Friday, August 31, 2018

Local Voices Rise - Another Endorsement

Another day, and another endorsement from a local group affiliated with Bernie Sanders. This endorsement comes from Our Revolution Corvallis Allies (ORCA), a group composed of hundreds of progressive local residents (and Democrats) who are hungry for change, and supportive of a candidate who can advance a strong, progressive agenda. Thank you, ORCA! I will continue to work hard, work county-wide, and do everything I can to win this important local race.

At this point, it's obvious this is a two person race - it's going to be either Pat Malone, or me. So let's look at a few key differences between us...

First and foremost, I show up - Pat does not. The County Commissioner forum earlier this week was hosted by two groups with ties to the Democratic Party - yet Pat couldn't be bothered to attend. I certainly did. That's my job as a candidate, to be available, to answer questions, to be accountable. I don't care who is hosting a candidate's forum - if they're having one, it's my job to be there. Pat, on the other hand, apparently thinks he's above all that, and doesn't have to answer to anyone. That's not the way a true public servant thinks.
Pat also has the backing (tepid though it seems to be) of the local Democratic Party. That means a certain level of party "branding" will be in effect, and that he will receive some sort of logistical and/or financial support. Of course, Pat's willingness to spend big is what really helped put him over the top in the primary - he simply outspent the other viable candidates greatly. That worked in the primary, but, in the general election, with a different dynamic and increased voter interest, that sort of simplistic approach will be harder to pull off successfully.

So Pat is willing to spend big, but I'm focusing on spending smart. Case in point: The amount we've spent on campaign t-shirts is roughly equal to what two smallish ads in the Gazette-Times would cost. But, unlike a here-today-gone-tomorrow newspaper ad, these t-shirts are walking billboards - and those billboards will be walking around for months. And as they move around our community they're worn by people who are motivated to engage and act as ambassadors for my campaign. We've got dozens of people with these shirts, and I think it's a very effective way to keep this campaign out there in the public eye.

Pat is going to talk about his endorsements - but they're mainly from people (Peter DeFazio) and groups (OLCV) that aren't from here, and have no vested interest in our community. The endorsements I am receiving are coming from local groups, made up of local people. Those local voices count a lot more in a local election than outsiders.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I just simply have more experience than Pat with municipal governing and budgeting. With that experience, I will be able to hit the ground running to advance a progressive agenda.

And that leads to the metaphor I like to use to sum this race up: Pat is clearly the entitled, disconnected house on the hill candidate. But I am the boots on the ground candidate. I'm running for this position to get things done, to address major issues here (income inequality, housing, climate change, etc.) that have been ignored for too long, and to make our county government more open and equitable for all county residents. In that quest, I ask you join all your local friends and neighbors in supporting my campaign.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Company I Keep - An Endorsement

I am extremely pleased and honored to announce that I have received the endorsement of the Benton County Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Or, as you most likely think of them, the political party of Senator Bernie Sanders. This is an association I am happy and honored to have.

If you've been following national news at all, then you already know that DSA-backed candidates have been making waves, making the news, and making strides towards getting elected and making our government more representative of the people it is supposed to serve. This too is an association I am happy to have.

What does the Benton County DSA stand for? Here are a few important statements from their Points of Unity, starting with one that embodies what my campaign for Benton County Commissioner is all about: The Benton County DSA rejects sectarianism and believe that a unified left is more necessary than ever.

Another Point of Unity: The Benton County DSA hopes to achieve a more sustainable society. We recognize that capitalism is inherently opposed to environmentalism, and that the profit motive furthers exploitation of natural resources. We believe sustainability cannot be attained in a society driven by a desire for endless growth.

And another: The Benton County DSA fights for liberation from all oppression, including racism, sexism, ableism, discrimination against queer and transgender people, and discrimination based on gender identity or expression, religion, caste, citizenship or place of birth.

These are principles and goals I wholeheartedly believe in. If you believe in them as well, I welcome you to join my campaign for Benton County Commissioner, and help make meaningful, progressive change on the local level a reality. It can be done, and it will be done. With your help, with your participation, we can make Benton County a place that truly lives up to its potential, and its ideals.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

90% of Life - and Elections - is Showing Up

In a real sense, the big takeaways from last night's candidate forum (hosted by Our Revolution Corvallis Allies and the local DSA chapter) were things that didn't happen, with the first and foremost being the fact that Pat Malone, the Democratic candidate, simply didn't show up. I still can't quite believe he did that.

By refusing to show up, Pat leaves voters with only negative lenses through which to view that decision. Was he afraid to show up? Dismissive of voters? Just plain lazy? I find it hard to conceive of a reason that doesn't reflect poorly on Pat. When you're a candidate, it's your job to be available and answer people's questions. If you're not going to be responsive to voters when you're a candidate, it's very difficult to believe you'll be responsive as an elected official. The arrogance and disrespect for both voters and the process that this decision shows is really quite stunning.

On a similar note, it was extremely disappointing to see Sami Al-Abdrabbuh also disrespecting the process and misleading those in attendance. Just by looking back through the entries on this blog, you can see that I've been out in the community, going to meetings, listening to people's concerns, gathering information, and proactively working on this campaign for nearly a year. Sami impulsively jumped into this race less than two weeks ago, but last night he kept speaking as though he'd been out there on the campaign trail for months and months. It was a shockingly cynical and deceptive approach to take, and says more about his character than he probably intended.

There are no shortcuts to public service. There's nothing noble about deception. And the process, imperfect though it may be, does matter, as does treating voters with honesty and respect. These are values I believe in, and try my best to abide by. That's why I have run my campaign the way I have, and embrace transparency and constantly seek feedback. I'm running for this position because I know it's important - and that important tasks have gone unattended to for too long. I want to change that, I want to be a good public servant and a catalyst for positive change.

I won't lie to you. Last night, I was a little off my game, and I wish I had done a little better at conveying some parts of my platform. But I take some comfort in knowing that, off night or not, at least the people who attended know I'll show up for them, and that I won't try to bluff my way into office. I've put my positions out publically, in writing, for months and months. I've given this task the time it requires, and I trust voters can see the work I've put in, and the care that I've given to running an informed and impassioned campaign. Public service is integral to who I am, and I think that in the end, that cold, hard fact counts a lot more than all the hot air in the world.

Thanks to everyone who turned out last night - including the candidates who took the time to show up. And a special thank you to all the volunteers on my campaign who showed up in their campaign t-shirts last night! You were a hard-to-miss presence in the crowd.