Archive for 2006

Time’s Ticking

Monday, November 20th, 2006

There are only a few weeks for the lame duck session, and time is running out to get the FAIR act voted on in this Congress. If you haven’t taken action yet, go to DC Vote to send a letter to your member of Congress.

If it doesn’t happen in this Congress, hopefully we’ll get it done in the Democratic House and Senate next year.

Here’s a related article on what Pelosi is thinking:

Pelosi Affirms Support of Full D.C. Voting Rights

The Post Says I Won

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

And by a big margin.

D.C. Shadow U.S. Representative
Candidate Votes %
Mike Panetta 76,528 78%
Keith Ware 12,533 13%
Nelson Rimensnyder 8,740 9%

Yes, it’s good to be Democrat today! I’d like to thank all the people who ran for this office. It’s an unpaid, no-glory, bottom of the ballot sort of job and I think Jim Bubar, John Forster, Keith Ware, and Nelson Rimensynder all would have made significant contributions to the office and I plan on calling all of them for advice.

Thanks to all my friends and family who helped with the campaign. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Don’t Forget to Vote Tomorrow

Monday, November 6th, 2006

With all the hoopla during the September primary, it’s easy to forget about the general election. I have two candidates running against me tomorrow, and I don’t take it for granted that I’ll win just because I’m on the ballot as a Democrat.

Please make the time to vote tomorrow in the District. We may not have the nail-biter races that Maryland and Virginia have, but if we are asking for a vote on the Hill, we should show that we take our democratic process seriously with a high turn out.

You can find out where to vote in the District, by clicking below:

DC Vote on Fox News

Friday, November 3rd, 2006
DC Vote on Fox

The fight for a vote for DC was taken to the national news today. Early this morning DC Vote’s Ilir Zherka and Stefan Nicholas spoke about the future of the DC Voting Rights Act on nationally televised Fox & Friends.You can watch it by clicking here

Profile Article in Roll Call

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Below is a nice article about me in Roll Call. It’s great that the paper is covering this race and they did a story on the other candidates as well.


Innovative Activist Turns Focus to Shadow Rep. Post
October 26, 2006
By Tom Gottlieb,
Roll Call Staff

Picture (Metafile)

This is the second in a series of profiles of the candidates for D.C. shadow representative.
Mike Panetta thoroughly thumped James Bubar in Washington, D.C.’s Sept. 12 primary. So naturally, a few weeks later when Panetta ran into Bubar in line at a local movie theater, Bubar introduced him to his wife and daughter, jokingly, in the following manner: “This is the guy who beat me!”

This is only one of many stories Panetta told when he sat down with Roll Call on Monday that showcase the difference between running for D.C. Shadow Representative and running for a voting seat in Congress, and the stark reality that separates the voteless residents of the District from their fully represented brethren nationwide.

“I’m not going into this thinking I can be a junior Congressman,” the Democratic nominee said. “The title’s U.S. Representative, but I don’t have any delusions of grandeur.”

But, then again, that’s why he’s running in the first place. This is the first foray into the world of elective office for Panetta, a longtime political junkie with a knack for innovative activism. Remember the campaign in 2005 to rename Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium as Taxation Without Representation Field? That was him. His most recent ploy to nationalize the fight for D.C. voting rights was a headline grabber, too: the D.C. Olympic team, specifically, a curling team.

It was a great tactic for selling himself during the early stages of the campaign while he was in search of 2,000 signatures to get his name on the ballot, Panetta said especially since the Shadow Representative post isn’t necessarily a recognizable one for many residents.

“I’d say, ‘I’m running for Shadow Representative,’ and they’d say, ‘Oh, well I support [Del.] Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.),’” Panetta recalled. “And I’d tell them I’m not running for that, it’s different than that. I’ve done some great things on the issue already. … I started a campaign earlier this year to get D.C. its own Olympic team. And a lot of people would stop and say, ‘The curling team? Oh, I love that story!’ and then they would sign. That’s when I knew that I was on to something.”

Panetta will face Republican Nelson Rimensnyder and Statehood Green Party candidate Keith Ware on Nov. 7.
Currently the director of public affairs for Grassroots Enterprise, an advocacy group specializing in the utilization of the Internet to shape public opinion, Panetta already has a plan in place if he wins the election. Foremost on that list is the creation of a 527 group to raise money for independent expenditures regarding D.C. voting rights, since the Shadow Representative position is unpaid and the District government is barred by the Home Rule Act of 1973 from spending money to lobby for voting rights.

Panetta said of the 527 group: “There are avenues to [raise money for lobbying], and I don’t think that’s been explored enough in District politics.”

For the 527 to work, however, Panetta said the D.C. Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act of 2006, co-sponsored by Norton and Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), has to come up for a vote ideally, either before the end of the 109th Congress or early in the 110th Congress. A vote, Panetta said, would show District residents “who their friends are and who their enemies are” and allow the 527 to set up ads similar in style to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads attacking presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004.

“Whatever ads we do, they don’t have to be about District voting rights; they can be about whatever they’re vulnerable on,” Panetta said. “Let’s support the challengers, let’s go after the incumbents that are blocking us having a vote in Congress.”

The approach is slightly different from that of current Shadow Rep. Ray Browne (D), who travels around the country and drums up support for D.C. voting rights more by pressing the flesh. Panetta’s plan would be focused on an online campaign, pounding home the issue with progressive bloggers nationwide and local activist groups.

And that’s where Panetta believes his job history will benefit him greatly. Once (and still, to a certain degree) able to call himself a “Web guy,” Panetta has plenty of online experience, certainly an asset in the burgeoning world of Web-driven politics: He worked on creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development Web site in the mid-1990s, started as a grass-roots get-out-the-vote Web site (it since has morphed into a blog) and helped with voter outreach for 20/20 Vision in the early 1990s using primitive FileMaker Pro databases.

As for setting up a 527? No problem. Panetta started X-PAC, the political action committee for Generation X, in 1996 with his then-roommate in the basement of their Adams Morgan rowhouse. Folded after the 2000 elections, Panetta said the PAC’s focus was Social Security reform.

Though he has very little experience on Capitol Hill he interned for then-Rep. Sam Gejdenson (R-Conn.) in 1994 Panetta believes his other experience will help provide a fresh course of action for the Shadow Representative post.

“It’s what you want to do with it,” Panetta said of the Shadow Representative. “What he did traveling, I think I can more than make up for with outreach to blogs and online.”

Also keeping Panetta grounded close to home is the birth of his first child, Sylvia Corinne, on Oct. 13 Friday, Oct. 13, that is. Asked if that worried him at all, Panetta jokingly answered, “The only thing I worry about is that she’ll grow up to be one of those goth kids.”

As for whether that date will prove a bad omen for his election chances, Panetta should be able to breathe fairly easy about that, as well: He’s running as a Democrat in a city with a decided Democratic bent.

But that didn’t stop Panetta from questioning his bid once or twice. He recalled a depressingly hot day in June when he was standing in front of a Safeway, 1,200 signatures from the finish line, drenched and just wanting to go home. But his wife turned him around with a pep talk, he continued onward, and he feels he has emerged on the other side a better candidate for it.

“This is Retail Politics 101; standing in front of the local Safeway, meeting people,” Panetta said. “I do so much online stuff, and you couldn’t get signatures online. So this experience has been great.”

Does he have aspirations for higher office, then, if he were to emerge victorious Nov. 7 and his push for D.C. voting rights were successful?

“I don’t know. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” Panetta said. “I’m not plotting it as a stepping stone. I’ll try it and if I like it, we’ll see where it goes.”

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