I am a child of the United States. I’ve lived all over the country, and traveled to its farthest corners; I have been lucky to meet Americans of all backgrounds and lifestyles. My family was working-class, and I know what it means to do without. The paycheck-to-paycheck life is fresh in my mind, and it would be impossible to forget what it means to choose between late bills and a proper grocery trip. Most Americans live this way. It’s an embarrassment that, in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, most households teeter on the brink of financial ruin from a single major unplanned expense.
Like most Americans, the recession hit me hard. I found myself newly married, without a home, car, or job, in a suddenly grim job market. My wife and I moved around, staying in hotels, chasing down any work available. I took far less than my labor was worth more often than not. Unfortunately, I know all too well that this story is far from uncommon. I have heard echoes of my story in the lives of countless Washingtonians and friends around the country.
I worked incredibly hard to make it to my current position in life, but I recognize that I’ve been lucky, and that nobody does anything alone. Today, we are bearing witness to the gutting of the social safety nets to which I, and millions of other Americans, turned in times of crisis. This is a reprehensible act of economic violence against the poor and vulnerable in our country.
Even my career does not look like those of the past. I am an IT contractor, and though the wages in my industry are livable, the pay structures of the gig economy are only contributing to America’s 45-year streak of wage stagnation. What we are sold as “brilliant startups” and “industry-disrupting businesses” are often nothing but thinly-veiled schemes to circumvent labor standards and laws, and I intend to end inequities like this by strengthening the collective power of workers: actions such as co-sponsoring minimum wage increases, introducing federal legislation to provide universal public childcare (which would enfranchise potentially millions of American women and men, especially minority communities), programs to facilitate employee ownership of businesses, and increasing the strength and presence of unions in all sectors.
I understand that economic challenges are often systemic failures, if not manufactured disadvantages regarding individuals’ ability to participate in activism and democracy. There were times in my life where all I had time to focus on was where I would rest my head! I have, however, been blessed with the opportunity to increase my efforts in activism lately. I have volunteered on presidential campaigns and attended many local and large-scale protests; the Trump era has provided countless opportunities to participate in direct action and demonstrations. I am a member of my local DSA and Wolf-PAC, and am completely committed to ending legalized bribery and returning to a state of actual democracy.
I believe that humans are not naturally selfish or vindictive; that “human nature” is conjecture and that human needs are based in science. I genuinely believe in the regular people of this country, in community, and that’s why I’m a Candidate with a Contract and won’t take a dime of PAC, superPAC, or corporate money, now or ever. I have no interest in representing entities whose sole purpose is the generation of profit, especially when that pursuit leads to the damage or destruction of already-vulnerable communities. I believe that incremental change is rarely a good idea, especially in the face of massive generational challenges like climate change and wealth inequality. The current historical moment calls for bold, innovative, unapologetic solutions to social ills, and I promise to never lose sight of the goal.
I’ve believe the United States of America, like every other nation in the history of the world, is a nation of workers. The working class has never been truly represented in our government despite being the overwhelming majority of this and every society.
It’s our turn to determine the future for generations to come. It’s time for the people to be heard. Share my message.