On Wednesday, June 13th, 2018, I sat down to write a short note of thanks to you and our neighbors and ended up with the following... Thank you in advance for your support and a special thanks if you make it through the entire email :-)
Last night we made history. Yeah, ok, we obviously did not win the election, but we still made history. Way back nearly (7) months ago, before there was a ciruc os nearly (18) people jockeying for Trey Gowdy's congressional seat - there were just (3) candidates. We all had vastly different perspectives on what it meant to be a Democrat, perhaps even what it meant to be a citizen concerned about the future of our country. One thing was for sure, we agreed to keep the race clean and support each other regardless of the outcome.
From the very beginning, I spoke about inclusiveness, big picture ideas, and running a campaign like no one has seen in South Carolina for a very long time – if ever. WE changed the conversation. WE ran a big tent progressive campaign. WE changed the narrative, and WE altered the landscape. I even shared best methods and tips with my counterparts running in the primary with me – yes, you heard me right, I gave my two primary opponents inside information because when we surround ourselves with informed people, it only makes us better suited to serve our neighbors.
Last evening while we waited for the primary results to trickle in, it was pointed out to me that our narrative was actually more moderate than liberal, because of how weframed the discussion on single-payer, Medicare-for-All, universal healthcare and solving climate change by moving to a 100% clean energy economy even though these issues are perceived as ultra-liberal or ‘Progressive’.
As we fought for a Medicare-for-All, Universal Healthcare system, we used phrases like “employee freedom” and “getting business owners out of the business of health insurance”. Employee Freedom means that employees in ‘right to work’ states have the freedom to change jobs without losing access to their healthcare. With a Medicare-for-All system, there is no deductible to meet, no co-pay for prescriptions, and no extra monthly premium coming out of your paycheck – in other words, Medicare-for-All is a pay raise for every American! Retirees will also see a bump in their coverage as we move to cover 100% of all retiree medical benefits because they have taken care of all of us all their lives, and they should be protected while in retirement: 100% coverage for prescriptions, vision, hearing, and dental care.
Every business owner understands the financial burden to their bottom line that employee health insurance creates – a universal healthcare system eliminates this “red tape” and gives a bottom-line financial boost to every business in our county. A Medicare-for-All system would save American companies billions of dollars annually.
When companies are saving thousands of dollars per employee annually, we can then create a system that allows for paid maternity leave for new born and adopted children for each spouse, paid family medical leave for full and part time employees, and assure that women are guaranteed the basic human right to decide, the right to control what happens to their body. Men have zero rights to determine what happens to a woman’s body.
A 100% clean energy economy means that businesses and home owners are able to modernize a technology that has not changed since the days of Thomas Edison when he first wired New York City. Today’s electrical grid is old, a relic, and companies like Duke Energy are fighting tooth and nail to prevent its modernization because it reduces their profit. We are still using wires to transmit electricity generated hundred and thousands of miles from pole to pole and it has not changed in over 100 years. Why? Because companies like Duke and others are placing profit over people’s ability to heat and cool and light their homes.
China has taken a global leadership role in clean and renewable energy. They understand the catastrophic effects of climate change and are racing towards a 100% clean energy economy. Philadelphia, Atlanta, and St. Louis have committed to use 100% renewable energy by 2035. Volvo will start making only electric and hybrid cars starting in 2019. London, England, has already begun removing 25,000 diesel black cabs off the road and replacing them with electric models (made by Volvo) that can recharge in 20 minutes with a small engine.
A 100% clean energy economy is thee economic driver of the future today and will create 100,000 career jobs in South Carolina alone which doesn’t account for the thousands of additional positions which will be created to support those career positions.
Consider John F. Kennedy’s ‘Special Message to Congress’ on May 25, 1961 on the eve of the technological revolution when he called for placing a man on the moon at the end of the decade. If we change the context of the speech, we can motivate America once again and solve Climate Change:
“Now it is time to take longer strides-time for a great new American enterprise-time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space 100% clean energy achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.
“I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment. …I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out”.
“… But I think every citizen of this country as well as the Members of the Congress should consider the matter carefully in making their judgment, to which we have given attention over many weeks and months, because it is a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space 100% clean & renewable energy, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful. If we are not, we should decide today and this year.
“…This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, materiel and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline which have not always characterized our research and development efforts.
“…New objectives and new money cannot solve these problems. They could in fact, aggravate them further-unless every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space 100% clean energy.” (John F. Kennedy, May 25, 1961) Link
My campaign drew upon my Jesuit education of “Men for Others”, doing more for your neighbor than yourself. I learned that a truly good life is lived for others.
While our campaign ended last night, the future is exciting because I will continue the fight for our “Neighborhood Values”, a Universal Healthcare System and a 100% Clean Energy Economy.
Change the Narrative.
Pivot the Conversation.
This Is How We Win!
Photo: Senator Jeff Merkley, Will Morin, Pat Drupp
In closing, a special thanks to my amazing campaign manager,
Pat is an oceanographer and climatologist by trade with experience working for NOAA and on Capitol Hill in Senator Merkley’s office. I would have been completely lost without him – yeah I’d still have terrible jokes that only I laugh at – but without Pat, I would not have had the structure and competency of a real congressional campaign. Pat was there to keep me focused in order to make endless amounts of phone calls to voters each and every day. There were days that I was exhausted and with his encouragement and skills as a cheerleader, I pushed through.
Pat was my counsel, my manager, my man in the trenches with whom I would always have my back at every turn.
Sir, you are one of the most talented people I have ever met, thank you for everything – I owe you everything we have accomplished. Together we changed the narrative and drove the conversation where our neighbors needed it to be.
To Chris and Ethan – thank you so much for your sacrifices, your time, listening to my dry wit and pushing me to be a better candidate.
To Mom and Dad – I certainly would not have been to even consider putting myself out as a candidate if you had not made me the man I am today. Thank you.
To my supporters and volunteers – from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your generosity of love, kindness, and time. Thank you for believing in me.
Believe in your neighbors because they believe in you!