[Editor's Note: Houghton County Democrats and U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak, who is retiring, hosted a rally at the Democratic Party headquarters in Houghton last night, Sunday, Oct. 31, to show support for their candidates: State Rep. Gary McDowell, Congressional candidate for Stupak's 1st District seat; State Rep. Mike Lahti, candidate for the 38th District State Senate seat now held by Mike Prusi, who is term-limited; and Scott Dianda, candidate for the 110th District State Representative seat now held by Lahti. Keweenaw Now guest writer and photographer Brian Rendel offers his views on the rally and the Democrats' campaign.]
By Brian Rendel, Co-chair, Houghton County Democratic Party
HOUGHTON -- About 40 or so people showed up to the rally last evening to hear from the candidates and from Bart. Despite the rumors and the hostile advertising, I think our state and congressional candidates will win thanks to massive efforts by volunteers around the district and hard work by each of the candidates and their teams, which are coordinating their resources. The final push is getting our identified voters to show up to the polls and vote tomorrow.
Gary McDowell, 1st District Congressional candidate to replace Congressman Bart Stupak, right, addresses Democratic supporters at a rally held at the Houghton County Democratic Party headquarters in Houghton Sunday evening, Oct. 31. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos © 2010 and courtesy Brian Rendel. Reprinted with permission.)
No candidate will please all people on all issues. Gary McDowell is the candidate who will represent this district the best. We need every single vote for him to be elected.
Dan Benishek (McDowell's Republican opponent) would not represent our district well. He wants to weaken government and favors corporate interest over the people. Benishek claims to be for the environment but says our regulations are too strict. Benishek opposes the government trying to make health care more available to people. Benishek wants Americans to trust Wall Street with our Social Security. His answer to complex problems is to simply make government the enemy and starve it with more cuts in taxes.
All our Democratic candidates support better health care for more people, regulations that protect the environment, and protecting the fundamental services such as public education and early childhood health care that can only be provided fairly and fully if government is responsible. We simply cannot afford to let our ideals distract us from moving forward on our long and sometimes frustrating path to progress.
Energized at the rally held just two days before the election, candidates are in good spirits as they talk and joke with local supporters in Houghton. Pictured here are, from left, 1st District Congressional Candidate Gary McDowell of Rudyard; State Rep. Mike Lahti of Hancock, candidate for the 38th District State Senate seat; Scott Dianda of Calumet, candidate for the 110th District State Representative seat; and Congressman Bart Stupak of Menominee, who announced his retirement last spring.
Seeing many people of all ages and from all wings of our diverse party turn out in Houghton County and surrounding counties to volunteer to knock doors, make phone calls, and help us get out the Democratic vote is very encouraging. The coordinated effort I believe is bigger than it was in 2008. It is through the enormous strength of these amazing people -- to be able to set aside the disappointments they may have with Democrats in the past two years -- that we can keep moving forward, even if it is slow at times. We cannot afford to lose a single vote because that vote may cost the election and set us back years.
Hundreds of volunteers in the 1st District have identified thousands of voters who do not vote in every election who have told us they favor our Democratic candidates. Interested readers may volunteer to help us encourage these voters to have a voting plan, know their voting place, and be sure they vote tomorrow. Call 523-1233 to volunteer.