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    Local Progressive takes on Establishment Incumbent for US Congress in 5th District

    Greetings, Wacco Family!

    My name is Nils Palsson, I live in Santa Rosa, and I'm running for Congress in CA's 5th District.

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    I know most of you are in West County, but this congressional race (Santa Rosa, Cotati, Rohnert Park east through Napa to Solano/Contra Costa and north to Lake County) affects us all: the Representative we elect here will be part of the Congress setting laws for the entire nation, and we need to elect someone who will really stand with our families and communities, and the planet we all share!

    I'm writing to invite my conscious, sane, progressive local community to join this campaign to get money out of politics and replace a ten-term, Wall-Street and lobbyist-backed "Democratic" incumbent with a local Sonoma County father, teacher, and sustainability nonprofit organizer. In 2016, I was a candidate as well, and I came in third in the primary, with the second place spot going to a random Republican. This year, there is no Republican in the race (in fact, it seems the most conservative person on the ballot is the incumbent). I am the most serious challenger here. I am running as an independent. I was also elected to be a Delegate for Bernie in 2016, and I've met many of you over the years through organizing with Transition US and at other community events.

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    You can read more about my campaign below, check out my website at, or contact me for more information. I am aware that this community is very awakened and active in creating the big change that most of us intuitively know we need... I'm hoping some of you will choose to join and support this campaign for our people and planet. You can donate, endorse, volunteer, or take the quick but very helpful action of sharing this grassroots campaign with your friends or writing a letter to the editor of the Press Democrat or another local paper.

    We certainly need to start within and be the change we wish to see in the world -- to simply live lives of integrity and create an awesome local community that is thriving and resilient, regardless of whatever circus might be happening in Washington. AND -- we also have an opportunity to send a fellow conscious, awakening, progressive human being to represent this movement and the spirit of positive change in our national government. Will you take a moment to support this campaign?

    I'm deeply committed to social, racial, environmental and economic justice for all, as well as Medicare for All, affordable education and free public college, women's and LGBTQ rights, immigrant and indigenous rights, just trade policy, peace, and many other aspects of the movement that most of us represent in some capacity. You can read more about my platform here and my commitment to getting money out of politics here. I'm a political outsider. My campaign is completely grassroots and free of corporate and lobbyist money -- and I'm calling on community members like you to join me today.

    Below are some relevant links, followed by a press release that I invite you to share widely. Please stand with me in this movement to take back Congress for the people and bring the values of truth, justice, respect and integrity to our government.

    Much respect and appreciation,

    Nils Palsson

    Donate / Endorse:
    Getting Money Out of Politics:
    Incumbent Campaign Contribution Records:
    Connect on FB:


    For Immediate Release:

    Nils Palsson On the Ballot for U.S. House of Representatives in CA 5th District

    Teacher, nonprofit communications director and Sonoma County resident Nils Palsson has filed as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Fifth Congressional District in the upcoming 2018 Midterm Election. The district includes all of Napa County and parts of Sonoma, Solano, Lake and Contra Costa Counties.

    Running as an independent “no party preference” candidate, Palsson, 32, represents a platform of social, racial, environmental and economic justice for all, with an emphasis on getting money out of politics and restoring our democracy. He was also a candidate for this Congressional seat in 2016, when he placed third in the June Primary with 12.5 percent of the total vote and over 24,000 votes.

    Palsson is challenging ten-term Democratic incumbent Mike Thompson. One of the main factors leading Palsson to declare his candidacy was his discovery that Thompson accepts major political contributions from big banks and some of the worlds largest and most destructive corporations. Thompson’s political donors include military-industrial giants Honeywell and Lockheed Martin, mega-banks JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, telecom companies Verizon and Comcast, big pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations, fossil fuel companies, and many other large corporate PAC’s and lobbyists.

    Palsson accepts no such lobbyist or Super-PAC contributions, building his campaign entirely on small individual donations and grassroots community action.

    “Big money has taken over politics,” Palsson wrote in his official candidate statement, which will be mailed home to voters in April. “I am running for this office because we, the people, deserve a voice in government.” An outsider to the political establishment, Palsson brings a fresh outlook to the political scene. “My clear allegiance is to our people and planet: to Main Street, not Wall Street,” he wrote.

    Palsson has pledged to lead the movement in Congress to impeach President Trump, resist his policies, and support legislation for Medicare for All, affordable housing and education, a living wage, immigration reform, and a strong response to climate change. He accepts no political contributions from corporate lobbyists, and is committed to representing the families and communities in this district, not the wealthiest one-tenth of 1%.

    A self-described “Berniecrat” (a progressive political candidate aligned with the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders), Palsson was elected to be a Delegate for Sanders in 2016. While this district voted overwhelmingly in favor of Sanders in the 2016 Primary, incumbent Congressman Thompson pledged his support as a Superdelegate to Hillary Clinton, who ultimately lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump.

    Palsson, who resided in Lake County from 2010-2016, currently lives in Santa Rosa, where he serves as Communications Director for the sustainability and community resilience nonprofit Transition US, national hub of the global “Transition Towns” movement to respond to climate change and economic instability by creating strong local communities and economies. “We are facing very real crises right now as a people, including climate change and economic inequality,” he wrote in a statement. “One of the solutions is for us to invest in green jobs and a low-carbon culture, with clean energy, access for all to local food, a stronger public transportation system, and resilient localized economies.”

    Palsson also currently works as a science teacher, and formerly taught U.S. and World History at Kelseyville High School, a public school in the district. Before working toward his teaching credential in 2012, Palsson also substitute-taught in many grade levels and school districts all around Lake County. Achieving tuition-free public college and universal pre-K for all children, and ending the student debt crisis for the millions of Americans crippled by student loans, are among Palsson’s top legislative priorities.

    Father to five-year-old Satya Rose, Palsson writes that parental concerns are a driving force behind his run for Congress. “The climate crisis is very real, and harmful practices like fracking are polluting our groundwater. The status quo is failing our children and grandchildren,” he writes. “Future generations will judge us for the actions we take right now to reverse the climate crisis and build a just society for all.”

    Palsson claims that his refusal to accept corporate lobbyist funding places him in a stronger position to be a faithful representative to the people. “Unlike most of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, including our own incumbent Congressman, I do not accept money from the fossil fuel industry, weapons manufacturers, insurance companies or big banks. I will work to ensure that all our children inherit a healthy planet, a strong economy, and a just society. I stand with the people.”

    Endorsements for Palsson’s 2016 campaign included the national group Elect Bernie Thinkers, and he is currently supported by a growing list of community members and working people from around the district. “Nils is a talented and effective community organizer who knows what it takes to create change. He will take his skills to Washington, and teach Congress a lesson,” writes Carol Cole-Lewis of Lake County.

    “Nils is a visionary with a true force of intent to leave this world better than he found it,” writes Sonoma County’s Hilary Avalon. “With that focus, he's headed to the U.S. Congress to do what every progressive thinker in America wants: support the environment; set policy to ensure justice and dignity for people of all colors, creeds and genders; get Big Money out politics and give control back to ordinary voters (he is not taking corporate donations); bring us Medicare For All and affordable education; set a course for a brilliant future in America. I invite you to meet Nils and be inspired!”

    Running in a four-way primary on June 5th, in which the top two candidates advance to the November election regardless of party, Palsson hopes to be the one to challenge the long-time incumbent. The race also includes one Green Party candidate, Jason Kishineff, as well as an additional No Party Preference candidate, Anthony Mills, whose Facebook profile lists him as a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

    As a candidate in the 2016 Primary, Palsson managed to block the United Democrats of Southern Solano County from endorsing Thompson by splitting the club’s endorsement vote. In this 2018 election, Thompson, a centrist so-called “Blue Dog,” is the only Democrat on the ballot.

    Palsson wants to bring an outsider’s perspective to challenge the political establishment in Washington, D.C. “We live in a conscious, progressive district,” he wrote in a press release. “I believe the people here are ready to see our true values and needs represented in Congress.” He added that, if voters were to follow the money and see where Thompson’s campaign contributions actually come from (which can be done easily on the internet), voters would overwhelmingly support a challenger to the status quo.

    Palsson supports a Constitutional Amendment to end what he refers to as “the disastrous Citizens United ruling” and establish that corporations are not people, and that campaign contributions do not constitute free speech. “The reason we’re not getting so many of our needs met, from education and health care, to a fair economy and a real response to global warming,” he writes, “is because there is a corrupt system of money in politics that we urgently need to address if we truly want to thrive.”

    Born in San Francisco and educated at New York University, Palsson moved to the district in 2010. He has served as a high school history teacher in Lake County, host of KPFZ Lake County Community Radio’s weekly “Wake Up and Thrive, and a local community organizer for resilience and social justice, co-founding the local resilience-building organization Transition Lake County, organizing the annual Hands Around Clear Lake ceremony to honor that “Water is Life,” and leading other grassroots efforts to build a stronger local community.

    Displaced during the notorious Valley Fire of 2015, Palsson was instrumental in the community response to the disaster. He was featured in the Los Angeles Times, BBC Canada, and in a recent documentary film entitled “Fire Station,” for taking action during the emergency, racing to the KPFZ studio after flames forced him from his Loch Lomond home and initiating local radio coverage of the blaze and working in the field to facilitate the community response to the crisis.

    Although the fire didn’t consume his home, Palsson was ultimately displaced by the fire the following April, when his landlords chose to sell the home he was renting in the burn zone. He moved to Santa Rosa, in the heart of the Bay Area’s growing housing crisis. His daughter will be completing pre-school in Sonoma County this spring.

    “I am just like the rest of the people in my district,” Palsson wrote in a statement. “I’m dealing directly with challenges like student debt and the housing crisis. I know how it feels to be a working-class parent -- and I am ready to represent the working-class people of this district in Congress.”

    More information about his campaign is available at

    The primary election is on June 5. The deadline to register to vote is May 21.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-10-2018 at 09:06 AM.
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    Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: Local Progressive takes on Establishment Incumbent for US Congress in 5th District

    These are many good reasons for voting for Nils Palsson, especially at this time in history.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-10-2018 at 09:06 AM.
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    Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: Local Progressive takes on Establishment Incumbent for US Congress in 5th District

    The following article on Bernie backer Nils Palsson running against the pro-gun Rep. Mike Thompson appears in this week's Bohemian.

    Feel the Turn: Can Bernie backer Nils Palsson unseat incumbent Mike Thompson?

    North Bay voters may wake up on Nov. 7 to the news that there are two progressives representing the region in Congress—and one of them is a bona fide Berniecrat.

    Nils Palsson is running against Blue Dog Democrat Mike Thompson in California's 5th congressional district, decrying the incumbent's long list of big-money contributions from the corporate world as he's launched a Sanders-friendly campaign—and accepting individual contributions of $27.

    Palsson, 32, is a working dad who works for Transition US, a environmental nonprofit, and was a delegate for the Vermont senator in the 2016 Democratic primary. The Santa Rosa resident is running as an Independent this year. It's his second run for the seat, which Thompson has held since 1999.
    Palsson ran in 2016 and came in third behind Thompson and Republican Carlos Santamaria in the primary that year, earning 23,639 votes to Thompson's 124,634. The pro-gun Thompson went on to handily dispatch Santamaria by a margin of 3–1 in the general election. His district includes Santa Rosa, Napa County and parts of Contra Costa and Solano counties.

    But there's no Republican in the race for the 5th this year, and Palsson believes he's got a real shot at taking down Thompson from the left.

    Especially since Thompson may actually be—the Zodiac Killer!

    In a recent campaign e-blast, Palsson flatly declared, "I'm running for congress against the infamous Zodiac Killer." What?

    The jibe played off the difficulty in defeating a popular and long-standing incumbent. An editorial that ran in the Sonoma Press-Index in 2016 noted that "for Thompson to lose, something extraordinary would have to happen, like he were revealed to be the never-captured Zodiac Killer from the 1970s."
    Two years later, the Zodiac Killer has still not been caught, and Palsson's having some fun with it. He goes on to immediately say he's joking but that the point he's making is a real one: the 67-year-old Thompson represents a retrograde Democratic Party that's overly obedient to the demands of the centrist Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    "Let me make it abundantly clear," Palsson goes on to write. "Mike Thompson is not the Zodiac Killer. But there is a hidden truth that, if revealed, might have roughly the same effect on local voters as if he were to be revealed as the notorious murderer of yore."

    The point about Thompson, he says, is that he represents the worst of the worst when it comes to the constellation of his contributor base.

    "The fact is that Thompson has accepted an alarming number of huge political contributions from lobbyists representing some of the world's most destructive corporations," he writes, "including Walmart, Verizon, Comcast, Bank of America, fossil-fuel companies like Tesoro, weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Honeywell, and a staggering litany of Wall Street entities, big banks, global accounting firms, Big Pharma and health-insurance goliaths, big agriculture groups and telecom giants—not to mention the to-be-expected donations from big alcohol, the powerful wine industry and wealthy real estate developers."

    The other North Bay congressman, Jared Huffman is, for all intents and purposes, running unopposed this year, so nobody has compared him to the outlaw D. B. Cooper, despite the resemblance between the men.

    While he's more aligned with Huffman than Thompson, Palsson doesn't expect the popular North Coast progressive to hit the hustings with him this year, let alone offer an endorsement. "I haven't approached Huffman," Palsson says. "It is politically dangerous for him to support anyone outside the Democratic establishment."

    Speaking of, Palsson says that while he's obviously no fan of the bigotry that defined the Trump campaign, he does see in his election the emergence of a populism that's keyed in on a moneyball system that's rigged against We the People.

    He says he wants to continue a populist push to get the money out of politics—but concedes with a laugh that when it comes to the president, money now appears to be winding up in Donald Trump's swampy pockets.

    Still, he says the outsider opportunity that Trump represents is something any candidate might look to for inspiration.

    "A dark horse could win," he says. "Enough people could say, 'eff this' when it comes to climate change, the threat of nuclear war and other raging existential dilemmas of our time, and give Thompson the boot."

    Palsson is intent on pushing a people-first agenda, he says, that's focused on wage equity and Medicare for all, dealing with the student debt crisis and pushing for higher wages. All very Bernie.
    He's also weighing in on gun violence as part of his pitch to voters and says Thompson has come up short on that front, despite his prominence on the issue among Democrats. Thompson was named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi several years ago to head up a gun-violence committee on behalf of congressional Democrats. Since that time, Thompson has held lots of meetings and dutifully called for expanded background checks, but has opposed any attempt to limit civilian access to high-capacity rifles such as the AR-15.

    "I haven't seen visionary leadership from him on any issue," says Palsson, "including the gun thing."
    Palsson adds that he isn't aligned with some of his Sonoma County "hippie friends" (or with retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens), and is not calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment.

    "I don't go that far," he says and notes that the Second Amendment's original intention was as a bulwark against tyranny.

    Indeed, he's wary of ongoing efforts to turn the gun-control debate into a push for legislation to raise the legal age for gun ownership to 21. "I'm not entirely sold on that," he says, arguing that when youth turn 18, they're granted full citizenship—and can be given a gun and sent off to war.

    And he's got his own war to fight between now and the June 5 primary. Palsson's hoping to nab some high-level endorsements, and says he needs to ramp up the fundraising.

    "I feel pretty strong going into the primary," he says, and if he makes it through and squares off against Thompson in the general, who knows. "People will come out of the woodwork," he says.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-13-2018 at 12:39 PM.
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    Re: Local Progressive takes on Establishment Incumbent for US Congress in 5th District

    This is the first I've heard about this fellow, Nils Palsson, and he sounds like a really good guy. And I hadn't realized that Mike Thompson was not a good guy. So yes--Palsson for Congress.

    Quote Shepherd wrote: View Post
    The following article on Bernie backer Nils Palsson running against the pro-gun Rep. Mike Thompson appears in this week's Bohemian.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-13-2018 at 11:24 PM.
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    Shepherd's Avatar
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    Re: Local Progressive takes on Establishment Incumbent for US Congress in 5th District

    In response to how "good a guy" Mike Thompson is, much of his donations come from the wine industry. He is not opposed to the rampant and deadly use of pesticides. Years ago he was called "Mr. DDT," because of his support for herbicides and other chemicals. He is a member of the conservative Blue Dogs.

    Nils Palsson, on the other hand, is a real progressive--beyond being merely a liberal. He is young, dynamic, and on his way up. I like how he considers local, regional, national, and international issues, as all members of Congress should, in my opinion. I also think he could work well with Rep. Jared Huffman.

    Quote Lilith Rogers wrote: View Post
    This is the first I've heard about this fellow, Nils Palsson, and he sounds like a really good guy. And I hadn't realized that Mike Thompson was not a good guy. So yes--Palsson for Congress.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-13-2018 at 11:44 PM.
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