the bills that the House will consider is a bill that will help up to 13 million Americans and their families by increasing the minimum wage. The measure would increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years.

Increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour would bring a pay raise for up to 13 million Americans.

*Raising the minimum wage would provide an additional $4,400/year for a family of three, equaling 15 months of groceries, or over two years of health care – helping them to keep up with rising costs. [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, August 2006; Consumer Expenditures Survey, 2003-2004]

*Nearly 13 million people would likely benefit from the increase – 5.6 million directly and 7.4 million indirectly. This includes 7.7 million women, 3.4 million parents, and 4.7 million people of color. [EPI, December 2006]

*It is wrong to have millions of Americans working full-time and year-round and still living in poverty. At $5.15 an hour, a full-time minimum wage worker brings home $10,712 a year –nearly $6,000 below the poverty level for a family of three.

*A minimum wage increase is particularly important at a time when America’s families have seen their real income drop by almost $1,300 since 2000, while the costs of health insurance, gasoline, home heating, and attending college have increased by almost $5,000 annually. [Government Reform, 9/21/06]

*The minimum wage has not increased in more than nine years – the longest period in the history of the law. During that time, Members of Congress have received a $31,600 pay raise. The real value of the minimum wage has plummeted to its lowest level in 51 years. [Economic Policy Institute, 6/06]

*An average CEO earns more before lunchtime in one day than a minimum wage worker earns all year. [EPI, 6/2706]

Increasing the minimum wage has broad bipartisan and popular support.

*Supported by 89 percent of the American public in a recent poll. [Newsweek poll,11/11/06] Another recent poll showed 72 percent of Republicans support the minimum wage increase. [Pew Research poll, 4/19/06]

*President stated he would “find common ground” with Congress on a minimum wage increase. [11/8/06]

*Voters in six states passed minimum-wage-increase ballot measures in November – including Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio. [Washington Post, 11/19/06] As of January 1, 2007, twenty-eight states along with D.C. have a state minimum wage above the current federal level.

*Supported by a range of organizations, including labor (AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, UNITE, Steelworkers), religious (National Council of Churches, the Interfaith Alliance, U.S. Catholic Conference, Alliance of Baptists), and civil rights organizations (NAACP, MALDEF, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee).

* The minimum wage increase has the support of the majority in both the House and the Senate – with 64 House Republicans voting for a $7.25 per hour minimum wage under a vocational education bill in July 2006, and a majority of Senators, including eight Republican Senators, voting for the minimum wage increase in June 2006. [Vote #366, motion to instruct on S.250, 7/12/06; Vote #179, amendment to S.2766, 6/21/06]


Just learning how to do all this design work, so I hope you bear with me for the first month here. I was born and raised in Lombard and recently worked on the Tammy Duckworth Campaign. She was an inspiring individual who fought for her country and lost several limbs. What does Peter Roskam do? Questions her patriotism and spreads lies about her positions. Peter Roskam is way too conservative for Illinois - and I hope this blog can help make people aware of this.

Its only the first 100 hours of the new Congress and already Peter Roskam has voted against ethics reform (not surpising for someone who used to work for Tom Delay), against negotiating for lower precription drug prices, against raising the minimum wage for hardworking Americans, and for tax breaks for large oil companies. Peter Roskam is too conservative for Illinios - and this blog will be dedicated to tracking this.