Nonviolence is an orphan among democratic ideas. It has nearly vanished from public discourse even though the most basic element of free government -the vote-has no other meaning. Every ballot is a piece of nonviolence, signifying hard won consent to raise politics above firepower and bloody conquest. -Taylor Branch-
Assembly Candidate Paul Newell is beginning to make waves in his longshot bid (an understatement) to unseat none other than the most powerful person in New York, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of the infamous three men in a room. Now with Spitzer gone, he may be the most powerful of the three men. But, Newell is not deterred and the blogosphere as well as the progressive community in New York City is beginning to take notice.
An event is scheduled this Tuesday night - June 24th, 7 - 10 PM, a fundraiser that sends a message with every contribution.
You can donate $77 for how many days until Newell unseats Silver; or
$149 for the amount of Assemblyman that will get a voice other than Silver; or
$500 (which gets you on the finance committee by the way) which is the amount of signatures Paul needs to get on the ballot.
He even has the attention of Ben Smith of Politico with the creative 'Obamawitz' image. This whole scenario makes me proud because once progressives (nationally for Obama and Edwards for that matter) realize they have power we can do just about anything.
There are some downsides to taking on the powerful, however. Paul told me when he began this quest that it wouldn't be easy and he would probably face another challenger funded by Silver. In pops Luke Henry. As Newell's candidacy began to pick up steam Henry announced. Suddenly, he moved back to the 64th from the West Village to challenge Silver, suspiciously in September. Doubly suspicious to Newell was that Henry has also worked for Wilson Elser (the lobbyist giant where Kenneth Shapiro works), which reps several firms with ties to Silver and the Assembly, such as the Dolans (Henry says he didn’t do political work there). Newell is concerned that Henry might be a sort of spoiler, an unserious candidate designed to split the non-Silver vote.
Paul, on the other hand, has lived in Chinatown for ten years, he is an Obama delegate and has been working for non-profits, including Ubuntu, an organization dedicated to the AIDS crisis in South Africa. Newell also speaks fluent Spanish, an important caveat in his constituency in the 64th. It is time the progressive blogosphere got behind a progressive candidate in New York City. NYC should be run by progressives, not old school democrats who we cannot tell from moderate Republicans, who we would rather have a conversation with - say Bloomberg than Sheldon Silver. It is ridiculous. Come to the fundraiser.
My favorite endorsement that Paul has received, however is the following from the Cougars of America: We the Cougars of America would like to endorse Paul Newell for New York State Assembly. We think he's just what we need in our government, a good lookin' young, single, and bold (bald) progressive. Not only is he the Bialystock of the Bowery, Paul has the right kind of touch (caress) and nearsighted vision that will bring a wave of fresh idea to Albany. It is time for change.