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North Coast congressional candidates on same page

EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch the North Coast congressional candidates square off in their second debate tonight. Live video coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Watch Sonoma County. Click here for more info.

Susan Adams


Five Democrats seeking to represent the North Coast in Congress agreed on the big issues — war, jobs, health care, marriage equality, supporting a commuter rail project, protecting the environment and defending organized labor — at a forum Tuesday night in Petaluma.

“There are many good Democrats in this race. You’re not going to hear a lot of differences,” said candidate Susan Adams, a Marin County supervisor, at the close of the 90-minute forum in the Petaluma City Council chambers.

Jared Huffman

Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson, Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee and Marin activist Norman Solomon also participated in the forum, sponsored by the Sonoma County Young Democrats.

The five are competing in a wide-open race for the congressional seat representing a district stretching from Marin County to the Oregon border, excluding Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s announced retirement in 2012 created an open race for the first time in 20 years.

Republican Dan Roberts, a prospective candidate, was not invited because the forum is part of the Young Democrats’ process of selecting a candidate to endorse, said Gabe Kearney, chairman of the group and forum moderator. Roberts and the five Democrats are scheduled to participate in a second debate Wednesday night staged by California North Coast Media.

Stacey Lawson

Four of the Democrats endorsed the Obama health care bill, with Huffman, Adams, Lawson and Renee saying they would go a step further by pushing for a single-payer system in which the government pays for all medical care.

Solomon criticized the law for leaving hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry at the center of the health care system.

All five said they opposed capital punishment, citing the cost and constitutional issues. Renee, who said her father was murdered when she was 16, said that execution “does not bring the justice people are truly seeking.”

Tiffany Renee

All five agreed on the principle of marriage equality, with Adams saying it is a personal matter for her as the mother of a lesbian.

And they were unanimous in saying they would seek federal funds for the SMART commute rail system now in the development stage.

Kearney asked the candidates to describe the first bill they would introduce as freshman members of Congress.

– Renee said she would create economic stimulus by lowering the interest rate on federal student loans.

– Huffman said he would pursue Woolsey’s goal, if unmet next year, for expanding two marine sanctuaries off the North Coast.

Norman Solomon

– Solomon said he would drastically cut military spending and propose a transaction tax on Wall Street.

– Adams said she would bring U.S. troops back from the Middle East and promote clean energy.

– Lawson said she would focus on the economy with investment in infrastructure to create jobs and changes to the banking industry.

Asked what House committee they would want to serve on, Lawson picked commerce to address economic development; Renee would opt for space and technology to serve the North Bay tech sector; and Huffman said he’d like to sit on and eventually chair natural resources.

Solomon said he would like a seat on the energy committee to push green energy; Adams said that freshman members of Congress seldom get their choice, but she would like a health committee seat.

17 Responses to “North Coast congressional candidates on same page”

  1. We were happy to have had all the declared candidates (including an additional Democrat and Republican) appear at our event on October 5th – the video is now posted, enjoy!:


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  2. Kay Tokerud says:

    Those with opposing viewpoints are not allowed. The five socialists, I mean progressives, are afraid to debate a free-market conservative candidate. Just like on this site, their arguments are weak or non-existent. It’s not enough for Smart to just raid local and state transportation funds for the unnecessary train, but they want to raid the federal transportation funds too. What part of national debt explosion do they not get? The Young Democrats are the result of our failed educational system, I mean indoctrination training, whereby they are repeating the rhetoric of the new socialists/communitarians that they are being fed. Hey, it’s not working and they are not working. Unless a real American Democrat steps up, then the Republican is the best alternative to this bunch of progressives.

    The Democratic Socialist Party of America claims to be the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

    Their mantra, sustainability, is supposed to mean ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ is being violated every time they borrow against our future taxes. The Smart train is the antithesis of sustainability as are all of the other progressive priorities. Burdening future generations with the debt of the present boondoggles is indefensible. All aboard!

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  3. Jim says:

    My post on September 29, before this debate…

    >>>I can answer all the questions right now. “We need to invest in green technology”, “end dependence on foreign oil”, “reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, “raise taxes on the rich to pay for more police, firemen and teachers”, “invest in our future by spending more money on education”, “raise taxes to fix roads”.<<<

    I would have held my own in that debate, and my post was well before it happened. This is what I'm talking about. The same thing over and over.

    Einstein once said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". I think the only logical conclusion is that California Sheeple voters are insane.

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  4. Jim says:

    So these Democrats agreed on the “big issues”…war, jobs, health care, marriage equality, supporting a commuter rail project, protecting the environment and defending organized labor.” Shocking.

    “War”…assume it is the same ‘end the wars’ position Obama ran on. He’s doing a great job ‘ending them’.

    “Jobs”…probably the same ‘stimulus’ Obama pushed, which only kicked the can down the road by paying for union jobs for a year.

    “Healthcare”…forcing free people to buy an insurance product whether they want it or not. Simple redistribution of wealth.

    “Marriage equality”…the same ‘equality’ that failed in every election that has ever put it to a vote? Guess the citizens don’t matter. Heck, a Democrat in NC recently said election should be ended anyway.

    “Commuter rail”…we all know this one. A massive waste of taxpayer money, just like high speed rail. They support SMART, the people want to repeal SMART.

    “Protecting the environment”…this is merely lip service by the left. A way to control businesses through regulation, which costs CA businesses $500 Billion/year. Yep, a great way to stimulate the economy.

    “Defending organized labor”…supporting the unions that control the Democrat party.

    The Sheeple get exactly what they deserve from these. They are all the same. The same talking points. The same “ideas”. Nothing ever changes.

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  5. Solomon Hates "Militarists" says:

    Norman Solomon doesn’t just disrespect people in the military, he has labeled Democrats who have run for President in recent elections “militarists” and made it a factor in his decision not to endorse them or vote for them. It’s important to him. And guess what? That works both ways. Registered voters who are veterans can find allies in several of the other candidates who do respect the sacrifice and courage of veterans and active duty service members.

    In 2004 Solomon did not vote for or endorse the Democratic nominee John Kerry in part because Kerry was a veteran and Solomon considers him a “militarist”. He made that very clear in his writing published in 2002 and 2004 (See links below)




    So the knee jerk Solomon supporters here who employ the term “swiftboat” couldn’t be more off base. In 2004 their candidate Solomon was the holier than thou leftist apparently registered to vote with the Green Party who became a judgmental critic of Senator Kerry’s service. Kerry was criticized from both the far left and right on the most unlikely basis: his military service.

    It was a similar story with Al Gore. Al Gore is also an Army veteran who Solomon dismissed as a “militarist”. Solomon did not vote for or endorse Al Gore in 2000. He disclosed that himself and the information is online.

    “Victoria Ellsworth” and “Richard Anthony” protest too much and are in deep denial. Their candidate Norman Solomon has written that it is very important to have truth in labeling of candidates for office and to hold candidates accountable for their positions and statements. If there is a problem with a link below just use Google. Solomon’s record is widely available on the internet but his supporters will have difficulty finding information and translating it too. They’ll be making excuses and acting like true believers for the next nine months. But the truth of the matter is Solomon has mostly made Democrats the targets of his scrutiny and purity tests, so surely he can stand up to a little discussion of his own record now that he’s switched parties and is running as a Democrat for a federal office.

    “Victoria Ellsworth” and “Richard Anthony” are made up names of anonymous posters (see below) who apparently don’t know their candidate very well. But then who does? He’s never held public office. Anyone who is not on Solomon’s payroll should have no trouble understanding Norman Solomon’s message and statements are hateful and divisive. He meant them to be. I agree his words sound like something out of the ’60s because that’s where he’s stuck.


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  6. loyal long-term democrat? says:

    In tonight’s debate, Mr. Solomon stated that he is a loyal Democrat.

    But as recently as 2004, he was a registered green.


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  7. Graeme Wellington says:

    Sonoma County voters: It’s YOUR fault.

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  8. Kim says:

    All of ‘em saying the same thing and singing kum-by-ya. Where are the new ideas? There’s no real “choice” here, they’re all the same! Of course we’ll never see any differences because of the softball questions that were asked in this forum. Not one of them is worthy of my vote.

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  9. Richard Anthony says:

    Hey Norman-Hater, I haven’t heard thatold tired “hates veterans” argument since the 60′s. What are you some old anti-peacenik? I remember when anyone who fought for peace and against war was accused of being “disloyal to our troops” but you are really laying it on a little thick now aren’t you? I read your posts and they say nothing of “hating soldiers” by the way.

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  10. Victoria Ellsworth says:

    There is nothing in Solomon’s writing about hating veterans. I did read the links you posted and they talk about the violence of war. Please make an effort to be fair and not just throw mud. I guess that’s not a reasonable request given the derogatory name you have chosen to post under. People like yourself are what makes other people hate politics. I guess you are too ashamed to post under your real names when libeling a candidate. That’s telling in and of itself.

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  11. Solomon Hates Veterans says:

    @ Richard Anthony

    What Solomon says now is not always consistent with his record. His record doesn’t lie.
    Here is a list of websites that have the Solomon column on soldiers up:







    Even a Solomon supporter like you should be able to follow a link where your candidate’s record is documented. If he wants to apologize for his lack of judgment, let him do that publicly. So far he has not.

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  12. Victoria Ellsworth says:

    It was great to hear that all of the candidates were willing to work hard to bring money and resources for SMART to the district. Woolsey’s shoes will be tough to fill but at least we know that someone who supports SMART will be our representative.

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  13. Richard Anthony says:

    All of the Candidates were smart and well spoken. All were passionate about ending the war which has been such a huge waste and drain (and which many veterans support ending by the way) Norman Solomon does not hate soldiers and I have heard him speak eloquently about the need for better veterans service and good jobs for our returning soldiers. Can we leave the inflammatory lies out of the election this time? It’s a little early to start swiftboating Mr Solomon.

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  14. Anderson says:

    This lockstep agreement as California falls off a financial cliff shows their collective lack of understanding coupled with a self-serving interest to spew what the Dem voters want to hear.

    How about addressing the HUGE pension and benefits problem, a situation where people found they could vote themselves easy access to the Treasury, so they did without considering the consequences to society and localities in whole.

    As financial journalist Michael Lewis writes in Vanity Fair magazine: “Alone in a dark room with a pile of money, Americans knew exactly what they wanted to do, from the top of the society to the bottom. They’d been conditioned to grab as much as they could, without thinking about the long-term consequences. Afterward, the people on Wall Street would privately bemoan the low morals of the American people who walked away from their subprime loans, and the American people would express outrage at the Wall Street people who paid themselves a fortune to design the bad loans.”

    This group has no answers, just the same old BS. And, like bankrupt Vallejo, California slips closer to the edge each day.

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  15. Solomon Hates Soldiers says:

    Solomon wants to cut military spending in half because he has a personal problem with veterans and the people serving in the military. He was 18 in 1969. How come he did not serve in the military? Afterall, there was a draft at the time. Did he even register? He’s not saying.

    Instead of serving, Solomon has a record of attacking soldiers on active duty even comparing them to serial killers who shoot up classrooms. He has a record of stating soldiers get “undue respect,” should not be considered heroes, and even suggests instead our service men and women should get “moral condemnation”(See the link below)


    Here is an excerpt:

    “So, why is the ghastly war effort continuing unabated? A big factor is the undue respect that’s reserved for American warriors in American society.”

    And another:

    “The president’s war policies may come under withering media fire, but the daily activities of the U.S. armed forces are subjected to scant moral condemnation. Yet, under orders from the top, they routinely continue to inflict – or serve as a catalyst for – violence far more extensive than the shooting sprees that turned a placid Virginia campus into a slaughterhouse.”

    And another:

    “We often read, see and hear explicit media commendations that praise as heroic the Americans in uniform who are trying to kill, and to avoid being killed, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    But the media baseline is to glorify the U.S. military – yesterday, today and tomorrow – bringing so much bloodshed to Iraq.”

    Those are Congressional Candidate Norman Solomon’s published words. So if Solomon disrespects those who wear the uniform of the United States, how can he represent and serve the needs of the sizable population of veterans and their families who live on the North Coast? We live in a free country, thanks in part to our soldiers, so an individual like Solomon can say anything he wants but why would any veteran vote for him?

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  16. Frank says:

    makes it easy on who to vote for, since all 5 Ds are on the same page

    – Huffman said he would pursue Woolsey’s goal, if unmet next year, for expanding two marine sanctuaries off the North Coast. meaning more Lawson’s Landing evictions
    – Renee said she would create economic stimulus by lowering the interest rate on federal student loans. My ribs hurt from this one
    - Solomon said he would drastically cut military spending and propose a transaction tax on Wall Street.
    less protective gear for the men and women who serve, more taxes on your investments
    -Lawson said she would focus on the economy with investment in infrastructure to create jobs and changes to the banking industry
    serve the unions and cause more fees for the customer anybody read on bankamerica

    that hope and change workin fer ya

    somoma county
    54% register dems
    21% register rep
    rest undecided

    Republican Dan Roberts,

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  17. Money Grubber says:

    So, uh, I wonder if the candidates would agree on the rail project if the voters vote it down at the likely upcoming election?

    Or, would they arrogantly behave like all the politicians who do as they please once they get the job?

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