I am running for Congress because I believe it is time for everyday citizens to regain control over our government and to restore the vision of our nation’s Founders for the essential rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Our federal, state and local governments are supposed to be represented by the people they serve: us. Yet we have allowed a political class to rise in this country that represents the average citizen not much better than the English Crown represented the colonists.
I’m running for my wife and my two young sons. I’m running for you and your loved ones.
Despite the huge obstacles to change, we know change can and does happen. I have hope because people are re-energized about the importance of involvement in their government. What’s even more exciting is the availability of new communications tools that enable and empower people such as you and me to gain knowledge and share information and to have our voices heard. Each day, I use these new communication solutions to tap into the dreams and visions of thousands of everyday folks through online networks and zero cost communications. I observed and worked and gained experience with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and I’m ready to represent my constituents and my generation in leading this great country.
I am just a guy, but I am a guy with a dream. I want to take the aspirations of everyone I represent to Congress. It is time for “just folks” to take back the reins of our government.
I strongly support working families, and I personally know of their struggles. While many people run for office from political dynasties, I earned my first job working for the District Attorney in Calaveras County through a program that provided paid job-training to poor youths. I am an Oklahoma Chickasaw born in the working class town of Modesto, and my parents are a nurse and a teacher. I know that small wage increases are only token gestures as long as we continue an unsustainable boom-and-bust economy that drives huge swings in the costs of basic needs like housing and health care.
I will fight for environmental protections, open space protection, AND more new jobs by funding transit-centric developments, like the condos I live in next to the local Bay Area Rapid Transit station. I will help Barack Obama and Van Jones – author of “The Green Collar Economy” and President Obama’s new green jobs czar – resurrect our manufacturing base at home by focusing on growing “E” (energy) Technology opportunities building the engines and infrastructure for the wind, solar and wave power that will end our deadly dependence on oil. We will also put folks back to work with a nationwide program retrofitting older homes to save energy.
As Congressman, I will strongly support President Obama’s economic recovery program to put money back into local infrastructure and jobs to build a stronger America. I will work hard with the state to ensure our district gets the maximum amount of stimulus dollars and that they result in the highest impact to create new jobs and retain existing ones.
Running for Congress to represent District 10 has been on my heart since 2003, when Rep. Ellen Tauscher voted to support the Iraq war. Shortly after that vote, I visited her offices for a town hall meeting along with peace activists of every stripe to protest that vote.
I have shed tears at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan, and I cheered in 2008 when Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest ranking U.S. official to visit that beacon of hope for a more peaceful world. I will work with local and national peace activists towards a world where we win hearts and minds through brave women and men who will put shovels to ground instead of boots, and where the spread of knowledge and goodwill replaces the spread of fear and hatred.
I will fight to grow small businesses by supporting single-payer health care and promoting low-cost tools to help small businesses comply with our important environmental protection laws, which are meaningless without wide-scale compliance. I will push for mandated carbon reductions, and for protection and expansion of open space in the San Francisco East Bay. I will also fight for funding for open-space stewardship, so that more residents learn to appreciate and treasure this incredible resource.
We see that as our nation’s population has grown, it has become more and more difficult to stay connected to our elected leadership, let alone engaged. The Founders intended the members of the House of Representatives – the People’s House – to represent no more than 30,000 people, yet CA-10 has more than twenty times that number. While the gap between The Hill and the Bay Area is wide, our information technology revolution can provide a bridge. And I will use that bridge to be accessible to constituents and to listen to them.
Each major media revolution has allowed a new generation of elected leaders – from FDR with radio to JFK with television to President Obama with the Internet.
As a candidate, President Obama showed us how loose networks of concerned citizens can mobilize and speak in a unified voice, becoming the first “social media” candidate. I’ve established a reputation, both locally and nationally, as an innovative and knowledgeable practitioner of social media and collaborative technologies. I will use these new tools to engage the citizens of CA-10 and to join the president in Washington D.C. to continue the transformation of our government – a government that has become strangely disconnected from the everyday realities of people here in District 10.
We have much work to do, starting with building a 21st century economy. But in this time of great challenge, I have great hope. And so should you.
I’ve got a clear plan for bringing an activist agenda to Congress. I’ll fight to end the drug war, for equal federal rights for all citizens, to enact the Employee Free Choice Act, and for labor protections in all trade deals.
Big bank bailouts are bad business for all of us, and at the top of my agenda will be progressive economic reform to protect the working class.
My campaign will be communicating in revolutionary new ways, and in the traditional. You’ll be seeing me in Livermore and Fairfield, Alamo and Isleton, and back in my old haunts in Walnut Creek and El Cerrito. You’ll hear my plans for turning the economy around for people like me and my family – people like you and your family – and for changing the American health care system and fully funding our public schools. And I expect to hear from you.
Your thoughts and ideas are as important as any citizen’s, so share them. I’ll be telling the story of my environmental and neighborhood activism, and working to bridge the gap between working class voters, technologists and public servants.
We are all in this together, and we get the government we are willing to fight for.