Archive for May, 2010

DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen on Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead

by , posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at 6:00 am

In Red to Blue: Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Grassroots Politics, author Sanford Gottlieb tells the story of Chris Van Hollen’s successful grassroots campaign for Congress in 2002, and the lessons Van Hollen, and others, took away from that campaign in subsequent election cycles.

Van Hollen’s district

is MD-08, located in Washington DC’s Maryland suburbs. In the primary he beat frontrunner Mark Shriver, a Kennedy cousin with a lot of money to spend and a consultant by the name of David Axelrod on his team. He then went on to unseat longtime incumbent Connie Morella in the general election that fall. Morella was a well-liked, liberal Republican who had been long thought to be unbeatable, having enjoyed more than a little bit of support from local Democrats through the years on election day. And Van Hollen pulled this off in a Republican year. This was the first congressional election to be held after 9/11. The Republicans won back control of the Senate in 2002 and added to their majority in the House. Only two Democrats unseated incumbent Republicans that year. Chris Van Hollen was one of them.

Van Hollen has brought this experience to bear in his subsequent work at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). And he was not the only one to go to school on that 2002 campaign. As Gottlieb puts it:

David Axelrod told Van Hollen in 2008 that he had learned some lessons from being on the other side of the 2002 primary. It was a really good grassroots campaign, Axelrod said, with the passion on Van Hollen’s side. Van Hollen carried the lessons learned in 2002 into the successful effort to build a House Democratic majority in 2006. Axelrod and David Plouffe may have applied those lessons in the 2008 50-state race for the White House. (Gottlieb, Red to Blue, 32)

Last week Van Hollen appeared with Gottlieb at a book event in Washington, DC and talked about his attempt to apply those lessons learned to his work with the DCCC. Van Hollen’s introductory remarks, plus the question and answer session that followed, are presented below.



Found Objects for a Friday Afternoon: If Aurora Is Bombed

by , posted on Friday, May 7th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Citizen’s Group Urges DeKalb County Board to Postpone Landfill Expansion Vote

by , posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 at 11:50 pm


Contact: Dan Kenney
Chair of the Stop the Mega-Dump Citizens’ group

Citizen’s Group Urges DeKalb County Board to Postpone Landfill Expansion Vote: “Give the People of Cortland Township a Voice First” at a Special Township Meeting May 18th

The Stop the Mega-Dump citizens’ group is asking the DeKalb County Board not to turn their backs on the citizens of Cortland again. Citizens of Cortland Township have petitioned the Cortland Township Board of Trustees for a special meeting to vote on a resolution that would prevent any landfill expansion in their township. The special meeting will be held on the evening of Tuesday May 18th , the day before the DeKalb County regularly scheduled board meeting. However the county has added an earlier meeting of May 10th at 7:30 to vote on the landfill expansion application by Waste Management Inc.



DeKalb County in a Fight to Stop a Mega-Dump

by , posted on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Kendall and Kane counties have had their fights and won, and now it is DeKalb County who is in a battle to defend their land, water, and air from Waste Management Inc’s (WMI) attempt to expand the DeKalb county landfill. There are many sides to this attempted expansion that is the latest in the attempts of international corporations to push around small rural counties that are struggling in the present economic climate

The present landfill

that Waste Management is operating is 88 acres. It takes in about 100,000 tons of solid waste each year, 70,000 tons from DeKalb County and 10% from outside the county. The expansion would allow Waste Management to take in 2,000 tons per day or over 500,000 tons a year. They want to expand the landfill an additional 500 acres, turning prime farmland and several eco-systems into a ugly landfill. When completed there will be a mountain of garbage nearly a 100 feet high running for 2.5 miles along route I-88 just east of DeKalb. The garbage will be trucked in from 16 northeast Illinois counties. There will be a truck load coming in every five minutes.