Alan Grayson

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Alan Grayson


Alan Grayson is an attorney and a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 9th district of Florida.

After losing his re-election bid in 2010, Grayson won election back to Congress on November 6, 2012.[1]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Alan Grayson was listed as a Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[2]

Planned Parenthood

Grayson received $5000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.

Supported by Council for a Livable World

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The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Alan Grayson in his successful 2008 House of Representatives run as candidate for Florida.[3] He has also been previously supported by the Council.[4]

Background

Alan Grayson came from humble beginnings, as a native from Bronx, New York; he grew up in the tenements. He worked his way through Harvard University, graduating with high honors. Immediately following his undergraduate career, he enrolled in Harvard Law School where he again graduated with honors.

As an attorney he focused on contract law. In 1986 he helped to found the Alliance for Aging Research , serving as an officer of the organization for more than twenty years.

Congressman Grayson was also the first President of IDT Corporation, a publicly traded billion-dollar telecommunications company.

In the 2000s he worked as a plaintiffs’ attorney specializing in whistleblower fraud cases aimed at Iraq war contractors. [5]

Career

In 1983, Grayson was employed as a law clerk at the Colorado Supreme Court.[6]

From 1984-5, Grayson worked at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where he worked with such judges as Abner Mikva, Robert Bork, as well as two judges, namely Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, who both later joined the U.S. Supreme Court.

Grayson was an associate at the Washington D.C. firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson for five years, where he specialized in contract law.

Fighting corruption

With bachelor’s, master’s, and law degrees from Harvard, Grayson worked for five years with a major law firm in Washington, DC, before going on to found IDT Corporation, a successful telecommunications discount services provider. In 1991 he founded and became a principal of the Grayson & Kubli, P.C. law firm. According to the Grayson & Kubli web site, the firm specializes in the areas of bid protests, false claims actions, audits and debarment. It is in this area where Grayson has made a name for himself.

Grayson has been outraged by the corruption of the so-called defense contractors, and has done far more than anyone else to call them to account. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Grayson said “In a free fire zone you can shoot anything. In a free-fraud zone, you can steal anything.” Grayson has filed a number of suits against contractor abuse and fraud in Iraq, most of which remain bottled up in court. A profile of Grayson by Yochi J. Dreazen in the Wall Street Journal estimated there are 50 such cases backlogged, including major contractors such as Kellogg, Brown, and Root.

Correspondent Matt Renner, writing for Truthout.org, quoted Grayson as saying, “The war has been going on now for five years. [the Department of Justice] is not litigating a single case of contractor fraud against any contractor in Iraq. They have swept the whole thing under the rug. They’re either stupid or they’re liars and I tend to think it is the latter. We have an administration that is only good at managing news and nothing else.”

Grayson has done well with the cases he’s managed to bring to light so far. In what was described by Charles R. Babcock of the Washington Post as “the first civil fraud verdict arising from the war effort,” Grayson represented two plaintiffs who sued the contractor Custer-Battles under the U.S. False Claims Act for using Cayman Island front companies to shortchange the government on a contract to provide new Iraqi currency in 2003. In this case the jury held the firm liable for $10 million in damages.

According to Richard Burnett in the Orlando Sentinel, Grayson is representing a whistleblower who has charged Northrop Grumman with inflating costs to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in its Joint STARS radar aircraft program.

Not only has Grayson testified before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, as noted above, he and his lawsuits have been profiled in a number of major media outlets, including CBS News, the Orlando Sentinel, Rolling Stone ,Vanity Fair, and the Wall Street Journal. Along with three others, Grayson is featured on the Robert Greenwald DVD “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.” There are several additional videos in which Grayson has appeared.

Grayson is not only opposed to contractor fraud in Iraq, he is seriously against the war. Dreazen labeled him a “fierce critic of the war in Iraq [who] drives an aging Cadillac emblazoned with antiadministration bumper stickers.” Grayson has taken his case both to the courtrooms and the classroom: on March 20th he participated in a teach-in about the war as part of a day-long protest organized by students at the University of Central Florida. He has turned out in the streets to join anti-war protests. But he is not a single-issue candidate, he has a well-rounded progressive platform.

Other issues on which he has taken stands include energy, health care, education, and the environment, among others. He blames the Republicans in Congress for giving Big Oil tax breaks and allowing them to gouge consumers at the gas pumps. He opposes off-shore drilling and favors clean and renewable energy sources. He is concerned about health care, although he doesn’t do enough to advocate a specific plan such as single-payer. He has an environmental plank, advocating that the U.S. sign the Kyoto Protocol, adopt a renewable electricity standard, and biodegradable packaging. His memberships include the Sierra Club and other environmental groups..[7]

CODE PINK

Grayson with CODE PINK, Central Florida, February 15, 2008

War Is Making You Poor Act

In combination with fellow House of Representatives members including Ron Paul, Walter B. Jones, Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, and John Conyers, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on May 21st 2010, introduced a bill entitled “The War Is Making You Poor Act.” If passed, this legislation would stop funding for the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and use those revenues to eliminate federal taxes on the the first $35,000 of income, or $70,000 for couples.[8]

America's Future Now!

Alan Grayson was one of the 148 speakers who addressed the 2010 America's Future Now Conference.[9]

21st Century Democrats support

21st Century Democrats is a Political Action Committee that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Institute for Policy Studies affiliate, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Democratic Socialists of America affiliates, former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

Carol Moseley Braun, a former US Senator from Illinois, and long time Communist Party USA affiliate, serves on the organization's Advisory Board. Long time Board chair was Democratic Socialists of America member Jim Scheibel, a former Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.

In each election cycle, we endorse a diverse array of candidates who exemplify our values and show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals. We invest in some of the most competitive races as well as in some of the most challenging – those in which the candidat

es are outstanding but the traditional Democratic supporters are most reticent. We back candidates in primaries as well as general election races, and we focus the bulk of our resources on electing challengers and protecting vulnerable incumbents.[10]

Grayson was one of 12 key progressives endorsed by 21st Century Democrats in the 2012 election cycle.[11]

He was one of 17 supported in 2010.

Wellstone connection

Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club (WDRC) March 9, 2014:

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Wellstone Coordinating Committee Member greets Florida Rep Alan Grayson.

PDA connection

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Hightower on Grayson

Jim Hightower said, "PDA and I have been boot-stomping for weeks, starting with PDA's 'Progressive Central' in Charlotte during the DNC, and even riding down to Orlando, last week, where we stood with our best Florida agitator, Alan Grayson who is now a good bet to win a congressional seat there. And PDA has been in Michigan and Illinois to make house calls on behalf of Dr. Syed Taj and Dr. David Gill, two more great progressive champions who can win."[12]

Progressive Democrats of America endorsement

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In 2012, Alan Grayson was one of 14 leftist Congressional and Senate candidates endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America, an organization dominated by members or affiliates of Democratic Socialists of America and the Institute for Policy Studies.

PDA phonebankers

From November 1, 2012, through Election Day, Progressive Democrats of America's Phone Bank director Mike Fox organized volunteers across the USA making GOTV calls for progressive candidates including Dr. Ami Bera--a Medicare for All medical doctor running against 4-term incumbent Dan Lungren in California's 7th District and Alan Grayson--former Congressman running in Florida's 9th District, as well as Dr. David Gill, and Dr. Syed Taj.[13]

NNU and PDA

Wrote Michael Lighty, Director of Public Policy National Nurses United and Progressive Democrats of America Advisory Board Member;

The RNs of NNU have found a natural alliance with , who |never slow in the fight against austerity to win prosperity for all. RNs and PDA activists joined in campaigns across the country for insurgent progressives like Elizabeth Warren, now Senator-elect from Massachusetts, Medicare for All supporter Ami Bera, soon to be Congressman from California, and Alan Grayson returning to the people’s House from Florida." [14]

PDA "hit its stride", phonebanking

In 2012, PDA hit its stride electorally as well helping its National Board Members Congress members John Conyers (D-MI.), Donna Edwards (D-MD.), Keith Ellison (D-MN.), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ.), James McGovern (D-MA.) and Barbara Lee (D-CA.) sweep to victory.

Other PDA-endorsed winners included Congress members Mark Pocan (D-WI.), Alan Grayson (D-FL.), and Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA.). PDA generated 1000s of Get Out the Vote calls for the above candidates, as well as for newly-elected Ami Bera (D-CA.)[15]

Hosting PDA

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According to a New Year 2013 press release from Progressive Democrats of America;

Progressive Democrats of America accomplished a lot in 2012--thanks to your help and support. Together, we helped defeat Tea Party extremists and helped elect strong progressives to Congress. We educated members of Congress every month in our home districts, and in the halls of Congress in Washington, DC. Now, PDA is starting 2013 in a big way!

In just a few days, on January 3rd, our team will be on Capitol Hill as special guests of our newly elected and re-elected progressive candidates including our board members our friends Representatives Alan Grayson, Dr. Ami Bera, and Mark Pocan; as well as newly-elected Senators Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren. If you're going to be in the DC-area, join us for these exciting swearing in ceremonies, and help us pass out leaflets for our exciting January 19th events![16]

The Peoples' Inauguration

PDA National Director Tim Carpenter, John Nichols of The Nation, Rep. Alan Grayson National Nurses United Michael Lighty and PDA board member Steve Cobble

Progressive Central The Peoples' Inauguration was held Saturday, January 19, 2013, at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law 5th Floor Moot Court Room, 4340 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC.

The event was sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America, The Nation, National Nurses United, Democrats.com and Busboys and Poets. The event was advertised and promoted by the Institute for Policy Studies.

The 2:15 pm-­‐3:25 pm session, "Organizing for Main Street not Wall Street", was moderated by John Nichols.

It featured Rep Alan Grayson -­‐ Michael Lighty, PDA National Board/National Nurses United -­‐ Becky Bond, President CREDO SuperPAC .[17]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and Senator, Joey Jackson, and Fred Van Nest were assigned as the contacts for Rep. Grayson.[18]

"House Champions"

PDA's National Director Tim Carpenter, Rick Overton, Rep. Alan Grayson (FL) January 3, 2013

Just after the 2014 elections, Progressive Democrats of America stated;[19]

It was a great day for our endorsed candidates and a worse than expected day for Democrats overall. All of our Board Members: Representatives Ellison, Grijalva, Conyers, Lee, and McGovern won! Our House Champions: Representatives Grayson, Schakowsky, Pocan and Nolan won! Future Progressive Champions:Ted Lieu and Bonnie Watson Coleman won!

PDA 2016 endorsements

In 2016 Progressive Democrats of America endorsed;

PDA 2018 endorsement

In 2018 Progressive Democrats of America endorsed Rep. Alan Grayson, FL-09.

Orlando rally

Three Orlando-area actions were just a few of the hundreds held around the country on Nov. 10, 2012, and organized by groups ranging from the AFL-CIO to Moveon.org.

A late afternoon rally and protest at an Orlando senior center was organized by the Florida AFL-CIO and The Action, which "uses grassroots power to build support for Obama's agenda".

"We support the plan of the president, and that is to cut taxes for middle-class and lower-income individuals, but raise to a fair share [the taxes] that the upper two percent should be paying," said Jasmine Burney, a field organizer with The Action.

Rep.-elect Alan Grayson, D-Fla., told the crowd at the senior center--many of whom held signs saying "NO MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH"--that on a recent TV appearance he had been asked to explain the so-called fiscal cliff.

"I said these words: 'It's an artificial crisis to steal from the middle class.' The fiscal cliff itself does nothing on its own to Social Security and Medicare, but it's being used as a smokescreen to hurt [those programs] and us," said Grayson.

Medicare spending has grown, but that is not a justification for cuts to the program since it still operates at a surplus, and will do so for at least another decade, said Grayson.

"There's no reason to cut it except for the fact that the greedy want more," he said. "The greedy want to be able to avoid the tax increases that would put the economy back on a steady level and get some way toward paying down the debt."

Grayson noted that former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had only paid 14 percent of his income in taxes while middle-class Americans pay up to 35 percent.

"The rich should pay at least as much as the middle class--that would be a good start," said Grayson, who also suggested that it was time for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan and use the money that would have been spent there to rebuild roads and schools at home. [21]

OURWalmart action

Walmart workers and labor and community allies held a protest at an east Orlando Walmart on Nov. 23, 2012. (Black Friday). The action was one of hundreds organized around the country by OURWalmart--on the biggest shopping day of the year--to press the retail giant for "better wages, working conditions, an end to retaliation and intimidation of its workers, and respect from bosses."

OURWalmart is the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, a project of the United Food and Commercial Workers, with members in 700 Walmart stores in 42 states.

U.S. Rep.-elect Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, joined the protestors for the bus ride to the Walmart. Many of those who marched to the store entrance had tape over their mouths to symbolize attempts by Walmart to intimidate and silence workers who speak out about their treatment at the company's 4,600 stores in the U.S.

Rep. Grayson told the protestors that it's possible for working people to have living wages, paid sick leave, health coverage, paid vacations and pensions. He also called upon Walmart to give all its employees a 30 percent pay raise, noting that the company would still be extremely profitable.

"It all comes down to one thing: organization. The people have to exercise their right to organize--that's what it comes down to, and when that does happen, we win, because the people united will never be defeated," Rep. Grayson said, prompting cheering and chanting from the crowd.

Denise Diaz, director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice participated, as did Angela Williamson, 42, an OURWalt organizer with the UFCW, and Communist Party USA member Ben Markeson.

Other unions and groups with a presence at the Black Friday action included AFSCME, IUPAT, Industrial Workers of the World, SLAP, Alliance for Retired Americans, Orlando Food Not Bombs and Occupy Orlando. State Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1596, also attended.

OURWalmart organized a dinner Thanksgiving night (Nov. 22) at an Orlando-area store, handing out food (provided by the local AFL-CIO Central Labor Council) to 30 Walmart workers. Rep. Grayson also attended this action and walked out with Lisa Lopez, a store worker and new OURWalmart member.[22]

Cancel the Sequester Act

In early March 2013, Rep. John Conyers introduced the Cancel the Sequester Act (HR 900). Rep. Alan Grayson sent out an appeal for a quarter million individual signers.[23]

More than 500 mostly Latino and Haitian immigrants, their families, brothers and sisters from organized labor, and community allies rallied here at a church in southwest Orange County (the home of Disney World) on May Day, 2013.

They celebrated workers by calling for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented, and an end to the deportations of the undocumented that have torn apart so many immigrant families along with a path to family reunification.

Immigration forum

The Asociación Boriqueña de la Florida Central (Puerto Rican Association of Central Florida) hosted United States House Representatives Alan Grayson and Luis Gutierrez (a long time immigrant rights supporter) on Friday March 1, 2013 at 11:30 am, for the “Time is Now for Immigration Reform Panel and Press Conference.”

After the conference, the politicians, the panel, and others in the audience left for Haines City to have lunch and to talk with farm workers. This event brought media such as Univision, Telemundo, and local Fox Channel 13. There were between 200 to 250 audience members.

The NFWM/YAYA members in attendance were Nico Gumbs, Emily Helm, Melissa Maniau, Ana Maria de la Rosa, and Miguel Rodriguez. Melissa was also a panelist and eloquently spoke of her own family’s dealings with immigration authorities, because her husband is an undocumented immigrant.

​Representative Alan Grayson unequivocally called Arizona’s anti-immigrant law “racist” several times. He is determined to make a national immigration reform law so the Arizona law could never exist anywhere in this country. Representative Gutierrez was equally adamant, and added that a new immigration reform law must also include the ability to bring immediate family members into this country and to keep the family unit together.[24]

'Restore the Fourth' Rally in D.C.

On July 4th, 2013, representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, joined "concerned citizens" in Washington, D.C., to demand the protection of Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The event is part of a nationwide movement called Restore the Fourth. Rallies will take place in 81 cities and towns across the country to voice concerns about recent revelations of domestic spying.

Location: McPherson Square, Washington, D.C. Time: Noon - 2 p.m.

Endorsed by: StopWatching.Us, Demand Progress, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Institute for Policy Studies, National Lawyers Guild, Get FISA Right, Washington Peace Center, Montgomery County Civil Rights Commission, Defending Dissent, Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR-MD.

Speakers: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY, recorded video); Governor Gary Johnson (L, recorded video); Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL, recorded video); Carla Howell, Libertarian Party President; Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the NSA and whistleblower; Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press; Robert McCaw, CAIR Government Affairs Manager; representatives of CAIR-MD.[25]

Endorsing Sciortino

Dennis Kucinich, a former Democratic Congressman from Ohio who had been one of the House’s most left-wing members, endorsed Massachusetts State Rep. Carl Sciortino in the 5th District congressional race, October 2013.

“The people of this district have a real opportunity to elect not just a worthy successor to Sen. (Edward) Markey but someone who’s been tested in the Massachusetts legislature on a wide range of social and economic issues, which resonate at a national level,” Kucinich said on a conference call sponsored by the Progressive Democrats of America.

Sciortino was not on the call.

Sciortino has been getting help nationally from progressive organizations and politicians. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee endorsed him and raised $21,000 for him from its supporters, according to the group. U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, a California Democrat, both leaders among progressives in Congress, have endorsed Sciortino.[26]

ARA endorsement, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Alan Grayson in 2012.[27]

"Exemplary" progressive lawmaker

At the 2013 Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism conference, Jay Jurie said that he lived in Florida near Congressman Alan Grayson, whom he called “exemplary” as a progressive lawmaker.[28]

Communist Party connections

Patrick Foote on staff

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Patrick Foote, later an identified member of the Communist Party USA, served as field organizer for the Committee to Elect Alan Grayson in 2012.[29]

Orlando Immigration rally

In May 2013, a broad range of representatives from immigrant and farm worker groups, labor, the faith-based community, and allied groups addressed the crowd from a podium behind which hung a large banner that read, "RIGHT TO WORK--RIGHT TO LIVE--RIGHT TO STAY TOGETHER." U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., was the final speaker; he was preceded by a representative of U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who shared a message from the congressman with the pumped-up crowd.

One of the largest contingents at the event came from Unite Here Locals 737 and 362, which represent 19,000 hospitality and tourism workers in central Florida, including many who are immigrants. Other sponsors included the Florida AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, LCLAA, Mi Familia Vota, the Student Labor Action Project at the University of Central Florida, and Orlando YAYA (Youth and Young Adult Network of the National Farmworker Ministry).

"We are all workers here, and we are all one," said Angela McKinnon, an organizer with Unite Here 737.

McKinnon told the rally that her experiences as a worker and union leader at Disney had taught her about the exploitation and other problems faced by immigrant workers, and the sense of powerlessness they felt because of their status. Her awareness of the similarities in the struggles faced by African Americans and immigrants was also shaped by her background as the daughter of parents who harvested citrus, McKinnon said.

"We've got to all come together to make these companies respect us as human beings, not as immigrants and non-immigrants," she said. "This country was built by slaves and by immigrants from all around the world. It's time for us to stop fighting against each other, and let's fight together for what's right."

Tirso Moreno, general coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida, urged the audience to commit to fight until all immigrant workers "have the right to work, have the right to stay here, have the right to support their families, have the right to be together with their families."

In a videotaped speech, Rep. Gutierrez, who kicked off a nationwide tour for immigration reform in Orlando on March 1, said people across the U.S. were marking May 1 and continuing efforts to stop deportation of the undocumented, pending passage of comprehensive immigration reform.

Gutierrez, a leading progressive voice in the House on immigration reform, said he was "filled with optimism" about the passage of such legislation this year, noting that progress was being made in both chambers of Congress.

The bill, said Gutierrez, would include increased border security measures, "a broad legalization program" for the undocumented, "a faster path to citizenship" for Dreamers and a mandatory worker verification system. It will, he said, command support from both Democrats and Republicans who know that Americans want "real solutions" to the country's immigration issues.

Immigrants, labor and other progressive forces must keep up the pressure on both parties to pass a bill this year, said Gutierrez. "We have to keep moving forward," he said. "Our message [to Congress] must be clear--don't slow down, don't get distracted, don't try any excuses."

"If we work together this year, millions of Americans and those who want to work and live here will see the benefits of immigration reform," Gutierrez said.

Grayson related the story of his grandmother who emigrated to the U.S. from Austria-Hungary, 112 years ago, at the age of 14. Although she was penniless, illiterate and had no job skills, Grayson noted that she still had been welcomed to America. "If that was true for her than why not you?" he asked the crowd to applause. "Why not you? Why not you?"

At stake in the fight for immigration reform, said Grayson, is the American Dream--"the possibility to be all you can be"--regardless of race, age, language or immigration status. Our society should welcome all immigrants-- "Americans by choice" who "love this country," he said.

"You may think that you're alone. You may think that there's no one to support you, you may think that the situation is hopeless," Grayson said, "but remember [that] the undocumented are 11 million strong, and behind them is the Latino community in America, 50 million strong, and behind them is the community of people with a conscience, 200 million strong--and that's why we will win."

Denise Diaz, director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice, and a Communist Party USA affiliate, emceed the event. [30]

Honored Denise Diaz

In October 2013, Grayson honored Florida Communist Party USA speakers bureau member Denise Diaz, in the Congressional Record;[31]

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, to recognize a hardworking community organizer, civil rights activist, and working mother of two.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Denise Diaz's parents raised her and her brother on the northwest side of Chicago. Her parents worked hard in the airline catering industry to provide a better life for their children. As union members, they instilled Denise with a strong sense of collective action and a passion for justice.

Denise Diaz received her BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her activism began in organizing on the South Side of Chicago. She later became a tenant rights organizer in immigrant communities outside of Washington, D.C.
In 2007, Denise moved to Central Florida to raise her two children and continue community organizing on workers' rights issues. Denise can often be seen picketing in front of major employers, meeting with workers, and leading community events with the support of her husband Mark and her two children, Zoe and Zion.
For over five years, Denise has served as the Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice. She is also a National Jobs with Justice board member and a board member of the Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (FIRE).
Denise's work with the Central Florida Jobs with Justice, a coalition of unions, community based groups, faith based and student groups that work together on economic justice campaigns, has empowered and improved the lives of working families in Orlando.
I am happy to honor Denise Diaz, during Hispanic Heritage Month, for her incredible accomplishments on behalf of the working families in Central Florida.Recognizing Jose F. Mendez for 40 Years of Expanding Educational Opportunities

Honored socialist

In October 2013, Grayson honored long time Democratic Socialists of America member Jose La Luz, in the Congressional Record;[32]

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize Jose La Luz, an educator and an advocate for workers' rights.
A native of Santurce, Puerto Rico, La Luz comes from a working-class family and spent his primary years living on the Island. La Luz credits his grandfather, a self-made merchant in the mountain town of Ciales, and his mother, a rural school teacher who nurtured and educated poor children in nearby barrios, with being his role models and instilling a sense of compassion and justice in him. They inspired La Luz to advocate for workers' rights such as better wages and working conditions as an adult.
While growing up in Puerto Rico in the 1950s and 1960s, La Luz's grandfather used to take him to the tobacco, coffee and sugarcane fields in Puerto Rico where he witnessed firsthand the plight of poor Puerto Ricans who were toiling these fields to earn their meager livelihoods. Having seen the poor conditions under which workers lived and worked, La Luz began to understand the importance of advocating for the human rights of those who had no voice. The fight for basic rights and justice for all people, no matter who they are or where they are from became his life's passion.
La Luz attended the University of Puerto Rico where he studied social sciences before receiving a sports scholarship from the YMCA and transferring to Springfield College in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of SUNY's Empire State College with a Bachelor's degree in Labor Studies. He also has a Master's Degree in labor studies from Rutgers University.

Widely recognized as a labor strategist and intellectual, La Luz has served as a Visiting Labor Leader in residence at Cornell University. He has also written white papers on organizing strategies in labor unions, and served as an instructor in the Labor Studies Programs at Michigan State and Rutgers University. He became a Wurf Fellow in the Kennedy School State and Local Government Program at Harvard University in 2007. In 2011, La Luz received a lifetime award for his distinguished career as one of America's outstanding labor educators from the United Association for Labor Education.
During his college years, La Luz was involved in the Students for a Democratic Society, and spoke out on issues such as the Vietnam War. He also became involved with local Puerto Rican Farm Workers organizations in the Tobacco Valley in Connecticut and Massachusetts. As a community organizer, La Luz helped secure new rights for migrant workers in the area by putting public pressure on the Labor Department of Puerto Rico and denouncing the deplorable conditions that the migrant workers were working under. He also helped merge the local farm workers with Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers of America.
Among La Luz's most recent achievements is the restoration on May 17, 2011 of public worker rights in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Law 45 had been nullified by the passage of a new fiscal austerity law, Law 7. Law 7 effectively suspended collective agreement clauses in an effort to repress public employees and strip them of collective bargaining rights. Law 7 also caused the layoffs of over 19,000 public sector employees in Puerto Rico and aggravated an already dismal unemployment rate. La Luz was fundamental in speaking out against the injustices by insisting on the need to restore bargaining rights for public workers. La Luz made the case for the restoration of rights as he led a grassroots lobbying campaign along with other union leaders and the President of Puerto Rico's Senate. His efforts resulted in the passage of Law 73 which restored the employee contracts and rights that had been suspended by Law 7.
It is with great honor and pride that I honor Jose La Luz's exemplary contributions to workers' rights and the Hispanic community.

The representative of a human rights group headed by a designated al Qaeda terrorist was denied a visa by the State Department after being invited by congressional Democrats to discuss drone strikes.

An almost terrorist meeting

Mohammad Al Ahmady, the Yemen director for Geneva-based NGO Al Karama, was expected to brief Reps. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.), Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), and Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) the morning of the Nov. 19 2013, according to press release from Grayson’s office.

Ahmady, who also serves as a top official in an al Qaeda-linked Yemeni political party, did not attend because of visa issues. The State Department said it could not comment on visa matters.

Several Al Karama officials have faced terrorism allegations. Al Karama’s founder and current president Abdul Rahman Naimi was designated as a terrorist and al Qaeda supporter by the U.S. Treasury Department in December 2013, along with the group’s Yemen representative Abdulwahab Al-Humayqani. Al Karama’s legal director, Rachid Mesli, is currently wanted for terrorism charges in Algeria.

Schakowsky’s office referred questions to Grayson and Lee, saying the other offices led the briefing.

“She is listed as a member attending the briefing, the briefing was led by the other 2 offices,” said a spokesperson in an email.

A spokesperson for Grayson said Ahmady did not actually attend the briefing and that the terrorist designation of Al Karama’s president was “not in place at the time of the briefing, so again, we had no reason to suspect any wrongdoing on the part of Mohammad [Al Ahmady].”[33]

No cuts rally

Scores of seniors came to the U.S. Capitol October 2013, joined hands with Members of Congress, and formed a human chain in opposition to the Chained CPI formula and all benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted the demonstration, as Alliance for Retired Americans members joined with Social Security Works and other allies. The event was emceed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-MN). Other Members of Congress at the event included Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL); David Cicilline (RI); Yvette Clarke (NY); John Conyers (MI); Elijah Cummings (MD); Rosa DeLauro (CT); Alan Grayson (FL); Mike Honda (CA); Steven Horsford (NV); Barbara Lee (CA); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Alan Lowenthal (CA); Dan Maffei (NY); Carolyn Maloney (NY); Jerrold Nadler (NY); Mark Pocan (WI); Jan Schakowsky (IL); Mark Takano (CA); and Paul Tonko (NY).[34]

Working Women Town Hall

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) joined Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida) to headline a Working Women Town Hall in Orlando, October 2014. The event which was hosted by the Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (FIRE) drew a packed audience.

The town hall comes on the heels of a report released on women’s health. Just this week, the Alliance for a Just Society released a Women’s Health Report Card that ranked all 50 states in the areas of health coverage for women, women’s access to health care, and women’s health outcomes. Florida ranks 35th and received a “D” grade overall.

The panel included Lauren Rowe, a former TV news anchor and producer of Flashpoint, Denise Diaz, Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, Marytza Sanz, President and CEO of Latino Leadership, and Jenna Tosh, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando.[35]

IPS celebration for Conyers

Alan Grayson addresses the event

January 7 2015, "John Conyers’ 50 Years of Service", was celebrated at Andy Shallal's Eatonville Restaurant in Washington DC., primarily sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies. Guests included Robert Creamer, and Irvin Jim of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (a self proclaimed Marxist-Leninist)[36], and members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus. Robert Borosage sent a tribute.

Speakers included civil rights icon Julian Bond, actor and activist Danny Glover, IPS founder Marcus Raskin, and Congressmembers Charles B. Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, Steve Cohen, and Alan Grayson.

John Cavanagh and Karen Dolan of the IPS MC'd.

Friends and colleagues of Congressman Conyers from all stages of his work for civil rights, peace, human rights attended.[37]

Co-sponsors included: The Sentencing Project, The Nation, Peace Action, National People’s Action, Restaurant Opportunities Center United, Jobs with Justice, Friends of the Earth, Social Security Works, Campaign for America's Future, US Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Council for a Livable World, Alliance for Justice, Fund for Constitutional Government, ProgressiveCongress.org, Win Without War, Economic Policy Institute, and Center for Economic and Policy Research.[38]

Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains, 10th Anniversary

Pdmm.jpg

Attendees;

Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains Tim Carpenter Courage Award Recipients

  • Tom Hayden, Lifetime achievement awards
  • Alan Grayson, Inside the Democratic Party
  • Marcia Hanscom, Outside the Democratic Party

MC - Huffington Post's Lance Simmens

PDSSM endorsed candidates - Lou Vince, Nanette Barragan

Special guests - Ted Lieu, Ben Allen, Fran Pavley, Eric Bauman, Alan Minsky, Lila Garrett, Harvey Wasserman, Russell Greene, Ricco Ross, Jerry Manpearl, Richard Bloom, Mimi Kennedy, R.L. Miller, Susie Shannon, Jan Goodman, Nick Donovan, Paul Song, Sandra Fluke, Estee Chandler.

California return to Congress supporters

Saturday, 12 November, 2011, a fundraiser was held for Alan Grayson, at 939 San Vicente Boulevard, Santa Monica.

Advertised attendees were Congressman Alan Grayson & AFL –CIO President Richard Trumka, Ed Asner, Michelle Phillips, John Heard, Elliot Gould, Ed Begley, Jr., Mike Farrell, Joan Smith and Kurtwood Smith, Jon Bauman, Eric Roberts, Earl Katz, Mimi Kennedy, Frances Fisher, Peter Coyote, Sara Nichols. Producers Norman Lear, Jeff Wald and Jordan Sommers, Stephen Nemeth , Naren Shankar and Cheri Shankar, Joel Diamond, Michael Butler, Jan Goodman and Jerry Manpearl, Lili Haydn, Vivek Maddela, Lila Garrett, Nina Merson, Jodie Evans, Teray Stephens, and educator Paul Cummins.[39]

California Senate campaign supporters

Grayyyyy.PNG

Aris Anagnos, John Amato, Cindy Asner, Ed Begley, Jr., Tom Coleman, Frances Fisher, Lindsay Gardner, Jan Goodman, Lila Garrett, Howie Klein, Jerry Manpearl, Scott Mayers, Sara Nichols, Rick Overton, Dorothy Reik, Frank Reyes and Eloise Reyes, Paul Song, Ron Stone, Patric Verrone, Marianne Williamson, Roger Wolfson.

(Host Committee in Formation) - In Support Of Congressman Alan Grayson for U.S. Senate 2016.

Sunday August 30, 2015, The Lantern House Venice, CA.

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [40]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.

Praising CAIR

“I thank you for your commitment to defending civil liberties in the state of Florida and across the nation.” - Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) (2014). [41]

Staff

The following have worked as staff members for Alan Grayson:[42]

External links

References

  1. Huffington Post "Alan Grayson, Jewish Democrat, Rides Hispanic Support Back to Washington," November 13, 2012
  2. http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?ContentID=166&ParentID=0&SectionID=4&SectionTree=4&lnk=b&ItemID=164
  3. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  4. CLW website: Who We've Helped Elect
  5. 21st Century Democrats bio, accessed Jan. 15, 2012
  6. New York Times March 4, 1984. Retrieved 2010 August 5
  7. [http://antiauthoritarian.net/NLN/?p=459, Next Left Notes, Grayson, Progressive For Congress (Florida’s 8th CD) Posted by Jay Jurie - July 2, 2008)
  8. NLN, Is The War Making You Poor? by Jay Jurie Posted on June 17, 2010
  9. Our Future website: Take Back America 2010 Speakers (accessed on July 12, 2010)
  10. 21st Century Democrats website, About us]
  11. 21st Century Democrats 2012 bio
  12. PDA press release, Jim Hightower, John Nichols, Michael Lighty and Tim Carpenter in Janesville
  13. PDA press release, Jim Hightower, John Nichols, Michael Lighty and Tim Carpenter in Janesville
  14. PDA email blast, Let's Tax Wall Street, Create Jobs, and Save the Social Safety Net
  15. blog for Arizona. PDA sponsors 'People's Inauguration' in DC on Jan 19: Watch live streaming
  16. PDA press release, Resolve to Make Progress with PDA in 2013
  17. PDA website, accessed Jan 15, 2013
  18. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  19. http://www.pdamerica.org/about-us/itemlist/tag/Bonnie%20Watson%20Coleman PDA Wednesday, 05 November 2014 00:00 Congratulations to the Winners!]
  20. PDA endorsed candidates, accessed April 17, 2016
  21. PW, Orlando residents demonstrate against tax cuts for rich, by: Ben Markeson, December 12 2012
  22. PW, OURWalmart and allies protest Walmart in Orlando, by: Ben Markeson November 26 2012
  23. CPUSA website, Avenues of Fightback: Political Report to the NC, by: Joelle Fishman, March 12 2013
  24. [ttp://nfwm-yaya.org/2013/03/the-time-is-now-for-immigration-reform/, YAYA The Time is Now for Immigration Reform Posted on March 6, 2013 by YAYA Admin]
  25. CAIR Press Release, CAIR Reps to Speak at 'Restore the Fourth' Rally in D.C. Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013
  26. MassLive, By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican on October 10, 2013 at 12:18 PMFormer U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich endorses Massachusetts congressional candidate Carl Sciortino
  27. ARA endorsements 2012
  28. In, Reaching Out… CCDS-Discussion, Posted by admin on August 9, 2013
  29. P Foote FB page, accessed May 24 2014
  30. PW, In shadow of Disney World, May Day rally demands immigrant rightsby: Ben Markeson, May 3 2013
  31. OF HON. ALAN GRAYSON OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2013
  32. OF HON. ALAN GRAYSON OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2013
  33. [http://freebeacon.com/national-security/group-run-by-al-qaeda-terrorist-invited-to-brief-dems-on-drone-policy/Washington Free Beacon, Group Run by al Qaeda Terrorist Invited to Brief Dems on Drone Policy. BY: Alana Goodman January 6, 2014]
  34. [http://retiredamericans.org/newsroom/friday-alert-archives/view/2013-10-activists-at-us-capitol-warn-dont-use-shutdown-to-cu ARA Activists at U.S. Capitol Warn: “Don’t Use Shutdown to Cut Benefits for Seniors” October 04, 2013]
  35. The Florida Squeeze, Nancy Pelsoi headlines Orlando town hall on working women & empowerment KARTIK KRISHNAIYER ♦ OCTOBER 20, 2014
  36. Jim: Mail & Guardian. Numsa won't convert to a 'political party'13 DEC 2014 13:54
  37. Representative John Conyers 50 Years in Congress
  38. John Conyers’ 50 Years of Service
  39. LA Progressive, https://www.laprogressive.com/support-alan-grayson/Support Alan Grayson’s Return to Congress: Saturday, 12 November By Posted by Administrator]
  40. H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States, accessed December 26, 2015
  41. [https://www.cair.com/images/pdf/What-They-Say-About-CAIR.pdf What They Say About CAIR (October 2014)
  42. Legistorm: Alan Grayson (accessed on Aug. 24, 2010)