Tim Carpenter, the longtime Orange County progressive activist who moved back east several years ago and is now national director of Progressive Democrats of America, is in a party mood. That's because his organization, which is at the center of the single-payer healthcare debate (they are for it), celebrates its fifth birthday with celebrations this week in the nation's capital and around the country.
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If you happen to be in D.C. on Thursday, swing by the PDA birthday party at Busboys & Poets, 5th and K Sts., beginning at 8 p.m. Confirmed speakers include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD).
Members and friends of PDA are holding local birthday parties across the country Wednesday through Sunday, according to Carpenter, who is using the milestone for some reflection. "On the eve of our fifth birthday, PDA has earned a reputation as an organization that gets things done," he says. "We have developed a network of grassroots volunteers who are smart, dedicated and committed to progressive ideals. We have carved out a niche with our inside/outside strategy, working alone or building alliances with like-minded groups to work on issues and elect progressive candidates outside the beltway, and putting pressure on Congress inside the beltway."
He concedes to having made mistakes "like all youngsters," but "on the whole PDA has been successful and continues to grow because we remain true to our mission. PDA has been at the forefront of ending the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and working for a just peace in the Middle East, enacting single-payer healthcare and election reforms, stopping global warming, demanding accountability and working for economic justice."
He vows his group will keep at it "for the next five years or 50 years, however long it takes."