Archive of Messages to Supporters  

April 13, 2011

Statement of Deborah A. Vollmer

Candidate for Town Council, Town of Chevy Chase

            I am Deborah A. Vollmer, a candidate for the Town council, for the Town of Chevy Chase.  I was born on January 15, 1948, and grew up with my parents and my older sister, Susan, in the house I still call home. My father, Erwin Vollmer, an endocrinologist working at Naval Medical and then at NIH, was an early advocate for the inclusion of our neighborhood in the Town.  My mother was an artist, Aline Fruhauf Vollmer.  As a child, I attended Chevy Chase Elementary School, Leland Junior High School, and B-CC. 

             After graduating from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1966, I attended and graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in Government, which I received in 1970.  Then I attended the University of Maryland School of Law, obtaining my J.D. in 1973.  Then I moved to California, where I worked as an attorney for the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO.  After that I worked for a legal aid office in Bakersfield, California, and after that I went into sole practice which consisted primarily of court appointed criminal cases, representing low-income clients.

             In 1997, I moved back to my childhood home, to stay with my father who passed away in 2004, at the age of 98.  I have continued to live in our family home.  I have been active working on issues concerning peace and social justice.  In past years, I served as a Board member of the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Coalition. More recently, I served for a year on the Town’s Land Use Committee. I have testified numerous times at various hearings in support of preserving the Georgetown Branch, Capital Crescent Trail, and in opposition to putting a light rail train on the surface of the Trail. Our Trail is a linear park with precious trees and greenspace, an oasis that we desperately need to hold on to, as Bethesda continues to become more and more developed.

             I believe that our current building ordinance is not adequate to protect residents from the negative environmental impacts of teardowns and new construction.  For all of the hard work that went into the FAR, I believe that it fails to protect our Town’s character from the ravages of excessive development.   I have some specific suggestions for strengthening the building code, and I look forward to sharing these ideas with Town residents.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

May 6, 2009

Re: Town Council Election in the Town of Chevy Chase: Some Post-Election Thoughts

Friends,

I would like to thank everyone who voted for me in the Town Council election.  Although I was not elected to the Town Council, I found the experience of campaigning, of getting out and meeting so many Town residents, and getting out some of the issues that I feel are truly important on the table, to have been valuable.

I congratulate Linna Barnes and Pat Burda, the winners.  Pat Burda received the second of my two votes, and I think that she will be an asset to the Council.  In her work on Town committees, Pat has worked long and hard on many of the same issues that I am concerned about.  And Linna has a long record of service to the Town.  I would also like to thank the Town Election Board, and the League of Women Voters, Channel 16 MMC-T.V., the Town staff, and the tireless moderators of the Townneighbors listserv, Ann and Susan, for making this one of my best election experiences ever, notwithstanding my failure to win a seat on the Council.  As many of you know, I have run before for higher office.  But never have I felt that I had such an opportunity to get my ideas out on the table before the electorate, with a lot of hard work, true, but with minimal expense.  I was able to get my ideas for change out there, without having to resort to fundraising!

I will continue to keep on pushing some of the issues that I raised in my campaign for Town Council, whether this be within the Town committee structure, or from the outside, as a citizen activist.  I remain convinced that our building code, while well intentioned, falls short of what it should be.  I remain convinced that if we wait a few years to see how things go before thinking about changing it, as was suggested by some candidates, we will lose most, if not all, of our lovely, well-built, older homes in this Town, as well as parts of our tree canopy.  I hope that the Town Council will still consider amending the building code to strengthen its protections for homeowners impacted by construction projects in our Town, especially to those homeowners next to contemplated construction sites.  I would like to see the subject of historic designation within the Town revisited.

Another issue that I raised in the Town Council election campaign was the issue of whether we should expand voting rights within this Town to legal resident non-U.S. citizens.  I have neighbors who have lived in their own house for about fourteen years, who pay property taxes, and who are impacted by decisions made by our Town government.  But they cannot vote in Town elections, because they are not American citizens, but French.  And as I walked through our Town during the campaign, I met quite a few others either in this same situation, or having someone close to them who was.  Takoma Park has made this reform to local voting eligibility requirements, and I believe we should do the same.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

VOTE Tuesday, May 5, 2009,
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Hall, Town Council election!
For special Election Day message, click here.

April 29, 2009

For now, a shift in focus:  I am running to be on the Town Council for the Town of Chevy Chase --

Friends,

For those of you who have been following this website during my previous campaign for the 8th Congressional District seat, a brief word of explanation.  I will continue to use this website to express my views on issues pertaining to war and peace, social justice, and the environment.  But for just the next few weeks, this website will have a new and different, and more local, focus. In the spirit of thinking globally, but acting locally, I am currently running for a seat on the Town Council for the Town of Chevy Chase, in the State of Maryland.

To those of you who are seeking to know my views and qualifications to be on the Town Council for the Town of Chevy Chase, you have come to the right place.  Please click here, to see my Candidate’s Statement that I prepared for my campaign for the Town Council position.  This statement is also available, along with the statements of the other candidates running, on the website of the Town of Chevy Chase, at http://www.townofchevychase.org.

For a more comprehensive view of my campaign platform, please click here.  For the letter that I wrote to Town Residents that has been posted on the Town listserv, the Towncrier, please click here.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

For now, a shift in focus:  I am running to be on the Town Council for the Town of Chevy Chase --

April 27, 2009

Friends,

For those of you who have been following this website during my previous campaign for the 8th Congressional District seat, a brief word of explanation.  I will continue to use this website to express my views on issues pertaining to war and peace, social justice, and the environment.  But for just the next few weeks, this website will have a new and different, and more local, focus. In the spirit of thinking globally, but acting locally, I am currently running for a seat on the Town Council for the Town of Chevy Chase, in the State of Maryland.

To those of you who are seeking to know my views and qualifications to be on the Town Council for the Town of Chevy Chase, you have come to the right place.  Please click here, to see my Candidate’s Statement that I prepared for my campaign for the Town Council position.  This statement is also available, along with the statements of the other candidates running, on the website of the Town of Chevy Chase, at http://www.townofchevychase.org.

For a more comprehensive view of my campaign platform, please click here.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

November 7, 2008

From the Vollmer for Congress Write-In Campaign:
With the Election Now Behind Us, Some Thoughts--

Friends,

           Election Day has come and gone, and I would like to thank those of you who voted for me.   For anyone wondering how we did in terms of actual votes, the answer is that we really don’t know yet!  Write-in votes will be the very last votes to be tallied, and although this may be a bit frustrating, it is not without good reason.  Whether cast on Tuesday on a touch screen voting machine, or cast on paper as an absentee ballot, every write-in vote must be looked at by actual human beings before being counted!  That is because the law pertaining to official write-in candidates is that, when reviewing misspelled names and the like, the intention of the voter in casting the vote is what governs.  No machine can look at these votes, and determine the intent; it takes the eye and the mind of a human being to do this. It may be a week or two before we know just how well the Vollmer for Congress Write-in campaign did, in terms of votes.

But this campaign was never just about vote totals.  I knew when I decided to run as a write-in candidate that there are many obstacles to running this kind of a campaign.  This campaign was just as much about providing a platform to get out and speak to voters about the issues—especially highlighting incumbent Congressman Van Hollen’s mixed voting record on Iraq War funding—and his refusal to take a leadership position within the House of Representatives to end this war, and bring the troops home! 

Over the past months, I have spoken to voters one on one, at such places as the Bethesda and Grosvenor  Metro Stations, in the Town of Chevy Chase, in Garrett Park, on the streets of Takoma Park, and in other parts of Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.  Everywhere I have gone to meet and speak to voters, I  have met folks who agree with the primary message of this campaign—that we must keep up the pressure on Congress to stop funding the tragic and shameful war and occupation of Iraq, and bring the troops home!  The voters have had enough of seeing Americans come home in body bags, and seeing others come home maimed terribly in body, mind and spirit.  The war and occupation has also exerted a terrible toll on the Iraqi people, and their infrastructure.  It is time to put an end to this war, end the funding for it, and bring our troops home! 

Every time I talked to a voter, whether or not that voter told me that he or she intended to vote for me, I saw that contact as being in some measure successful, if the voter agreed with me on this issue, and agreed that we must continue to speak out, if we are to end this terrible war!

Chris Van Hollen will serve as our representative in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District for another term.  He should pay attention to the folks who cast their write-in votes for me, and to the folks who voted for Green Party candidate Gordon Clark, who also ran a good campaign, with a strong peace message.  And Mr. Van Hollen should also pay attention to those folks who, while voting for him to continue representing them in Congress, nonetheless believe that he needs to take a strong position on ending this war!  I urge everyone reading this message—whether you voted for me, for Mr. Van Hollen, or for one of the other candidates—to contact Mr. Van Hollen, and tell him that he should work to end all Congressional funding for the War in Iraq, and take leadership in bringing the troops home—and also that he should oppose all efforts for wider war with Afghanistan, Iran, and other nations.

This message would be incomplete, without some mention of the historic election this past Tuesday of the first African American President with a multi-cultural background—who also happens to be a knowledgeable and inspiring leader.  I believe that Barack Obama is capable of being one of our great Presidents—something we desperately need in this time of war, and financial meltdown.  But it will not be easy for him, or for us.  Obama was never our ideal peace candidate, although he did make ending the war in Iraq an issue in his campaign.  We must hold him to it.  I find some of his appointments to be troubling.  For example, I believe that the United States should be working for a just solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and in that context, the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff is problematic.  We need to be respectful of our new President, but never let him forget that he serves us, the American people, and that our national policy should be one of strength through peace.

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress and our new President-Elect to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home. 

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

November 4, 2008

This ELECTION DAY--Send a Message to End Congressional Funding for the War in Iraq--  In the 8th Congressional District in Maryland— A Write-in Vote for Deborah Vollmer is a Vote for Peace!

Friends,

          Election Day has finally arrived.  Over the past months, I have spoken to voters one on one, at such places as the Bethesda Metro Station, in the Town of Chevy Chase, in Garrett Park, on the streets of Takoma Park, and in other parts of Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.  Everywhere I have gone to meet and speak to voters, I  have met folks who agree with the primary message of this campaign—that we must keep up the pressure on Congress to stop funding the tragic and shameful war and occupation of Iraq, and bring the troops home!  The voters have had enough of seeing Americans come home in body bags, and seeing others come home maimed terribly in body, mind and spirit.  The war and occupation has exerted a terrible toll on the Iraqi people, and their infrastructure.  It is time to put an end to this war, end the funding for it, and bring our troops home!

Many folks have already cast absentee ballots.  Others will be voting today, November 4, Election Day, at their local polling places.  Our current incumbent Congressman is taking his anticipated victory for granted.  I believe that Chris Van Hollen is a good and decent man, but he has failed to exercise his leadership to end the shameful war and occupation of Iraq.  It is primarily for this reason that I am running in this General Election as a write-in Candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

  In recent months, the looming national and international financial crisis has diverted media attention from the critical issue of Iraq War funding.  Recently, on September 24, the House of Representatives passed multiple spending bills.  Among these votes was the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009—a bill providing for some 612 billion dollars of military spending.  Included in this bill was 68.6 billion dollars to pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The vote in the House was 392 to 39.  Of the votes for the bill, 200 were Democrats.  Thirty four Democrats voted No, which is what I would have done, had I been in a position to vote on this bill.  Mr. Van Hollen voted for it—a military spending bill including some 68.6 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!   

Once again, Mr. Van Hollen has followed his predictable pattern of voting for Iraq war funding, when that is the way the majority of Democrats vote on the bill.  Enough!  We need a leader, not a follower—a representative for the 8th Congressional District who will actively work to end the war—by voting against every single budget bill, and every single appropriations bill--containing funding for the war!

          In the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, voters have a choice.  I represent one of those choices.  In the Democratic Primary last February, I received just over 11,000 votes, about 9.3% of the votes cast.  Now, in the general election, I am running as the ultimate outsider—as an official write-in candidate.  You will have to work a little harder to cast your vote for me; my name won’t be on your ballot; you will need to write in my name.  But these write-in votes for Deborah Vollmer will be counted. 

                   Finally, just a word about casting a Write-in vote, if you do decide that you want to vote for me.  Please take a look at the page on this website entitled “How do I cast a Write-In Vote for Deborah” for a detailed explanation as to how to cast a write-in vote, and also review your materials from the Board of Elections on this subject.  (Here is just a summary:   there is a way of calling up the image of a key board on the touch screen voting machine, and you type in the name, and also follow the other instructions you will be given.)  If you read the instructions on this website, and also the instructions from the Board of Elections, and you still have questions about the procedure, be sure to ask your questions when you go to vote, before casting your ballot.  Also, you can help this campaign if you check to make sure that your polling place has both the list of official write-in candidates, and the instructions for casting a write-in vote available to voters.

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home.  If our current representatives in Congress refuse to respond, then it is time to replace them with representatives who will.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

 October 28, 2008

Send a Message to End Congressional Funding for the War in Iraq--  In the 8th Congressional District in Maryland— A Write-in Vote for Deborah Vollmer is a Vote for Peace!

Friends,

          We have just about a week to go, before the General Election, to be held on November 4.  Many folks have already cast, or are getting ready to cast, absentee ballots.  It is crunch time—and our current incumbent Congressman is taking his anticipated victory for granted.  I believe that Chris Van Hollen is a good and decent man, but he has failed to exercise his leadership on a very important issue—ending the shameful war and occupation of Iraq.  It is primarily for this reason that I am running in this General Election as a write-in Candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

         The League of Women Voters, along with Friends of the Library, sponsored the first, and only candidates’ forum for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District (held October 2nd and sponsored by League of Women Voters and Friends of the Rockville Library, available for viewing online courtesy of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network).  Appearing at the forum were Bill Parsons, representing incumbent Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D), Steve Hudson (R), Gordon Clark (Green), Lih Young (Write-in), and myself (Write-in).  The forum may be seen online by clicking the link above, or you may see the schedule for viewing it on MCT Cable 21 by clicking here.  We have been having some difficulty getting a current schedule of broadcasts of the debate from Channel 21, so the information that we have on this page may not be up to date.  If you have not yet seen the debate, and want to see it on Cable Channel 21 you might want to check the website for Access Montgomery at www.accessmontgomery.tv.   If you are like me and sometimes just set aside time to relax in front of the T.V., flipping channels, check Channel 21 every once and a while.  There is another broadcast on Channel 21 you will also want to catch: individual statements of Congressional candidates, including mine.  We do have an extensive listing for scheduled rebroadcasts on the link to the page of this website entitled “See Deborah Vollmer on cable T.V.”

          Why do I spend so much time, trying to let people know about my appearances on Cable television?  Because mine is a self-funded and very low budget, issue-oriented campaign, so I have gone out of my way to accept every invitation that I have received from the cable stations to give me an opportunity to get out the message of this campaign.  I am doing very little paid advertising in this campaign, and I am not doing fundraising.  This is partly because frankly, I hate the whole process of fundraising; but running this campaign the way I am is also a part of my message.  I hope that you will take the time to try to see both the 8th Congressional District candidates debate, and the individual candidate statements on Channel 21.

Let me get back to the basic message of my campaign.  In recent months, the looming national and international financial crisis has diverted media attention from the critical issue of Iraq War funding.  Recently, on September 24, the House of Representatives passed multiple spending bills.  Among these votes was the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009—a bill providing for some 612 billion dollars of military spending.  Included in this bill was 68.6 billion dollars to pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The vote in the House was 392 to 39.  Of the votes for the bill, 200 were Democrats.  Thirty four Democrats voted No, which is what I would have done, had I been in a position to vote on this bill.  Mr. Van Hollen voted for it—a military spending bill including some 68.6 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!   

Once again, Mr. Van Hollen has followed his predictable pattern of voting for Iraq war funding, when that is the way the majority of Democrats vote on the bill.  Enough!  We need a leader, not a follower—a representative for the 8th Congressional District who will actively work to end the war—by voting against every single budget bill, and every single appropriations bill--containing funding for the war!

          In the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, voters will have a choice.  I represent one of those choices.  In the Democratic Primary, I received just over 11,000 votes, about 9.3% of the votes cast.  Now, in the general election, I am running as the ultimate outsider—as an official write-in candidate.  You will have to work a little harder to cast your vote for me; my name won’t be on your ballot; you will need to write in my name.  But these write-in votes for Deborah Vollmer will be counted. 

          As Election Day approaches, many folks are wondering whether they want to go to the polls at their local polling place on November 4, and vote on the electronic touchscreen machines, or to vote absentee.  It is my personal preference to vote on paper; despite assurances from local election officials, I am not sure that I trust the reliability and accuracy of the machines.  There is a variation on absentee voting that many people are unaware of; if you wish to vote absentee in a one-stop process, you can vote at the central county election board office in person.  You can do this now.  In Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Board of Elections is located at 751 Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville.  You can go in now during regular business hours, fill out an application for an absentee ballot, and vote.

          Finally, just a word about casting a Write-in vote, if you do decide that you want to vote for me.  Please take a look at the page on this website entitled “How do I cast a Write-In Vote for Deborah” for a detailed explanation as to how to cast a write-in vote, and also review your materials from the Board of Elections on this subject.  (Here is just a summary:  if you are voting absentee, you must fill in the oval by the words Write-In, and then write in my name.  If you are voting on November 4 on the machine, there is a way of calling up the image of a key board on the touchscreen, and you type in the name, and also follow the other instructions you will be given.)

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home.  If our current representatives in Congress refuse to respond, then it is time to replace them with representatives who will.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

 October 4, 2008

Vollmer for Congress Write-in Campaign; in the 8th Congressional District in Maryland—
in the First and Only Scheduled Debate, Van Hollen Fails to Show Up!

Friends,

         The League of Women Voters, along with Friends of the Library, sponsored the first, and so far only scheduled, candidates’ forum for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District (held October 2nd and sponsored by League of Women Voters and Friends of the Rockville Library, available for viewing online courtesy of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network).  Appearing at the forum were Bill Parsons, representing incumbent Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D), Steve Hudson (R), Gordon Clark (Green), Lih Young (Write-in), and myself (Write-in).  The forum may be seen online by clicking the link above, or you may see the schedule for viewing it on MCT Cable 21 by clicking here.

Citing “unforeseen events surrounding the financial crisis” necessitating votes “to be followed by an emergency caucus meeting to discuss the economic rescue legislation” Mr. Van Hollen failed to appear at the debate, and instead sent a representative.  While it is appropriate to give a sitting Congressman a certain amount of deference in these matters, many in the audience attending the forum questioned whether Van Hollen really had good reason to fail to appear—or was glad for a convenient excuse not to attend. 

In any event, the voters in the 8th Congressional District deserve the opportunity to listen to all the candidates in a Debate format.  I call on Mr. Van Hollen to make himself available to participating in another debate, in these remaining weeks before Election Day.  And I call on the other candidates, and on organizations in Maryland’s CD-8 to work together to make it possible.

          With regard to the financial crisis, let me note here that I take issue with Chris Van Hollen’s vote for the bail-out of Wall Street, which took place on Monday, September 29, as well as his vote on Friday, October 3, for the latest version of this bill.  We do need legislation on this issue, but we need a totally different approach, one taken by U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich, and Senator Bernie Sanders.  We need to take on directly the issue of providing relief to ordinary people facing home foreclosures, and drowning in credit card debt, instead of providing relief to the thieves on Wall Street with no accompanying accountability.  We need to stop providing welfare for the banks and other corporations, while ordinary citizens are left to struggle on their own.  I opposed the bail-out bill that Congress failed to pass last Monday, September 29, and I oppose the new version, which was just passed, as well.

          Let me also note that the financial crisis has diverted media attention from the critical issue of Iraq War funding.  Recently, on September 24, the House of Representatives passed multiple spending bills.  Among these votes was the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009—a bill providing for some 612 billion dollars of military spending.  Included in this bill was 68.6 billion dollars to pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The vote in the House was 392 to 39.  Of the votes for the bill, 200 were Democrats.  Thirty four Democrats voted No, which is what I would have done, had I been in a position to vote on this bill.  Mr. Van Hollen voted for it—a military spending bill including some 68.6 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!   

Once again, Mr. Van Hollen has followed his predictable pattern of voting for Iraq war funding, when that is the way the majority of Democrats vote on the bill.  Enough!  We need a leader, not a follower—a representative for the 8th Congressional District who will actively work to end the war—by voting against every single budget bill, and every single appropriations bill--containing funding for the war!

          In the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, voters will have a choice.  I represent one of those choices.  In the Democratic Primary, I received just over 11,000 votes, about 9.3% of the votes cast.  Now, in the general election, I am running as the ultimate outsider—as an official write-in candidate.  You will have to work a little harder to cast your vote for me; my name won’t be on your ballot; you will need to write in my name.  But these write-in votes for Deborah Vollmer will be counted. 

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home.  If our current representatives in Congress refuse to respond, then it is time to replace them with representatives who will.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

 October 3, 2008

Vollmer for Congress Write-in Campaign; In the 8th Congressional District in Maryland— In the first and only scheduled Debate, Van Hollen Fails to Show Up

Friends,

         The League of Women Voters, along with Friends of the Library, sponsored the first, and so far only scheduled, candidates’ forum for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District (held October 2nd and sponsored by League of Women Voters and Friends of the Rockville Library, available for viewing online courtesy of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network). Citing “unforeseen events surrounding the financial crisis” necessitating votes “to be followed by an emergency caucus meeting to discuss the economic rescue legislation” Mr. Van Hollen failed to appear at the debate, and instead sent a representative.  While it is appropriate to give a sitting Congressman a certain amount of deference in these matters, many in the audience attending the forum questioned whether Van Hollen really had good reason to fail to appear—or was glad for a convenient excuse not to attend.  In any event, the voters in the 8th Congressional District deserve the opportunity to listen to all the candidates in a Debate format.  I call on Mr. Van Hollen to make himself available to participating in another debate, in these remaining weeks before Election Day.  And I call on the other candidates, and on organizations in Maryland’s CD-8 to work together to make it possible.

          With regard to the financial crisis, let me note here that I take issue with Chris Van Hollen’s vote for the bail-out of Wall Street, which took place last Monday, as well as his vote today for the latest version of this bill.  We do need legislation on this issue, but we need a totally different approach, one taken by U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich, and Senator Bernie Sanders.  We need to take on directly the issue of providing relief to ordinary people facing home foreclosures, and drowning in credit card debt, instead of providing relief to the thieves on Wall Street with no accompanying accountability.  We need to stop providing welfare for the banks and other corporations, while ordinary citizens are left to struggle on their own.  I opposed the bail-out bill that Congress failed to pass last Monday, and I oppose the new version as well.

          Let me also note that the financial crisis has diverted media attention from the critical issue of Iraq War funding.  Recently, on September 24, the House of Representatives passed multiple spending bills.  Among these votes was the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009—a bill providing for some 612 billion dollars of military spending.  Included in this bill was 68.6 billion dollars to pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The vote in the House was 392 to 39.  Of the votes for the bill, 200 were Democrats.  Thirty four Democrats voted No, which is what I would have done, had I been in a position to vote on this bill.  Mr. Van Hollen voted for it—a military spending bill including some 68.6 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!   Once again, Mr. Van Hollen has followed his predictable pattern of voting for Iraq war funding, when that is the way the majority of Democrats vote on the bill.  Enough!  We need a leader, not a follower—a representative for the 8th Congressional District who will actively work to end the war—by voting against every single budget bill, and every single appropriations bill--containing funding for the war!

          In the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, voters will have a choice.  I represent one of those choices.  In the Democratic Primary, I received just over 11,000 votes, about 9.3% of the votes cast.  Now, in the general election, I am running as the ultimate outsider—as an official write-in candidate.  You will have to work a little harder to cast your vote for me; my name won’t be on your ballot; you will need to write in my name.  But these write-in votes for Deborah Vollmer will be counted. 

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home.  If our current representatives in Congress refuse to respond, then it is time to replace them with representatives who will.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

 September 18, 2008

Vollmer for Congress Write-in Campaign; In the 8th Congressional District in Maryland—Let the Debates Begin! Chris Van Hollen, Who has a mixed voting record on Iraq War funding,  Signs on as Co-sponsor to Resolution Adding to the Drumbeats of War with Iran!

Friends,

          The two major parties, the Democrats and Republicans, have had their conventions, and chosen their candidates for President and Vice President.  I have yet to decide who I will be voting for for President in November.  Let me be clear about my thought process:  I do think that Barack Obama is an appealing choice for many reasons, and I fear what the election of John McCain to the Presidency would mean for our country.  But I am concerned that Obama seems to be moving to the right; he is not the peace candidate that many of us had hoped for, although his lukewarm opposition to the Iraq War is clearly a better position than is that of John McCain, who supports the war.  Obama would send more troops to Afghanistan, a move that I oppose.  And on the domestic front, Obama voted for giving the telecoms immunity.  And I live in a strong “blue” State, Maryland.  My one vote will not make a difference to the overall outcome; Maryland is going to go strongly for Obama.  So I am giving serious consideration to casting a vote for one of the peace candidate alternatives, probably Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party.  But I will wait and see how the campaign develops before I decide.  I am hoping that Barak Obama will realize the wisdom of taking stronger, pro-peace positions with regard to Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.  He may yet win my vote.

          In the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, voters will also have a choice.  In addition to the candidates of the major parties, Chris Van Hollen, Democrat, and our incumbent Congressman, and Steve Hudson, Republican, there will be other candidates running, including Gordon Clark of the Green Party, and Libertarian Ian Thomas.  There will also be one or more candidates running who are official write-in candidates, myself included.  In the Democratic Primary, I received just over 11,000 votes, about 9.3% of the votes cast.  Now, in the general election, I am running as the ultimate outsider—as an official write-in candidate.  You will have to work a little harder to cast your vote for me; my name won’t be on your ballot; you will need to write in my name.  But these write-in votes for Deborah Vollmer will be counted. 

          In a previous Message to Supporters, I urged folks to work within your organizations to have them sponsor candidate debates for the 8th Congressional District.  The League of Women Voters and the Rockville Chapter of Friends of the Library has responded to voters’ interest in this race by scheduling a Candidates forum for the Maryland 8th Congressional District race.  I have accepted the invitation extended to me to participate. The forum will be held on the evening of Thursday, October 2, starting with a meet-and-greet the candidates at 6:00 p.m., followed by the forum.  It will be held at the Rockville Regional Library.  I look forward to participating at this event; I would also encourage folks to continue to work on organizing more of these forums, so that voters will have the opportunity to hear from all of the candidates and make informed decisions as to who to vote for.

          My own campaign is based on my opposition to certain positions that our incumbent Congressman, Chris Van Hollen, has taken,  most notably with regard to his mixed voting record with regard to continued funding for the Iraq War, and his signing on as a co-sponsor to House Concurrent Resolution 362, adding to the drumbeats for war with Iran.  Mr. Van Hollen should be taking a leadership position within the House of Representatives in ending the War in Iraq.  Instead, he has acted as an “enabler” to the Bush Administration’s flawed foreign policies.

          I have spent most of my time and effort in these messages on focusing on urging Chris Van Hollen and others in Congress to use Congress’s power of the purse to end the war in Iraq.  I have pointed out that our current representative, Chris Van Hollen, has what, to put it kindly, has been a mixed voting record on the issue of Iraq war funding.  But it is not only the war in Iraq that should concern us, but the mindset of the Bush Administration and its enablers, that could lead us to even wider wars with other nations.

          It has frankly come as a bit of a shock to me that Chris Van Hollen, who had seemed to be moving in a somewhat better direction on the issue of Iraq War funding than he had been, by casting some significant votes against funding—has now signed on as a co-sponsor to H. Con Res 362.  The resolution calls upon President Bush to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran; the wording allows for the possibility of a blockade of Iran—an act that could well be interpreted as an act of war.  There are 273 co-sponsors to this now, and Chris Van Hollen’s name is among them.

          I urge folks to contact Chris Van Hollen’s office (you can reach his office through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121) and let him know that you want him to REMOVE his name as a co-sponsor of H. Con. Res. 362—and you want him to vote NO on the resolution when it comes to the floor of the House.  And when you make your call, you just might remind him that you have the option to vote for someone else to be your Congressman this November.  (That could, for example, be a write-in vote for Deborah Vollmer, or a vote for Green Party candidate Gordon Clark, or Libertarian candidate Ian Thomas.)  

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home.

The voters deserve the opportunity to hear from all of the candidates in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District!  I cannot speak for any of the other candidates, of course, but in my own behalf I will say that it will be my intention to accept any invitations extended to me to participate in candidate forums and debates.  And with respect to the one forum that has been scheduled, I have confirmed that I will participate. I will be present at the Maryland CD-8 candidates’ forum organized by the League of Women Voters to be held on the evening of October 2nd in Rockville.  Please let everyone that you know who will be voting in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District about this event.  It will be an important opportunity for folks to learn about the candidates who are running for this position.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

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  August 8, 2008

In the 8th Congressional District in Maryland—Let the Debates Begin! Chris Van Hollen, Who has a mixed voting record on Iraq War funding,  Signs on as Co-sponsor to Resolution Adding to the Drumbeats of War with Iran!

Friends,

           While citizens across this nation continue to focus attention on the upcoming Presidential elections, Congress has gone on its summer recess.  The two major parties will be having their conventions, and then we will undoubtedly see a series of debates among the Presidential candidates.  Hopefully, those debates will include not only the Democratic Party candidate Barak Obama, and Republican John McCain, but also independent and third-party alternatives including Cynthia McKinney (Green), Bob Barr (Libertarian), and Ralph Nader (independent).  The people of this country deserve the opportunity to hear from all the candidates. 

          In the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, voters will also have a choice.  In addition to the candidates of the major parties, Chris Van Hollen, Democrat, and our incumbent Congressman, and Steve Hudson, Republican, there will be other candidates running, including Gordon Clark of the Green Party, and Libertarian Ian Thomas.  There will also be one or more candidates running who are official write-in candidates, myself included.

          My own campaign is based on my opposition to certain positions that our incumbent Congressman, Chris Van Hollen, has taken,  most notably with regard to his mixed voting record with regard to continued funding for the Iraq War, and his signing on as a co-sponsor to House Concurrent Resolution 362, adding to the drumbeats for war with Iran.

          I have spent most of my time and effort in these messages on focusing on urging Chris Van Hollen and others in Congress to use Congress’s power of the purse to end the war in Iraq.  I have pointed out that our current representative, Chris Van Hollen, has what, to put it kindly, has been a mixed voting record on the issue of Iraq war funding.  But it is not only the war in Iraq that should concern us, but the mindset of the Bush Administration and its enablers, that could lead us to even wider wars with other nations.

          It has frankly come as a bit of a shock to me that Chris Van Hollen, who had seemed to be moving in a somewhat better direction on the issue of Iraq War funding than he had been, by casting some significant votes against funding—has now signed on as a co-sponsor to H. Con Res 362.  The resolution calls upon President Bush to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran; the wording allows for the possibility of a blockade of Iran—an act that could well be interpreted as an act of war.  There are 261 co-sponsors to this now, and Chris Van Hollen’s name is among them.

          Contact Chris Van Hollen’s office (you can reach his office through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121) and let him know that you want him to REMOVE his name as a co-sponsor of H. Con. Res. 362—and you want him to vote NO on the resolution when it comes to the floor of the House.  And when you make your call, you just might remind him that you have the option to vote for someone else to be your Congressman this November.  (That could, for example, be a write-in vote for Deborah Vollmer, or a vote for Green Party candidate Gordon Clark.)

          For my assessment of Chris Van Hollen’s recent votes on Iraq War funding, and his vote against giving the telecoms immunity, please click below to read my earlier Messages to Supporters.  As noted above, his record on Iraq war funding is mixed. 

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home.

As the Presidential candidates prepare to debate the issues on the national stage, we should also mobilize to have full debates here in the 8th Congressional District.  These debates should include all of the candidates running, including the official write-in candidates.  You can help.  If you are a member of an organization that might be willing to sponsor a Congressional Candidates debate for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, please work within your organization to make this happen.  I am hoping that organizations such as the League of Woman Voters, Peace Action, the NAACP, and others will be willing to organize and host such debates. 

The voters deserve the opportunity to hear from all of the candidates in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District!  I cannot speak for any of the other candidates, of course, but in my own behalf I will say that it will be my intention to accept any invitations extended to me to participate in such debates.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

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   June 26, 2008

Chris Van Hollen Signs on as Co-sponsor to Resolution Adding to the Drumbeats of War with Iran—Tell Him to Remove His Name from the List of Co-sponsors—and Vote NO to War with Iran!

Friends,

          I have spent most of my time and effort in these messages on focusing on urging Chris Van Hollen and others in Congress to use Congress’s power of the purse to end the war in Iraq.  I have pointed out that our current representative, Chris Van Hollen, has what, to put it kindly, has been a mixed voting record on the issue of Iraq war funding.  But it is not only the war in Iraq that should concern us, but the mindset of the Bush Administration and its enablers, that could lead us to even wider wars with other nations.

          It has frankly come as a bit of a shock to me that Chris Van Hollen, who had seemed to be moving in a somewhat better direction on the issue of Iraq War funding than he had been, by casting some significant votes against funding—has now signed on as a co-sponsor to H. Con Res 362.  The resolution calls upon President Bush to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran; the wording allows for the possibility of a blockade of Iran—an act that could well be interpreted as an act of war.  There are 208 co-sponsors to this now, and Chris Van Hollen’s name is among them.

          Contact Chris Van Hollen’s office (you can reach his office through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121) and let him know that you want him to REMOVE his name as a co-sponsor of H. Con. Res. 362—and you want him to vote NO on the resolution when it comes to the floor of the House.  And when you make your call, you just might remind him that you have the option to vote for someone else to be your Congressman this November.  (That could be a write-in vote for Deborah Vollmer, or a vote for Green Party candidate Gordon Clark.)

          For my assessment of Chris Van Hollen’s recent votes on Iraq War funding, and his vote against giving the telecoms immunity, please click below to read my earlier Message to Supporters.  As noted above, his record on Iraq war funding is mixed. 

We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq—to prevent a wider war with Iran and other nations--and to restore civil liberties at home.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

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   June 23, 2008

Chris Van Hollen Voted Against War Funding and Against Giving the Telecoms Immunity – A Good Start, but Tell Chris that We Still Expect Him to Do More!

Friends,

          Last week Chris Van Hollen cast two important principled votes:  he voted on Thursday, June 19, against giving President Bush an additional $162 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he voted the following day against giving the telecommunications companies immunity from lawsuits over the wiretapping of American citizens in the wake of 911.  I thank Chris Van Hollen for these votes, but I expect him to do even more. 

          In both instances, President Bush got what he wanted, and in both instances, he was opposed by a majority of the Democrats.  Republicans and some Democrats managed to pass both the war funding bill, and the telecommunications bill over the opposition of the majority of the Democrats.  The vote on the Iraq war funding bill (H.R. 2642, Roll Call 431) was 268 (80 Democrats and 188 Republicans) for the bill; 155 (151 Democrats and 4 Republicans) against the bill, and 12 (5 Democrats and seven Republicans) not voting.

          On the telecoms immunity bill the vote was 293 Yea (105 Democrats and 188 Republicans), 129 Nay (128 Democrats and 1 Republican), and 13 not voting (3 Democrats and 10 Republicans).

          So thank you, Chris Van Hollen—but honestly, for a progressive member of the House representing a progressive district—and in a position in the leadership as Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, we expect more!  As a whole, the Democratic Party continues to act as an enabler for President Bush and his policies.  We expect you, Chris Van Hollen, to do more to exert your leadership within the Democratic Party, to bring about needed change.  You can do it, and your constituents will support you if you do.  It is time to bring an end to the horrible war in Iraq, and to restore civil liberties in our country!

          To folks reading this Message on my website:  if you agree with the above, please contact Chris Van Hollen and let him know.  There is an election coming up, and though he holds what has come to be regarded as a safe seat, he really needs to earn the support of his constituents, if he wants to stay in office.  It is to his credit that he voted the way he did on those two important votes last week, but we expect him to do more.

          After winning over eleven thousand votes in the Democratic Primary in February, I have decided to stay in the race in the General Election, as a write-in candidate.  I am doing this to keep the pressure on Mr. Van Hollen, because he has yet to use his leadership position to pressure his colleagues to end the funding for the Iraq War.  Mr. Van Hollen’s voting record on the funding for the Iraq War has long been, and remains, a mixed record.  On some occasions he has voted for funding for the war, and on other occasions against.  Although there seems to be a slight trend in the direction of voting against funding for the Iraq War, Van Hollen’s voting record remains far from consistent.  

As a write-in candidate, I don’t really expect to win the 8th Congressional District seat.  But I do intend to stay in the debate, and keep pushing Mr. Van Hollen to take a more active role in using his leadership position among the Democrats in the House of Representatives to end the funding for this war, and bring the troops home.   I will criticize his actions when he fails to use his leadership to oppose this war, and I will give him credit when he does the right thing.  For my comments on previous votes regarding Iraq War funding, click below to see my previous Message to Supporters.  Because it is important to review Mr. Van Hollen’s entire voting pattern on this issue when evaluating his position on this issue, I will review some of his previous votes below.

            In a previous Message to Supporters, I took the occasion to congratulate Mr. Van Hollen for his vote against the 162.5 billion dollar funding measure for the Iraq War, a vote which took place on May 15. (This was essentially the same bill that came back for a vote last week, which Van Hollen voted again to oppose, but which despite the opposition of Van Hollen and many other Democrats did pass last week.)  That funding bill for the war was voted down at 3:30 in the afternoon of May 15, 2008.  The roll call vote on this bill, H.R. 2642, broke down as follows:  Yeas 141 (85 Democrats and 56 Republicans), Nays 149 (147 Democrats and 2 Republicans), Present 132 (all of them Republicans), and Not Voting 12 (3 Democrats and 9 Republicans). 

Van Hollen did the right thing on May 15; he voted against further funding for the Iraq War, following the wishes of his constituents.  His critics might argue, as they might also argue with reference to his more recent No vote on Iraq war funding last week, that this was not that difficult of a vote for him, since he voted in the company of the majority of his fellow Democrats in the House. 

A recent vote on a budget bill, which received very little notice in the mainstream media, suggests the problem; Van Hollen still refuses to take a leadership position in ending funding for the Iraq War.  On May 22, 2008, Van Hollen voted for H.R. 5658, the 2009 Military Budget, authorizing a $601 billion dollar military budget for fiscal 2009.  The vote was 384 to 23.  The bill included $70 billion dollars to fund the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and although it contained some provisions which anti-war advocates support (such as providing that there will be no permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq), it is my opinion that he should have voted No.

Then we have the two latest votes against Iraq war funding and against the telecommunications immunity bill discussed above.  Let’s give Chris Van Hollen our thanks but make it clear to him at the same time that we expect more. 

It is more important than ever that we keep the pressure on Van Hollen, and thank him when he does vote against funding for the Iraq War, and criticize him when he votes for funding.  This battle is far from over.   We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq--and also to restore civil liberties at home.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

   June 5, 2008

Chris Van Hollen’s voting Record on Iraq War funding remains mixed—we need to keep the pressure on him to do the right thing!

Friends,

          After winning over eleven thousand votes in the Democratic Primary in February, I have decided to stay in the race in the General Election, as a write-in candidate.  I am doing this to keep the pressure on Mr. Van Hollen, because he has yet to use his leadership position to pressure his colleagues to end the funding for the Iraq War.  Mr. Van Hollen’s voting record on the funding for the Iraq War has long been, and remains, a mixed record.  On some occasions he has voted for funding for the war, and on other occasions against.  Although there seems to be a slight trend in the direction of voting against funding for the Iraq War, Van Hollen’s voting record remains far from consistent.  

As a write-in candidate, I don’t really expect to win the 8th Congressional District seat.  But I do intend to stay in the debate, and keep pushing Mr. Van Hollen to take a more active role in using his leadership position among the Democrats in the House of Representatives to end the funding for this war, and bring the troops home.   I will criticize his actions when he fails to use his leadership to oppose this war, and I will give him credit when he does the right thing.

            In my previous Message to Supporters, I took the occasion to congratulate Mr. Van Hollen for his vote against the 162.5 billion dollar funding measure for the Iraq War, a vote which took place on May 15.  That funding bill for the war was voted down at 3:30 in the afternoon of May 15, 2008.  The roll call vote on this bill, H.R. 2642, broke down as follows:  Yeas 141 (85 Democrats and 56 Republicans), Nays 149 (147 Democrats and 2 Republicans), Present 132 (all of them Republicans), and Not Voting 12 (3 Democrats and 9 Republicans). 

Van Hollen did the right thing on May 15; he voted against further funding for the Iraq War, following the wishes of his constituents.  His critics might argue that this was not that difficult of a vote for him, since he voted in the company of the majority of his fellow Democrats in the House. 

A more recent vote, which received very little notice in the mainstream media, suggests the problem; Van Hollen still refuses to take a leadership position in ending funding for the Iraq War.  On May 22, 2008, Van Hollen voted for H.R. 5658, the 2009 Military Budget, authorizing a $601 billion dollar military budget for fiscal 2009.  The vote was 384 to 23.  The bill included $70 billion dollars to fund the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and although it contained some provisions which anti-war advocates support (such as providing that there will be no permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq), it is my opinion that he should have voted No. 

It is more important than ever that we keep the pressure on Van Hollen, and thank him when he does vote against funding for the Iraq War, and criticize him when he votes for funding.  This battle is far from over.  There will be another appropriations bill coming back for a vote in the House sometime soon, and it is important that we let Van Hollen know that he should be voting against any additional funding for the Iraq War.   The pressure on Mr. Van Hollen and his colleagues will no doubt be even greater when the funding bill comes back from the Senate for another vote.

  We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

   May 19, 2008

Chris Van Hollen did the right thing in voting against Iraq War funding; Thank him, but tell him this is not over, and he needs to do more--

Friends,

          After winning over eleven thousand votes in the Democratic Primary in February, I have decided to stay in the race in the General Election, as a write-in candidate.  Mr. Van Hollen’s voting record on the funding for the Iraq War has long been a mixed record.  On some occasions he has voted for funding for the war, and on other occasions against.  For a full discussion of my reasons for staying in this race, please see the previous Message to Supporters, by going to the link at the bottom of this message.   As a write-in candidate, I don’t really expect to win the 8th Congressional District seat.  But I do intend to stay in the debate, and keep pushing Mr. Van Hollen to take a more active role in using his leadership position among the Democrats in the House of Representatives to end the funding for this war, and bring the troops home.   I will criticize his actions when he fails to use his leadership to oppose this war, and I will give him credit when he does the right thing. He did do the right thing last week, and he deserves our thanks for doing so.

            I would like to take this occasion to congratulate Mr. Van Hollen for his vote against the 162.5 billion dollar funding measure for the Iraq War in the latest significant vote in the House of Representatives on Iraq War funding.  The funding bill for the war was voted down at 3:30 in the afternoon of May 15, 2008.  The roll call vote on this bill, H.R. 2642, broke down as follows:  Yeas 141 (85 Democrats and 56 Republicans), Nays 149 (147 Democrats and 2 Republicans), Present 132 (all of them Republicans), and Not Voting 12 (3 Democrats and 9 Republicans). 

Van Hollen did the right thing; he voted against further funding for the Iraq War, following the wishes of his constituents.  His critics might argue that this was not that difficult of a vote for him, since he voted in the company of the majority of his fellow Democrats in the House.  Nonetheless, we should all thank him for doing the right thing.  I would suggest that we all contact Mr. Van Hollen, and let him know that we do thank him for standing up against continued funding of this illegal, immoral, and tragic war.  And also let him know that we expect him to be consistent, and continue to vote against funding for the war, when this issue comes back for a vote in the House.  This will surely come before the House again, after the measure goes to the Senate, where it is expected that funding for the Iraq War will be put back into the bill.  The pressure on Mr. Van Hollen and his colleagues will no doubt be even greater when the funding bill comes back from the Senate for another vote.

It was good that Chris Van Hollen voted No on the Iraq War funding bill.  But we can’t let up now; we must keep up the pressure on Mr. Van Hollen, and on Senators Mikulski and Cardin as well, to keep voting down bills to fund the war, as long as the war continues, our troops and Iraqi citizens continue to die,  and these funding bills keep getting sent to our elected representatives to be voted upon.  We must mobilize now more than ever, to pressure Congress to bring an immediate end to this tragic, illegal, and immoral War in Iraq.

 

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

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   March 19, 2008

On this Fifth Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, I am Running for Congress—as the ultimate outsider!

Friends,

          This week, and today in particular, marks the fifth anniversary of the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq—a war based on manufactured intelligence, which has led to the death of thousands of Americans; to the maiming in body, mind, and spirit of thousands more; and to the deaths of, and injuries to many more tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens—deaths and injuries which in number exceed any count likely to be given by our own U.S. Government.  (Estimates of the total number of Iraqi war dead vary, but the figure may well be in excess of 100,000.) We have destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq, and wreaked untold havoc with the Environment in Iraq, and in the world.  According to this morning’s Washington Post, the war has cost the U.S. Treasury more than half a trillion dollars.  As the war continues, the total could exceed well over three trillion dollars, according to Nobel prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz.

          This week, demonstrators against the war have been, are, and will continue to hit the streets, in an exercise of their First Amendment freedoms, in their efforts to bring the attention of the wider public and of the elected officials to this sad anniversary, and this ongoing senseless, tragic, and destructive war.  I will be joining them.

          This week also, Amy Goodman is broadcasting every morning on Democracy Now (WPFW Radio, 89.3 FM) the Winter Soldier hearings, which were held at the National Labor College in Silver Spring this past week-end.  Reminiscent of similar hearings held in the era of the Viet Nam War, these broadcasts contain moving and disturbing accounts by American soldiers who have returned from Iraq, with tales of cruel and senseless killing and maiming of Iraqi civilians, born of the terror our soldiers feel, of having to kill, or be killed.

          I will continue to demonstrate with others in the street, but I am also raising my voice in another way:  I am running for Congress as a write-in candidate.

          On February 19, I went to Annapolis and filled out a Certificate of Candidacy, making me an official write-in candidate for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat in the 2008 General Election.  I want to take a little time today to explain on this website why I have made this decision to run as a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District in the November General Election. 

The vote totals from the Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District seat in Maryland are now final.  (I will put aside for the purposes of this discussion the issue of the accuracy and reliability of the electronic voting machines currently used in the State of Maryland without any kind of a verifiable paper trail—something which does cause me great concern.) According to the tally of the Maryland State Board of Elections, the votes in the Democratic Primary have been tallied as follows:  Van Hollen:  104,108 votes (87.8%), Vollmer: 11,052 votes (9.3 %), and Young: 3391 (2.9%).

          I want to thank the over 11,000 people who voted for me in this Democratic Primary Election.  And I congratulate Chris Van Hollen for his victory in the Democratic Primary.  But I want to also caution Mr. Van Hollen that we are not done with this particular campaign yet.  The issues are too important for me to walk away now, and stop talking about our differences on the issues—especially with regard to the war in Iraq. That is why I filed to run as a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat.  As a write-in candidate, I will continue actively urging Mr. Van Hollen to take the leadership among his colleagues in the House of Representatives to end all Congressional funding for this war, and bring the troops home without further delay!  

 As a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat, I hope that I will be invited to candidate forums and debates, and to fill out candidate questionnaires, and to speak to organizations, and I hope that the media will pay some attention to the candidacy of  a former challenger in the Democratic Primary who obtained over 11,000 votes in a campaign involving no fundraising, and no paid advertising, and which pushed the message that the voters in the 8th Congressional District of Maryland want a representative who will take an active role in taking the leadership in Congress to end Congressional funding for the Iraq War, and bring the troops home NOW! 

I am aware that write-in candidates rarely win elections, but that there is always that possibility.  As a write-in candidate, I am running as the ultimate outsider—not as a Democrat; Chris Van Hollen won the Democratic nomination, but as an individual person, with my own independent voice.  In the admittedly unlikely event that I might win the 8th Congressional District seat in the General Election, I would caucus with the Progressive Caucus in Congress.  To win any votes at all, I must do whatever I can to let people know that if they wish to vote for me, they must write my name onto the ballot.  This will be no easy task, so I am looking to people reading this to help me spread the word about this write-in campaign.  Help me let people know that they have a choice in this election, but that if they want to vote for me, they will need to write in my name!

Why do this at all, one might ask?  I am aware that as a write-in candidate, I have a real opportunity to keep pushing the debate on the issue of the Iraq war.  We have nearly eight months between now and the General Election—eight months, when the war in Iraq will continue to be a focus of the debate in Congress—eight months, for more Americans and Iraqi civilians to die—eight months for Chris Van Hollen to change course and take a position of leadership in opposing this war, as his constituents want him to do!  Frankly, if Mr. Van Hollen should choose to take a leadership position in Congress in ending Congressional funding for the war, and bringing the troops home, my write-in campaign for CD-8 will gain very little traction.  If my candidacy as a write-in candidate has the effect of motivating Van Hollen to exert his leadership among his colleagues in the House of Representatives to end this war, my efforts will have been worthwhile!

There is also in this race a Green Party candidate—Gordon Clark—who has a powerful message of opposing the war and working to stop global climate change.  Nearly eight months for a Green Party candidate to develop a campaign and present his message.  I don’t know how strong a candidate Gordon will be; I consider him to be a friend, and we agree on many of the issues.  I am not prepared to endorse him at this time, but we shall see. 

Meanwhile, I invite voters who are disappointed in Chris Van Hollen for his failure to take a leadership position in cutting Congressional funding for the Iraq war, to look at all of their options.  Another option, for those of you who are reluctant to abandon support for a popular Democratic incumbent, but are unhappy with Van Hollen’s positions, would be to contact Mr. Van Hollen, and let him know that you are disappointed, and that you are considering other options in this Election, if he does not reverse course and take leadership in ending this war!  A pledge from Van Hollen to vote for no more funding for the war and to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress might be a good start!

For those of you looking at this website for the first time, here are some of the issues that were central to my campaign, in this just-finished Democratic Primary Election.  I will continue to campaign on these issues, in my write-in campaign.

ON IRAQ—Bring all U.S. troops home NOW.  No more funding for the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.  As I have discussed in previous e-mail messages, and on my website, Van Hollen’s voting record on Iraq War funding is a mixed one, and Van Hollen has not even joined the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress!  We need a leader in Congress on this issue.  Van Hollen has been a timid follower, when he could have exerted his leadership position to end this war!

ON IRAN—I oppose the drumbeats for war with Iran, and other nations.

ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE—While Chris Van Hollen does have a better record on this issue than some, I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of the rights of Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe that Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

ON CIVIL LIBERTIES—I am for protecting our precious civil liberties.  I oppose the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT. I oppose practices and policies of the Bush Administration, whether or not actually written into law, that infringe on civil liberties.  Recently, Van Hollen voted for H.R, 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”—a bill which had little publicity when it was being debated and voted upon, and which had little opposition, when it passed the House of Representatives.  Civil liberties organizations have sounded the alarm that this bill threatens to chill the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest.  Van Hollen voted for this bill.  I would have voted against it.

ON IMPEACHMENT—I support Dennis Kucinich’s resolution for impeachment.  Impeach Cheney first, and then Bush.  What message do we send to future generations and future Presidents if we do not impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?  Van Hollen is on the record as opposing efforts to impeach Bush and Cheney.

ON HEALTH CARE—In fairness to Chris Van Hollen, he does agree with me that all Americans should have health care coverage.  But we disagree on the means.  Van Hollen would reform the current system, but keep the health insurance companies in the system.  I favor universal, single-payer health care, which eliminates the health insurance companies from the system and provides individuals with high quality health care, with a choice of health care providers, that is publicly financed:  Medicare for All.  I support legislation sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich for universal, single-payer health care.  Van Hollen has refused to sign on to this legislation.

THE INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR—I oppose this road project, which I view as detrimental to the environment, and communities.

          In a democracy, the voters have a choice.  You have the option of voting for the incumbent. But you do not have to vote for the incumbent, if you do not feel that he is representing you.  You do have a choice.  And I hope that you will consider writing in my name for the 8th Congressional District seat this November!

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

   March 11, 2008

Running for Congress—as the ultimate outsider!

Friends,

          On February 19, I went to Annapolis and filled out a Certificate of Candidacy, making me an official write-in candidate for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat in the 2008 General Election.  I want to take a little time today to explain on this website why I have made this decision to run as a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District in the November General Election.

          Most of the votes have now been counted in the Maryland Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District.  Putting aside for the sake of this discussion a very real concern with the accuracy and reliability of the electronic voting machines used in this election, I would like to tell you about the results so far, and make a few points.

          The totals are not final, but at this point, the votes in the Democratic Primary have been tallied as follows:  Van Hollen:  104,108 votes (87.8%), Vollmer: 11,052 votes (9.3 %), and Young: 3391 (2.9%).

          I want to thank the over 11,000 people who voted for me in this Democratic Primary Election.  And I congratulate Chris Van Hollen for his victory in the Democratic Primary.  But I want to also caution Mr. Van Hollen that we are not done with this particular campaign yet.  The issues are too important for me to walk away now, and stop talking about our differences on the issues—especially with regard to the war in Iraq. That is why I filed to run as a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat.  As a write-in candidate, I will continue actively urging Mr. Van Hollen to take the leadership among his colleagues in the House of Representatives to end all Congressional funding for this war, and bring the troops home without further delay!  

 As a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat, I hope that I will be invited to candidate forums and debates, and to fill out candidate questionnaires, and to speak to organizations, and I hope that the media will pay some attention to the candidacy of  a former challenger in the Democratic Primary who obtained over 11,000 votes in a campaign involving no fundraising, and no paid advertising, and which pushed the message that the voters in the 8th Congressional District of Maryland want a representative who will take an active role in taking the leadership in Congress to end Congressional funding for the Iraq War, and bring the troops home NOW! 

I am aware that write-in candidates rarely win elections, but that there is always that possibility.  As a write-in candidate, I am running as the ultimate outsider—not as a Democrat; Chris Van Hollen won the Democratic nomination, but as an individual person, with my own independent voice.  In the admittedly unlikely event that I might win the 8th Congressional District seat in the General Election, I would caucus with the Progressive Caucus in Congress.  To win any votes at all, I must do whatever I can to let people know that if they wish to vote for me, they must write my name onto the ballot.  This will be no easy task, so I am looking to people reading this to help me spread the word about this write-in campaign.  Help me let people know that they have a choice in this election, but that if they want to vote for me, they will need to write in my name!

Why do this at all, one might ask?  I am aware that as a write-in candidate, I have a real opportunity to keep pushing the debate on the issue of the Iraq war.  We have nearly eight months between now and the General Election—eight months, when the war in Iraq will continue to be a focus of the debate in Congress—eight months, for more Americans and Iraqi civilians to die—eight months for Chris Van Hollen to change course and take a position of leadership in opposing this war, as his constituents want him to do!  Frankly, if Mr. Van Hollen should choose to take a leadership position in Congress in ending Congressional funding for the war, and bringing the troops home, my write-in campaign for CD-8 will gain very little traction.  If my candidacy as a write-in candidate has the effect of motivating Van Hollen to exert his leadership among his colleagues in the House of Representatives to end this war, my efforts will have been worthwhile!

There is also in this race a Green Party candidate—Gordon Clark—who has a powerful message of opposing the war and working to stop global climate change.  Nearly eight months for a Green Party candidate to develop a campaign and present his message.  I don’t know how strong a candidate Gordon will be; I consider him to be a friend, and we agree on many of the issues.  I am not prepared to endorse him at this time, but we shall see. 

Meanwhile, I invite voters who are disappointed in Chris Van Hollen for his failure to take a leadership position in cutting Congressional funding for the Iraq war, to look at all of their options.  Another option, for those of you who are reluctant to abandon support for a popular Democratic incumbent, but are unhappy with Van Hollen’s positions, would be to contact Mr. Van Hollen, and let him know that you are disappointed, and that you are considering other options in this Election, if he does not reverse course and take leadership in ending this war!  A pledge from Van Hollen to vote for no more funding for the war and to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress might be a good start!

For those of you looking at this website for the first time, here are some of the issues that were central to my campaign, in this just-finished Democratic Primary Election.  I will continue to campaign on these issues, in my write-in campaign.

ON IRAQ—Bring all U.S. troops home NOW.  No more funding for the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.  As I have discussed in previous e-mail messages, and on my website, Van Hollen’s voting record on Iraq War funding is a mixed one, and Van Hollen has not even joined the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress!  We need a leader in Congress on this issue.  Van Hollen has been a timid follower, when he could have exerted his leadership position to end this war!

ON IRAN—I oppose the drumbeats for war with Iran, and other nations.

ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE—While Chris Van Hollen does have a better record on this issue than some, I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of the rights of Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe that Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

ON CIVIL LIBERTIES—I am for protecting our precious civil liberties.  I oppose the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT. I oppose practices and policies of the Bush Administration, whether or not actually written into law, that infringe on civil liberties.  Recently, Van Hollen voted for H.R, 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”—a bill which had little publicity when it was being debated and voted upon, and which had little opposition, when it passed the House of Representatives.  Civil liberties organizations have sounded the alarm that this bill threatens to chill the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest.  Van Hollen voted for this bill.  I would have voted against it.

ON IMPEACHMENT—I support Dennis Kucinich’s resolution for impeachment.  Impeach Cheney first, and then Bush.  What message do we send to future generations and future Presidents if we do not impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?  Van Hollen is on the record as opposing efforts to impeach Bush and Cheney.

ON HEALTH CARE—In fairness to Chris Van Hollen, he does agree with me that all Americans should have health care coverage.  But we disagree on the means.  Van Hollen would reform the current system, but keep the health insurance companies in the system.  I favor universal, single-payer health care, which eliminates the health insurance companies from the system and provides individuals with high quality health care, with a choice of health care providers, that is publicly financed:  Medicare for All.  I support legislation sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich for universal, single-payer health care.  Van Hollen has refused to sign on to this legislation.

THE INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR—I oppose this road project, which I view as detrimental to the environment, and communities.

          In a democracy, the voters have a choice.  You have the option of voting for the incumbent. But you do not have to vote for the incumbent, if you do not feel that he is representing you.  You do have a choice.  And I hope that you will consider writing in my name for the 8th Congressional District seat this November!

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

   February 20, 2008

The Primary Election Results Are in (Well, Most of Them Anyway)—and I have made a decision!

Friends,

          Yesterday, I went to Annapolis and filled out a Certificate of Candidacy, making me an official write-in candidate for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat in the 2008 General Election.  I want to take a little time today to explain on this website why I have made this decision.

          Most of the votes have now been counted in the Maryland Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District.  Putting aside for the sake of this discussion a very real concern with the accuracy and reliability of the electronic voting machines used in this election, I would like to tell you about the results so far, and make a few points.

          The totals are not final, and do not include the provisional ballots.  But at this point, the votes in the Democratic Primary have been tallied as follows:  Van Hollen:  100,417 votes (88.0 %), Vollmer: 10,490 votes (9.2 %), and Young: 3200 (2.8%).

          I want to thank the over 10,000 people who voted for me in this Democratic Primary Election.  And I congratulate Chris Van Hollen for his victory in the Democratic Primary.  But I want to also caution Mr. Van Hollen that we are not done with this particular campaign yet.  The issues are too important for me to walk away now, and stop talking about our differences on the issues—especially with regard to the war in Iraq. That is why I filed yesterday to run as a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat.  As a write-in candidate, I will continue actively urging Mr. Van Hollen to take the leadership among his colleagues in the House of Representatives to end all Congressional funding for this war, and bring the troops home without further delay!  

 As a write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat, I hope that I will be invited to candidate forums and debates, and that the media will pay some attention to the candidacy of  a former challenger in the Democratic Primary who obtained over 10,000 votes in a campaign involving no fundraising, and no paid advertising, and which pushed the message that the voters in the 8th Congressional District of Maryland want a representative who will take an active role in taking the leadership in Congress to end Congressional funding for the Iraq War, and bring the troops home NOW! 

I am aware that write-in candidates rarely win elections, but that there is always that possibility. I am also aware that as a write-in candidate, I may not win, but that I have a real opportunity to keep pushing the debate on the issue of the Iraq war.  We have over eight months between now and the General Election—eight months, when the war in Iraq will continue to be a focus of the debate in Congress—eight months, for more Americans and Iraqi civilians to die—eight months for Chris Van Hollen to change course and take a position of leadership in opposing this war, as his constituents want him to do!  There is also in this race a Green Party candidate—Gordon Clark—who has a powerful message of opposing the war and working to stop global climate change.  Eight months for a Green Party candidate to develop a campaign and present his message.  I don’t know how strong a candidate Gordon will be; I consider him to be a friend, and we agree on many of the issues.  I am not prepared to endorse him at this time, but we shall see. 

Meanwhile, I invite voters who are disappointed in Chris Van Hollen for his failure to take a leadership position in cutting Congressional funding for the Iraq war, to look at all of their options.  Another option, for those of you who are reluctant to abandon support for a popular Democratic incumbent, but are unhappy with Van Hollen’s positions, would be to contact Mr. Van Hollen, and let him know that you are disappointed, and that you are considering other options in this Election, if he does not reverse course and take leadership in ending this war!  A pledge from Van Hollen to vote for no more funding for the war and to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress might be a good start!

For those of you looking at this website for the first time, here are some of the issues that were central to my campaign, in this just-finished Democratic Primary Election.

ON IRAQ—Bring all U.S. troops home NOW.  No more funding for the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.  As I have discussed in previous e-mail messages, and on my website, Van Hollen’s voting record on Iraq War funding is a mixed one, and Van Hollen has not even joined the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress!  We need a leader in Congress on this issue.  Van Hollen has been a timid follower, when he could have exerted his leadership position to end this war!

ON IRAN—I oppose the drumbeats for war with Iran, and other nations.

ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE—While Chris Van Hollen does have a better record on this issue than some, I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of the rights of Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe that Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

ON CIVIL LIBERTIES—I am for protecting our precious civil liberties.  I oppose the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT. I oppose practices and policies of the Bush Administration, whether or not actually written into law, that infringe on civil liberties.  Recently, Van Hollen voted for H.R, 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”—a bill which had little publicity when it was being debated and voted upon, and which had little opposition, when it passed the House of Representatives.  Civil liberties organizations have sounded the alarm that this bill threatens to chill the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest.  Van Hollen voted for this bill.  I would have voted against it.

ON IMPEACHMENT—I support Dennis Kucinich’s resolution for impeachment.  Impeach Cheney first, and then Bush.  What message do we send to future generations and future Presidents if we do not impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?  Van Hollen is on the record as opposing efforts to impeach Bush and Cheney.

ON HEALTH CARE—In fairness to Chris Van Hollen, he does agree with me that all Americans should have health care coverage.  But we disagree on the means.  Van Hollen would reform the current system, but keep the health insurance companies in the system.  I favor universal, single-payer health care, which eliminates the health insurance companies from the system and provides individuals with high quality health care, with a choice of health care providers, that is publicly financed:  Medicare for All.  I support legislation sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich for universal, single-payer health care.  Van Hollen has refused to sign on to this legislation.

THE INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR—I oppose this road project, which I view as detrimental to the environment, and communities.

          In a democracy, the voters have a choice.  You have the option of voting for the incumbent. But you do not have to vote for the incumbent, if you do not feel that he is representing you.  You do have a choice.  And I hope that you will consider writing in my name for the 8th Congressional District seat this November!

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

      February 15, 2008

The Primary Election Results Are in (Well, Most of Them Anyway)

Friends,

          Most of the votes have now been counted in the Maryland Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District.  Putting aside for the sake of this discussion a very real concern with the accuracy and reliability of the electronic voting machines used in this election, I would like to tell you about the results so far, and make a few points.

          The totals are not final, and do not include the absentee ballots and provisional ballots.  But at this point, the votes in the Democratic Primary have been tallied as follows:  Van Hollen:  93,932 votes (87.8 %), Vollmer: 9,991 votes (9.3 %), and Young: 3059 (2.9%).

          I want to thank what will surely amount to over 10,000 people who voted for me in this Democratic Primary Election.  And I congratulate Chris Van Hollen for his victory in the Democratic Primary.  But I want to also caution Mr. Van Hollen that we may not be done with this particular campaign yet.  The issues are too important for me to walk away now, and stop talking about our differences on the issues—especially with regard to the war in Iraq.  I will continue actively urging Mr. Van Hollen to take the leadership among his colleagues in the House of Representatives to end all Congressional funding for this war, and bring the troops home without further delay!

For those of you looking at this website for the first time, here are some of the issues that were central to my campaign, in this just-finished Democratic Primary Election.

ON IRAQ—Bring all U.S. troops home NOW.  No more funding for the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.  As I have discussed in previous e-mail messages, and on my website, Van Hollen’s voting record on Iraq War funding is a mixed one, and Van Hollen has not even joined the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress!  We need a leader in Congress on this issue.  Van Hollen has been a timid follower, when he could have exerted his leadership position to end this war!

ON IRAN—I oppose the drumbeats for war with Iran, and other nations.

ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE—While Chris Van Hollen does have a better record on this issue than some, I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of the rights of Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe that Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

ON CIVIL LIBERTIES—I am for protecting our precious civil liberties.  I oppose the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT. I oppose practices and policies of the Bush Administration, whether or not actually written into law, that infringe on civil liberties.  Recently, Van Hollen voted for H.R, 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”—a bill which had little publicity when it was being debated and voted upon, and which had little opposition, when it passed the House of Representatives.  Civil liberties organizations have sounded the alarm that this bill threatens to chill the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest.  Van Hollen voted for this bill.  I would have voted against it.

ON IMPEACHMENT—I support Dennis Kucinich’s resolution for impeachment.  Impeach Cheney first, and then Bush.  What message do we send to future generations and future Presidents if we do not impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?  Van Hollen is on the record as opposing efforts to impeach Bush and Cheney.

ON HEALTH CARE—In fairness to Chris Van Hollen, he does agree with me that all Americans should have health care coverage.  But we disagree on the means.  Van Hollen would reform the current system, but keep the health insurance companies in the system.  I favor universal, single-payer health care, which eliminates the health insurance companies from the system and provides individuals with high quality health care, with a choice of health care providers, that is publicly financed:  Medicare for All.  I support legislation sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich for universal, single-payer health care.  Van Hollen has refused to sign on to this legislation.

THE INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR—I oppose this road project, which I view as detrimental to the environment, and communities.

I am doing some serious thinking about how we might consider keeping these and other issues, front and center in the debate in the General Election.  I will consider your input, as I weigh my options. Please refer to the page Status of Campaign: Next Steps.

Whatever decision I reach regarding next steps, I do want to take this opportunity to thank the over 10,000 voters in the Democratic Primary, who voted on February 12 for Vollmer for Congress!  THANK YOU!!!

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

      January 31, 2008

Van Hollen votes for more funding for the War, as Vollmer for Congress Campaign Picks up New Energy!

Friends,

          It is not always easy to track the various votes in Congress on Iraq War funding. Sometimes these votes come as votes on a budget; sometimes as a “supplemental”, sometimes it is called a “bridge fund”, and sometimes a “continuing resolution.”  The Montgomery Extra section of the Washington Post (Thursday, January 24) reported on the latest significant vote—the 2008 Defense Budget, which the House sent to the Senate on January 16.  The Defense Budget bill, H.R. 4986, was passed by a vote of 369 to 46.  This budget bill authorized a $649 billion military budget, including nearly $190 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Chris Van Hollen voted for this budget bill.  Had I been in Congress and in a position to vote on this, I would have joined the 46 courageous members of the House who voted NO. 

          Just a few days ago on Sunday afternoon (January 27), Montgomery County Peace Action and several co-sponsoring organizations held a candidates’ forum at the County Council building in Rockville for candidates running for the 8th and 4th Congressional Districts.  For those of you who helped with this event, and to those who attended, thank you!  It was a rare opportunity for me to get the message out, and the first thing I mentioned when it was my turn for opening remarks was to focus on Van Hollen’s voting record on the war, especially his latest vote on the 2008 Defense Budget. (Mr. Van Hollen did appear at this event, but he arrived late, and he left early.  As he has in the past, he spoke out in opposition to the Iraq war—but he failed to explain his mixed voting record on Iraq war funding.)

           Over the last couple of weeks, and especially over the last couple of days, this campaign for Congress has picked up new energy!

          My videotape on Montgomery Community Television is now airing, multiple times on cable Channel 21. In that spot, I speak about my positions on some of the issues, defining the differences that I have with Chris Van Hollen on Iraq War funding, civil liberties, impeachment, and health care.  See the schedule for airing of these spots, now posted on this website. You should note that MCT Television, which is run by volunteers, is not as tight in matching predetermined scheduling as is the case with commercial television.  Also, the broadcast contains the statements of a number of different candidates for different congressional districts.  My spot airs approximately half an hour into the broadcast, and only lasts for about four minutes.  A good rule of thumb:  look at the schedule that is posted, but don’t expect to see me for about half an hour after the broadcast starts; and even then, tune in a little early in case they start the sequence early.

          Also on the campaign publicity front, the Montgomery County Sentinel published a feature article about the Vollmer for Congress campaign, and also in the same newspaper, printed my letter to the editor on the subject of my campaign!  The article appears in the hardcopy edition of the Sentinel which came out of Thursday January 24.  (The Sentinel comes out once a week, on Thursday, and is available at some news stands and libraries.)  The article also appears on the Sentinel’s website, and we have linked to it here on this website.

          In other campaign news, I have received the endorsement of the Montgomery County Green Democrats.  Thank you Green Democrats!

            Here are some of my positions on some of the issues of concern to voters for peace, social justice, and the environment.  On some of these issues, the differences that I have with incumbent Chris Van Hollen are slight; on some of the issues, our differences are major.

ON IRAQ—Bring all U.S. troops home NOW.  No more funding for the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.  As I have discussed in previous e-mail messages, and on my website, Van Hollen’s voting record on Iraq War funding is a mixed one, and Van Hollen has not even joined the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress!  We need a leader in Congress on this issue.  Van Hollen has been a timid follower, when he could have exerted his leadership position to end this war!

ON IRAN—I oppose the drumbeats for war with Iran, and other nations.

ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE—While Chris Van Hollen does have a better record on this issue than some, I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of the rights of Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe that Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

ON CIVIL LIBERTIES—I am for protecting our precious civil liberties.  I oppose the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT. I oppose practices and policies of the Bush Administration, whether or not actually written into law, that infringe on civil liberties.  Recently, Van Hollen voted for H.R, 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”—a bill which had little publicity when it was being debated and voted upon, and which had little opposition, when it passed the House of Representatives.  Civil liberties organizations have sounded the alarm that this bill threatens to chill the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest.  Van Hollen voted for this bill.  I would have voted against it.

ON IMPEACHMENT—I support Dennis Kucinich’s resolution for impeachment.  Impeach Cheney first, and then Bush.  What message do we send to future generations and future Presidents if we do not impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?  Van Hollen is on the record as opposing efforts to impeach Bush and Cheney.

ON HEALTH CARE—In fairness to Chris Van Hollen, he does agree with me that all Americans should have health care coverage.  But we disagree on the means.  Van Hollen would reform the current system, but keep the health insurance companies in the system.  I favor universal, single-payer health care, which eliminates the health insurance companies from the system and provides individuals with high quality health care, with a choice of health care providers, that is publicly financed:  Medicare for All.  I support legislation sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich for universal, single-payer health care.  Van Hollen has refused to sign on to this legislation.

THE INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR—I oppose this road project, which I view as detrimental to the environment, and communities.

            PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS MESSAGE BY E-MAIL TO PROGRESSIVE VOTERS IN MARYLAND’S 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.  The voters deserve to know how the candidates stand on the issues.  AND DON’T FORGET TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IS ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2008.     

            For further information, please see my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com.  See especially these pages on my website: Status of the Campaign, and What You Can Do to Help, and Upcoming Forums and Events.


            Again, please circulate this message, far and wide.  We are not doing fundraising in this campaign, and e-mail is one of those means that we do have to reach the voters!  Thanks!

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---
      January 14, 2008


Vollmer for Congress Campaign Picks Up New Energy!

Friends,

           Over the last couple of weeks, and especially over the last couple of days, this campaign for Congress has picked up new energy!

          Last Thursday, I did my videotaped four-minute spot at the studio of Montgomery Community Television.  In that spot, I speak about my positions on some of the issues, defining the differences that I have with Chris Van Hollen on Iraq War funding, civil liberties, impeachment, and health care.  Montgomery Community Television will be posting the schedule for the airing of the spots within the next few days.  We will also post the schedule on this website.

          On Saturday, January 12, I joined John Nirenberg, in his march to Washington to meet with Pelosi, Conyers, and other leaders in Congress to urge impeachment of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.  John has marched some five hundred miles, from Faneuil Hall in Boston!  I was proud to join him on the last few miles of his journey.  John is asking folks to get those phone calls in to Pelosi, Conyers, and other members of Congress to urge that action be taken on impeachment.  See http://www.marchinmyname.org, John’s website, and also http://www.impeachthem.wordpress.com and also http://www.takomaparkibc.wordpress.com for further information.

          On Sunday, I attended a memorial service in Garrett Park for a great lady—Ethel Lubarsky, a long-time activist with the Gray Panthers, and a friend.  Family members and friends shared memories of Ethel and her social activism, and we sang “There Once Was a Union Maid,” and other songs.  Ethel Lubarsky was a wonderful person, and a persistent activist for peace, universal health care, and social justice.  She will be missed.

          On Sunday, January 27, Montgomery County Peace Action and several co-sponsoring organizations will hold a candidates’ forum for Congressional candidates in Maryland CD-4 and CD-8. It will be held from two to four in the afternoon, and it will be at the County Council building on Maryland Avenue in Rockville. Watch for further details on this website!

            Here are some of my positions on some of the issues of concern to voters for peace, social justice, and the environment.  On some of these issues, the differences that I have with incumbent Chris Van Hollen are slight; on some of the issues, our differences are major.

ON IRAQ—Bring all U.S. troops home NOW.  No more funding for the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.  As I have discussed in previous e-mail messages, and on my website, Van Hollen’s voting record on Iraq War funding is a mixed one, and Van Hollen has not even joined the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress!  We need a leader in Congress on this issue.  Van Hollen has been a timid follower, when he could have exerted his leadership position to end this war!

ON IRAN—I oppose the drumbeats for war with Iran, and other nations.

ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE—While Chris Van Hollen does have a better record on this issue than some, I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of the rights of Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe that Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

ON CIVIL LIBERTIES—I am for protecting our precious civil liberties.  I oppose the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT. I oppose practices and policies of the Bush Administration, whether or not actually written into law, that infringe on civil liberties.  Recently, Van Hollen voted for H.R, 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”—a bill which had little publicity when it was being debated and voted upon, and which had little opposition, when it passed the House of Representatives.  Civil liberties organizations have sounded the alarm that this bill threatens to chill the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest.  Van Hollen voted for this bill.  I would have voted against it.

ON IMPEACHMENT—I support Dennis Kucinich’s resolution for impeachment.  Impeach Cheney first, and then Bush.  What message do we send to future generations and future Presidents if we do not impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?  Van Hollen is on the record as opposing efforts to impeach Bush and Cheney.

ON HEALTH CARE—In fairness to Chris Van Hollen, he does agree with me that all Americans should have health care coverage.  But we disagree on the means.  Van Hollen would reform the current system, but keep the health insurance companies in the system.  I favor universal, single-payer health care, which eliminates the health insurance companies from the system and provides individuals with high quality health care, with a choice of health care providers, that is publicly financed:  Medicare for All.  I support legislation sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich for universal, single-payer health care.  Van Hollen has refused to sign on to this legislation.

THE INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR—I oppose this road project, which I view as detrimental to the environment, and communities.

            PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS MESSAGE BY E-MAIL TO PROGRESSIVE VOTERS IN MARYLAND’S 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.  The voters deserve to know how the candidates stand on the issues.  AND DON’T FORGET TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IS ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2008.     

            For further information, please see my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com.  See especially these pages on my website: Status of the Campaign, and What You Can Do to Help, and Upcoming Forums and Events.


            Again, please circulate this message, far and wide.  We are not doing fundraising in this campaign, and e-mail is one of those means that we do have to reach the voters!  Thanks!

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

      January 10, 2008

Positions on Issues of Concern

Friends,

            Here are some of my positions on some of the issues of concern to voters for peace, social justice, and the environment.  On some of these issues, the differences that I have with incumbent Chris Van Hollen are slight; on some of the issues, our differences are major.

            Here are my positions on some of the issues:

ON IRAQ—Bring all U.S. troops home NOW.  No more funding for the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.  As I have discussed in previous e-mail messages, and on my website, Van Hollen’s voting record on Iraq War funding is a mixed one, and Van Hollen has not even joined the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress!  We need a leader in Congress on this issue.  Van Hollen has been a timid follower, when he could have exerted his leadership position to end this war!

ON IRAN—I oppose the drumbeats for war with Iran, and other nations.

ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE—While Chris Van Hollen does have a better record on this issue than some, I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of the rights of Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe that Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

ON CIVIL LIBERTIES—I am for protecting our precious civil liberties.  I oppose the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT. I oppose practices and policies of the Bush Administration, whether or not actually written into law, that infringe on civil liberties.  Recently, Van Hollen voted for H.R, 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007”—a bill which had little publicity when it was being debated and voted upon, and which had little opposition, when it passed the House of Representatives.  Civil liberties organizations have sounded the alarm that this bill threatens to chill the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest.  Van Hollen voted for this bill.  I would have voted against it.

ON IMPEACHMENT—I support Dennis Kucinich’s resolution for impeachment.  Impeach Cheney first, and then Bush.  What message do we send to future generations and future Presidents if we do not impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?  Van Hollen is on the record as opposing efforts to impeach Bush and Cheney.

ON HEALTH CARE—In fairness to Chris Van Hollen, he does agree with me that all Americans should have health care coverage.  But we disagree on the means.  Van Hollen would reform the current system, but keep the health insurance companies in the system.  I favor universal, single-payer health care, which eliminates the health insurance companies from the system and provides individuals with high quality health care, with a choice of health care providers, that is publicly financed:  Medicare for All.  I support legislation sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich for universal, single-payer health care.  Van Hollen has refused to sign on to this legislation.

THE INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR—I oppose this road project, which I view as detrimental to the environment, and communities.

            PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS MESSAGE BY E-MAIL TO PROGRESSIVE VOTERS IN MARYLAND’S 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.  The voters deserve to know how the candidates stand on the issues.  AND DON’T FORGET TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IS ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2008.     

            For further information, please see my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com.  See especially these pages on my website:
Status of the Campaign, and What You Can Do to Help, and Upcoming Forums and Events.

            Again, please circulate this message, far and wide.  We are not doing fundraising in this campaign, and e-mail is one of those means that we do have to reach the voters!  Thanks!


Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

   January 2, 2008 

A Message for the New Year!

Friends,

       I do hope that all of you getting this have been having an enjoyable holiday season! It can be hard with all the sad news: the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, drumbeats for war with Iran (maybe a little bit muffled now?) and more and more American and Iraqi lives lost in Iraq (despite the fact that much of the media are now trying to put a more positive spin on the U.S. war effort).

        The campaign season is upon us, like it or not, and I am preparing for a short but vigorous campaign for the 8th Congressional District seat in Maryland.  It is important that we use this campaign as a vehicle to let Congress know that we in the 8th Congressional District want an immediate end to the war in Iraq, and that Congress must start doing its part by refusing to vote more funds for the war!

          It is customary for folks early in the New Year to make New Year’s Resolutions!  I have a few of my own, the usual ones that relate to staying fit and cleaning up clutter, but let me suggest a resolution that I hope those of you getting this will join me in making.  Let’s send the Congress, the President, and the people of this Country a powerful message by turning out the Peace vote in the 2008 election cycle!  Of course one way to do this is to build a grassroots “surge” in the campaign for Vollmer for Congress!

         Please take a look at this website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com, and if you like what you see, please forward the link to this website to anyone and everyone who you know who might be voting in the Democratic Primary for the Maryland 8th Congressional District seat on February 12.  And I hope that whenever to go to a party, or an informal gathering of friends, you will use the opportunity to discuss the fact that folks do have a choice in this race, and refer them to my website.  Also, I continue to look for opportunities to speak, to small groups and large, in a debate forum, or just me by myself.

          For a more detailed discussion of my reasons for challenging Chris Van Hollen for the 8th Congressional District seat, please see Status of the Campaign, and What You Can Do to Help, on this website.

          For scheduled events see Upcoming Forums and Events.

          For those of you who want to do even a little more to help, here is something you can do, especially if you happen to have a functioning computer printer, and easy access to photocopying.  Take a look at the Out of Iraq flyer on this website.  You can download it in either regular format, or PDF.  Print it out, copy it, and get it out to the voters in your community, in whatever way makes sense to you!  This may be the public library, or a bulletin board at a coffee house or food co-op!  You know your own community, so take charge, and get the flyer out to folks, wherever people who care about peace and social justice gather!  Thanks, and

Best wishes for the New Year, 2008!

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

      December 29, 2007

[Revised December 30, 2007]

Holiday Message

Friends,

       I do hope that everyone getting this is having an enjoyable holidays! It can be hard with all the sad news: the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, drumbeats for war with Iran (maybe a little bit muffled now?) and more and more American and Iraqi lives lost in Iraq (despite the fact that much of the media are now trying to put a more positive spin on the U.S. war effort).

        The campaign season is upon us, like it or not, and I am preparing for a short but vigorous campaign for the 8th Congressional District seat in Maryland.  It is important that we use this campaign as a vehicle to let Congress know that we in the 8th Congressional District want an immediate end to the war in Iraq, and that Congress must start doing its part by refusing to vote more funds for the war!

         Please take a look at this website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com, and if you like what you see, please forward the link to this website to anyone and everyone who you know who might be voting in the Democratic Primary for the Maryland 8th Congressional District seat on February 12.  And I hope that those of you who will be attending holiday parties in the next few days will use the opportunity to discuss the fact that folks do have a choice in this race, and refer them to my website.  Also, I continue to look for opportunities to speak, to small groups and large, in a debate forum, or just me by myself.

          For a more detailed discussion of my reasons for challenging Chris Van Hollen for the 8th Congressional District seat, please see Status of the Campaign, and What You Can Do to Help, on this website.

          For scheduled events see Upcoming Forums and Events.

Peace and Happy Holidays!

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

      December 21, 2007

The Vollmer for Congress Campaign: What it is all about, the current status of the campaign, and what you can do to help

Friends,

          For those of you who have been following these messages from me on this website, let me first summarize the status of this campaign.  I am running against a powerful member of the House of Representatives, Chris Van Hollen, who is Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Mr. Van Hollen represents the 8th Congressional District in the State of Maryland. I am running as a challenger in the Democratic Primary to be held on February 12, because I have serious differences of opinion with Mr. Van Hollen, with regard to his voting record, especially with regard to continued funding for the War and Occupation of Iraq.

          On November 1, 2007, I wrote an Open Letter to Chris Van Hollen, which I sent to his campaign office, challenging him to debate his voting record, in one or more public settings, with dates and times to be mutually arranged.  To date, I have received no response from Mr. Van Hollen.  I know that the letter was received by way of a signed return receipt, which I assume to have been signed by a Van Hollen campaign staffer.  Mr. Van Hollen will, no doubt, be busy during this short campaign cycle.  But he owes it to his constituents to set aside the time to debate the issues, and clarify his reasons for voting the way he has voted on Iraq War funding and other issues.

          In previous messages on this website, which you can see if you click on the link at the very bottom of this message, I have discussed in detail Mr. Van Hollen’s mixed voting record, with regard to the funding of the Iraq War.  Most recently, I discussed two votes, the first being  the Continuing Resolution to keep government funded at current levels, which had very little media attention when it was passed by the House on September 26, and which contained an estimated 14 billion for the war in Iraq.  There were no conditions in this bill requiring that the funds be used to withdraw troops.  Van Hollen voted for it.  Fourteen of his colleagues voted No, which is what I would have done, had I been in a position to cast a vote on this. 

The second piece of recent legislation regarding Iraq War funding was the “bridge fund” bill, with some fifty billion dollars for the war.  The House version, passed on November 14, 2007, contained some conditions that this money be used to withdraw troops, but the language was such that this condition would have been unenforceable.  The Progressives in the House were split on this one.  The bill died in the Senate, because most Senate Republicans were unwilling to agree to the conditions that the money be used to withdraw the troops.  Van Hollen had voted for this bill in the House; I would have joined Dennis Kucinich and Pete Stark and voted No.

A third vote merits some discussion on this page.  On December 19, the House of Representatives considered the spending bill sent back to it by the Senate, H.R. 2764.  When the House voted on this legislation initially, it contained no funding for the war in Iraq.  The Senate added some $70 billion dollars in war funding.  Chris Van Hollen, to his credit, voted against the bill.  The bill including the Iraq War funding passed the House by a vote of 272 to 142.

          The three votes that I have discussed above are only a part of the picture; Van Hollen’s voting record over the long haul on the issue of Iraq has been mixed.  I consider him to be well intentioned, but in effect an “enabler” of the Bush Administration’s flawed foreign policy regarding Iraq and other issues.  Van Hollen is somewhat sensitive to the wishes of his constituents on the issue of Iraq War funding, but not sufficiently so.  He will sometimes do the right thing, when he is in the company of a substantial number of his Democratic colleagues.  But on those really tough votes—those in which a vote of conscience would put him at odds with the majority of his colleagues, he tends to take the “easy” way, and vote with those colleagues.

          There are other issues where I differ from Mr. Van Hollen, although the issue of the funding for the Iraq War remains the crucial difference.  On some issues our differences are slight, on some of the issues there are significant differences.  For example, Mr. Van Hollen recently voted for H.R. 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.”  Concerned groups have pointed out that this bill threatens civil liberties. Van Hollen voted for it.  I would have voted No.

          I am disappointed that Chris Van Hollen has not been in support of efforts to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney.  What message does it send to future Presidents if we do not take steps to impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?

          On the issue of Israel/Palestine, I recognize the power of the Israeli lobby, and I understand that Van Hollen does have a better record than some on this issue.  But I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of rights for Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

          On the domestic front, Mr. Van Hollen and I have some differences of opinion regarding Health Care.  We agree that Americans should all have coverage.  I favor a version of single payer health care which guarantees Americans quality health care with a choice of health care providers.  In particular, I favor legislation along these lines proposed by U.S. Representative John Conyers.  Chris Van Hollen has not signed on to support this legislation.

          People often ask me what they can do to help.  First let me say that (and some find this absolutely shocking!) we are not doing fundraising.  Political campaigns do fundraising in order to have the resources to get the message out.  The media then focuses on the fundraising itself.  This is wrong.  The media should be focusing instead on the positions that the candidates have on the issues, their qualifications to hold office, and their honesty and integrity.  I hope that folks will find this No Fundraising approach to be refreshing.  And there are definitely other things that folks can do to help.

          Here are some things people who want to help this campaign can do.  Help to get the message out by sending your own message to individuals and listservs, with a link to this website; remind people in your message that the date for the Democratic Primary is February 12.  Help me to meet potential supporters by inviting me to gatherings of folks, large or small.  I will be happy to listen to the concerns that people have, and to answer questions about my campaign, and my positions on the issues.  Contact Chris Van Hollen—and help generate the pressure on him to accept my challenge to debate.  If you belong to an organization that sponsors candidate debates, arrange for your organization to invite both myself and Mr. Van Hollen (and Lih Young, who I understand is also running in the Primary) to participate in one or more candidate debates.

Finally, I want to emphasize that although election calendars and ballot access rules do inject a certain level of competition into the process among activists with different party affiliations, ultimately we need to be thinking about working together—all of us voters for peace—be we Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, or independents.  We need to develop some new strategies to use the electoral process to support peace candidates—regardless of party affiliation.

Peace and Happy Holidays!

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

      December 4, 2007
[revised Dec. 7, 2007]

The Vollmer for Congress Campaign: What it is all about, the current status of the campaign, and what you can do to help

Friends,

          For those of you who have been following these messages from me on this website, let me first summarize the status of this campaign.  I am running against a powerful member of the House of Representatives, Chris Van Hollen, who is Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Mr. Van Hollen represents the 8th Congressional District in the State of Maryland. I am running as a challenger in the Democratic Primary to be held on February 12, because I have serious differences of opinion with Mr. Van Hollen, with regard to his voting record, especially with regard to continued funding for the War and Occupation of Iraq.

          On November 1, 2007, I wrote an Open Letter to Chris Van Hollen, which I sent to his campaign office, challenging him to debate his voting record, in one or more public settings, with dates and times to be mutually arranged.  To date, I have received no response from Mr. Van Hollen.  I know that the letter was received by way of a signed return receipt, which I assume to have been signed by a Van Hollen campaign staffer.  Mr. Van Hollen will, no doubt, be busy during this short campaign cycle.  But he owes it to his constituents to set aside the time to debate the issues, and clarify his reasons for voting the way he has voted on Iraq War funding and other issues.

          In previous messages on this website, which you can see if you click on the link at the very bottom of this message, I have discussed in detail Mr. Van Hollen’s mixed voting record, with regard to the funding of the Iraq War.  Most recently, I discussed two votes, the first being  the Continuing Resolution to keep government funded at current levels, which had very little media attention when it was passed by the House on September 26, and which contained an estimated 14 billion for the war in Iraq.  There were no conditions in this bill requiring that the funds be used to withdraw troops.  Van Hollen voted for it.  Fourteen of his colleagues voted No, which is what I would have done, had I been in a position to cast a vote on this. 

The second piece of recent legislation regarding Iraq War funding was the “bridge fund” bill, with some fifty billion dollars for the war.  The House version, passed on November 14, 2007, contained some conditions that this money be used to withdraw troops, but the language was such that this condition would have been unenforceable.  The Progressives in the House were split on this one.  The bill died in the Senate, because most Senate Republicans were unwilling to agree to the conditions that the money be used to withdraw the troops.  Van Hollen had voted for this bill in the House; I would have joined Dennis Kucinich and Pete Stark and voted No.

          The last two votes that I have discussed are only a part of the picture; Van Hollen’s voting record over the long haul on the issue of Iraq has been mixed.  I consider him to be well intentioned, but in effect an “enabler” of the Bush Administration’s flawed foreign policy regarding Iraq and other issues.

          There are other issues where I differ from Mr. Van Hollen, although the issue of the funding for the Iraq War remains the crucial difference.  On some issues our differences are slight, on some of the issues there are significant differences.  For example, Mr. Van Hollen recently voted for H.R. 1955, the so-called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.”  Concerned groups have pointed out that this bill threatens civil liberties. Van Hollen voted for it.  I would have voted No.

          I am disappointed that Chris Van Hollen has not been in support of efforts to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney.  What message does it send to future Presidents if we do not take steps to impeach these two, for what they have done to our nation?

          On the issue of Israel/Palestine, I recognize the power of the Israeli lobby, and I understand that Van Hollen does have a better record than some on this issue.  But I would like to see him come out more strongly in support of rights for Palestinians living under conditions of occupation.  In the long run, I believe Israel, too, will benefit if justice is brought to Palestinians, because it will be possible for the two nations and their peoples to achieve a genuine peace.

          On the domestic front, Mr. Van Hollen and I have some differences of opinion regarding Health Care.  We agree that Americans should all have coverage.  I favor a version of single payer health care which guarantees Americans quality health care with a choice of health care providers.  In particular, I favor legislation along these lines proposed by U.S. Representative John Conyers.  Chris Van Hollen has not signed on to support this legislation.

          People often ask me what they can do to help.  First let me say that (and some find this absolutely shocking!) we are not doing fundraising.  Political campaigns do fundraising in order to have the resources to get the message out.  The media then focuses on the fundraising itself.  This is wrong.  The media should be focusing instead on the positions that the candidates have on the issues, their qualifications to hold office, and their honesty and integrity.  I hope that folks will find this No Fundraising approach to be refreshing.  And there are definitely other things that folks can do to help.

          Here are some things people who want to help this campaign can do.  Help to get the message out by sending your own message to individuals and listservs, with a link to this website; remind people in your message that the date for the Democratic Primary is February 12.  Help me to meet potential supporters by inviting me to gatherings of folks, large or small.  I will be happy to listen to the concerns that people have, and to answer questions about my campaign, and my positions on the issues.  Contact Chris Van Hollen—and help generate the pressure on him to accept my challenge to debate.  If you belong to an organization that sponsors candidate debates, arrange for your organization to invite both myself and Mr. Van Hollen (and Lih Young, who I understand is also running in the Primary) to participate in one or more candidate debates.

Finally, I want to emphasize that although election calendars and ballot access rules do inject a certain level of competition into the process among activists with different party affiliations, ultimately we need to be thinking about working together—all of us voters for peace—be we Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, or independents.  We need to develop some new strategies to use the electoral process to support peace candidates—regardless of party affiliation.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---
--

                             November 17, 2007

Congress Struggles with Iraq War Funding Bill—Here is what I would have done, had I been in Chris Van Hollen’s seat--

Friends, 

          On Thursday, November 14, 2007, anti-war Democrats were put to a severe test, in the form of the vote on the Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act.  The legislation, passed by what was pretty much a party line vote by a margin of 218 to 203, granted $50 billion for the war on condition that Bush redeploy most U.S. troops beginning 30 days after the measure’s passage, and ending by December 15, 2008.  The deadline is a goal rather than a requirement, and some have pointed out that this President has a way with “signing statements”—might not he just issue a signing statement, and take the money, and spend it as he sees fit?  The reality is that the President will probably veto the bill when it comes to him. 

Isn’t there enough money already in the pipeline, to bring the troops home, if in fact that is the goal?  Dennis Kucinich continues to articulate this position, and I believe that Dennis is right.

Why does Congress keep appropriating more money for this abominable war?  This most recent vote was a tough call for members of the Progressive Caucus and the Out of Iraq Caucus.  Most voted for the measure, because of the attached conditions.  Chris Van Hollen, who is a not a member of the Out or Iraq Caucus, or the Progressive Caucus also voted for the bill; Van Hollen usually votes with the Democrats on party-line votes. 

As a practical matter, when the President vetoes this “bridge funding” legislation (as he almost certainly will), it will push the debate just a little bit forward.  But my admiration goes to two representatives in the House who bucked the Democratic tide to vote for the bill, and who cast their “No” votes for the right reasons—Representatives Kucinich and Stark.  They voted No because they know that the only way to end this war is to end the funding for it.  Had I been sitting in the seat representing the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, I would have voted No right along with them.  Congress should use the power of the purse, and cut off all funding for this abominable war and occupation of Iraq!

          I have previously discussed (See my previous “Message to Supporters”) another recent vote on Iraq war funding, the “Continuing Resolution”, which was passed by the House of Representatives on September 26, 2007, which provided for an estimated fourteen billion dollars for the war in Iraq, as a part of a measure to keep all the functions of government going at current levels.  This one presented as easier choice for the progressive anti-war members of the House.  Fourteen bucked the tide, and voted against this bill.  It was an easier choice for progressives; because this bill contained no conditions requiring troop withdrawal from Iraq, there was absolutely no reason for progressive anti-war members to vote for it.  Chris Van Hollen voted with the Democratic majority for this legislation, and would prefer that his constituents know nothing about it.  The vote received almost no publicity in the mainstream media. 

I have discussed Mr. Van Hollen’s vote for the “Continuing Resolution” in more detail in my previous Message to Supporters dated: October 25, 2007.  If you have not yet seen that message, you may read it by clicking the link at the bottom of this message.  That message also contains more information about my decision to challenge Chris Van Hollen for the 8th Congressional District seat, a description of an incident when I confronted Mr. Van Hollen about his vote on the Continuing Resolution at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church at a service held on the Sunday after the vote had taken place, and some ideas for folks who want to help me in my campaign for Congress.

         We don’t have a lot of time!  The Democratic Primary will be held on February 12, 2008—less than three months from today. On November 1, 2007, I sent Chris Van Hollen an Open Letter, challenging him to debate me on the issue of his voting record with regard to the Iraq war.

          Mr. Van Hollen represents us—the people living and voting within the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  He is a powerful fundraiser, and he has a strong sense of the power of his incumbency.  But he cannot forget that he is in office because the voters chose to vote him in, and the voters in the 8th Congressional District overwhelmingly want to bring our precious U.S. troops home from Iraq--NOW. 

         Now that I have filed to run for Congress in the 2008 Democratic Primary, I need your help. Not your money, but your help.  Please spread word about my campaign and this website to individuals and listservs; help me make media contacts; help me set up meetings, large and small, with potential supporters. 

On November 1, 2007, I sent an Open Letter to Chris Van Hollen challenging him to debate me on the issue of his voting record on Iraq war funding. A copy of that letter appears elsewhere on this website.  Mr. Van Hollen has failed to use his leadership position in Congress to end this war. Folks who want to help me with this campaign should pressure Van Hollen to accept my invitation to debate.  If you belong to an organization that is in a position to host a debate, invite both Mr. Van Hollen and me to debate the issues!

The last time I ran, in 2006, Van Hollen refused to debate me, claiming that he was too busy as Chair of the DCCC organizing Democrats to run against Republicans across the Country!  With his little-publicized vote on the Continuing Resolution, the case for replacing Chris Van Hollen is now stronger than it was the last time around.  But it will take a lot of pressure to force him into a debate!  You can help, by increasing the pressure on Van Hollen to accept my challenge to debate! 

Finally, I want to emphasize that although election calendars and ballot access rules do inject a certain level of competition into the process among activists with different party affiliations, ultimately we need to be thinking about working together—all of us voters for peace—be we Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, or independents.  We need to develop some new strategies to use the electoral process to support peace candidates—regardless of party affiliation.


Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

                                            October 25, 2007

I am a candidate for Congress in the 8th Congressional District in the State of Maryland.

Friends, 

          On Thursday, October 25, 2007, I filed to have my name placed on the ballot for the Democratic Primary, for the 8th Congressional District seat, in the State of Maryland.  The Democratic Primary will be held on February 12, 2008—less than four months from today.

          I am running against Chris Van Hollen, a popular incumbent, who is also the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  I realize that I face a formidable opponent, who will have the power, influence, and monetary backing of the Democratic Party leadership.  I did not make this decision to run lightly, and I have struggled with the issue of whether meaningful change is even possible by working within the Democratic Party.  But I have a lot of respect for Democrats like Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and other members of the Progressive Caucus.  And with the Democratic Primary less than four months from now, I felt I had to make my decision as to whether or not to run. 

          To this point, I had held back on making my decision, in the hope that our representative, Chris Van Hollen, could be persuaded to use his power and influence to take a leadership role in moving the Democrat-led Congress to end the war and occupation of Iraq.  But he has failed to do so.

          Mr. Van Hollen’s record on the Iraq War remains a mixed one.  It is true that he did vote the wishes of his constituents when the last vote was taken on a Supplemental Appropriation of funds for the war in Iraq last spring.  In late May, Congress gave the President some $145 billion for the War in a supplemental funding bill.  At that time, Van Hollen voted with the minority, against continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq.  He voted the way his constituents wanted him to vote.  This was good.  But it is easy to vote with one’s constituents, on a controversial vote, when that vote is unlikely to affect the outcome.  What takes real political courage is the vote of conscience, when that vote really makes a difference.  Van Hollen faced that situation recently, and unfortunately, he failed the test when he cast his vote for a little publicized “Continuing Resolution” on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

          As anti-war activists continued to flood the halls of Congress, engaging in peaceful protest, in an effort to persuade Congress to stop funding this illegal, immoral, and tragic war, Congress was taking care of business as usual.  Anti-war activists had been led to believe that there would be a new vote on continued funding for the war sometime around September.  September dragged on; and on September 26, the House of Representatives in effect voted to put off this vote—perhaps until January!  What they did was pass a measure known as a Continuing Resolution, to keep all of the functions of government running at current levels of funding until such time as there will be a vote on another Supplemental Appropriation.  The Continuing Resolution contains an estimated 14 billion dollars in Iraq-related funds.  Chris Van Hollen voted for this Continuing Resolution, as did most members of the House!  Only 14 members voted against the Continuing Resolution—that core of progressive activists in Congress that represent the values held by the majority of voters in Chris Van Hollen’s district! 

One can argue that Van Hollen’s one vote on the issue of the Continuing Resolution would not have made any difference as to the outcome of that vote.  But precisely because he is chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Van Hollen has not only his one vote, but a degree of power and influence within the Democratic Party leadership, and with respect to his colleagues in the House of Representatives.

          The vote in the House of Representatives on the Continuing Resolution was particularly insidious for two reasons:  it had the effect of delaying the vote on the Supplemental Appropriations bill and the accompanying debate for some months—and it actually provided for another 14 billion dollars or so of continued funding for the Iraq War! There has been little reporting of this vote in the mainstream media, and members of Congress would think it was just fine if none of us had noticed.   

Chris Van Hollen certainly had hoped that we wouldn’t notice his vote on the Continuing Resolution.  On Sunday, September 30, the eleven o’clock service at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland, featured a “conversation” between Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senior Minister Roger Fritts.  When asked by Reverend Fritts a general question about Iraq, Van Hollen made the point that the votes were not there to end the war, but that they were working on this.  He then gave some history of past votes on appropriations bills and resolutions—but made no mention of the vote on the Continuing Resolution that had just taken place just days before, on the preceding Wednesday!

          Only when a member of the Congregation called out a question:  WHY had he voted for the Continuing Resolution, including the 14 billion or so dollars for the war in occupation in Iraq—when by the way, fourteen of his colleagues had voted against the resolution—only then did he address the issue.  He said voting down the Continuing Resolution would have amounted to shutting down the Government, which would have turned the entire country against Congress!  I (who happened to be the person who had asked the question) took issue with him, stating that perhaps it was time to shut down the Government—this issue was that important! 

After the service, I spoke with the Congressman and Reverend Fritts, making the case that surely the Democrats had enough clout in Congress, that if it meant shutting down the Government for half a day or so, and the Democrats were clear as to how they articulated the issue, they should at least be able to force a separation of the Iraq funding issue from the Continuing Resolution—allowing Government to continue to function, while debate resumed in the House on the subject of the funding of the war!

Van Hollen continues to play a game of “safe politics”—throwing an occasional bone to his anti-war base, as when he voted against the last Supplemental—but failing to cast that important vote of conscience when it really matters!  And precisely because Chris Van Hollen is the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he is in a position to use his leadership in a way that can make a difference, on this issue of continued funding for the Iraq War.  But he has failed us. Up to this point, with the vote on the last Supplemental Appropriations bill last Spring a notable exception, Mr. Van Hollen has been an enabler to the Bush Administration on this issue of continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq

          Mr. Van Hollen represents us—the people living and voting within the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  He is a powerful fundraiser, and he has a strong sense of the power of his incumbency.  But he cannot forget that he is in office because the voters chose to vote him in, and the voters in the 8th Congressional District overwhelmingly want to bring our precious U.S. troops home from Iraq--NOW. 

          Although it received relatively little press attention at the time, in the last Democratic Primary, in 2006, I ran against Mr. Van Hollen, and I received approximately 8.7 % of the vote--approximately 7000 votes.  That may seem like a small number, but it was more votes than the Republican nominee received in his race in the Republican Primary held on the same date.  It was also a result achieved with no fundraising whatsoever, with my spending just a few hundred dollars of my own money.  It was a significant vote of protest to the continued disastrous Bush foreign policy, epitomized by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.   

         Now that I have filed to run in the Democratic Primary, I need your help. Not your money, but your help.  Please spread word about my campaign and this website to individuals and listservs; help me make media contacts; help me set up meetings, large and small, with potential supporters.  Help me to schedule a debate with Chris Van Hollen on the issues, and pressure Van Hollen to accept my invitation to debate, when I make the challenge.  If you belong to an organization that is in a position to host a debate, invite both Mr. Van Hollen and me to debate the issues!

The last time I ran, in 2006, Van Hollen refused to debate me, claiming that he was too busy as Chair of the DCCC organizing Democrats to run against Republicans across the Country!  With his little-publicized vote on the Continuing Resolution, the case for replacing Chris Van Hollen is now stronger than it was the last time around.  But it will take a lot of pressure to force him into a debate!  You can help, by increasing the pressure on Van Hollen to accept my challenge to debate!

Finally, I want to emphasize that although election calendars and ballot access rules do inject a certain level of competition into the process among activists with different party affiliations, ultimately we need to be thinking about working together—all of us voters for peace—be we Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, or independents.  We need to develop some new strategies to use the electoral process to support peace candidates—regardless of party affiliation.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

                                         
   October 14, 2007

To End the War in Iraq and prevent wider war with Iran and other nations, we must elect Representatives who will Stop the Funding for this Illegal, Immoral, and Tragic War. . . For this reason, I Challenge Chris Van Hollen for his seat in Congress in the 2008 Election Cycle

Friends, 

            In the General Election last November, we the voters, fed up with the illegal, immoral, and tragic war in Iraq, swept the Democrats into power, in both houses of Congress.  I have previously extended my congratulations to Chris Van Hollen, who, as expected, won in the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  But I ask Chris Van Hollen, and other Democratic winners in the new Congress, to pay attention to why there was such an overwhelming Democratic sweep—Americans are sick and tired of seeing young Americans, and Iraqi civilians, die in Iraq!  I am troubled by the fact that the Democratic Party leadership seems intent on continuing the funding for this war.

          Mr. Van Hollen’s record on the Iraq War remains a mixed one.  It is true that he did vote the wishes of his constituents when the last vote was taken on a Supplemental Appropriation of funds for the war in Iraq last spring.  In late May, Congress gave the President some $145 billion for the War in a supplemental funding bill.  At that time, Van Hollen voted with the minority, against continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq.  He voted the way his constituents wanted him to vote.  This was good.  But would he have voted the same way, had there been any indication that his vote might have made a difference to the outcome? It is easy to vote with one’s constituents, on a controversial vote, when that vote is unlikely to affect the outcome.  What takes real political courage is the vote of conscience, when that vote really makes a difference.  What will Chris Van Hollen do in that situation?  He faced that situation recently, and unfortunately, he failed the test when he cast his vote for a little publicized “Continuing Resolution” on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

          As anti-war activists continued to flood the halls of Congress, engaging in peaceful protest, in an effort to persuade Congress to stop funding this illegal, immoral, and tragic war, Congress was taking care of business as usual.  Anti-war activists had been led to believe that there would be a new vote on continued funding for the war sometime around September.  September dragged on; and on September 26, the House of Representatives in effect voted to put off this vote—perhaps until January!  What they did was pass a measure known as a Continuing Resolution, to keep all of the functions of government running until such time as there will be a vote on another Supplemental Appropriation.  The Continuing Resolution contains an estimated 14 billion dollars in Iraq-related funds.  Chris Van Hollen voted for this Continuing Resolution, as did most members of the House!  Only 14 members voted against the Continuing Resolution—that core of progressive activists in Congress that represent the values held by the majority of voters in Chris Van Hollen’s district! 

          The vote in the House of Representatives on the Continuing Resolution was particularly insidious for two reasons:  it had the effect of delaying the vote on the Supplemental Appropriations bill and the accompanying debate for some months—and it actually provided for another 14 billion dollars or so of continued funding for the Iraq War! There has been little reporting of this vote in the mainstream media, and members of Congress would think it was just fine if none of us had noticed.   

Chris Van Hollen certainly had hoped that we wouldn’t notice his vote on the Continuing Resolution.  On Sunday, September 30, the eleven o’clock service at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland, featured a “conversation” between Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senior Minister Roger Fritts.  When asked by Reverend Fritts a general question about Iraq, Van Hollen made the point that the votes were not there to end the war, but that they were working on this.  He then gave some history of past votes on appropriations bills and resolutions—but made no mention of the vote on the Continuing Resolution that had just taken place just days before, on the preceding Wednesday!

          Only when a member of the Congregation called out a question:  WHY had he voted for the Continuing Resolution, including the 14 billion or so dollars for the war in occupation in Iraq—when by the way, fourteen of his colleagues had voted against the resolution—only then did he address the issue.  He said voting down the Continuing Resolution would have amounted to shutting down the Government, which would have turned the entire country against Congress!  I (who happened to be the person who had asked the question) took issue with him, stating that perhaps it was time to shut down the Government—this issue was that important. 

After the service, I spoke with the Congressman and Reverend Fritts, making the case that surely the Democrats had enough clout in Congress, that if it meant shutting down the Congress for half a day or so, and the Democrats were clear as to how they articulated the issue, they should at least be able to force a separation of the Iraq funding issue from the Continuing Resolution—allowing Government to continue to function, while debate resumed in the House on the subject of the funding of the war!

Van Hollen continues to play a game of “safe politics”—throwing an occasional bone to his anti-war base, as when he voted against the last Supplemental—but failing to cast that important vote of conscience when it really matters!  And precisely because Chris Van Hollen is the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he is in a position to use his leadership in a way that can make a difference, on this issue of continued funding for the Iraq War.  It remains to be seen whether Mr. Van Hollen will develop the spine to do this, but time is running short!

            To all members of both houses of Congress, I say IT IS TIME TO STOP THE FUNDING FOR THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL WAR.  It is also time to stand up to the drumbeat for wider war with Iran and/or other nations.

Up to this point, with the vote on the last Supplemental Appropriations bill last Spring a notable exception, Mr. Van Hollen has been an enabler to the Bush Administration on this issue of continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq

          Mr. Van Hollen represents us—the people living and voting within the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  He is a powerful fundraiser, and he has a strong sense of the power of his incumbency.  But he cannot forget that he is in office because the voters chose to vote him in, and the voters in the 8th Congressional District overwhelmingly want to bring our precious U.S. troops home from Iraq--NOW. 

          Although it received relatively little press attention at the time, in the last Democratic Primary, in 2006, I ran against Mr. Van Hollen, and I received approximately 8.7 % of the vote--approximately 7000 votes.  That may seem like a small number, but it was more votes than the Republican nominee received in his race in the Republican Primary held on the same date.  It was also a result achieved with no fundraising whatsoever, with my spending just a few hundred dollars of my own money.  It was a significant vote of protest to the continued disastrous Bush foreign policy, epitomized by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.   

          I have decided to challenge Chris Van Hollen in the upcoming 2008 election cycle.  I will probably run in the Democratic Primary, which in Maryland will be held on February 12, 2008.  That gives us just under four months to organize!  I need your help. Not your money, but your help.  Please spread word about my campaign and this website to individuals and listservs; help me make media contacts; help me set up meetings, large and small, with potential supporters.  Help me to schedule a debate with Chris Van Hollen on the issues, and pressure Van Hollen to accept my invitation to debate, when I make the challenge.  The last time I ran in 2006, Van Hollen refused to debate me, claiming that he was too busy as Chair of the DCCC organizing Democrats to run against Republicans across the Country!  With his vote on the Continuing Resolution, the case for replacing Chris Van Hollen is now stronger than it was the last time around.  But it will take a lot of pressure to force him into a debate!

I have not completely ruled out an alternative strategy—running as a Green or as an independent in the General Election in November of 2008.  I have been a Democrat all of my life, but I just don’t know if we can really hope to end this war, by working within the Democratic Party.  With a few notable exceptions (Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and other members of the Progressive Caucus come to mind), Democrats seem to be lacking a backbone at this crucial point in history.  To me, the character of the candidate and that candidate’s positions on issues are so much more important than party affiliation.  The timetables for these two strategies that I am considering are very different, so there are a number of different factors to take into consideration.  I welcome your input, as I weigh my options. 

Finally, I want to emphasize that although election calendars and ballot access rules do inject a certain level of competition into the process among activists with different party affiliations, ultimately we need to be thinking about working together—all of us voters for peace—be we Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, or independents.  We need to develop some new strategies to use the electoral process to support peace candidates—regardless of party affiliation.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

                                            October 3, 2007

To End the War in Iraq and prevent wider war with Iran and other nations, we must elect Representatives who will Stop the Funding for this Illegal, Immoral, and Tragic War. . . For this reason, it is time to consider an Electoral Challenge to Chris Van Hollen

Friends, 

            In the General Election last November, we the voters, fed up with the illegal, immoral, and tragic war in Iraq, swept the Democrats into power, in both houses of Congress.  I have previously extended my congratulations to Chris Van Hollen, who, as expected, won in the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  But I ask Chris Van Hollen, and other Democratic winners in the new Congress, to pay attention to why there was such an overwhelming Democratic sweep—Americans are sick and tired of seeing young Americans, and Iraqi civilians, die in Iraq!  I am troubled by the fact that the Democratic Party leadership seems intent on continuing the funding for this war.

          Mr. Van Hollen’s record on the Iraq War remains a mixed one.  It is true that he did vote the wishes of his constituents when the last vote was taken on a Supplemental Appropriation of funds for the war in Iraq last spring.  In late May, Congress gave the President some $145 billion for the War in a supplemental funding bill.  At that time, Van Hollen voted with the minority, against continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq.  He voted the way his constituents wanted him to vote.  This was good.  But would he have voted the same way, had there been any indication that his vote might have made a difference to the outcome? It is easy to vote with one’s constituents, on a controversial vote, when that vote is unlikely to affect the outcome.  What takes real political courage is the vote of conscience, when that vote really makes a difference.  What will Chris Van Hollen do in that situation?  We can’t know for sure, but a little publicized vote which took place on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 26, suggests a possible answer.

          As anti-war activists continued to flood the halls of Congress, engaging in peaceful protest, in an effort to persuade Congress to stop funding this illegal, immoral, and tragic war, Congress was taking care of business as usual.  Anti-war activists had been led to believe that there would be a new vote on continued funding for the war sometime around September (that is, about now).  On September 26, the House of Representatives in effect voted to put off this vote—perhaps until January!  What they did was pass a measure known as a Continuing Resolution, to keep all of the functions of government running until such time as there will be a vote on another Supplemental Appropriation.  The continuing Resolution contains an estimated 14 billion dollars in Iraq-related funds.  Chris Van Hollen voted for this Continuing Resolution, as did most members of the House!  Only 14 members voted against the Continuing Resolution—that core of progressive activists in Congress that represent the values held by the majority of voters in Chris Van Hollen’s district! 

          The vote in the House of Representatives on the Continuing Resolution was particularly insidious for two reasons:  it had the effect of delaying the vote on the Supplemental Appropriations bill and the accompanying debate for some months—and it actually provided for another 14 billion dollars or so of continued funding for the Iraq War! There has been little reporting of this vote in the mainstream media, and members of Congress would think it was just fine if none of us had noticed.   Chris Van Hollen certainly had hoped that we wouldn’t notice.  On Sunday, September 30, the eleven o’clock service at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland, featured a “conversation” between Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senior Minister Roger Fritts.  When asked by Reverend Fritts a general question about Iraq, Van Hollen made the point that the votes were not there to end the war, but that they were working on this.  He then gave some history of past votes on appropriations bills and resolutions—but made no mention of the vote on the Continuing Resolution that had just taken place on the preceding Wednesday!

          Only when a member of the Congregation called out a question:  WHY had he voted for the Continuing Resolution, including the 14 billion or so dollars for the war in occupation in Iraq—when by the way, fourteen of his colleagues had voted against the resolution—only then did he address the issue.  He said voting down the Continuing Resolution would have amounted to shutting down the Government, which would have turned the entire country against Congress!  I (who happened to be the person who had asked the question) took issue with him, stating that perhaps it was time to shut down the Government—this issue was that important. 

After the service, I spoke with the Congressman and Reverend Fritts, making the case that surely the Democrats had enough clout in Congress, that if it meant shutting down the Congress for half a day or so, and the Democrats were clear as to how they articulated the issue, they should at least be able to force a separation of the Iraq funding issue from the Continuing Resolution—allowing Government to continue to function, while debate resumed in the House on the subject of the funding of the war!

Van Hollen continues to play a game of “safe politics”—throwing an occasional bone to his anti-war base, as when he voted against the last Supplemental—but failing to cast that important vote of conscience when it really matters!  And precisely because Chris Van Hollen is the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he is in a position to use his leadership in a way that can make a difference, on this issue of continued funding for the Iraq War.  It remains to be seen whether Mr. Van Hollen will develop the spine to do this, but time is running short!

            To all members of both houses of Congress, I say IT IS TIME TO STOP THE FUNDING FOR THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL WAR.  It is also time to stand up to the drumbeat for wider war with Iran and/or other nations.

Up to this point, with the vote on the last supplemental a notable exception, Mr. Van Hollen has been an enabler to the Bush Administration on this issue of continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq. 

          Mr. Van Hollen represents us—the people living and voting within the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  He is a powerful fundraiser, and he has a strong sense of the power of his incumbency.  But he cannot forget that he is in office because the voters chose to vote him in, and the voters in the 8th Congressional District overwhelmingly want to bring our precious U.S. troops home from Iraq--NOW.  If Mr. Van Hollen fails to do his duty to take a leadership role in ending this war, he WILL face opposition in the next election.  And time is getting close.  In Maryland, the Democratic Primary will be in February of 2008.  The General Election will be in November of 2008.

          Although it received relatively little press attention at the time, in the last Democratic Primary, in 2006, I ran against Mr. Van Hollen, and I received approximately 8.7 % of the vote--approximately 7000 votes.  That may seem like a small number, but it was more votes than the Republican nominee received in his race in the Republican Primary held on the same date.  It was also a result achieved with no fundraising whatsoever, with my spending just a few hundred dollars of my own money.  It was a significant vote of protest to the continued disastrous Bush foreign policy, epitomized by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.   

          I must make my decision soon, as to whether or not to challenge Chris Van Hollen, either by entering the race myself, or backing another candidate.  If I do make the decision to run myself, I am considering two alternative strategies:  running in the Democratic Primary, as I have in past election cycles—or breaking with the Democratic Party, and running as an independent, or as a Green.   I have been a Democrat all of my life, but I just don’t know if we can really hope to end this war, by working within the Democratic Party.  With a few notable exceptions (Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and other members of the Progressive Caucus come to mind), Democrats seem to be lacking a backbone at this crucial point in history.  To me, the character of the candidate and that candidate’s positions on issues are so much more important than party affiliation. The timetables for these two strategies that I am considering are very different, so there are a number of different factors to take into consideration.  I welcome your input, as I weigh my options.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

                                            September 29, 2007

To End the War in Iraq and prevent wider war with Iran and other nations, we must elect Representatives who will Stop the Funding for this Illegal, Immoral, and Tragic War. . .

Friends, 

            In the General Election last November, we the voters, fed up with the illegal, immoral, and tragic war in Iraq, swept the Democrats into power, in both houses of Congress.  I have previously extended my congratulations to Chris Van Hollen, who, as expected, won in the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  But I ask Chris Van Hollen, and other Democratic winners in the new Congress, to pay attention to why there was such an overwhelming Democratic sweep—Americans are sick and tired of seeing young Americans, and Iraqi civilians, die in Iraq.  I am troubled by the fact that the Democratic Party leadership seems intent on continuing the funding for this war.

          Mr. Van Hollen’s record on the Iraq War remains a mixed one.  It is true that he did vote the wishes of his constituents when the last vote was taken on a Supplemental Appropriation of funds for the war in Iraq last spring.  In late May, Congress gave the President some $145 billion for the War in a supplemental funding bill.  At that time, Van Hollen voted with the minority, against continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq.  He voted the way his constituents wanted him to vote.  This was good.  But would he have voted the same way, had there been any indication that his vote might have made a difference to the outcome? It is easy to vote with one’s constituents, on a controversial vote, when that vote is unlikely to affect the outcome.  What takes real political courage is the vote of conscience, when that vote really makes a difference.  What will Chris Van Hollen do in that situation?  We can’t know for sure, but a little publicized vote which took place on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 26, suggests a possible answer.

          As anti-war activists continued to flood the halls of Congress, engaging in peaceful protest, in an effort to persuade Congress to stop funding this illegal, immoral, and tragic war, Congress was taking care of business as usual.  Anti-war activists had been led to believe that there would be a new vote on continued funding for the war sometime around September (that is, about now).  On September 26, the House of Representatives in effect voted to put off this vote—perhaps until January!  What they did was pass a measure known as a Continuing Resolution, to keep all of the functions of government running until such time as there will be a vote on another Supplemental Appropriation.  The continuing Resolution contains an estimated 14 billion dollars in Iraq-related funds.  Chris Van Hollen voted for this Continuing Resolution, as did most members of the House!  Only 14 members voted against the Continuing Resolution—that core of progressive activists in Congress that represent the values held by the majority of voters in Chris Van Hollen’s district! 

Van Hollen continues to play a game of “safe politics”—throwing an occasional bone to his anti-war base, as when he voted against the last Supplemental—but failing to cast that important vote of conscience when it really matters!  And precisely because Chris Van Hollen is the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he is in a position to use his leadership in a way that can make a difference, on this issue of continued funding for the Iraq War.  It remains to be seen whether Mr. Van Hollen will develop the spine to do this, but time is running short!

            To all members of both houses of Congress, I say IT IS TIME TO STOP THE FUNDING FOR THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL WAR.  It is also time to stand up to the drumbeat for wider war with Iran and/or other nations.

Up to this point, with the vote on the last supplemental a notable exception, Mr. Van Hollen has been an enabler to the Bush Administration on this issue of continued funding for the war and occupation of Iraq. 

          Mr. Van Hollen represents us—the people living and voting within the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  He is a powerful fundraiser, and he has a strong sense of the power of his incumbency.  But he cannot forget that he is in office because the voters chose to vote him in, and the voters in the 8th Congressional District overwhelmingly want to bring our precious U.S. troops home from Iraq--NOW.  If Mr. Van Hollen fails to do his duty to take a leadership role in ending this war, he WILL face opposition in the next election.  And time is getting close.  In Maryland, the Democratic Primary will be in February of 2008.  The General Election will be in November of 2008.

          Although it received relatively little press attention at the time, in the last Democratic Primary, in 2006, I ran against Mr. Van Hollen, and I received approximately 7000 votes.  That may seem like a small number, but it was more votes than the Republican nominee received in his race in the Republican Primary held at the same time.  It was also a result achieved with no fundraising whatsoever, with my spending just a few hundred dollars of my own money.  It was a significant vote of protest to the continued disastrous Bush foreign policy, epitomized by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.   

          I must make my decision soon, as to whether or not to challenge Chris Van Hollen, either by entering the race myself, or backing another candidate.  If I do make the decision to run myself, I am considering two alternative strategies:  running in the Democratic Primary, as I have in past election cycles—or breaking with the Democratic Party, and running as an independent, or as a Green.   I have been a Democrat all of my life, but I just don’t know if we can really hope to end this war, by working within the Democratic Party.  With a few notable exceptions (Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and other members of the Progressive Caucus come to mind), Democrats seem to be lacking a backbone at this crucial point in history.  To me, the character of the candidate and that candidate’s positions on issues are so much more important than party affiliation. The timetables for these two strategies that I am considering are very different, so there are a number of different factors to take into consideration.  I welcome your input, as I weigh my options.

Peace,

Deborah Vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

                                             March 2, 2007

To End the War in Iraq, and prevent a new war in Iran, we must act politically...

Friends, 

            In the General Election last November, we the voters, fed up with the illegal, immoral, and tragic war in Iraq, swept the Democrats into power, in both houses of Congress.  I have previously extended my congratulations to Chris Van Hollen, who, as expected, won in the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  But I ask Chris Van Hollen, and other Democratic winners in the new Congress, to pay attention to why there was such an overwhelming Democratic sweep—Americans are sick and tired of seeing young Americans, and Iraqi civilians, die in Iraq.  I am troubled by the fact that the Democratic Party leadership seems intent on continuing the funding for this war.

            I congratulate U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich for entering the race for President of the United States, in 2008.  He is one of the few Democrats who is willing to call on his fellow members of Congress to bring an end to the war in Iraq, by cutting off the funding.  As he points out, there is plenty of money in the pipeline already to support a speedy and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

            To all members of both houses of Congress, I say IT IS TIME TO STOP THE FUNDING FOR THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL WAR.

            As for my own plans, I am not at present actively campaigning for a seat in Congress in 2008—but I am not ruling out that possibility, either.  In many ways, Chris Van Hollen has been a good representative for the people in the 8th Congressional District.  My biggest criticism of Mr. Van Hollen is that, like almost all the other Democratic members of Congress, he has continued to vote for funding for the Iraq War, even as he criticizes the Bush Administration for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  In effect, Mr. Van Hollen has been an enabler to the Bush Administration on this issue.  But now we have a new Congress, and the Democrats potentially have the power to end this war.  Will they do so?  Or will they continue to vote money for this illegal and immoral war? I am willing to give Mr. Van Hollen the opportunity to do the right thing by voting against continued funding for this war, before announcing any political plans of my own.  Meanwhile, I will continue to focus my efforts on advocating for an end to this brutal, senseless, and immoral war.

          Unfortunately, the most recent indications are that the Democrats, in disarray over how to deal with the issue of the Iraq war, will probably take the approach of loading up the next supplemental appropriations bill with “goodies”, as well as continued funding for the war, and pass the supplemental appropriations bill.

          Chris Van Hollen has a rare opportunity to stand up to the plate and make a difference—by announcing his opposition to any supplemental appropriations bill that includes funding for the Iraq war beyond that necessary to bring the troops home—all of them—quickly and safely.  Van Hollen is a newcomer to Congress; yet he is in a sense, the Democrats’ “golden boy”, a rising star, having played a significant role in the November Democratic sweep of the House, and now having been assigned the task of leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  This man has influence.  If he decides to do the right thing, he can single-handedly change the course within the Democratic leadership and play a significant role in ending the war in Iraq, and preventing a new war with Iran.  Will he use this power?  Or will he continue to play it safe, using his role of “enabler” to advance his own political ambitions?  Time will tell, but the time for the vote on the next supplemental appropriations bill is fast approaching.

          Mr. Van Hollen represents us—the people living and voting within the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  He is a powerful fundraiser, and he has a strong sense of the power of his incumbency.  But he cannot forget that he is in office because the voters chose to vote him in, and the voters in the 8th Congressional District overwhelmingly want to bring our precious U.S. troops home from Iraq--NOW.  If Mr. Van Hollen fails to do his duty to take a leadership role in ending this war, he WILL face opposition in the next election.

          Although it received relatively little press attention at the time, in the last Democratic Primary, in 2006, I ran against Mr. Van Hollen, and I received approximately 7000 votes.  That may seem like a small number, but it was more votes than the Republican nominee received in his race in the Republican Primary held at the same time.  It was also a result achieved with no fundraising whatsoever, with my spending just a few hundred dollars of my own money.  It was a significant vote of protest to the continued disastrous Bush foreign policy, epitomized by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

          I am willing to consider running again, and if I do so, I am willing to consider doing fundraising, which I hate, although if I should decide to do so, I will probably follow the lead of Dennis Kucinich in his Presidential run, and only accept small donations from individuals, and accept no PAC money.  And I am also willing to consider stepping aside, and, instead of running myself, backing another qualified and passionate challenger.  But folks, it probably will be me.  Unless, of course, Mr. Van Hollen does develop a bit more spine, stands up to his colleagues in the Democratic Party leadership, and votes to defund the war in Iraq, and bring the troops home quickly and safely.  If he does that, I will, in all likelihood, be willing to support him in the 2008 election.

Peace,


Deborah A. Vollmer

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                                             December 15, 2006
Now that the Election is Over...

Friends, 

            It has been over a month now, since the General Election sweeping Democrats into power, in both houses of Congress.  My congratulations to Chris Van Hollen, who, as expected, won in the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  But I ask Chris Van Hollen, and other Democratic winners in the new Congress, to pay attention to why there was such an overwhelming Democratic sweep—Americans are sick and tired of seeing young Americans, and Iraqi civilians, die in Iraq.  I am troubled by the fact that the Democratic Party leadership seems intent on continuing the funding for this war.

            I congratulate U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich for entering the race for President of the United States, in 2008.  He is one of the few Democrats who is willing to call on his fellow members of Congress to bring an end to the war in Iraq, by cutting off the funding.  As he points out, there is plenty of money in the pipeline already to support a speedy and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

            To all members of both houses of Congress, I say IT IS TIME TO STOP THE FUNDING FOR THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL WAR.

            As for my own plans, I am not actively campaigning for a seat in Congress in 2008—but I am not ruling out that possibility, either.  In many ways, Chris Van Hollen has been a good representative for the people in the 8th Congressional District.  My biggest criticism of Mr. Van Hollen is that, like almost all the other Democratic members of Congress, he has continued to vote for funding for the Iraq War, even as he criticizes the Bush Administration for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  In effect, Mr. Van Hollen has been an enabler to the Bush Administration on this issue.  But now we have a new Congress, and the Democrats potentially have the power to end this war.  Will they do so?  Or will they continue to vote money for this illegal and immoral war.  I am willing to give Mr. Van Hollen the opportunity to do the right thing by voting against continued funding for this war, before announcing any political plans of my own.  Meanwhile, I will continue to focus my efforts on advocating for an end to this brutal, senseless, and immoral war.

            I wish all of you the best in this Holiday season—

Peace,


Deborah A. Vollmer

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                                                October 13, 2006

Vollmer Endorses Green Candidate for 8th Congressional District Seat in Maryland

Dear Friends,

            In this day and age when Republicans in the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the House of Representatives are steering this country in a foolhardy and dangerous direction, and in which too many Democrats have acted as enablers, instead of standing up to such disastrous policies as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the enactment of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, I launched my campaign last May to challenge U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen in the Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District in Maryland.  I entered the race knowing that I was running against a powerful and popular incumbent, and that my chance of actually winning the race was slight, but I felt that it was extremely important to send a message—especially with regards to the issue that it was time for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Iraq—and to do so immediately.  

            I am extremely grateful to the nearly seven thousand people who voted for me in the Democratic primary.  I received just about one thousand more votes in the Democratic Primary than the virtually unknown winner of the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District seat received in his race.  There is no question that U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen is going to win the General Election, and Mr. Van Hollen would be, if we had a system of instant run-off voting, my second choice for this seat.  But he is not my first choice.  I am going to vote my heart in this election.  I am voting for Gerard Giblin, the Green Candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat.  I urge others—progressive Democrats, thinking Republicans, members of  the Green, Populist, and Libertarian Parties, and independents of all stripes—to join me in casting a vote for peace—and for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

            Mr. Van Hollen has simply not been good enough on the issue of Iraq.  He is not a “hawk”; and he has made some good speeches on the floor of the House on the issue of Iraq.  But he keeps voting for the money for the war, refuses to use the appropriations process to pressure the Bush Administration to withdraw troops, and refuses to set dates or deadlines for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  He has also refused to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress.  And he refuses to sign on as a co-sponsor to U.S. Representative Jim McGovern’s bill, H.R. 4232, that would provide that no more money be spent for the war and occupation of Iraq, save that necessary to bring our troops home immediately, and in as safe and orderly a manner as possible. 

            When during the Democratic Primary Election, I challenged Mr. Van Hollen to engage in a debate on his voting record and position on Iraq, Mr. Van Hollen refused.  He claimed to be too busy, getting other Democrats to run against Republicans across the Country.  In effect, he was promoting Democracy (with a large “D”, across the country) while ignoring the need for democracy (small “D”) at home.  I don’t fault him for working with the DCCC to get Democrats to run against Republicans across the Country.  I do fault him for using this as an excuse for not engaging in a much-needed debate about his positions and his record on the issue of Iraq at home.  

            The War in Iraq tears at the very moral fabric of our nation.  Americans, mostly young, continue to come home in body bags.  Others come home missing arms, legs, faces, and with other terrible and life threatening injuries.  Some suffer brain injuries, with terrible loss to the ability to think, and to communicate.  And others have been crushed emotionally, having been put in the horrifying situation of having to kill or be killed. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq has also left the infrastructure in Iraq in shambles.  And countless Iraqis have suffered and died as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of their country.  War is not pretty, and should, if it is ever an option, be one of last resort.  And this war was a mistake based on lies. 

            Chris Van Hollen has tried to play the issue of the war from both sides politically.  I am sure that he does care about our young men and women, and about the Iraqi people, but he also cares a lot about keeping his seat in Congress, and he is all too willing to compromise his principles to keep this seat.  Well, Mr. Van Hollen is not in danger of losing his seat; he is going to win the General Election, and he knows it.  It is now up to those of us who want to change the dynamic of politics on the issue of Iraq to voice our concerns.  We have a vehicle in the candidacy of Green Party candidate, Gerard Giblin.  I urge all voters in the 8th Congressional District who support an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq to vote Green in the 8th Congressional District race. Please cast your vote for peace and withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  Cast your vote for peace by voting for Gerard Giblin for the 8th Congressional District seat---and please help to spread this message to others who care about peace, who will be voting in the general election for CD-8!  Thanks—

Peace,


Deborah A. Vollmer

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Deborah endorses other candidates in the 2006 race

                                                September 27, 2006

Some Reflections on the 2006 Democratic Primary

Hi, Folks—
          
            I suppose the tally from the Maryland State Board of Elections is more or less final, at this point, so I thought I would pass on a few thoughts that I have about the Democratic Primary Election results, the process, and where do we go from here.

            I wish I could have some certainty about the results, but as we all know, the primary election in Maryland was a fiasco, with those access cards arriving hours late at many polling places, and other glitches in the system.  How many folks were in fact denied a vote because their polling place was not prepared to proceed with the machines for lack of access cards, and also ran out of provisional ballots, we will never know.  I don’t claim to have been deprived an election victory due to this breakdown, but some of the other candidates certainly are in such a position.  I think we must all demand that we be allowed to vote on paper ballots in the November General Election.  Just increase the print order for the absentee ballots and let everyone vote on paper, with a choice of going to the polls on Election Day, or voting absentee.  It is that simple.

            Before going further, let me thank all of the wonderful folks who did vote for me in the Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District seat in the State of Maryland. Hopefully, we have sent a message to Mr. Van Hollen, that his constituents want him to work harder at bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq, and working for peace.

            How many votes did I get?  There is information on the Maryland State Board of Elections website, which I assume to be more or less accurate.  The website reports that I received just short of 7000 votes in the Democratic primary (6985 votes) or 8.7% of the vote in the Democratic Primary.  Clearly Mr. Van Hollen was the winner, and I do congratulate him for his victory.  As to whether to consider my efforts successful, I guess it depends upon how one looks at it.  I am gratified that I received close to 7000 votes, and that we did this without fundraising (I spent perhaps $ 1000, or even less, of my own money).  And I received more votes in the Democratic primary than any one of the Republican candidates received in the Republican Primary for the same seat, including the winner of that contest!

            So where do we go from here?  I have always been a more or less loyal Democrat, but I am getting a little tired of the litany that our survival depends upon consolidating and building upon Democratic victory after Democratic victory. Our two-party system often fails to provide people with true choices, and we really need to work for a system that accommodates a greater diversity of voices within our system of government.  In both the 8th Congressional District race, and in the U.S. Senate race, there are new voices—Green Party Candidate Gerard Giblin in the 8th Congressional District race, and independent voice Kevin Zeese in the battle for the U.S. Senate seat.  

            At this point, I will not announce, nor have I decided, who I am supporting, in the race for the 8th Congressional District, or for the U.S. Senate seat.  My friends in the Democratic Party will no doubt be appalled, but as I said, I believe our current system fails in many instances to provide the voters with real choices. If we are going to change this, we need to at least acknowledge and listen to the independent voices. I am not saying that I won’t vote for Chris Van Hollen, and I am not saying that Chris Van Hollen is like Joe Lieberman.  He is certainly better than that.  But I want Mr. Van Hollen to know that if he wants my vote and my support in November, he needs to earn my vote. One thing that he could do in this regard would be to become a co-sponsor of a bill in Congress which is being sponsored by U.S. Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts—H.R. 4232.  This legislation would provide that there be no further funding for the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq, save that necessary for an orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. troops from that country.  If Mr. Van Hollen will sign on to that bill as a co-sponsor, he will come a long way toward earning my vote, and my support, in November.

            I pose the same challenge to Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, Ben Cardin.  You may be headed for the U.S. Senate, but you are still a member of the House.  Sign on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 4232—and I just might vote for you in November, and urge others to do the same.  Show yourself to be the peace candidate that you claim to be—and I will vote for you.  But don’t take my vote for granted; you must earn it.  And if you do not earn it, I do have other alternatives to consider. 

            Again, to my friends who supported me in the Democratic Primary, thank you!  We must continue to work for peace, fair elections, the environment, and economic justice.

Peace,


Deborah A. Vollmer

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                                                September 9, 2006

The Final Crunch  

Hi, Folks—

            I will try to keep these notes brief, since I am sure that everyone is being deluged with election campaign e-mail.

            We are down to the final crunch—three days, and then Primary Day!  I have been busy leafleting Metro stops, and campaigning in the streets of neighborhoods such as Bethesda, and Takoma Park.  On Labor Day, I campaigned in Kensington, leafleting along the sides of the parade route, and staying for the street festival that followed (resulting in a bad case of “Campaigners’ back”, but it was worth it!) Tomorrow I will be spending a lot of my time campaigning at the Takoma Park Folk Festival.  I will be speaking at the stage they will be setting up for candidates at about 3 p.m.

            I have watched the Channel 21 broadcast of the Democratic candidates running for Congress.  I commend both Donna Edwards (running in CD-4) and Barry Kissin (running in CD-6) for making excellent presentations.  I wish both of you the best of luck in your races.  For folks getting this message who live in CD-4, please do support Donna.  If you live in CD-6, please support Barry.

            Guess what!  Missing from the Channel 21 broadcast was Chris Van Hollen.  He didn’t bother to take advantage of this opportunity to address the voters!  Maybe he thought that with the power of incumbency, and the money and organization at his disposal, he just didn’t have to bother!  Is he perhaps being a bit overconfident?   If you missed the Channel 21 broadcasts of the Democratic Congressional candidates (including my own statement), they are scheduled to be rebroadcast on Channel 21 this afternoon (Saturday), some time between 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

            I have to say that I have been disappointed in the lack of media attention to this race.  A notable exception is that article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun on the 8th Congressional District race on Thursday, which started out with a description of how I am doing my grassroots campaigning.  I was thrilled to see that!  (You can still read that article on the website of the Baltimore Sun, if you missed that, or missed getting the e-mail I sent out earlier with the link.)

            If you wish to help the Vollmer for Congress campaign, there is a lot that you can do.  Or if you only have time to do a little, that is also important.  We still have a few professionally made lawn signs, and if you are of a creative bent, please feel free to make your own (with peace signs and flowers!)!  I would like to get some folks to help with leafleting—at Metro stops, on the streets of downtown Bethesda and Takoma Park, door-to-door in your own neighborhood—everywhere in CD-8!  My Out of Iraq Vollmer for Congress campaign flyer can be downloaded from my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com .  Print it out, photocopy it, and get it out to your neighbors, or leaflet on the streets!  Or just do what I’ve been urging people to do all along—just keep spreading the word, in conversation, on the telephone, and via e-mail about why I am running in this Democratic primary against a popular Democratic incumbent (It is about stopping Congress from funding the war in Iraq—and bringing our troops home!)  And if you have one of those good conversations with someone who wants to help, ask them to keep spreading the word as well!  Thanks—

Peace,


Deborah A. Vollmer
   

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                                          August 25, 2006

Open Letter to Voters in the 8th Congressional District Race in Maryland  

Friends,

            In less than three weeks, Maryland will hold its primary elections.  The date for the primaries is Tuesday, September 12, 2006.  Some folks will be voting prior to September 12, on absentee ballots.  The victory of Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary in Connecticut is a signal to the rest of the nation that Americans are sick and tired of the Bush Administration policies, and want an end to the illegal, immoral, and shameful war in Iraq.  But it is summer time, a lot of folks are on vacation, and it is hard to right now to generate a lot of energy for the Vollmer for Congress campaign, or for any other campaign, for that matter, at this particular point in time.  I am writing to ask each of you getting this message, to help me reverse this, to bring energy and enthusiasm to this campaign, and to help put the anti-war message of the Vollmer for Congress campaign over the top on September 12.

            Incumbent Congressman Chris Van Hollen and I have a basic difference of opinion on the issue of Iraq.  In Congress, Van Hollen continues to vote for money for continued occupation of Iraq, and he has stated publicly that he does not favor immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and he does not even favor the setting of dates for withdrawal. In addition, Mr. Van Hollen has refused to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress, which now consists of about seventy members.  Mr. Van Hollen has made himself an enabler of the Bush Administration’s flawed policy in Iraq, which has led us down the path to an illegal, immoral, and seemingly endless war.  

 As the war in Iraq drags on, young Americans continue to come home in body bags, and others come home missing arms and legs, and in some cases come home mentally and/or emotionally devastated.  Perhaps as devastating to young lives as the missing limbs and other physical injuries is the mental and emotional damage to our young Americans, who have been brutalized by being put in a situation under great psychological stress of having to kill, or be killed.  In addition, this war has left the infrastructure of the country of Iraq in shambles, and has cost untold numbers of Iraqi lives, and Iraqi suffering, both from the physical wounds of war, and the mental anguish which comes when one loses family members and other loved ones.

            I believe in honest campaigning, and I believe that I have stated the differences between myself and Chris Van Hollen on the issue or Iraq in a fair manner.  We agree on the point that the United States should never have invaded Iraq, but we have a profound disagreement on the subject of what to do now.  I say that Congress must stop funding this war, and we must keep the pressure on the Bush Administration to bring the troops home NOW!  I support the bill sponsored by Congressman McGovern of Massachusetts which would halt funding for the war, allowing only that money to be spent which is necessary for the armor and flak jackets to protect the troops, as they prepare to withdraw, and withdraw from Iraq.  Mr. Van Hollen has refused to sign on as a co-sponsor of the McGovern bill (H.R. 4232).

            I am running without the strength of incumbency, without the support of the Democratic Party organization, and without financial wealth or fundraising prowess.  Realizing that I cannot win a fundraising war, and realizing that the process of fundraising takes away valuable campaign time from other activities, I have made the decision to do no fundraising in this campaign.  I am, as everyone knows, considered to be a long shot.  But sometimes long shots do come through.

            I am running on the strength of my ideas and values, with old-fashioned grassroots organizing, with some help from modern technology.  I urge those who support my campaign to simply help me spread the word that I am running, and why I am running—by one-on-one conversation with folks, by telephone, by e-mail.  I ask my friends to spread the message to their friends, family members, co-workers, and other folks that you network with. And when you have one of those good conversations with a friend who says, yeah, I think I will support her, see if you can get that friend to keep this going by spreading the word about this campaign to his or her friends, relatives, and other contacts! Can a campaign of this nature actually work?  Let us give this try and see!  If I win this campaign, much of the credit will go to the volunteer supporters out there—to the folks who have helped spread the word!  If we win this, we will make political history!

            If you want to help the Vollmer for Congress campaign, please tell your friends, neighbors, and co-workers about this campaign.  Let people know about my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com , which contains more information, including a Biography page which gives my educational background and experience, and my Open Letter challenging U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen to debate his voting record and position on Iraq (To date, Mr. Van Hollen has refused to accept my challenge to debate him).

            Please forward this e-mail message far and wide—to your friends, family, co-workers, to other e-mail lists, and to any media contacts that you may have.  Thank you—


Peace,

Deborah A. Vollmer

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    August 8, 2006

Open Letter to Voters in the 8th Congressional District Race in Maryland  

Friends,

            Today, the eyes of the country are on the primary race in Connecticut, in which Ned Lamont is challenging U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman.  Lamont is challenging Lieberman on the issue of Lieberman’s support for the war and occupation of Iraq.  If Lamont wins, it will be a signal to the nation that the anti-war message is indeed powerful.

            I won’t pretend that our local representative, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, is like Joe Lieberman.  Chris is better than that.  And when Chris Van Hollen says or does something that I believe merits praise, I won’t hesitate to do so.  For example, his open letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the subject of the crisis involving Israel and Lebanon, and which was referred to briefly in Robert Novak’s column in yesterday’s Washington Post, was excellent, and I have said as much.

            But the fact remains that Chris Van Hollen and I have a basic difference of opinion on the issue of Iraq.  In Congress, Van Hollen continues to vote for money for continued occupation of Iraq, and he has stated publicly that he does not favor immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and he does not even favor the setting of dates for withdrawal. In addition, Mr. Van Hollen has refused to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress.  In this way, Mr. Van Hollen has made himself an enabler of the Bush Administration’s flawed policy in Iraq, which has led us down the path to an illegal, immoral, and seemingly endless war.  Young Americans continue to come home in body bags, and others come home missing arms and legs, and in some cases come home mentally and/or emotionally devastated.  This war has left the infrastructure of the country of Iraq in shambles, and has cost untold numbers of Iraqi lives, and Iraqi suffering, both from the physical wounds of war, and the mental anguish which comes when one loses family members and other loved ones.

            I believe in honest campaigning, and I believe that I have stated the differences between myself and Chris Van Hollen on the issue or Iraq in a fair manner.  I am running without the strength of incumbency, without the support of the Democratic Party organization, and without financial wealth or fundraising prowess.  Realizing that I cannot win a fundraising war, and realizing that the process of fundraising takes away valuable campaign time from other activities, I have made the decision to do no fundraising in this campaign.  I am, as everyone knows, considered to be a long shot.  But sometimes long shots do come through.

            I am running on the strength of my ideas and values, with old-fashioned grassroots organizing, with some help from modern technology.  I urge those who support my campaign to simply help me spread the word that I am running, and why I am running—by one-on-one conversation with folks, by telephone, by e-mail.  I ask my friends to spread the message to their friends, family members, co-workers, and other folks that you network with.  Can a campaign of this nature actually work?  Let us give this try and see!  If I win this campaign, much of the credit will go to the volunteer supporters out there—to the folks who have helped spread the word!  If we win this, it will make political history!

            If you want to help the Vollmer for Congress campaign, please tell your friends, neighbors, and co-workers about this campaign.  Let people know about my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com , which contains more information, including a Biography page which gives my educational background and experience, and my Open Letter challenging U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen to debate his voting record and position on Iraq (To date, Mr. Van Hollen has refused to accept my challenge to debate him).
 
            Please forward this e-mail message far and wide—to your friends, family, co-workers, to other e-mail lists, and to any media contacts that you may have.  Thank you—


Peace,

Deborah A. Vollmer

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                                                July 23, 2006

My Position on Three Important Bills in Congress   

Friends,

            It is sometimes hard to follow what is going on in Congress.  The mainstream media does a poor job of informing us about the various bills that affect our domestic programs and our foreign policy.  For myself, I find that there are various sources on the internet that are helpful.  In addition, Amy Goodman’s radio program Democracy Now is often helpful.  And anyone having the luxury to spend hours sitting at home watching cable television (C-SPAN) can learn a lot. 

            There are three bills in particular that I would like to urge people to support.  These are issues in my campaign in the Democratic Primary for the 8th Congressional District seat in Maryland.  Should our current representative, U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen choose to champion any one of these three pieces of legislation, I will be the first to congratulate him.  As of this date, he has not, to my knowledge, indicated support for any of the three.  He has not, as of this date, co-sponsored any of these pieces of legislation.  Please urge him to do so—and be aware that should I be fortunate enough to be elected to Congress, I would be proud to co-sponsor all three of these bills.  Here are the bills:

H. Con. Res 450.  This bill was just introduced within the last few days (July 19).  Its main sponsor is U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democrat from Ohio.  Regarding the current crisis involving Hezbollah, and the Israeli attacks on the nation of Lebanon, it calls for an immediate cease fire, multi-party negotiations, and an international peace keeping force.  There are twenty three co-sponsors.  One source of information and activism in connection with this resolution is the website Jewish Voice for Peace at
http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

H.R. 4232, the End the War in Iraq Act of 2005.  The main sponsor is U.S. Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.  This bill cuts off funding for continued military operations in Iraq. The bill provides that Defense Department funds be used only to provide for the safe and orderly withdrawal of all troops in Iraq; consultations with other governments, NATO, and the UN regarding international forces, and financial assistance.  It allows for non-defense funding to carry out reconstruction in Iraq.  There are seventeen co-sponsors.  Van Hollen is not among them.

H.R. 635, sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr., of Michigan.  This bill creates a select committee to investigate the Administration’s intent to go to war before Congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliation against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.  There are thirty-six co-sponsors.  Van Hollen is not among them.

            Please circulate this information to your friends, neighbors, and other folks that you know.  Thank you.

Peace,
deborah vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer


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                                                May 11, 2006

I Am a Candidate in the Democratic Primary for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District Seat    

Friends,

Today (May 11, 2006) I filed to have my name put on the ballot to run for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat in the upcoming Democratic Primary.  I made the decision to do so after considerable thought, and with the knowledge that many of my friends within the Democratic Party will criticize me for doing so.  My entry into this race pits me against incumbent U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, who is popular, and who has the backing of the Democratic Party establishment.  I am running primarily because of Congressman Van Hollen’s continued support for the Iraq War and occupation.
             
Anti-war voters in the 8th Congressional District need to take a close look at the voting record of U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen.  His record on the war on Iraq has been a mixed record, ever since Van Hollen wrested the seat from U.S. Representative Connie Morella (Republican) in the 2002 election. 

One of the first signs that Van Hollen was to become an “enabler” of the Bush Administration policies was his vote on House Concurrent Resolution 104. In the wee hours of the morning, at 3:00 a.m. on March 21, 2003, Van Hollen voted for House Concurrent Resolution 104, a resolution that expressed the “unequivocal support and appreciation of the Nation” to President Bush as Commander-in-Chief “for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the on-going Global War on Terrorism.”  This vote took place after a passionate debate on the floor of the House by proponents and opponents of the resolution.  It took place just as the attention of the Nation was focused on the military operations against Iraq—the bombing and the invasion.  Because of the lateness of the hour, and because of the fact that national attention was focused on the military operations taking place at the same time, very little attention was paid to the debate and the vote by the media, although it was covered on C-SPAN.

 Since then, Van Hollen has voted repeatedly on the floor of the House to continue to appropriate taxpayer money for continued military operations in Iraq.  The most recent vote was on March 16 of this year.  Van Hollen joined with a majority in the House to approve the supplemental emergency appropriation, which included some 68 billion dollars to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, this recent vote has received very little mention in the mainstream media, so many of Van Hollen’s constituents are unaware of his voting record.

 To his credit, on the other hand, Van Hollen has done some good things.  He did vote for the Woolsey Amendment to a military spending bill, which, had it passed, would have required the President to set forth a plan for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  He has also signed on as a co-sponsor to U.S. Representative Barbara Lee's  H.Con. Res. 197 providing that no permanent United States military bases be set up in Iraq.  He has spoken out against torture.  And he has recently signed a discharge petition to get the Homeward Bound Resolution out of Committee, and to allow for extensive debate of the Iraq War on the floor of the House.  He was hardly a leader on this issue, however; his signature is number 111 on the petition.  And he has publicly stated that although he is in favor of having the debate, he has problems with supporting the underlying legislation. . .

Van Hollen refuses to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress, and when questioned, states that he does not favor immediate withdrawal, nor does he favor setting actual dates for withdrawal.  Nor does he favor using the appropriations process to bring pressure on the Administration to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Van Hollen has, in effect, become an enabler to the Bush Administration in its conduct of a disastrous foreign policy that resulted in this war in Iraq—a war that has meant untold suffering to the people of Iraq, and that has resulted in Americans coming home in body bags, and others coming home damaged, in mind, body, and spirit—some missing eyes, arms, and legs—some with head injuries leaving them with irreparable mental and psychological damage. It is a tragedy of immense proportions, and Van Hollen is in a position to take the leadership in putting an end to it, but he chooses not to do so.

 Why should a member of Congress from such a liberal and progressive district such as Maryland’s 8th have such a wishy-washy record on opposing this illegal and immoral war? It has recently come to light that Van Hollen has accepted campaign donations from what Dwight D. Eisenhower has termed the "military-industrial complex", including donations from employee PACs of defense contractors such as Lockheed-Martin.  In terms of total campaign fundraising, the amounts were small, but one might argue that it is not so much the dollar amounts of such donations that matter, but rather that they were made, and accepted, at all.  They represent the establishment of a relationship between military contractors and their employees, and the congressman.

   Van Hollen’s recent vote in favor of the 68 billion dollar supplemental emergency appropriation to continue the war in Iraq leaves little doubt where Van Hollen stands.  But some of his supporters hold out hope that the congressman can be convinced to change his mind, and take a clearer and stronger position of opposition to the war.  I have held back on my decision to enter the race up to this point, to give Mr. Van Hollen the opportunity to do the right thing.  But while he has made a few positive gestures to the peace movement, his actions in support of the war (such as his vote for the emergency supplemental appropriation, to the tune of $68 billion dollars for continuation of the war) speak more loudly.

It is time for the voters to take a serious look at whether it might be time to elect a new representative to the 8th Congressional District seat.  
 
Peace,

deborah vollmer
Deborah A. Vollmer

---

                                               April 17, 2006

Van Hollen's Voting Record

Friends,
             
  Anti-war voters in the 8th Congressional District need to take a close look at the voting record of U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen.  His record on the war on Iraq is a mixed record.  In the wee hours of the morning, at 3:00 a.m. on March 21, 2003, Van Hollen voted for House Concurrent Resolution 104, a resolution that expressed the “unequivocal support and appreciation of the Nation” to President Bush as Commander-in-Chief “for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the on-going Global War on Terrorism.” 

 Since then, Van Hollen has voted repeatedly on the floor of the House to continue to appropriate taxpayer money for continued military operations in Iraq.  The most recent vote was on March 16 of this year.  Van Hollen joined with a majority in the House to approve the supplemental emergency appropriation, which included some 68 billion dollars to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, this recent vote has received very little mention in the mainstream media, so many of Van Hollen’s constituents are unaware of his voting record.

 To his credit, on the other hand, Van Hollen has done some good things.  He did vote for the Woolsey Amendment to a military spending bill, which, had it passed, would have required the President to set forth a plan for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  He has also signed on as a co-sponsor to U.S. Representative Barbara Lee's  H.Con. Res. 197 providing that no permanent United States military bases be set up in Iraq.  And he has spoken out against torture.

  Yet, Van Hollen refuses to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress, and when questioned, states that he does not favor immediate withdrawal, nor does he favor setting actual dates for withdrawal.  Nor does he favor using the appropriations process to bring pressure on the Administration to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Van Hollen has, in effect, become an enabler to the Bush Administration in its conduct of a disastrous foreign policy that resulted in this war in Iraq—a war that has meant untold suffering to the people of Iraq, and that has resulted in Americans coming home in body bags, and others coming home damaged, in mind, body, and spirit—some missing eyes, arms, and legs—some with head injuries leaving them with irreparable mental and psychological damage. It is a tragedy of immense proportions, and Van Hollen is in a position to take the leadership in putting an end to it, but he chooses not to do so.

 Why should a member of Congress from such a liberal and progressive district such as Maryland’s 8th have such a wishy-washy record on opposing this illegal and immoral war? It has recently come to light that Van Hollen has accepted campaign donations from what Dwight D. Eisenhower has termed the "military-industrial complex", including donations from employee pacs of defense contractors such as Lockheed-Martin.  In terms of total campaign fundraising, the amounts were small, but one might argue that it is not so much the dollar amounts of such donations that matter, but rather that they were made, and accepted, at all.  They represent the establishment of a relationship between military contractors and the congressman.

   Van Hollen’s recent vote in favor of the 68 billion dollar supplemental emergency appropriation to continue the war in Iraq leaves little doubt where Van Hollen stands.  But some of his supporters hold out hope that the congressman can be convinced to change his mind, and take a clearer and stronger position of opposition to the war. 

 In addition to voting for the supplemental emergency appropriation, Van Hollen has refused to sign on to H. Res 543, which is a discharge petition, to get H.J. Res 55, the Homeward Bound Resolution, out of the Rules Committee, and on to the floor of the House.  H. Res 543 would provide for extensive debate—up to seventeen hours-- on the floor of the House, on the issue of the war on Iraq.  It will require the signatures of 218 members of the House to make this possible.  Organizers of the effort to get members to sign on to H.Res  543 have targeted five representatives in the State of Maryland—and of these, only Van Hollen has, as of now, failed to sign on.                    

 There is still time to contact Van Hollen’s office, and urge him to act.  It is possible that his mind on this can still be changed.  Can the congressman really object to an open and extensive debate on the merits of the war on the floor of the House?  Residents in the 8th Congressional District of Maryland should contact Van Hollen’s office immediately, and urge him to support open, honest, and extensive debate on the war by signing on to the H. Res 543, so that the Homeward Bound resolution can be brought out of committee, and debated.  And if Van Hollen cannot take even this very modest step toward ending the war, perhaps it is time for the voters to take a serious look at whether it might be time to elect a new representative to the 8th Congressional District seat.

 
Peace,

Deborah A. Vollmer


---

                                                October 15, 2005

Where  Do the Candidates Stand?

Friends,
             
         As candidates for U.S. Senate and the Congress slowly begin to jostle for position in the upcoming election cycle, Americans increasingly want to know where each candidate stands on that man-made disaster, the President's failed policy that is the war on Iraq.

            In the U.S. Senate race, Ben Cardin promised an audience at the Rockville Democratic Breakfast Club that he would vote for a resolution setting a date for U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  But when he actually had the opportunity to cast such a vote on a modest amendment to a military spending bill sponsored by Representative Lynn Woolsey which would have required the President to set forth a plan for withdrawal (without even setting a date), he failed to do so. Kweisi Mfume would probably be a stronger anti-war candidate, and other candidates for the position have yet to make clear their views on the War on Iraq.

            Anti-war voters in the 8th Congressional District need to take a close look at the voting record of U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, who, early in his first term, voted for a resolution supporting the President, the War, and the troops.  He has also voted along with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to continue to appropriate taxpayer money for continued military operations in Iraq.  To his credit, on the other hand, he has done some good things.  He did vote for the Woolsey Amendment to a military spending bill, which, had it passed, would have required the President to set forth a plan for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  He has also signed on as a co-sponsor to U.S. Representative Barbara Lee's  H.Con. Res. 197 providing that no permanent United States military bases be set up in Iraq.  Yet, Van Hollen refuses to join the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress, and when questioned, states that he does not favor setting actual dates for withdrawal.  It has recently come to light that he has accepted campaign donations from what Dwight D. Eisenhower has termed the "military-industrial complex", including one thousand dollars from Lockheed-Martin.  The true test for Van Hollen will come when the next appropriations bills regarding military spending come up.  Will Van Hollen vote to continue funding for this disastrous war, or will he vote to stop it, and bring the troops home?  His constituents in CD-8 will be watching. 

            It is time to end military operations in Iraq, and bring the troops home.  Increasingly, Americans are beginning to see the folly of invading Iraq to avenge our catastrophic losses on 9-11-2001, losses which really had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein, or Iraq. Nor did the other purported reason for invading Iraq materialize; there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. The irony is that now Iraq has become a hot bed for terrorists, in a way that it wasn't before.  In another tragic irony, mass deployment of National Guard troops from the U.S. Gulf Coast States, left our nation ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of recent national disasters, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Responding to such national disasters is the main reason we even have a National Guard.  Young Americans continue to return from Iraq in body bags, and others, who survive, return terribly disfigured and disabled, in both mind and body. And countless Iraqi citizens also continue to suffer, and die. It is time to end this terrible war, and bring our troops home.  But it will take Congress-the House, and the Senate-to make this happen.
 
Peace,


Deborah A. Vollmer
----------------------------------------------

                                                July 25, 2005

Van Hollen's Mixed Record - version 2

Friends,

            I recently received an e-mail from Chris Van Hollen, in which he states that he has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Senator Paul Sarbanes.

            Over the past few years, I have pointed out that Chris Van Hollen has had a mixed record with regard to the war on Iraq.  In the early days of this war, at approximately 3:00 a.m. on March 21, 2003, right after the United States started bombing Iraq, Chris voted with the majority in the House of Representatives for House Concurrent Resolution 104, to express support for the President’s war effort, and the troops.  He later explained his vote by saying that he did not like the wording of the resolution in its support of the President and the war—but that he felt it was necessary to express support for the troops.  Since then, Chris has voted to fund continuing military operations in Iraq: recently voting for the 82 billion dollar appropriations bill on the floor of the House.

            On the other hand, to his credit, Chris did vote recently for the Woolsey Amendment to a military spending bill which, had it been passed, would have required the President to set forth a plan for withdrawal of U.S. troops.  It was a very modest resolution, containing no actual timetable for withdrawal—but it was a step in the right direction, and Chris is to be commended for casting that vote.  That being said, this vote cannot have been a particularly difficult one, as this was largely a party-line vote.  It is interesting that Ben Cardin (who is running for the Senate seat) voted against the Woolsey Amendment, which is a reason that I do not intend to support him for the Senate seat.

        In just the last few weeks, Chris Van Hollen has cast some votes which suggest that he may indeed be taking a more progressive stance with regards to the war in Iraq and related issues.  The Friends Committee on National Legislation reports that there was a recent vote on the House Floor on a Bush Administration-backed amendment to the State Department authorization (H.R. 2601) that warns against “premature withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Iraq. (The Amendment passed on a vote of 291 to 137.) Chris Van Hollen voted No on this, which is to his credit.  It should be noted that Van Hollen was the only member of the Maryland delegation in the House to vote No on this pro-Bush, pro-war vote!  It remains to be seen if this vote represents the beginning of a new, more courageous anti-war stance of Chris Van Hollen.  He deserves our thanks for casting this vote.  Also to his credit, Van Hollen voted not to reauthorize the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, with its various infringements on our civil liberties.  Thanks, Chris, for voting to protect our civil liberties!

            From his election to Congress up to the present, Chris Van Hollen has on occasion stood up against the Iraq war, but never when it meant a real show of courage, as was the case with U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, who, back in the early days of this war (in March of 2003), voted against that resolution supporting the President’s war the day after the U.S. started bombing Iraq.  His most recent voting record does suggest that he may be moving in a more progressive direction, and that he may be more willing than in the past to take principled positions in opposing the war.


            Chris’s decision not to seek the U.S. Senate seat, and to run instead to keep his seat in the House, makes it somewhat less likely that I will make the run for the 8th Congressional District seat in the Democratic primary in this election cycle.  But I have not completely ruled out the possibility that I might run.  It remains to be seen whether Van Hollen’s most recent votes cited above represent a new progressive trend.   I plan to take my time in making my decision as to whether or not I will run in the 2006 Democratic Primary for CD-8.

            At this point, a lot depends upon Chris.  Now he no longer has the burden of trying to appeal to the pro-war right wing of the Democratic Party, as he may have felt was necessary in the quest in a statewide race for the U.S. Senate seat.  Now he can be more responsive to his own constituent base which I believe is strongly against the war.  Now he can take a leadership position on this issue—if it is his choice to do so.
 

Will Van Hollen now join forces with representatives such as Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and John Conyers who have formed the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress?  Will he be willing to vote against continued appropriations for funds for military operations in Iraq?  Will he be willing to vote for legislation setting forth an actual timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops?  Will he stop being so cautious on these issues, and vote with the members of the House for withdrawal, even in situations where doing so puts him at odds with the leadership of his own party?  Will he take a position of leadership in opposing this war, even if, on occasion, this entails taking certain political risks? 

Those of us who oppose this war will be watching to see what Van Hollen does with reference to future votes on military appropriations bills.  These are tough bills to vote against, because of the issue of the safety of the troops already in Iraq.  But it is my opinion that we will not be able to extricate ourselves from Iraq, until Congress stops voting for these military appropriations.

            Now would be a good time for anti-war activists to contact Chris Van Hollen, and express to him some of these concerns.  We need to hold him accountable.  He cannot just depend on us to support him out of party loyalty—he needs to earn our continued support, if he wants to remain in Congress.
 
 Peace,


Deborah A. Vollmer
----------------------------------------

                                                July 14, 2005

Van Hollen's Mixed Record - version 1

Friends,

            I have just received an e-mail from Chris Van Hollen, in which he states that he has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Senator Paul Sarbanes.

            Over the past few years, I have pointed out that Chris Van Hollen has had a mixed record with regard to the war on Iraq.  In the early days of this war, at a session of the House in the wee hours of the morning, somewhere around 2:30 a.m., as I recall, right after the United States started bombing Iraq, Chris voted with the majority in the House of Representatives to express support for the President’s war effort, and the troops.  He later explained his vote by saying that he did not like the wording of the resolution in its support of the President and the war—but that he felt it was necessary to express support for the troops.  Since then, Chris has voted to fund continuing military operations in Iraq: recently voting for the 82 billion dollar appropriations bill on the floor of the House.

            On the other hand, to his credit, Chris did vote recently for the Woolsey Amendment to a military spending bill which, had it been passed, would have required the President to set forth a plan for withdrawal of U.S. troops.  It was a very modest resolution, containing no actual timetable for withdrawal—but it was a step in the right direction, and Chris is to be commended for casting that vote.  That being said, this vote cannot have been a particularly difficult one, as this was largely a party-line vote.  It is interesting that Ben Cardin (who is running for the Senate seat) voted against the Woolsey Amendment, which is a reason that I do not intend to support him for the Senate seat.

            Chris Van Hollen has on occasion stood up against the Iraq war, but never when it meant a real show of courage, as was the case with U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, who, back in the early days of this war, voted against that resolution supporting the President’s war the day after the U.S. started bombing Iraq.

            Chris’s decision not to seek the U.S. Senate seat, and to run instead to keep his seat in the House, makes it less likely that I will make the run for the 8th Congressional District seat in the Democratic primary in this election cycle.  But I have not completely ruled out the possibility that I might run. And I plan to take my time in making my decision.

            At this point, a lot depends upon Chris.  Now he no longer has the burden of trying to appeal to the pro-war right wing of the Democratic Party, as he may have felt was necessary in the quest in a statewide race for the U.S. Senate seat.  Now he can be more responsive to his own constituent base which I believe is strongly against the war.  Now he can take a leadership position on this issue—if it is his choice to do so.  Will he join forces with representatives such as Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and John Conyers who have formed the Out of Iraq Caucus in Congress?  Will he be willing to vote against continued appropriations for funds for military operations in Iraq?  Will he be willing to vote for legislation setting forth an actual timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops?  Will he stop being so cautious on these issues, and vote with the members of the House for withdrawal, even in situations where doing so puts him at odds with the leadership of his own party?  Will he take a position of leadership in opposing this war, even if, on occasion, this entails taking certain political risks?  Those of us who oppose this war will be watching to see what he does with future votes on military appropriations bills.  These are tough bills to vote against, because of the issue of the safety of the troops already in Iraq.  But it is my opinion that we will not be able to extricate ourselves from Iraq, until Congress stops voting for these military appropriations.

            Now would be a good time for anti-war activists to contact Chris, and express to him some of these concerns.
 
 Peace,

Deborah A. Vollmer

----------------------------------------

Vollmer announces formation of Exploratory Committee, re: House of Representatives, (CD-8)

Dear Friends,

           The announced retirement of Senator Paul Sarbanes has sent a "vast ripple" throughout state politics, leading to all kinds of speculation as to who might run to take Senator Sarbanes' place.  One of the names mentioned is that of U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen.

            I have a good deal of respect for Mr. Van Hollen, but it is no secret that I have differed with him openly on a few issues.  When I was a candidate in 2004 in the  Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District seat, and I made the point that Mr. Van Hollen had a "mixed record" on the war on Iraq, Mr. Van Hollen became very defensive.  In fact, a recent vote highlights Mr. Van  Hollen's confusing position on this war.

            Chris Van Hollen just voted to appropriate some $ 82 billion dollars toward the continuation of the war on Iraq!  This hideous war was initiated on the basis of lies (an alleged connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11, and the alleged existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction). The destruction of infrastructure and the suffering of the Iraqi people resulting from the Bush administration's flawed policy is unspeakable.  And our own soldiers continue to come home in body bags, and those who come home alive are horribly maimed, both physically and psychologically.  

           While there will undoubtedly be chaos in the wake of withdrawal of U.S. troops, I believe that the situation will be all the more chaotic the longer U.S. troops remain.  The U.S. presence is that of an occupation force, and is resented by the Iraqi people.  Therefore, I favor taking immediate steps for an orderly yet speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

           I do not believe that Van Hollen's vote on the $ 82 billion dollar appropriation for the war on Iraq in any way represents the views of his constituents in CD-8.  If Van Hollen is trying to steer to the right to appeal to a Statewide electorate in a race for the U.S. Senate, he is making a big mistake.  His continued victory  at the polls, whether in a race to keep his current seat, or in a race for the U.S. Senate, will not be possible if he abandons his base.  In voting to appropriate $82 billion dollars to continue the war on Iraq, Chris Van Hollen has in fact abandoned his base.

            I am exploring the possibility that I might once again cast my hat into the ring, to run for the 8th Congressional District seat in the upcoming 2006 Democratic primary. In making this decision, I will consider a number of factors, including the degree of support from the grassroots that I can hope to gain, should I decide to run.  Mr. Van Hollen's choice between running again for his current seat or running for the U.S. Senate, will of course play a role in my own decision-making, but will not necessarily be determinative.

            I am setting up an exploratory committee to help me weigh my options with regard to a possible Democratic Primary run for CD-8.  If you are interested in helping with this effort, please contact me at dvollmer@verizon.net.  

Thank you--

Peace,


Deborah

-----------------------------------

These were my recommendations for the general election November 2, 2004:

    For President, John Kerry.  I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary, but now it is important to focus on getting George W. Bush out of the White House.  I will continue to work for the issues championed by Dennis Kucinich--ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq, defending our civil liberties, protecting the environment, pushing for a national program of universal health care. Assuming we are successful in electing John Kerry President in the general election, our work will not be done;  we will still need to continue to push on these issues!

    For U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th Congressional District, Chris Van Hollen..  I ran myself for this office, on a platform very similar to that of Dennis Kucinich.  But that was the primary.  I am now supporting Chris Van Hollen.  And I will continue to push Chris to take strong positions on the issues I think are important.

    For United States Senate, Barbara Mikulski.

Peace,


Deborah
-----------------------------------

To all organizers against war and for social justice, here is a concrete opportunity for activism.

    The Democratic National Convention is meeting in Boston at the end of this month.  I know that some folks getting this message are not happy that the Democratic Party has not taken a stronger position against the war in Iraq.  I, for one, plan to vote for John Kerry, but I also want him to know where I am coming from--strongly against U.S. involvement in Iraq, and for social justice.  For that reason, I will be going to Boston to the Democratic National Convention, as a volunteer for Dennis Kucinich.  Dennis Kucinich is going to the Convention with a handful of delegates committed to move the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction.

    There will be several days of events and forums in Boston, even before the Convention itself starts.  Anyone wanting more information about the events and Convention schedule, and specifically what the Kucinich campaign has planned, should go to the Kucinich website at http://www.kucinich.us , or call the Kucinich Convention office in Boston at  (617) 542-3509.  There are opportunities both to attend interesting forums and events, and to work as a Kucinich volunteer, which will involve a good deal of networking with Convention delegates.  Some housing is still available through the Kucinich campaign at Emmanuel College in Boston. For those of you who can make it, see you in Boston!

Peace,


Deborah

_____________________________________________________________

To those of you who supported me in the 8th District Congressional Democratic Primary

I thank you from the bottom of my heart!


In Memory of Paul Wellstone
Click here to read Deborah's tribute to Paul and her recognition of his work:A Tribute To Paul

Deborah announces her suppport for Chris Van Hollen. Click here to read her Endorsement Statement


A MESSAGE TO SUPPORTERS
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Dear Friends,

It was just a year ago that our nation suffered the shocking and tragic terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, and on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the loss of the plane taken over by hijackers that went down in Pennsylvania.

It all happened a year ago; yet we have not recovered from our collective grief. And as we continue to process the losses of September 11, 2001, our President continues to lead a mobilization toward going to war with Iraq. The President is playing with our emotions, hoping that in our grief and anger at what happened to us, we will be willing to plunge our nation into war. He is also hoping that the year that has elapsed will be sufficient for memories to fade just a bit concerning the details of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The fact is that the terrorist attacks on our country were the results of the actions of terrorists not associated with Saddam Hussein. But President Bush is hoping that we will not remember that detail, and accept the rationale that a build-up of weapons of mass destruction is a sufficient rationale to justify going to war against Iraq.

I believe that this effort on the part of President Bush has more to do with his attempt to mobilize support for his Administration in times of a weak economy, than it does with a genuine need to protect our nation from Saddam Hussein. Saddam may very well pose some threat to world peace, in building up weapons of mass destruction. But I believe that we should consider using the carrot rather than the stick approach, and creative diplomacy, to get the arms inspectors into Iraq. If we keep threatening to go to war, we will simply make Saddam Hussein more paranoid and warlike than he already is.

Those who push for us to go to war with Iraq forget the lessons of Viet Nam. The two situations are different, of course. But there are similarities. And if we invade Iraq, it is inevitable that we will have young Americans coming home in body bags, not to mention that there will be untold deaths of Iraqi civilians. If we wage an air war, that is,if we bomb Iraq, we may minimize the loss of life to our own military forces, but we would surely cause great loss of life among the people of Iraq.

It is essential that we speak out against this mobilization toward war. It is not easy to be peacemakers-- to use positive incentives and creative diplomacy to achieve objectives conducive to peace. But that is precisely what we should do. A slogan from the anti-Viet Nam war days is just as applicable now as it was then: War is not healthy for Children and Other Living Things. I urge those of you who agree with me to let your voices be heard, while there is still time to prevent our nation's going to war with Iraq.

As those of you who followed the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary debates know, I have been speaking out against going to war with Iraq for a few months now. I will continue to speak out on this, and other issues of public importance, on my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com.

Sincerely,

Deborah A. Vollmer



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