Tim Carpenter

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Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter, died April 2014, was National Director of Progressive Democrats of America. He was is a social and political activist who, for more than 30 years, worked for causes such as nuclear disarmament, death penalty abolition, defending the homeless, and campaign finance reform. Carpenter established Housing Now! and Democrats for Peace Conversion (DPC), co-founded the Orange County chapter of the Alliance for Survival (AFS), and helped organize the Orange County chapter of Families Against Three Strikes (FACTS). He was a national delegate and served in key positions in the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson (1988), Jerry Brown (1992), and Bill Clinton (1996), and spoke from the podium at the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York.

Tim Carpenter was director of the Western Massachusetts Clean Elections movement for public funding of political campaigns, and served as field organizer for Clean Elections' Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Warren Tolman. He also served as Deputy National Campaign Manager for Kucinich for President, was the campaign's state co-coordinator in Massachusetts, and the campaign's Convention Coordinator in Boston. He co-founded AfterDowningStreet.org. In 2006, he was elected as a Massachusetts Democratic Party delegate committed to Deval Patrick.

Tim Carpenter has taught U.S. history and government at the high school and community college levels. He is a product of the California State College system, where he graduated from Cal State University Fullerton with Bachelors Degrees in History and Political Science, as well as a Masters in History. Tim lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife Barbara Considine and their daughters, Sheila and Julia.[1]

Tribute from Obama

Around December 2013, while coping with his cancer, Tim Carpenter's daughter ran up to him with an envelope from the White House that had arrived in the mailbox of the family's Florence, Massachusetts, home. When they opened it, there was a note from President Barack Obama, wishing Tim well while celebrating his resilience.[2]

Early activism

Carpenter's first political crisis came in the sixth grade at St. Cecilia Catholic School in Tustin, when his radical politics almost got him expelled. Instead, Sister Cathy defended him from critics—and later joined the Bilateral Nuclear Freeze Initiative movement Carpenter helped found in Orange County.

Tim Carpenter was in his mid-teens when he worked on the first unsuccessful effort to get an Orange County woman, Vivian Hall, elected to Congress, and he played vital parts of nearly every progressive cause in Orange County, beginning with George McGovern's 1972 presidential race against Richard Nixon. He was active in the Catholic Worker Movement throughout the 1980s, sleeping on concrete at night to help protect the homeless from harassment by Santa Ana police, and in the 1990s he helped organize the Orange County chapter of Families Against Three Strikes. He has been locked up for protesting, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 1992 and counts Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Jerry Brown among his friends[3].


Tim Carpenter cut his teeth on campaigns that recognized the connection between transforming politics and transforming the country: as a kid working "behind the Orange Curtain" (in then hyper-conservative Orange County) for George McGovern in 1972 and for the remarkable radical intervention that was Tom Hayden's 1976 US Senate bid. Carpenter was a trusted aide to the Rev. Jesse Jackson's 1988 "Rainbow Coalition" run for the presidency, an inner-circle strategist for Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential run (addressing that year's Democratic National Convention and urging delegates to "Save Our Party" from ideological compromises and corporate influence), a key figure in Dennis Kucinich's antiwar presidential campaign of 2004.

He also worked on plenty of campaigns that lost—as well as winning campaigns such as those of Congresswoman Donna Edwards, D-Maryland, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and, to his immense delight, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.[4]

DSOC member


In 1982, Tim Carpenter was a member of Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee in Orange County, California.

DSA member

In the early 1980s, Tim Carpenter was a member of the Orange County Democratic Socialists of America.

He was still a contact for Orange County Democratic Socialists of America in October 1994.[5]

Ongoing connections

After Carpenter died in March 2014, Democratic Socialists of America revealed his ongoing connection to the organization;[6]

Tim Carpenter, whose untimely death this week leaves us bereft of a tireless champion of social and economic justice. We in DSA mourn the loss of a brother whose politics of radical inclusion made us part of his extended family and of his “team.” As Nichols points out, Tim and his colleagues saw the strategic value of DSA Founding Chair Michael Harrington’s Democratic Agenda project and passionately pursued it. Tim committed his life to advancing the vision of a transformed Democratic Party by integrating progressive electoral campaigns with social movement politics. His unflagging efforts strengthened the Congressional Progressive Caucus in Washington and built a national PDA organization that will carry on his vital work.
Just as many members of DSA have joined PDA and taken part in its campaigns, Tim Carpenter joined DSA out of solidarity. We worked together on compatible goals and out of a common heritage. We have welcomed and supported PDA’s project of petitioning Bernie Sanders to run for president. We in DSA are committed to help PDA -- as the concrete organizational embodiment of Tim’s vision -- survive and prosper, in pursuit of our common dreams of political and social transformation.


Carpenter's day job was teaching history and government throughout Orange County, including Irvine Valley College, Marina High School in Huntington Beach and Rosary High School in Fullerton[7]..


Carpenter earned History and Political Science degrees from California State University Fullerton, as well as a Master's Degree in History.

For many years, Tim Carpenter worked with California state senator Tom Hayden as a senior staff member. He was also an influential field organizer in the Orange County California Democratic Party.[8]

Leaving California

Carpenter left Orange County in 2002 to become a top organizer for Dennis Kucinich's presidential bid before becoming executive director of the Progressive Democrats of America, which is based in his new home state of Massachusetts[9]..

Ohio vote

Tim Carpenter and the Progressive Democrats of America won a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the controversial Ohio vote in 2004[10]..

Endorsed Marcy Winograd

In 2006 Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America Executive Director was a National and State endorser of Marcy Winograd of the Los Angeles Progressive Democrats of America in her unsuccessful primary bid for the Democratic Party nomination 26th Congressional District in California[11]

United for Peace and Justice Affiliation

In July 2007 Tim Carpenter representing Progressive Democrats of America was affiliated to United for Peace and Justice.[12]

Labor Campaign for Single Payer

In March 2009 the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Conference was held in Washington DC. Attendees included Anne Feeney, Kay Tillow and Walter Tillow, Jerry Tucker, Donna DeWitt, David Newby, Donna Smith, Tim Carpenter from Progressive Democrats of America, Dr. Margaret Flowers, John Conyers.[13]

Campaign for Peace and Democracy

Carpenter is listed as an endorser of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, as of March 15, 2010.[14]

Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011

Tim Carpenter was one of the 158 speakers who addressed the Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011 . The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, [15]

2012 DSA Fundraiser

Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee, held a fundraising reception for Representative John Conyers, Jr., at Colors Restaurant on Sunday, May 27th 2012, from 2-5 PM. Guest of honor was Jim Hightower—noted progressive radio commentator and editor of the Hightower Lowdown.

Co-hosts were David Bullock, President of the Detroit branch of Operation PUSH, Tim Carpenter, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, and Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network.[16]

"The 99% Spring"

Individuals and organizations supporting The 99% Spring, as of April 20, 2012, included Tim Carpenter - Progressive Democrats of America .[17]

PDA meeting, Maryland

Thursday March 15, 2012, PDA National Director Tim Carpenter, PDA National Vice Chair emeritus Stephen Shaff, PDA National Deputy Field Director Andrea Miller and Mike Hersh welcomed speakers Rep. Donna Edwards (Md-6), Professor Eric Kingson from Social Security Works, and Alex Lawson from We Act 1480 AM Radio to Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Current and former PDA National Board Members Medea Benjamin, Joe Libertelli and Steve Cobble, Healthcare NOT Warfare co-chair Donna Smith, and Maryland Senator Paul Pinsky also helped welcome progressives to Prince George's County's newest meeting place. The turnout included several important progressive leaders from Maryland's 4th, 6th, and 8th districts.

Special thanks to the Very Important Progressive Host Committee including--Stephen Shaff; PDA board member Bill Fletcher, Jr., Raucus Activist Writer; Alex Lawson, Social Security Works and WE ACT Radio; Heather Booth, Activist; Steve Cobble, PDA Political Advisor, and Institute for Policy Studies; Medea Benjamin; Tom Hucker, MD Delegate, D-20; Greg Moore, NAACP/Political Consultant; Beth Becker, Progressive PST; Naomi Bloch, Activist who donated a small library of books; David Hart, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Beth Schulman, IPS; Greg Smith, Activist; Joe Libertelli; Mark Dudzic; Jimmy Tarlau, Communication Workers of America; Kerren-Pope Onwukwe, Attorney/Activist; and Andrea Miller.[18]

Healthcare call-in

On May 15th, 2013 a national call-in was convened to promote Rep. John Conyers' bill H.R. 676, that would establish a non-profit, universal, single-payer health care program, an improved "Medicare for All" act.

Participants were;

Gathering of socialists


Michael Lighty, Jim Hightower, Thom Hartmann, Tim Carpenter, Mimi Kennedy, John Nichols, 2014.

External links



  1. PDA bio, accessed Dec. 30, 2010
  2. The Nation, Tim Carpenter's Politics of Radical Inclusion: In the Streets and in the Polling Booths John Nichols on April 29, 2014
  3. http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/a-clockwork-orange/tim-carpenterback-with-a-venge/
  4. The Nation, Tim Carpenter's Politics of Radical Inclusion: In the Streets and in the Polling Booths John Nichols on April 29, 2014
  5. [1]
  6. Democratic Left, Remembering Tim Carpenter, Posted by Maria Svart on 05.02.14
  7. http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/a-clockwork-orange/tim-carpenterback-with-a-venge/
  8. Cong. Record, December 10, 2013 113th Congress, 1st Session Issue: Vol. 159, No. 174 — Daily Edition. HONORING TIM CARPENTER (Extensions of Remarks - December 10, 2013) HON. JOHN CONYERS, JR.
  9. http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/a-clockwork-orange/tim-carpenterback-with-a-venge/
  10. http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/a-clockwork-orange/tim-carpenterback-with-a-venge/
  11. Endorsers of Winograd
  12. http://www.knology.net/~bilrum/UFPJGroups071607.htm
  13. Thursday, March 04, 2010 March 2010 - Anne Feeney's Fellow Travelers' Advisory - VOLUME FIVE - #12
  14. Endorsers
  15. Our Future website: Take Back the American Dream 2011 Speakers (accessed on Sept. 22, 2011)
  16. DSA DSA newsletter, May 2012
  17. THE 99% Spring, Who are we/ accessed April 20, 2012
  18. [http://www.pdacommunity.org/maryland/1281-donna-edwards-joins-pda-in-hyattsville, PDA website, Donna Edwards Joins PDA in Hyattsville Friday, 16 March 2012 14:46 Written by Mike Hersh]
  19. PDA, Healthcare not Warfare