AMA Galvanizes Voters
in Key Congressional Race in CA
By Hazem Kira
CA: The Bay Area Chapter of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA)
held a final-push-planning-meeting with Dr. Jerry McNerney,
Democratic Congressional candidate in California’s 11th
Congressional Dist, to organize “above 70 percent voter
turnout”. The meeting was attended by activists from
Pleasanton, Danville, Dublin, Tracy, Stockton and Lodi, cities
that house the majority of Dist 11 voters.
The outcome of Dist 11 election could have an impact beyond
the district. The importance of this nationally-monitored
race can be judged by the fact that the Vice President Dick
Chaney and President George Bush have visited this rural district
to shore up support for the Republican candidate Richard Pombo,
who given his negative evaluation by voter’s groups,
is seen weak and vulnerable.
Moreover, in an unprecedented move, Pete McCloskey, a nationally
known Republican, who ran against Pombo in the Republican
primary, has endorsed the Democratic Candidate Jerry McNerney,
and has asked his own Republican supporter, roughly 30 percent
of the registered Republicans in the District, to support
Led by a coalition of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and
the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), both Muslim
and Latino communities are organizing major Nov 7 mobilization
effort. The Latino-Muslim coalition has been working with
Jerry McNerney to help restore civil liberties for all, plead
for a fair immigration policy, and strengthen popular demands
for improved education, ecology and economy.
Dr. Jerry McNerney, a mathematician and inventor-turned politician,
who is trying to unseat Richard Pombo, told the audience that
it was his son who had urged him to run for congress to help
restore honesty in the government. “I want to help restore
a government that is answerable to people”, he said.
Regarding the war on Iraq he said: “As an occupying
power, we have failed to protect the Iraqi people. Depending
on who you listen to 30,000 to 600,000 Iraqis have been killed
and Iraq is headed toward a full-fledged civil war which could
result in breakup and destabilize the entire region.”
Dr. McNerney called for a phased withdrawal in nine to twelve
Dr. McNerney also criticized the Bush administration for its
reckless immigration policy and engaging in fear-mongering
to abridge civil liberties for Muslims, Arabs and other communities.
Dr. Agha Saeed, National Chair, American Muslim Alliance,
told the audience that our primary focus is on issues and
not parties. “While the Democratic Party is ahead in
the opinion polls which are based on sampling of all eligible
voters, the November 7 election will be decided by less than
40 percent voters who will actually turn out to vote. Within
this 40 percent, the Democratic margin of victory is much
smaller than in the generalized population. The Dist 11 election
will be won by the candidate who has a better Get-Out-The-Vote
network. Dr. McNerney needs 10, 000 new votes to win; we can
supply 30 percent of that margin of victory by accepting personal
responsibility for getting out 3, 000 votes”.
Later, Get-Out-The-Vote Committees were formed for Pleasanton,
Dublin, Denville, Tracy, Manteca, Stockton and Lodi. AMA will
coordinate these committees to set up phone-banking, precinct
walking, and election-day transportation.
Dr. Saeed thanked Mr. Saifi Raniwala for organizing the meeting.
He also expressed his appreciation for the useful work done
by Rahman Samroo, Shabbir Khan, Taj Khan and Saif Khawaja.
For more information contact AMA at (510) 299 – 9313