Cindy Sheehan announces she'll run against Nancy Pelosi
Anti-Iraq War activist Cindy Sheehan announced in Washington on Monday afternoon that she would challenge Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 2008 Congressional election.
"The Democrats will not hold this administration accountable so we have to hold them accountable, and I for one will step up to the plate and run against Nancy Pelosi," Sheehan told a cheering crowd outside Rep. John Conyers' office on Capitol Hill.
Sheehan brought a petition calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Pro-impeachment organizers gathered more than 1 million signatures for the petition, Sheehan said.
Sheehan and other activists meet with Conyers in his office for nearly two hours. Conyers told them there were not enough votes to impeach the President or Vice President, and so he did not intend to hold hearings on the impeachment resolution introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, Sheehan said, eliciting loud boos from the hundreds of people gathered outside. Kucinich's Articles target the Vice President.
"We expressed what we feel is the urgency of removing George Bush and Dick Cheney from office," Sheehan told the crowd. She said their impeachment was "the only thing that can save our country and our soldiers" by brining the war in Iraq to an end.
A spokesperson for the Congressman would not confirm the details of the meeting with RAW STORY.
The anti-war activist, who became prominent after initiating peace vigils near President Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch, then conducted a sit-in at Conyers' congressional office, where she was later arrested by Capitol police. Between 20 and 30 people were carted off by Capitol police after they refused to clear Conyers' office and the hallway outside.
"Everybody, this is a police action now," a Capitol police officer told the protesters. The officer told RAW STORY that the protesters would be charged with unlawful assembly or similar charges.
Sheehan and a group of 300 or so supporters marched to Capitol Hill from the Arlington National Cemetery. Sheehan is the mother of Casey Sheehan, an Army Specialist who was killed in the Iraq War.
The activists came to Washington from across the country to make their voices heard in favor of impeachment. Even if the protest doesn't change many minds, it is important to speak up for one's beliefs, some of the activists told RAW STORY.
"I felt strongly about what Vietnam was doing to this country, and this time around, I want to be a little more involved than last time," Ken Jones, a 58-year-old protester, told RAW STORY. Jones traveled to Washington from Pennsylvania to participate in what was his first pro-impeachment demonstration.
Daily Kos diarist Bob Fertik offered further details of the Conyers-Sheehan showdown.
While Sheehan has considerably greater national prominence, she would not be the first progressive candidate to challenge Pelosi. In the 2006 Congressional election, Pelosi faced Green Party candidate Krissy Keefer, who received 8% of the vote in Pelosi's San Francisco district. The Speaker received 80% of the vote.
Sheehan and her supporters hope her decision to challenge Pelosi inspires other progressive citizens to challenge their elected representatives in the 2008 elections.
"We need citizens that aren't beholden to corporations," Tina Richards, CEO of Grassroots America and a Sheehan supporter, told RAW STORY, "people that won't allow their government to have preemptive wars."