November 30, 2011 in 2012 Elections
As many of you already know, I’m running for the U.S. Congress as an Independent representative from the 32nd Congressional District against incumbent Pete Sessions. Of course I want to win and I also want my campaign to be an example of how I would like to see all campaigns for US Congress run.
The first step is to realize how thoroughly corrupt and dysfunctional that the current model is.
I will not follow the current wasteful, perverse and corrupt Party Campaign Fund Raising Model. Thus if my campaign efforts and appeal are not able to get the people out in the neighborhoods, knocking on doors for me and talking about issues and solutions that matter, Pete Sessions and the minority will remain in power, or he will be replaced by someone from the other party who follows the same dysfunctional fund raising model and who votes for the same job-destroying trade agreements.
- No, I won’t be participating in the usual campaign fund raising frenzy that we see candidates from both parties indulging in. Such activities are manifestations of our dysfunctional culture whereby we attach value to a person according to how much money they have. It is absurd. We should be repulsed by any candidate whose campaign coffers are flush because the more money a candidate has in their campaign coffers, the less likely they are to represent the majority in their district and the more likely they are to have sold out to special interests.
Unlike Pete Sessions, I won’t be hosting ski junkets to Park City or expensive weekend golf junkets that cost participants thousands of dollars. Unlike Pete Sessions, I won’t be taking money from the Koch brothers.
If Mr. Sessions actually read the local news, he would know that the Dallas Morning News reported in September of 2010 that nearly 4.3 million Texans lived in poverty in 2009–a whopping 11 percent increase from 2008. I guess Mr. Sessions was too busy getting rich himself to notice. US Representative, Pete Sessions from the 32nd US Congressional District reported a net worth of $3,376,000 in 2008 and a net worth of $4,904,000 in 2009. Thus in the time period in which 2.6 million Americans in 2008 and 4.7 million in 2009 lost their jobs and poverty increased in his own state by 11%, Mr. Sessions made $1,528,000 off his Wall Street investments.
If you know anything about how Wall Street has made money for the past three years, you know that they have not made money by creating and selling products and services. Instead they have made their billions by cutting costs–firing Americans and selling off assets, then returning those “savings” to their shareholders like Mr. Sessions in the form of dividends.
Mr. Sessions and his Congressional votes have made him richer and those he is supposed to represent poorer.Dallas county, in which most of the 32nd district lies, is particularly hard hit. Eighteen percent of all the children in Dallas county have no health insurance–twice the national average and 37% of our children live in poverty.What is a candidate like Pete Sessions from the 32nd U.S. Congressional district doing hosting a luxury ski junket to Park City Utah? Someone needs to tell Pete Sessions that he does not live in Utah and the majority of the people he is supposed to represent can’t afford to ski or golf.
How exactly does an upcoming fund raiser Park City ski junket benefit the people of the 32nd district? What do Pete Sessions constituents get from that? They get zip folks–that’s what we get. Pete Sessions, on the other hand, and his “people” and his relatives get a free luxury vacation and Pete gets more money in his campaign coffers with which he can use to fund BS for the people of his district–slick double talk newspeak propaganda and corporate designed PowerPoint slides about how trade agreements create jobs for Americans.
All Americans should be viewing all candidates with large campaign coffers and out of state fund raisers with extreme suspicion–not awe.
The second step is to create a model for running a campaign that benefits the people of the district in ways that can be measured. What can candidates do now to strengthen the economy of the Congressional District in which they live?
The USA is already organized into 435 hives (our U.S. Congressional Districts). All Congressional Districts are roughly the same size of 600,000 people. Most Americans are not even conscious of the boundaries of their Congressional District, but with education that can change and this knowledge can be used to develop strong local economies with three or more cooperatives to anchor each district. Each hive is a collection of many cells–all interconnected. Ideally, no less than 100 cells could be established within each Congressional district. Here are just a few of the ways that campaigns could be set up:
- Instead of permanent campaign headquarters, candidates and volunteers can keep all the necessary supplies in their own homes. [If you are a candidate who thinks you need a storefront, then at the least you can figure out a way to provide a space for a few homeless people to sleep there overnight. Candidates who don't do this, or who weasel out using codes as an excuse don't really give a damn about the growing issues of homelessness in our nation. These people can be your night security guards.]
- For phone banking, follow the model that was established by MoveOn and hold phone banking parties simultaneously from various volunteers homes.
- Hold all meetings in locally owned restaurants and coffee shops. Instead of one big meeting, have many small meetings in the district organized at city or even neighborhood levels. Representatives from these meetings could be chosen to report to a central person who then posts the updates via a website for the candidate.
- Collect funds from citizens in two parts: A smaller percentage of 25% goes to the campaign expenses while a 75% portion is reserved to be used to enhance the quality of life for the people living in the district according to what study groups representative of the majority decide. (I will be working with a lawyer in December to set up my fund-raising in such a way. Instead of taking money from people and preaching about what they are going to do, a true representative of the people would not only pour the most of their contributions back into the district, they would figure out ways to grow that investment for the community.)
Creating a new model for a political campaign is a challenge, but it is also a huge opportunity for candidates and the people in their districts to participate in government in ways that will benefit them directly and change the lives of the people who live in the community for the better.
We need to encourage one another to think differently regarding solutions to our problems at a local level where we have control and can actually manage things. I believe that we have all the resources we need if we will work together and provided that we have leadership at the level of a Congressional District.
We must dare to dream large. We must learn from the successful examples of others–how they did it and how we can do it better.
For example, 600 people of Saranac, New York established their own community discount store and kept WalMart out of their community. The 32nd U.S. Congressional District has over 18% of our children living without health insurance. This means no wellness checks, no dental care, no immunizations, etc. What if people in the 32nd district pooled our money and created three health care clinics for children in our district? How difficult would that be? If each person in our district contributed $100.00 a year. That would be $60 million. (Those who could afford more would contribute more. Those who had no money would contribute in service–manning the front desk, cleaning up the place, etc.) $100 for a year of healthcare for your child is not bad. I know. I am talking about three healthcare clinics for the 32nd district. There are many medical needs for children that could not be met by clinics, but this is a start. These clinics would be staffed by volunteers. How many dentists, doctors and nurses must there be in the 32nd district who would be willing to donate 2 hours of service a week? A staff of 80 volunteers for each clinic would be sufficient. Surely there must be 240 medical professionals willing to do this?
All political campaigns of all candidates should be donating a large percentage of their campaign funds to establish and directly and measurably support the people and local businesses in their district.
At the end of any political campaign, the citizens of all Congressional Districts should be left with more than tin buttons and bumper stickers after having sent yet another Wall Street Carpetbagger back to Washington. They should have plans in effect and seed money to strengthen the economy of their district–plans that are being steered by citizens from the 99% who are not members of special interest groups like the U.S Chamber of Commerce who represent Wall Street, not Main Street.
If all you are getting from a candidate are promises of what they will do when they get to Washington, you will be likely be waiting a long time for a return on your investment in their campaign. We need candidates who will used their campaigns as a tool to make changes now.