Our new campaign ad: "It’s Time" (Mark Pera for Congress)

I hope you have all had the chance to watch our new campaign ad.

If you haven’t, please take a look. We’re calling the 30-second spot “It’s Time,” because I believe it’s time for our Representatives in Congress to stop making excuses and to act to end the Iraq war. It started running on TV on Monday.

To view the ad click here or click on the image below:

Our troops are mired in a civil war in Iraq and there is no end in sight.

I don’t know how many candidates you have heard from who are willing to put this message up on the airwaves, but I believe strongly that we need to bring all of our troops home within a year and that Congress should cap funding in order to facilitate this troop withdrawal and I will act on my convictions.

Contrast this, if you will, with the record of my opponent — Congressman Dan Lipinski — who has voted time and time again with President George Bush and the Republicans on key issues such as Iraq.

Now with this pivotal election approaching Lipinski would like to run away from his Iraq war record, but the informed voters here in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District and across the country won’t let him.

Lipinski has never voted for, sponsored or co-sponsored anything that remotely resembles a timeline bill. On the contrary, Lipinski has voted twice for resolutions that opposed setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. He has voted five times to fund the Iraq war.

In May 2007, Lipinski voted against HR 2237, a piece of legislation that required the withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors in Iraq within 90 days of the bill’s enactment. The withdrawal would have had to be completed within 180 days.

Lipinski has repeatedly expressed his support for enacting into law the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (ISG), which publicly issued its report in December 2006. The report does not include any directives regarding a troop withdrawal. It lists a troop withdrawal as merely a “goal.”

On Sept. 10, Lipinski joined with “tier one” targeted Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, IL-10, and told a group that had assembled at the City Club of Chicago that he was also open to the recommendations of a panel of experts assembled by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), including many of the same people who participated in the ISG.

The USIP special report — which was released in September 2007 — called for a 50 percent reduction of troops within three years and a handover of security to the Iraqi military in five years.

If Congress acted on those recommendations tomorrow, then the earliest our troops would leave Iraq is November 2012.

That is unacceptable.

Congress’ — and specifically the Democrats’ and Lipinski’s — failure to quickly draw the war to a close could cost our nation hundreds, if not thousands, more lives, shatter the lives of countless more families and force us to spend billions and billions more on a conflict that is untenable.

I don’t sense any urgency on the part of Congress. Over and over again, all I hear is excuses from Democrats like, “President Bush will just veto any piece of legislation that doesn’t have the support of the Republicans.”

I am fed up with that kind of talk and the voters are too.

In 2006, Democrats went to the polls and made a clear statement. They swept the Republican majority from the House and Senate because they wanted Congress to end the Iraq war. The House has the power of the purse — the power to end this war and put our country on a new track — but they won’t use it.

It’s up to us to again call Congress into account.

Doing that starts with campaigns like ours — which has less than 100 days to go — continues through the general and Presidential elections and ends with a new Congress and a new Democratic President taking office in January 2009.

If you agree with our message, then get involved in our campaign whether that means signing up for our weekly newsletter, contributing to our campaign, blogging about us, coming by the campaign office to volunteer or walk precincts or just telling your friends and family about what we’re doing here in Chicago and the southwest suburbs.

Please keep in mind that our campaign is not only one of the most important of all the primaries in the entire country, but with its Feb. 5 election date, it is also one of the earliest.

For more information, please join the thousands of people who visit our Web site every month — www.PERA08.com — and keep following the campaign here in IL-03.

Thank you for your time, Mark

Be Sure to Visit & Volunteer at Obama headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Meet a couple staff members at Obama headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Or you might see these familiar faces.

Michelle and I spent some time at Obama Iowa headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday evening, October 19th. They indeed need your help. Whether working in the office there, making telephone calls or knocking on doors, if this campaign for “change” is to succeed, your help is needed.

For further information about getting involved with this great movement, go to BarackObama.com.

Interested. Send me an email at readingonwalden@att.net just by clicking send me an email. Looking forward to hearing from you. John Presta.