1406 (suite #201) West Lake Street Mpls., MN 55408
What a great example of exactly why we have this section and why I always pressure people to not only read our website, but use it as a starting point for a further discussion and exploration of ideas and solutions. I do have a fantastic and realistic solution for our current student loan debt crisis in America (click the button below) but I want to take this time to not just thank Jamie for her wonderful message and example, but also to reach out to all of you to encourage you to send us an e-mail about your own individual concerns, ideas, suggestions, issues and attitudes that you want reflected in our representation. Congressional representation is more than just a once every 2 years vote, it's a relationship that needs both parties to be open and present for each other. I need you and want you to know that I need you, not for your votes, but for you to share your thoughts, feelings and perspectives on the wide range of issues we have to navigate as a district, state and country to make our collective lives better, more prosperous and satisfying.
Anne- Thank you for your great question. I'll try to be complete and give you all the reasoning that went into this decision. As you may or may not know, I'm retired. I started my first real business back in the late 80's and although I've dabbled in several other possible career paths, I've more or less been a businessman my entire life. I have had both difficult times as well as tremendous successes and when I saw an opportunity to get out with a small "pension" and live a quiet, fixed income life of a retired person, I couldn't pass it up. That was about 10 years ago. Now I had been approached about running for political office ever since the popularity of The Braid Factory made me a well known figure within the black community. City Council, Mayor, Democrat and Republican parties. I've been asked to get involved in a number of projects and campaigns for over 25 years. Including a standing offer from the now Major Party, LMN, to run with them for any office of my choosing. For various reasons over time, I've always said no. But as I said earlier, on May 25th George Floyd was brutally murdered and on the morning of May 26th, I was in the Secretary of State's office signing up. SO, there's no question that the impetous of this decision was the murder of George Floyd. Had that not happened, I wouldn't be running for office. But I recognize that wasn't truly your question.
Perhaps you too have recognized that for some time, our 5th district representation has been...less than professional. It would be highly inaccurate to descibe it any other way. Since the retirement of Martin Sabo, the people who have represented us have been doing so in their own interests. To enrich themselves personally and to advance their own personal political ambitions. That is both wrong and dangerous. That leaves our district virtually leaderless and extremely vulnerable. That vulnerability exposed itself after the George Floyd killing when we saw that we had no influential power strong enough to quell the uprising and focus the energies of a frustrated public in a positive manner. The riots, protests and violence that erupted after Memorial Day was a direct result of the inability of leaders to galvanize the public and build a coalition of well-meaning and peaceful citizens. Since we already know that there is a long history of police abuse of power and unjustifiable killings, we know that it will happen again. We need strong leaders in place to both begin the slow process of change and reform as well as help to guide our public out of complicated and violent situations that are a natural reaction to injustice and examples social oppressions. Perhaps you saw what happened to the Mayor of Minneapolis when he tried to come out and support the people. He wasn't the right man for that particular job and the effort blew up in his face. What we needed was someone from the community, An elected leader who can appeal to ALL sides in any issue. While that description doesn't fit our current representative, it fits me perfectly. I understand precisely and very personally, exactly what it means to be the victim of unfair police abuse of authority. I understand exactly how the public felt after the George Floyd killing and why they felt that way. More importantly, I understand the necessary steps needed to mitigate the kind of violent and counter-productive reaction that did occur, and would likely occur under similar circumstances in the future.
So, the right place for me now, is the U.S. Congress, But not as just another political hack, out in Washington D.C., looking to advance my own personal causes and interests, but rather, as YOUR local representative, communicating directly with people like you and your neighbors, providing insight and guidance into how WE should be interpreting the crtitical issues of our time and taking YOUR attitudes and viewpoints back with me. Right now, our biggest problem in politics is that the politicians are all representing themselves and their parties. IN some cases, they are representing big money lobbyists, political donors and corporate influences. But the people are getting NO representation. That has to change ASAP, and it can start with you.
I've been perusing your site and through the issues you've posted, but I have not come across anything that states where you stand on women's issues - specifically a woman's right to choose. Can you elaborate? Thank you!
Thank you so much for highlighting such an important area of concern. Believe me, it's not that we're not thinking about this issue, and I really hope that after you read our newest platform position statement, you'll understand why this concept presents some difficulties in explaining my extremely unique position.
Elaine R.- Crystal
How Can I Donate Money to Your Campaign?
-Gladys B. (Spring Lake Park)
Gladys. Thanks for your interest and your generosity. Part of what we're doing this year is all about principle. We can't rightly complain about the way that big money is inappropriately influencing politics when we're also showing a willingness to accept outside money. While you aren't a corporate interest or a big "fat-cat" donor, the principle in many ways is the same. Someday, we hope to be in a better position to accept actual financial contributions from our supporters. We do want people to feel like they are a part of our organization and have a stake in the outcome, but right now, we're sticking to our issues and our pledge not to accept money from ANYONE. We are letting people help out if they allow us to put up a lawn sign, or take one of our T-Shirts, but that's really just to help defray the cost of those items, and to allow people who cannot contribute financially to still take part in that type of supportive gesture. (We would never deny someone a sign or a T-shirt based on their inability to donate...) So, if you force us to accept a small donation when we come out to your house to put up our sign, we won't refuse it, but we'd rather you spend your energy and resources just helping us spread the word about our campaign and getting your friends, family and neighbors to join in with you in this revolutionary effort. We have e-mail templates, facebook posts, links, "Meet the Candidate" events you can host, and other great opportunities for you to get more closely involved, and we need your help with ideas like that. SO, please don't feel like we don't want you, nothing could be further from the truth. We Want You...but unlike all the other campaigns you hear from, we just don't want your money.
What Are Your Political Plans for the Future?
-Adam J. (So. Mpls.)
In many ways, you're asking the exact right question Adam. What matters most, in terms of the true performance of any representative, is often what their personal plans really are. Let's be clear. There's no reason why a Congress person would ever have to spend almost a million dollars on public relations and "political consultation". Let's leave alone the fact that Rep. Omar directed this money to her extramartial boyfriend at the time, now her (4th?) husband. Let's leave alone the obvious corruption and appearance of a total conflict, and simply discuss what that type of attitude means. To spend that much money on something that doesn't help the people of our district 1 iota is an abominable injustice. Not one 5th district constituent benefits from Omar's significant and continuing investment into her own political future. The idea that we elect people who then use their elected position as nothing more than a personal political PLATFORM to gain popularity, nationwide acclaim or access to international funding is one of the most shameful aspects of the American political system. It's not new, it's not surprising and the reason it's a widespread practice is because it's so effective. People, like Ms. Omar, see their current pasition as nothing more than a "stepping stone" towards their future aspirations.
Let's remember a couple of things about me. I'm RETIRED. I have NO political plans. I don't want to be a congressman. I don't want to be elected over and over again. If I did, obviously I wouldn't set up my campaign to NOT raise any money, or NOT accept donations. I'm willing to become the congressman for a short time, while we work together to find the appropriate, long-term solution for our district. Someone young, energetic and highly intelligent. Someone who is a fixture of community service and real dedication to the ideals we all share. Someone who can make a long-term personal investment into this paticular position without allowing their personal ambition, glory or dreams of self-enrichment to distract them from their elected purpose. Together, with the right concepts in mind, we can find a person we can all agree upon. Someone who is not divisive or controversial. Someone who we all understand represents us in much the same way that I do. Completely, and without any personal bias, prejudice or favor.
I want to be extremely clear and honest in answering your question directly. I have NO plans for any political future. The truth is, I don't even plan to live in this country. I'm born and raised in the 5th district, and I recognize that we are facing a real problem here. The likes of which we haven't seen for several generations, if ever. And I am offering up a temporary solution. We cannot continue to allow ourselves to simply makes choices on a "lesser of 2 evils" basis. When we do that, we lose. We need to make choices based on truth, practicality, results and intelligence-driven instinct. Everyone who knows me understands that I will provide real, solution-oriented leadership, at a time when that is the most important character and quality we need. That time is right now.
What Happened to Jeff Hayden and Antone Melton-Meaux?
-Brenda W. (So. Mpls.)
Brenda...what a thoughful and important question. I'll do my best to answer it without going into a dissertation length explanation. The short and easy answer is, you cannot beat the Democratic party. The Democratic party has spent decades gerrymandering certain districts for themselves and they know just what to do and who to call to achieve the election results they want. It didn't matter that Antone Melton-Meaux had essentially an unlimited funding supply. It didn't matter that Jeff Hayden had been winning that ward for 10, 12 years running, There are just too many people in these controlled districts who will do what their party tells them to do, especially when it comes to primary voting, which is a separate loyalist vote opportunity. People can really only vote in a Democratic primary for a Democratic candidate if they are pre-registered as Democratic voters. You can't simply show up at a primary and vote for anyone you want. You can only vote for Democrats, or Republicans...not both. So, it's one way the party uses their power to control outcomes and these non-endorsed candidates never stood a chance. As you can see, the races weren't even all that close. We are currently attempting to appeal to Hayden and Melton-Meaux supporters by explaining that we offer a reasonable alternative to the party choice in Congress. I can state with no equivocation that Michael Moore is and has long been a much truer and more trusted Democrat than Ilhan Omar will ever be. One might think that would matter to people who claim to be Democrats.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are all REAL QUESTIONS we've either recieved through our contact us link messaging box (which we highly encourage people to use) or in person.
Admitedly, not all these questions have really been asked multiple times, but it seems likely that if one person thought it was important enough to ask, that more people were probably wondering about the same thing. SO even if they're technically NOT frequently asked questions, they are almost certainly frequently considered. Wherever possible we have credited the person who asked the question. To get your question and answer included on this page, simply submit a question through our contact us messaging system. (Use the button link located above) Most of these answers are copied and pasted directly from actual e-mail replies we sent to supporters and other people who have asked the questions. We have not edited much or any of the information. (which is why a lot of the answers are sometimes soooo long-winded...that's my style...)
What Made You Decide to Run for U.S. Congress?
- Anne R. (S, Mpls)
What Political Experience Do You Have?
-David H. (Fridley)
Great Question David. The easy answer is NONE. I could talk about getting the State of Minnesota to change it's laws about natural hair care. Living in Washington D.C. Working in the Social Security Adminstration or attending the week long "Close Up" govt. school trip back in 1982. Working on the Jesse Ventura campaign. (I would describe that level of experience, thin at best...) I much rather prefer to make the following point. I have NO experience as a politician, because that's NOT what I am. Most people would agree that the biggest problem in politics right now are the politicians. (Maybe a tie between the politicians, and the system itself...) What we need most are real people who are NOT obligated to follow the corrupt and ineffective rules and policies that have gridlocked our nation and encouraged partisan extremism. I honestly believe that the more important question would be, "what experience do I have serving customers and the community?" Because that's exactly what we need our 5th district representative to do most. To properly listen to and communicate with the constituents. Not just the supporters, not just the voters, not just members of a particular party, but everyone who lives and works within the district.
What I offer is the experience of someone who gets the job done. Someone who has proven to be responsive to the needs of the people. Someone who has established something that has lasted for decades based almost exclusively on pride, professionalism and positive results. Just about anyone can start a business. But not many people can start a business that has never existed before. And, on top of that, keep that business open and popular for 25+ years. That requires a uncompromising commitment to an idealism of respect, competence and true expertise. If we can agree that our current political representation has been unprofessional and ineffective, then we can agree that going in another direction might be exactly what is required here and now. I would respectfully submit that electing someone who has proven to be incorruptible, responsible, professional and successful is definitely a move in the right direction.