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Fighting Dem Ellie Kinnaird
Nine-term liberal state Sen. Eleanor "Ellie" Kinnaird of North Carolina announced her resignation on her website Monday. That's because the 81-year-old Democrat, a lawyer and former mayor, and one of only 17 Democrats in the 50-member state Senate, is fed up with the direction her state is headed. And she's leaving the legislature to do something about it. In particular, she plans to work to undermine Republican efforts in North Carolina to suppress the vote.

At the moment, they are leading the national pack in that regard, bolstered by the U.S. Supreme Court's dreadful Shelby decision and by a new state law whose provisions on early voting, mandated photo I.D. and other such matters will make it harder for the poor, African Americans, the disabled and students to cast ballots. Part of the attack on students seems brazenly unconstitutional, a clear violation of a 34-year-old Supreme Court decision that says students have a right to vote in the communities where they attend college. Republicans in other states are no doubt gleefully watching developments in North Carolina closely.

Given that the rest of Kinnaird's term would be given over to mopping up unfinished business and dreaming about Democratic legislation that has no chance of passage anyway, Kinnaird has chosen to take her fight outside the legislature.

Here's an excerpt from her website announcement:

What led me to this decision are the actions taken by the Republican majority in the legislature that has been a shocking reversal of the many progressive measures that I and many others have worked so hard to enact: measures that over the years had made North Carolina a model of moderate-to-progressive, pro-business but also pro-people public policy in the South. From the Republicans' denial of health care security for our people to their failure to promote a vibrant work force through support for our education systems at all levels and from their tax cuts for the wealthy and their tax increases for the poor and middle class to their efforts to deny people their right to vote, they have been pursuing a divisive and, I think, immoral agenda. The needless pain and suffering the Republicans have brought upon us that I have written about add up to a huge setback for North Carolinians from all walks of life. My own personal sadness is the dismantling of my environmental, social justice and death penalty efforts.

I am heartened, however, by the many grassroots efforts to fight for the rights, the health and safety and the opportunities our people need and deserve from the Moral Monday movement to the many non-governmental organizations that advocate for the people of our state, not the special interests.

And here's Kinnaird interviewed by Rachel Maddow Monday night. (The entire interview can be found here where there is also a link to a transcript.)

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The last thing we need is a wholesale resignation of that all-too-rare breed—fighting Dems—from their elected posts in despair. But Kinnaird definitely isn't giving up the fight. She's going to intensify it. And that is something, inside and outside state legislatures, as well as Congress, that we could use a heckuva lot more of across a broad range of issues.  

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Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Asheville, North Carolina BLUE, Triangle Kosmopolitans, and Daily Kos.

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