Guest Blogged by Clint Curtis
My name is Clint Curtis, and I am running for Congress in Florida’s 24th District because I am fed up with the corruption and incompetence that continues to plague us in Washington. I'm running because the people of this country deserve honest representation and strong leadership that reflects the true will of the people.
As long-time BRAD BLOG readers may remember, I have dedicated myself to the cause of election integrity ever since a corrupt congressman asked me to create a prototype vote-rigging software program while we were both working for the same Florida software company back in 2000.
Since then, I have stepped into the sunshine to tell the story, and have become one of the nation's leading advocates for election reform. Working with non-partisan election integrity groups across the nation, I have fought hard for legislation that mandates the use of paper ballots. The state of Florida just passed such legislation earlier this year --- an enormous victory for proponents of election reform and a great win, finaly, for the voters of Florida.
My district is bordered by Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center, Daytona Beach and Orlando. It is a district of stark contrast between the haves and the have nots. Million dollar beachfront palaces sit just a scant few miles away from thousands who subsist in grinding poverty, bereft of hope. This is Florida’s Space Coast, a region of stunning beauty and spectacular innovation, but we have the misfortune to be represented by one of the most corrupt Republicans in Congress, the very same congressman who asked me to create that vote-rigging program: Tom Feeney.
Tom Feeney is the latest Republican congressman to fall under the shadow of the Jack Abramoff bribery and corruption scandal. Feeney is now under investigation by the FBI for his dealings with Abramoff. The writing is on the wall, making Florida’s 24th District one of the top three targeted races in the country.
But I will need your help in running against Feeney, and more importantly for the moment, helping the Democratic power structure in Washington D.C. understand we are ready, willing and able to take this seat and remove Tom Feeney once and for all.
For those of you who are new to The BRAD BLOG and may not be familiar with my story, up until just a few years ago I was a stereotypical, mild-mannered software engineer who would have never in a million years considered running for public office. As I said in a post last week, introducing myself to readers at Daily Kos, I’m just a ‘regular guy,’ a middle class citizen, working hard to make ends meet, like so many of you. And sad to say, for too many years, I bought into the myth that people like us can’t really make much a difference.
I've been a programmer since 1985. I've worked on projects as diverse as NASA to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Department. Although I was always an independently inclined voter, for years I identified more with Republicans than Democrats. I thought they shared my values of integrity, ethics, and honesty. I believe many of them still do. But that trust was shattered when I came to discover what shameless depths bad apple Republican politicians have now sunk to...
I can't say I know for a fact that the prototype I was asked to design to flip votes on touch-screen voting systems was implemented. I can tell you for a fact that I was asked by Feeney to create such a program. It's a serious charge to make. And as Carl Sagan often said, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. I testified under oath before the Conyers Commission and passed a polygraph test as to my knowledge of the attempt to develop fraudulent voting machines. I have worked very hard with the help of Brad and election integrity activists since 2004 to document flaws in our voting system. We have been making steady progress toward the goal of truly verifiable and honest elections, and a responsive government that serves the people, not the politicians.
Feeney is a veritable icon of the Republican Culture of Corruption, big money special interests, and anti-science lunacy that has unscrupulously hijacked this county, my state, and our beloved country for sordid political profit --- as well as the traditional green kind. He may have been up to his eyeballs in the Abramoff racket; we'll know soon enough if that is the case as he's built his official legal defense fund beginning with a $5000 "donation" from the Yang family, the ones who ran the crooked company where he and I both worked, the ones who hope Feeney will continue to help them with NASA contracts in return while he sits on the Space and Science Commission in Congress.
But one documented fact that makes my blood boil --- and I'm guessing yours as well --- Feeney was a critical player in halting the 2000 Florida recount. Shortly thereafter he awarded himself a prize: As Speaker of the Florida house, he literally drew his own Congressional District, slicing piecemeal through dozens of communities using clever demographic indicators designed purely to maximize his chances of permanent re-election, and minimize those of any challenger.
Even so, in his the district he drew for himself, sitting on top of a mountain of sleazy cash, Mr. Feeney garnered a mere 58% of the vote in 2006. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more than we did, with our completely grassroots-funded campaign, and yet could only squeeze out eight measly points in as friendly a district as you can imagine --- and on unverifiable voting machines that only a Florida Republican could love.
I’m not just proud to oppose this man again, I'm eager to do it.
I'm proud to run against Mr. Feeney because I support science, civil liberties, Constitutional checks and balances, and fair, open elections with paper ballots that are actually counted, with proper scrutiny by qualified, nonpartisan citizens. I'm also well aware every would-be politician that comes your way promises they will fight for our progressive values. But I’ll go one further in the spirit of the representative government our Founding Fathers envisioned: The hard-working voters and residents in my district deserve a Congressman who will represent all the people, not just a few well-connected conservative businessmen or ideological extremists. When I’m elected, my door will be open to all my constituents. Because, regardless who votes for or against me, in the end I represent the people of Florida’s 24th district. That includes Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, and conservatives. Most importantly, I will represent the progressive netroots community and push our agenda through Congress. No excuses and no delays.
All citizens deserve representatives who will listen to their concerns and guard their interests. I will not turn my back on anyone in the way that Tom Feeney and the rubber-stamp Republicans turned their back on you. This is a core progressive value: We are a nation Of the People, By the People, and For the People. That means all of the people. That’s something the current representative of FL-24 and the temporary occupants in our White House have forgotten. I will not.
We don’t yet have the support of the DCCC. Their sole focus right now is on how much money we can raise in this quarter. That is why I need your support right now. We need to show them you want a Congressman with a backbone, who will stand for you and what is right, not someone who will repeat Beltway talking points yet produce no results. I’m running so I can accomplish the changes that will make a difference for all Americans. When I am in Congress, you will have a representative who listens to you and pushes through your agenda.
There is no question that Tom Feeney is vulnerable, but I won’t be able to beat him without you and the support of the Netroots. That’s the bottom line.
Tell the DCCC (430 S Capitol Street, S.E., Washington, D.C., 20003; 202-863-1500) the kind of person you want to represent you in Congress – an empty suit that accomplishes nothing, or someone who has solutions and the iron will to pass legislation to:
- Require a paper ballot, that is actually counted, for every vote cast in America
- End the war in Iraq now
- Keep American jobs in America
- Protect Social Security
- Achieve energy independence today
- Ensure that every American has access to quality healthcare and affordable prescription drugs
- Revitalize NASA
- Strengthen our borders and coastlines
I hope you will join my Grassroots Campaign at www.ClintCurtis.com, and spread the word. There is a quote (I don't know who said it), "You may not be able to vote for me, but I will be voting for you." That is my view. This is a seat we can win! With your support, you can have a representative that brings Leadership for a Change to Congress.
Thanks so much for your time.
Leadership for a Change
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis eventually ended up running for U.S. Congress against Feeney in 2006.