An article by John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation, in its January 11, 2011, edition presents the Progressive Honor Roll of 2010. He states that for Progressive the past year was not the happiest, but “in such years the truest believers and battlers stand out all the more clearly…” He provides his picks for 13 people and categories.
For the most valuable U.S. Representative he picked Keith Ellison:
Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, a former civil rights lawyer and state legislator, is still identified as “the first Muslim elected to Congress.” But the Congressman is making a name for himself as a progressive leader with global reach. Frequently called into action by the State Department (not just by Hillary Clinton but also by Condoleezza Rice), Ellison has a higher international profile than all but a few House members; he uses it to remind the global community—and Americans—that “religious tolerance has a much longer pedigree in America than some of the intolerance we’ve seen lately.” His unprecedented visit to Gaza was followed this year by a call on President Obama to do more to ease the blockade of the Palestinian territory. Evenhanded and diplomatic in his approach, Ellison argued that “fulfilling the needs of civilians in Israel and Gaza are mutually reinforcing goals.”
Despite his unique role when it comes to foreign policy, Ellison pulls no punches. In July he was one of thirty-eight House members who voted to direct the president to remove US armed forces from Pakistan; he also opposed Obama’s Afghanistan surge, arguing that Congress should “reject the idea that our country can continue to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on a decade of war, rather than investing in jobs, education and infrastructure for America’s working families.” That savvy balancing of international and domestic concerns will be one of many strengths Ellison brings to his new role as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
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