I chatted with a nice young staffer who was there with Ed, about a story that unfolded in the district early this year, which Ed was directly involved in. I think I posted about it at the time. The Bush administration, in response to criticism about ties to the oil industry and price run-ups, staged a photo op at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Thing is, they'd had to scramble to rehire a bunch of the staff there, because they'd had layoffs thanks to a budget cut of $28M, of which they restored $5M when Dubya decided he wanted to make himself look a little greener. ("Just a mixup!" said the GOP, "We didn't mean to cut research into tech that would create competition for our oil buddies!") Ed had good reason to take this personally -- he's a trustee of the independent foundation that runs the lab. He also discussed his daughter's epilepsy, which makes the stem cell veto very personal to him. All in all, one of the more impressive candidates I've met. And, when you've got solid backing from everyone from the establishment DCCC types, all the way over to the Kossacks, you're doing something right.
There was a brief Q/A, which discussed the minimum wage (CO apparently has a ballot measure to raise it, which is polling well, and hurting the Republican candidate), free trade issues, Wal-Mart (apparently their prototype green SuperCenter is in Ed's district, so he gave them some praise as well as criticism), and illegal immigration (which seems to be losing traction in CO, because Tom Tancredo's starting to sound like a broken record).
There was a lot of discussion -- from Nancy, as well as Adam Smith (WA-09), and Ed -- about the fact that the media reporting about disagreements over funding and messaging is just silly. We're all basically on the same page about what we want to do -- energy independence, a clean environment, affordable healthcare for all, lobbying and ethics reform, strengthened sunshine rules for executive agencies and Congressional committees, shoring up the pension and Social Security system... The House Dem caucus has half a dozen bills sitting on a shelf, ready to pass in the first four days of the next session, should we win the majority. The GOP, on the other hand, is fractured and bereft of ideas -- immigration, the war, stem cells... And where they do have a position, the American people are consistently on our side.
I also met another PYD, who had been an intern for Rep Smith when she was in college up in his district.
On the downside, on my way home, I started feeling light-headed and feverish, so I'm just going to poke my mail to see if there's anything critical, and then turn in early. I hope I haven't inadvertently passed on a bug. :-(
ETA: Wow. First Arnie admitted he has no plan to balance the budget, now he says he thinks our college and university fees are too low. That's just extra-special. Welcome to Planet Republican, where black is white and white is black and people get run over at zebra crossings on a daily basis. Wanna send the gubernator a reality check?
Schwarzenegger's comments came during a campaign event in Sacramento Wednesday in which he was officially endorsed by several taxpayer groups. Schwarzenegger was asked why he raised college tuition fees during his first two years in office, rather than raising taxes on wealthier Californians.
"Everyone had to contribute. This is very clear," Schwarzenegger said. "But the college tuition fees were too low, in comparison to the rest of the country. So we raised it up a little bit."
California college fees rose dramatically in recent years. Fees at the University of California nearly doubled, rising from $3,859 a year in 2001 to $6,802 for undergraduates entering the system this fall.