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Who wants to be a Congress(wo)man?

by Jesse Fruhwirth
- Posted // 2010-01-08 -

Time is running out to register for the Citizens' Candidate forum scheduled for January 30. Local activists will host the forum that aims to find a non-partisan, but progressive, candidate to challenge Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson. Anyone is welcome to apply before the January 15 deadline.

"The idea is that instead of being a left-to-right issue, it's kind of a bottom-up thing," activist Ashley Anderson said. "Now we're starting at the grass-roots level, so rather than 'who can raise the most money first,' the viable candidate is the person willing to represent the people."

Raising money as a politician, you see, often means cozying up--or worse--to entrenched corporate interests.

The Citizens' Candidate concept had its birth in November after what seemed like a little more than a jokey jab at Matheson. Then anonymously, organizers posted a want-ad on Craigslist soliciting applicants to replace Matheson. The original ad has now been "flagged" for removal on Craigslist, but it read in part:

Wanted: Progressive Congressional Representative to represent the people of Utah's 2nd district. Must have solid moral values and a resistance to selling out to corporate interests. Eligible candidate should have a strong commitment to defending fundamental human rights over corporate profits.

Apparently not everyone thought it was a joke, and some responded.

"All the applicants that responded to the Craigslist ad will be given a chance to be interviewed by a panel of people who represent a wide variety of people in the community," Anderson said.

Anderson wouldn't give any preview of who or what types of people have responded. "We're still taking applications," he said.

And while the ad seeks a progressive candidate, Anderson said no political parties, major or minor, are involved in the forum. Anderson thinks the non-partisan sentiment is shared by the so-called Teabagger movement, and hopes non-partisan politics may be a way for people of varying politics to jointly free U.S. democracy from control of corporate interests. Additionally, Anderson said this is not a purely anti-Matheson event, though Peaceful Uprising has made no secret of their animosity for Utah's 2nd District Representative, but merely a celebration of grass-roots democracy.

For more information, go to http://www.utcitizenscandidate.org/

1-11-9, 12:53 p.m. Update: got a call from Ashley Anderson to clarify. Though Andreson is involved in both the Citizens' Candidate project and Peaceful Uprising, the Citizens' Candidate project is not a project of Peaceful Uprising, as this blog post previously reported. Anderson and just one other individual, he informs me today, is involved in both. My mistake, and my apologies. The post above has been edited to remove the error. -Jesse

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