Jim Hightower

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Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Hightower has spent three decades "battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought to Be--consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain folks". Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the "80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top."

IPS connection

In 1979 Jim Hightower of Texas Observer served on the steering committee of the Institute for Policy Studies initiated Conference on Alternative State and Local Public Policies.[1]

21st Century Democrats

21st Century Democrats is a political organization that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Senator Tom Harkin, Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and Congressman Lane Evans, 21st Century Democrats has helped elect progressive politicians such as U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.[2]

Early Warning: An international environmental conference for journalists and activists

Scheduled for May 17-20, 1990 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this mixture of marxists, left radicals, socialists and liberals listed Jim Hightower, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, as one of their "Presenters". The full list of confirmed and unconfirmed speakers can be found at "Environmental Leftist Groups and Events" on Keywiki.

Campaign for America's Future

In 1996 Jim Hightower, Hightower Radio was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America's Future.[3]

Back to Basics conference

A Back to Basics conference on the future of the American Left, was held in Chicago October 9-11, 1998. Speakers included: Sen. Paul Wellstone, Rep. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Barbara Dudley, Quentin Young and Jim Hightower. The conference was sponsored by Sponsored by In These Times[4].

Endorsed Marcy Winograd

In 2006 Jim Hightower a National Radio Commentator was a National and State endorser of Marcy Winograd of the Los Angeles Progressive Democrats of America in her unsuccessful primary bid for the Democratic Party nomination 26th Congressional District in California[5]

Progressives for Obama

In 2009 Jim Hightower, Radio Commentator was listed as a signer of the Progressives for Obama website.[6]

Wellstone Action

In 2009 Jim Hightower was listed as a member of the Advisory Board[7] of Wellstone Action, a Minnesota based organization based on the political legacy[8] of that state’s late ‘progressive” Senator Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone Action and Wellstone Action Fund combine to form a national center for training and leadership development for the progressive movement. Founded in January 2003, Wellstone Action's mission is to honor the legacy of Paul and Sheila Wellstone by continuing their work through training, educating, mobilizing and organizing a vast network of progressive individuals and organizations.

Progressive Democrats of America

Jim Hightower serves on the Advisory Board of Progressive Democrats of America.[9]

"Progressive" Cabinet "nominee"

In September 2008, Chicago based socialist journal In These Times asked its editors and writers to suggest their top progressive choices for a potential Obama Cabinet.[10]

We asked that contributors weigh ideological and political considerations, with an eye toward recommending people who have both progressive credentials and at least an arguable chance at being appointed in an Obama White House.

This group of people would represent at once the most progressive, aggressive and practical Cabinet in contemporary history. Of course, it is by no means a definitive list. It is merely one proposal aimed at starting a longer discussion about the very concept of a progressive Cabinet—and why it will be important to a new administration, especially if that administration is serious about change.

David Moberg suggested Jim Hightower for Agriculture Secretary - he also spoke highly of Tom Harkin and Jon Tester:

Two current U.S. senators would make excellent secretaries of agriculture.
One is Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Harkin has been a committee chair and leader on agriculture issues, opposing deregulation and favoring supply management, conservation, antitrust actions and many progressive policies — only some of which he has managed to put into law.
The other is freshman Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), an organic farmer with a distinctive flat-top haircut. Tester is a populist who is sympathetic to environmental issues and critical of corporate globalization. He might push more comprehensive reform than Harkin would.
But here’s the problem: Both are needed in the Senate.

Luckily, Obama can call on Jim Hightower, who is best known for his crusading print and radio journalism and his pithy, punchy, populist proverbs — like his book title, “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

But the funny, feisty Hightower also knows his farm and food issues. As Texas Agriculture Commissioner from 1983 to 1990, he promoted organic agriculture, alternative crops (like wine grapes and native plants), direct international marketing by small farmers, strong pesticide control and comprehensive environmental management.
Hightower would be a cheerfully combative complement to Obama’s ultra-cool post-partisanship (although he may have been too post-partisan for some Democrats by supporting Ralph Nader in 2000).

If Obama ever needs a Cabinet member to attack the fat cats who keep the sweet stuff for themselves on the top shelf — out of reach for the little guy — he could send Hightower, who would perform the task with glee.

Public Citizen

Hightower is a board member of the Public Citizen Foundation.