Friday was my final day on the LaRocco for Senate campaign. In July, I accepted an offer to launch a new national blog for community organizers and public officials. I start that job Tuesday; I'll have more news on that next week.
Meanwhile, yes, I've needed to keep quiet on the Larry Craig issue because of my role on the LaRocco campaign - and I feel it's only decent that I continue to do so right now. I do plan to attend Craig's resignation press conference this morning and will post a diary at Daily Kos. I've also put up an open thread as a place to discuss the news and its implications.
But here's a personal update from me on the LaRocco campaign. Even before this week's events, I was (and am) convinced he has a shot. Idaho hasn't elected a Democrat to the U.S Senate since Frank Church. We are way overdue. No matter which Republican winds up running next fall, LaRocco will have the edge in several key areas: Iraq, veterans and military affairs, energy independence and the environment, and concern for Idaho's working families.
Larry LaRocco was Frank Church's protege. He worked with him for six years, crafting landmark legislation to protect Idaho's wilderness. Later, as a member of the House of Representatives, LaRocco wrote the bill to create the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area - the last bill signed into law to protect wild Idaho. He has crafted a comprehensive energy plan to help curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create good Idaho jobs.
LaRocco will also be a strong voice to end the war in Iraq and avoid future preemptive wars. As Larry says, "Do right, risk consequences." In January 1991, as a brand-new congressman from a conservative state, he voted for the Hamilton-Gephardt Amendment to pursue increased diplomacy and sanctions before we went to war in the Persian Gulf. As an Army veteran who has seen terror firsthand, he understands the threats we face today, but he will never commit troops to a war founded on false premises.
LaRocco is also committed to the strong Democratic Party principle of standing for working people. All this summer, he has been taking jobs with people all over the state - hauling garbage, shadowing a nursing home employee, making cheese, packing parachutes for smokejumpers, learning about criminal justice, baling hay, sweeping up after union carpenters, and so on. These are great campaign photo opps, to be sure. But much more importantly, they give LaRocco a chance to spend eight hours with people who share their stories about what it's like to work in a state where low wages prevail; housing, medical, and food costs are up; and where families struggle daily with huge responsibilities. When he goes to the Senate, these people will go with him. As Larry says, "This election is not about my job. It's about your job."
Although I'll soon be backing off partisan blogging to focus on small-d democracy (more on that next week), I plan to continue my efforts to elect Democrats in Idaho and build greater Dem majorities in Washington, D.C. I will be volunteering for and contributing to the LaRocco campaign, and I hope you will, too.
Update: E Pluribus Media interviewed Larry at the YearlyKos convention in Chicago and just posted the podcast today.