David Moon - Progressive Democrat for MD House
MD-HD20 in MD http://www.davidmoon.us
30 Ritchie Ave
Silver Spring, MD
Primary Election Date: 2014-06-24 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
I serve as the program director of Demand Progress, a 1.8 million member civil liberties organization, and I edit the widely read progressive state politics blog Maryland Juice. But these are just my latest efforts to project and amplify a political voice for the progressive community.
I've spent the last decade working as a grassroots organizer, social justice advocate and campaign manager for progressive candidates. My theory of change includes a belief that to be effective, organizers should use any and all avenues available to move the needle on tough issues. That's why I've worked on progressive causes through ballot measures, legal action, online mobilization, legislative advocacy, and elections. My vision for change has been formed through work with the ACLU, Now Legal Defense and Education Fund, CASA de Maryland, Innocence Project, local smart growth advocacy and much more.
As difficult issues have emerged in state and local politics, advocacy groups and candidates have called on me to help advance their causes during key moments in the public dialogue. In 2012, I mobilized thousands of Latino voters for CASA de Maryland, when Republicans subjected the state's Dream Act to a referendum. When former GOP Governor Bob Ehrlich sought to unseat Governor Martin O'Malley in 2010, the Maryland Democrats brought me in to manage Montgomery County's GOTV effort, and O'Malley stopped Republicans from regaining control. In 2008, smart growth advocates and environmentalists drafted me to build grassroots support for a contested light rail project, after years of disproportionate funding for highway and sprawl projects. The Purple Line is now one of the state's top transportation priorities, enjoying broad support from Maryland Democrats. These are just a few examples of my passion for taking on difficult challenges in the state.
Last year, the Center Maryland news site named me an "Annapolis Legislative Session Winner" for my efforts to keep progressives informed about high profile legislation including death penalty repeal, corporate welfare, and marijuana reform. Their commentary noted, "[David Moon] kept Montgomery County legislators honest – maybe nervous is a better word – with his diatribes. His decision to publish roll call votes on controversial measures was also invaluable – especially his list of moderate Democrats and how they lined up on high-profile liberal bills."
In 2009, the Maryland Politics Watch blog ranked me the #1 "Political Young Gun" in liberal Montgomery County: "David is not a showman or an extrovert but a methodical and inexhaustible analyst, conceptual thinker and workhorse.... Behind the scenes, he is orchestrating a significant amount of Montgomery County’s progressive politics.... David is incredibly smart and very progressive on the issues.... His successes include the Jamie Raskin campaign, the successful efforts to mobilize supporters of the Purple Line, and a win for Nancy Navarro in 2009...."
I currently live in Takoma Park (the heart of Maryland's progressive politics) with my wife Melinda.
Why am I running?
For years I've helped progressive organizations and candidates with their legislative and electoral campaigns. But in recent years, it has become clear that Democratic Primary voters in Maryland are among the most liberal in the nation. Much of that shift comes from my community in Montgomery County. The overwhelming voter support for marriage equality and Dream Act in recent referenda helped verify this fact. But more recent debates around transgender rights, progressive tax policy, and criminal justice reform make clear that some policymakers are still playing catch-up to the voters on numerous social justice issues. Over the last few years, I started noticing I was spending countless hours trying to push Democratic lawmakers to "do the right thing" on issues where there appeared to be no political downside. As a result, I came to the conclusion that Maryland needed new voices on the inside, to help push the progressive agenda and supplement the work of the activists working outside the system.
Maryland has a part-time "citizen legislature," and I believe that grassroots organizers who would be the most likely to prioritize justice issues, are severely under-represented in the State House of Delegates. I'm running not only to give voice to the numerous issue advocates, organizations, and grassroots organizers I've worked with in the past, but also to demystify the election process and encourage other honest progressives to seek public office.
In short, I want to serve as a positive force to help translate the efforts of grassroots organizers and policy advocates into positive outcomes in Annapolis, and to help grow our bench. And though I hate to state the obvious, I think progressives do best when we see our various issues and obstacles as connected. Hence, lawmakers who are quicker to understand the failure of the War on Drugs and the cruelties of the death penalty are also more likely to be with us on a range of contested progressive issues. Working in coalition with progressive lawmakers and advocates across issues, I believe we can build synergy and support for a broader social justice movement.
Given the significant progress we are witnessing in Maryland, I believe justice-oriented candidates can be bold and push the state to be a leader in developing next-generation policies to move the needle -- especially on economic justice issues. But in order for us to get there, we need candidates to seek office who are committed to the cause, rather than personal advancement. That, in short, is why I am running.
I have three key policy goals that are designed to build political infrastructure for progressive causes and candidates, and all three relate to broader movement-building for justice issues in Maryland:
1) LAUNCH A PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE - Maryland's state legislature does not have a progressive caucus, and I intend to help launch one. Democrats control all branches of government in Maryland, making it sometimes difficult to discern differences between candidates. As a result, "blue dogs" have formed a legislative caucus in Maryland, but there is no parallel "progressive caucus." In neighboring Virginia, elected officials launched a progressive caucus, and nearly all Democrats representing the DC suburbs have joined the organization. Doing the same in Maryland will help whip votes for progressive legislation, but more importantly, with high turnover and aging members, it seems plausible that some leadership figures may retire in coming years. A progressive caucus has the potential to defuse infighting in advance of any such transition, to ensure that progressives are poised to unite behind their own. If the caucus establishes itself, I would hope that it could also attempt to build an arm to help defend and elect progressives to state office.
2) BAN CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE CANDIDATES AND IMPLEMENT PUBLIC FINANCING - In the era of Citizens United, 22 states have banned corporate contributions to candidates. Maryland is not one of them, despite being a progressive state controlled by Democrats. Just like with Democrats nationally, Maryland progressives face a constant struggle over corporate and industry influence on policymaking. While banning corporate money won't be a silver bullet for this problem, it will give the grassroots an opportunity to rally around positive local reform, even while the federal courts continue undermining the public interest.
Meanwhile, I am keen to help move Maryland toward public financing of state elections. The legislature recently approved a law allowing my home jurisdiction of Montgomery County to implement a clean elections system, and Councilmembers appeared poised to pass the effort. As Montgomery sets up a public finance system, we should build pressure for Maryland to follow suit.
3) PRIORITIZE ECONOMIC JUSTICE, WHILE FIGHTING CORPORATE WELFARE AND REGRESSIVE TAXATION - While Maryland Democrats are increasingly signing off on social justice initiatives (eg: marriage equality, death penalty repeal and the Dream Act), there is still great hesitation over economic justice initiatives. In recent legislative sessions, efforts to raise the minimum wage and implement paid sick leave have stalled. At the same time, Maryland approved tax cuts for defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, as well as for millionaires and yacht owners. Fighting for economic justice and against trickle-down economics will require vigilance and constant communication with advocates. If we can shift this dialogue, we can make Maryland a national leader in establishing a living wage, paid sick leave, paid parental leave, single-payer health care, and ultimately universal child care.
My DFA Values
In my view, the best way for a candidate to align behind DFA's values on community, security and liberty is to speak truth to power and try to see political campaigns as key methods to engage the public in a transformative dialogue. In districts like mine, where this can be done with zero political penalty, there is a moral imperative to do so. It's now or never to be the change.
DFA's values are aligned squarely with my campaign. Since launching, I've been unafraid to publicly support issues where some Democrats have been hesitant. These include taking stands against the failed War on Drugs, mass surveillance, immigrant scapegoating, and the military industrial complex. I've been particularly critical of the fact that during the Bush era, Democrats consistently railed against the Patriot Act and civil liberties violations, while those issues have been swept under the rug in recent years. It is the "tough" issues that I have flagged first, rather than running a vague and generic campaign on uncontroversial issues.
My campaign, has in many way served as another issue advocacy strategy, as I decided long ago to use my candidacy as a vehicle to promote ignored justice issues. That's probably the most direct way possible for me to embody DFA's values. I'm also attempting to bring new energy to age-old policy goals like women's pay equity and reforming the criminal justice system.
Lastly, I've chosen to put my money where my mouth is, and I'm refusing to accept corporate contributions.
My Campaign is People Powered!
My campaign has been built off of the progressive grassroots. Since the beginning, my platform has included issues that are responsive to recent legislative failures in Maryland, especially those that had support from progressive advocates. Some items of note include my support for ending Maryland's participation in the so-called "War on Drugs," stopping fracking from coming to our state, and fighting for transgender nondiscrimination. On these and other issues, there has been significant Democratic hesitation to do the right thing.
Speaking out on these contested issues has been a core part of my campaign message, not just because I'm running a justice-oriented campaign, but because the early supporters I recruited into my effort are the very advocates who are passionate for reform. When I launched my campaign, I immediately reached out to and earned support from the leaders of groups working on LGBT rights, anti-war activism, smart growth, immigration reform, civil liberties, and much more. In short, the progressive grassroots have been and continue to form the backbone of my campaign. They've provided thousands of dollars in small contributions, and they've knocked on hundreds of doors to help me build a grassroots base. Progressives have essentially bought me political independence from corporations.
To build on this network of support from activists and the party base, I will continue highlighting ignored justice issues in my agenda and vision. I'm also working to engage grassroots leaders in my field outreach and to assist in deploying my message to their constituencies. I hope to continue using the political process and this campaign to give a voice to advocates.