Over the past few weeks, this campaign has been ramping up and we're all very excited.
I recently went up to Beacon Hill to get the nomination papers. Kacy and I started going door-to-door in Cambridge and Somerville, and we also made some great new connections online. Of course, we both work long hours Monday through Friday and we took time off to spend Easter with my family. It's been a very busy month!
Some of you have asked me to talk more about my personal views. This weekend I finally had a chance to respond to your questions. Here's some information on my background and my approach to the big issues, along with some initial reasons for considering this campaign.
Born A Democrat
Until 2010, I was a registered Democrat.
I was born in Dorchester, and I grew up poor, first in a run-down apartment on the outskirts of the city, and then, after my parents got divorced, in a low-income, public housing project in Norwood, Mass.
From an early age, I was taught that Democrats are for people like me. That lesson stuck, and to this day, I remain committed to the values that define us all as progressives and as progressive Democrats.
I support equality, justice, fairness, peace, and social progress. I believe in public education, higher education, public transportation, single-payer healthcare, and the collective bargaining rights of organized labor. I think we should protect and expand Medicare and Social Security, and I think that billionaires should pay their fair share of taxes.
Why I Became An Independent
I think the world is rapidly changing all around us, but the party is not changing fast enough to meet the escalating demands of our time.
We are living in an era of perpetual crisis, but too often, politicians from both parties are just standing still.
We have a jobs crisis, a housing crisis, a healthcare crisis, an energy crisis, a public transportation crisis, and a budget crisis.
We're not doing enough to address the ongoing catastrophe of global climate change.
And we often find ourselves fighting to hold on to the fundamental rights that we thought we already achieved: the right to equality, the right to privacy, the right to have personal choice over our bodies, the right to participate in a clean democracy, and the right to be free from prejudice and all sorts of violence.
These are all huge, vexing issues. Real progress won't happen overnight. But there comes a time when people need to let their elected officials know that we have to do better. This campaign is about giving you an opportunity to decide whether that time is now.
Learning From Our Neighbors To The North
The idea of a successful, Independent, progressive campaign for State Representative is not so far fetched. In Burlington, Vermont, voters recently elected a member of the Progressive Party to represent them in their state legislature. And in Portland, Maine, voters recently elected a Green Independent to their legislature as well.
In light of this, it comes as no surprise to learn that Vermont recently adopted a plan for single-payer healthcare, and that Maine has enjoyed a system of clean elections for many years. There is plenty of support for great initiatives such as these in our state, too - but our progress is being stalled by the experienced hands who run the show on Beacon Hill.
Our state legislature consists of 164 Democrats, 36 Republicans, and 0 alternatives. With your participation, this campaign has the potential to send a message to all of the politicians on Beacon Hill: get moving with the people's business.
Nevertheless, I firmly support members of the Democratic Party when they are working to advance the progressive cause. Right now, for example, I am very active in the campaign to elect Elizabeth Warren as our new United States Senator. And earlier this year, I worked with members of the Cambridge City Council to take steps to help get money out of politics. For me, being an Independent is a means to an end. The goal is progress.
We Can Do Better
Today, I identify as a Progressive Independent. I believe our job as progressives is to keep pushing until the system works for all of us. That's why I am organzing this Independent campaign. In the weeks and months ahead, I hope we have the opportunity to discuss these issues in greater detail.
History teaches us that change does not happen simply because we ask the politicians to do the right thing. Real change happens when the politicians recognize that we can no longer be taken for granted. That's how women got the right to vote. That's how we got the eight-hour workday. And that is how we will overcome the challenges we face in our own time. Please let me know what you think!