Wisconsin Sen. Feingold to speak in Vail
VAIL – When U.S. Sen Russ Feingold scheduled a trip to visit his second cousin in East Vail, he wasn’t planning on making any speeches, but, he said, he couldn’t refuse when the Mountain Democrats asked him to speak.Feingold has launched what he calls a 50-state strategy to build strong Democratic parties. So far he has traveled to eight states, including California, Alabama and New Hampshire. Colorado will be the last state he visits this year.National security will be a big part of his speech to Eagle County residents, he said. “I think it’s important for all of America, but especially parts associated with Republicans – and Colorado is a great example because Democrats are picking up steam in Colorado,” Feingold said.
He also wants to help the Colorado Democratic party develop as much as possible, he said. Debbie Marquez, a local party leader and a Democratic national committeewoman, said Democrats are picking up momentum in the mountains. “The spine of the Rocky Mountains is progressive,” Marquez said. “There’s a progressive majority of voters who are just beginning to find a voice in this state.”Feingold, citing civil liberties, was the only senator to vote against the post-Sept. 11 Patriot Act that increased the government’s investigative rights. Today, many Democrats also oppose to the law, he said. “What I believe is that we can win the fight against Al Queida and protect innocent Americans’ freedoms at the same time,” Feingold said.For the lunch event in Vail, participants should bring a sack lunch and beverage. Tickets are $25, and proceeds will go to the Summit, Garfield and Eagle county Democratic parties.
“The ‘Brown Bag’ event epitomizes what (Feingold) represents,” Marquez said. “He’s somebody who lives by grass roots politics.”The evening event in East Vail is designed to be more interactive than the lunch event as the public will guide the discussion topics. The evening event requests a $500 donation per couple to the Progressive Patriot Fund, the senator’s Political Action Committee.The Progressive Patriot Fund aims to get Democrats elected to Congress in 2006. Fund donators vote to determine which candidates receive up to $5,000 for their campaigns.Feingold has thought about running for president in 2008 but won’t seriously consider it until after the 2006 Congress elections, he said. “For now, I’ll focus on helping Democratic parties grow and helping [Democratic] candidates … and standing up to the president when he’s wrong,” Feingold said.