Oscar-winning actor and former North Bay resident Sean Penn lent the some star power when he made an appearance in Petaluma Tuesday to endorse Solomon in the race for the North Bay's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Penn, who has collaborated with Solomon on a variety of projects, including War Made Easy, a documentary about the lead-up to the Iraq War, praised Solomon for his staunch commitment to anti-militarism, the environment and worker rights.
“The legacy of local, national and international influence furthers the equality of rights, for the ability to have a better life, for the courage to take on Wall Street and corporate environmental interests,” Penn said in front of a crowd of several hundred people at the
Watch an excerpt from the event by clicking on videos on the right
“You have the type of leadership here that had the stick-to-it-ness and didn’t bend to the special interests,” he said. Penn spoke for just under five minutes and ducked into the green room immediately after the speech. He did not grant media interviews.
Solomon is one of four candidates in Sonoma and Marin counties running to replace Congresswoman at the end of this year. His campaign finances are second only to (D-San Rafael), who has raised $260,000, the highest sum by far of any of the local candidates.
Solomon has reportedly raised around $130,000. The other local candidates include Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee and .
In his speech Tuesday, Solomon quoted Martin Luther King Jr., Theodore Roosevelt and the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, saying that progressives had a duty to fight the racism, xenophobia and fear many political campaigns were based on.
“We have a responsibility to move progressive policy into action, into law and implement our principals and not just talk about them,” he said. “It’s a common misperception that dreams don’t change history, but in fact, when dreams are hinged to our actions, that’s all that changes history.”
In addition to being an author of numerous books and an anti-nuclear weapons activist, Solomon is a three-term member of the California Democratic Party’s state central committee and was an Obama delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Yet Solomon’s strongest words were against what he described as “the delirium of war,” reminding the audience that the U.S. is currently engaged in five wars. “That’s five too many,” he said, as the crowd cheered and clapped loudly.
Sonoma County has sent more than $2 billion to Washington, D.C. over the last 10 years to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Can you imagine what could have been done with $2 billion in the past decade? Healthcare, education, green jobs and sustainable transportation, pensions and a secure retirement for every American. Instead that money just went up in smoke.”
Attendees said they were enthusiastic about Solomon’s candidacy, viewing him as not only a viable candidate, but someone who was ethical and not a career politician.
“(Assemblymember Jared) Huffman is a fine enough candidate, but Solomon takes it to the next level,” said Tim Eaton, 56, of Novato. “He’s honest and forthright.”
“He has always been against the war and I know that his heart is in the right place,” said 60-year-old San Quentin Village resident Sidney Dent. “He hasn’t been bought by any corporate interests.”
Following the event in Petaluma, Penn and Solomon traveled to Corte Madera, where they appeared at a $250-per-plate private fundraiser.