I am the state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America here in NC - for the time being at least - I am stepping down next month. This year, we pursued obtaining an endorsement for a US Senate candidate by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). PDA rules say that all chapters inside a state have to vote to endorse, and then endorse one candidate by majority rule in each chapter, for Senate candidate endorsements. We have five chapters in North Carolina.
Unfortunately, two of those chapters have told me that they have restrictions on their ability to endorse anyone running for a federal office. So, as a friend of mine said, THE RULES RULE.... and there will be no endorsement from Progressive Democrats of America. The remaining three chapters (Beaufort, Buncombe, and Mecklenburg) will consider endorsements on the chapter levels.
We had two candidates who took the time to fill out the PDA questionnaire for consideration. The candidates are Jim Neal and Duskin Lassiter. I am publishing them for everyone in NC to read and for the Progressive Democrat chapters to have access. Another candidate, Marcus Williams, sent in a statement, and I will include that also. Here they are:
Progressive Democrats of America Endorsement Questionnaire
2007 Endorsement Questionnaire for Candidate for U. S. Senate
Please fill out this form if you are interested in pursuing an endorsement by the Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County, Progressive Democrats of Beaufort County, Guilford County Progressive Democrats, 9th Congressional District & Mecklenburg County Progressive Democrats, and Wake County Progressive Democrats.
We are part of Progressive Democrats of America a nation- wide grassroots organization of 100,000 members that works inside the Democratic Party and outside the Democratic Party in movements for peace and justice.
Please return this questionnaire by the deadline: March 15, 2007.
Altering or deleting the questions on this form may lead to disqualification. Please note that your answers on this questionnaire may be made public. If you need additional space to answer questions, please attach additional pages to the questionnaire.
Candidate and Campaign Information:
Candidate Name: Jim Neal
Address: 805 E. Franklin St.
City, State, Zip: Chapel Hill NC 27514
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office for which you are running: U.S. Senate for North Carolina
Date of Election: November 4, 2008
Registered Political Party: Democratic
Phone: Andrew Kain Fax: 919-869-2801
Office: 919-544-1136 Email: Andrew_kain@jimnealforsenate.com
General Consultant: Jim Spencer, The Campaign Network
Phone: 617-561-3296 Fax: 617-561-3298
Media Consultant: Bill Hillsman, Northwoods Advertising
Finance Consultant: Jeff Hewitt, Hewitt Campaigns
African American Outreach: Alexander Killens,
Strategic Communications and Consulting
200 Meredith Dr.
Durham NC 27713
List endorsements from organizations and/or individuals:
Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
CORRECTION: Blue NC DID NOT ENDORSE PER NEAL CAMPAIGN
Pam’s House Blend
Howie Klein, co-founder of the Blue America PAC
David Salie, the director of the groundbreaking on-line fundraising operation
John Ross Hendrix, a former candidate in the race
James C. Hormel, Ambassador
Hillary Rosen, a member of the Democratic National Committee
Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator
Paul Hardin, former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor
Mandy Carter, Nobel Prize nominee and founding member of the National Black Justice Coalition
Mike Nelson- County Commissioner, Orange County
Mark Kleinschmidt- Chapel Hill City Councilor
Ross Bleckner, contemporary artist
James Protzman, “Anglico” on BlueNC
Dirk McCall, former President, Stonewall Democrats of NYC
Alan Van Capelle
Ralph Ketner, Founder, Food Lion
Jared Polis, Candidate, US House (D-Colorado)
Ken and Juan Ahonen-Jover
David Salie and Mark Bromley
Mitchell Gold, founder, Mitchell Gold/Bob Williams Furniture
Jesse White, Jr., former ARC Federal Co-Chairman
Bob Farmer, past DNC Finance Chair
Bert Woodard, President, Charlotte Business Guild
Jay Ovitorre-Candidate for US Congress (NC-6)
How would you describe yourself politically (i.e. progressive; moderate democrat, etc.)?
I would describe myself as a Democrat with an open mind.
List elective or political party offices you have held, including committee appointments:
I have never held elective office, though I served on the National Campaign Finance Committees for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and General Wesley Clark in 2004.
What is your primary occupation?
I am the Chairman and CEO of the Agema Group LLC, a small business advisory firm. I have since relinquished all of my responsibilities as Chairman, as I am campaigning full-time for U.S. Senate.
Why are you running for the US Senate?
I am running for U.S. Senate because the people of North Carolina deserve an advocate in the U.S. Senate and a public servant who is a problem solver. For too long, Senator Dole has ignored the interests and needs of North Carolina to fulfill her own national political ambitions. But more than that, I believe our political system is broken, and in 2008, we can make real progress in changing the status quo. Politicians in Washington and Raleigh have co-opted our democracy, selling our interests to their well-connected, well-financed special interest contributors, and that has to change. We need real representation in the U.S. Senate, and I will be the voice for North Carolina, not the wealthy and well-connected, but everyone.
Issues Specific to Office:
What experiences have prepared you to run for the US Senate?
My professional background as an investment banker, entrepreneur, and problem solver has prepared me for the U.S. Senate. My personal and life experience as a single parent, who has seen both sides of life; from Wall Street to an employment line, from boom to bust and back. My experiences are similar to the millions of middle class families in this country who have seen success and failure. I have lived through the high times and the lean times. That is the voice I will bring to the U.S. Senate.
If you receive the endorsement of Progressive Democrats of America, how do you intend to use it?
I hope that I can work with the PDA to build on our grassroots volunteer operation, publicize your support through the media, leverage your support with other progressive political organizations, and hopefully, get small dollar contributions to get our message out.
Do you agree with Congress’ decision to reauthorize the Patriot Act? Why or why not?
No. The Patriot Act was passed in a period of anxiety and fear following the heinous attacks on September 11th, and ignored fundamental constitutional protections. I would vote to repeal the Patriot Act, end the fear mongering of the Bush Administration, and re-institute our most basic rights as Americans.
If elected, which committee(s) would you prefer to serve on and why?
In order of preference, I would like to serve on the following committees:
1. Small Business and Entrepreneurship: I would like to serve on this committee, because we need more small business expertise in Washington, and my experience would be well served here.
2. Finance: With my experience on Wall Street, I know I could provide useful knowledge and experience to this complex and essential committee that manages our budget, finances, discretionary spending programs, and corporate responsibility.
3. Foreign Relations: I think I could provide a fresh perspective on the Foreign Relations committee, and that our role in the world, both diplomatically and morally could be well served by such a new perspective.
PDA supports an immediate start to a rapid and complete withdrawal from Iraq of all troops and military contractors, and has championed legislation that would withhold funding for any other military purpose there. In addition, PDA believes that the U.S. must revise its strategy for the region by removing these forces from the Mideast entirely, rather than just "redeploying" them within the region. PDA advocates a shift in U.S. foreign policy from reckless unilateralism toward cooperation and diplomacy--so that people of other countries know us more by our helping hand than our slugging arm. Furthermore, PDA supports the redirecting of resources allocated for military spending to human needs.
Will you pledge to support such immediate and total withdrawal from Iraq of the military forces, including supporting legislation towards this goal?
Yes. I support a complete withdrawal; realistically taking 8-12 months to get the troops, materiel, and infrastructure out of Iraq to insure our assets/weaponry don’t fall into the wrong hands. In addition, I would not vote the authorization of funding for the Iraq war until a timetable for withdrawal has been set.
In addition, will you forswear any preemptive military attacks upon any nation?
I cannot, in good conscience, forswear against preemptive military action. While I will always support full diplomacy before military options are utilized, I do believe we can remove preemptive military action from the table, as dangerous nations do exist and are trying to acquire dangerous weapons (nuclear, chemical, biological). For example, if Pakistan were to undergo a revolution which put its nuclear arsenal under the control of radical interests, such as a Taliban-like regime, I would want all options available for responding to these threats.
Will you commit to fully support investigations into the White House's false claims justifying the invasion of Iraq, and would you support impeachment of Bush, Cheney and other administration officials for these and other high crimes?
Yes, I would support such an investigation and potential trial, as he mislead the nation, drew us into war based on false claims, and trampled the constitution. However, I hope that the 2008 elections and the imminent Democratic gains, will allow our nation to put the Iraq war behind us, and begin a period of national reconciliation.
Have you participated in or spoken at any events, demonstrations, meetings or teach-ins opposing the Iraq war and occupation?
Yes. My son Winston and I attended an anti-war demonstration in New York in 2002. In addition, my campaign recently participated in the H2KonJ march in Raleigh, which involved anti-war activists and we signed a pledge in support of withdrawal from Iraq.
Have you organized any such events?
2) Health Care:
There are over 46 million uninsured people living in America, the majority of which are working Americans. Every year, nearly 18,000 people die unnecessarily as a direct result of their lack of health insurance. Millions, with health insurance, maintain inadequate, overly expensive coverage and face the peril of denials of claims or termination of benefits if a family member becomes seriously ill--one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the U.S. While spending twice as much on health care as any other industrialized country, our system performs poorly, spending more money for less coverage, maximizing profits by finding ways to deny care. The private insurance bureaucracy expends one-third of health care money on waste, administrative paperwork, advertising and corporate profits. The current Medicare program for senior citizens spends under 4% of its budget for its overhead costs. Meanwhile, poor health, escalating health insurance premiums and spiraling health care costs impair our economy and job creation in the U.S.
PDA has endorsed HR 676, the National Health Insurance/"Expanded and Improved Medicare-for-All" Act. To guarantee comprehensive health care for all, PDA supports the replacement of the current profit-driven system, publicly financed, privately provided health care program. This "Medicare for All" national plan would save more than $350 billion per year, enough new money to provide guaranteed comprehensive health care for all. This system would insure portable and uniform benefits regardless of income. With no deductibles or co-pays, this plan would encourage preventive care and restore a doctor and patient controlled health care system affording choice of providers and fair, publicly negotiated payment for both treatment and medication.
What is your approach to the health care crisis?
Universal Health Care: Every family, every person in this country needs and deserves access to a primary care physician. We need to practice preventative medicine, not reactive medicine. And, we must drive the costs of health care delivery down by using technology as a means of reducing administrative costs and managing primary care, not just to deny claims.
What is your view of Guaranteed Health Care through an Expanded and Improved Medicare-for-All system?
I support expanding a Medicare-like system to include every man, woman, and child in our country, and guaranteeing access.
If elected, would you support a publicly financed, privately provided national health care program, which insures access to comprehensive health care for all in the U.S.?
No, because I support keeping the health care system managed in both the public and private sector.
Would you support a not-for-profit, doctor-patient controlled system which would eliminate the private health insurance industry (with protection for eliminated workers) as the intermediary determining access and the level of care?
Yes and no. As an intermediate step, I would like to implement a not-for-profit, doctor-patient controlled system, where public health care is facilitated and authorized by doctors, not administrators. I don’t envision being able to completely eliminate private insurance, as individuals and businesses will still seek private health care, and they deserve to have that choice.
Would you support the government's ability to negotiate fair prices for treatment as well as drugs, as it does for those covered by the Veteran's Administration's plan?
Yes. Negotiation and importation. No question.
3) Economic Justice:
The current generation has seen unprecedented levels of economic disparity, both among individuals (the richest 1% of Americans own almost 35% of all wealth; the bottom half, only 2.5%) and in the ratio of CEO pay to employee wages. Thirty-seven million people (equal to the population of California) are living in poverty in the U.S. These immoral levels of poverty, which disproportionate impact communities of color and women, can be significantly reduced through concerned legislative effort - including a living wage for all workers, expanded earned income tax credits, childcare assistance and housing vouchers. Specifically, the federal government must fulfill its promise of resources to Hurricane Katrina survivors so they can return to rebuild their communities in the Gulf Coast.
Tax burdens on the middle class can be eased if the wealthy pay their share. In addition to working to roll back Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy, PDA endorses the Equity in Income Act, limiting the amount of CEO compensation afforded federal corporate tax deductions. In emphatically supporting the workers' right to organize, we also endorse the Employee Free Choice Act, which establishes unions in any workplace where a majority of workers sign union cards to join. In the global arena, PDA supports anti-sweatshop legislation and fair trade agreements which protect workers' rights as well as the environment, while opposing wage-reducing "free trade" agreements that protect only corporate rights to exploit unprotected labor. PDA also advocates for humane and comprehensive immigration reform, which insures a fair, attainable path to citizenship and the rights of undocumented workers in the workplace, affirming the dignity and integrity of immigrant families.
What is your position on "Fair Trade" versus "Free Trade" agreements?
I support trade, as it is good for our economy and our foreign policy. I do, however, believe we must work to include Fair Trade aspects into our trade agreements. Labor regulations and environmental protections, for example. But, we also need to lead our trading partners, not only through agreements, but through example. Eight years of the Bush Administration has affected our diplomatic standing across the world, whether for climate, fair trade, or peace missions. We must begin by being a leader again in the world, and then our trade agreements must reflect our status as such.
Will you have pledge to reverse the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans?
Do you support the right of workers to organize, in any situation?
What is your relationship to labor nationally and in your district?
Because this is my first run at elective office, I am not eligible for union endorsements, because based on the rules of the AFL-CIO I must have a public voting record to be considered for endorsement for the office of U.S. Senate. I have had some very good discussions, and learned a lot from those discussions. My campaign has made every effort to reach out to members of the Labor Movement, we have invested in an American made hybrid for transportation, and, unlike my opponent, and we have used a union printer for all of our campaign materials.
Do you have union endorsements and supporters in your district?
No, I have not received any union endorsements (see above), but I do have several dedicated union members (and member families) helping my grassroots effort.
What is your approach to bringing communities "out of poverty"?
In short, I plan to initiate a “home-grown wealth” and entrepreneurial development plan to build quality, sustainable industries and small business in North Carolina, specifically in rural and poverty stricken communities. Infrastructure and technology investment, improved education and adult education programs, micro-lending and investment capital focusing, and entrepreneurial development are all part of the plan.
In addition, bolstering educational opportunities: Head Start, universal Pre-K education, after-school program funding, and investing in college education opportunities such as Pell Grants and a Youth Corps Program to allow young people to re-pays college debt through a public service commitment.
You can see the complete plan at: http://jimnealforsenate.com/issues/
Would you support the legislation of the “out of poverty” caucus?
Yes, thus far, the legislation of the out of poverty caucus: cutting poverty, expanding food stamps, and expanding health care coverage are all legislative items I would have supported. My staff and I have looked for a complete list or agenda of the “out of poverty” caucus, and thus far have been unable to identify a comprehensive plan. But, thus far, all of their legislative initiatives I would support and champion.
What efforts would you support to provide meaningful resources to Katrina survivors?
The Katrina relief effort was a tremendous failure on behalf of Washington, and we owe the people of the Gulf Coast region a tremendous debt. For starters, we have to fix the levee system in New Orleans to make sure this never happens again. In addition, housing re-location grants to allow people who want to return a low-cost option for housing financing. Infrastructure grants are needed to rebuild the region after the tremendous devastation. In short, I don’t think we know the full costs to Katrina survivors, but FEMA trailers infested with mold are a slap in the face to the survivors of this tragedy.
Do you support comprehensive and humane immigration reform as outlined above?
Have you reached out to immigrant communities and advocates in your district?
Yes. I have met with students of immigrant families at UNC during my most recent tour there. I have also sponsored an immigrant family from Vietnam as a member of IRC.
4) Clean, Fair, Transparent Elections:
The U.S. election system is in crisis. Not only are the usual corrupting factors of money and corporate lobbying as rampant as perhaps at any time in U.S. history, but the new millennium – along with the fallout from the contested 2000 election - have ushered in a qualitative change in the conduct of our elections: Centuries of tradition in which citizens, government officials and Party representatives oversaw physical evidence of voter intent have fallen to the rise of the machines. This sea change, from paper to ephemeral electrons, brings much more than the implicit demand to trust the invisible: the move to computers means that 85% of America has ceded control of its elections to third party vendors, whose legal claims regarding proprietary software bring corporate control of the entire voting process. PDA thus supports federal legislation that would ban the use of touch-screen (“DRE”) voting machines.
Will you pledge, if elected, to support only voting methods in which ballots are cast
Do you pledge to support “Clean Money” public financing of public elections?
Yes. In fact, I have pledged, if I get elected, to never accept more than $250 from any donor. While not public financing, I believe it is important to set a high standard and lead by example when it comes to campaign finance.
Would you accept public financing for your current campaign?
Do you support the restoration of voting rights to past felony offenders?
Yes, if they served their time, they should enjoy the full rights (and responsibilities) of citizens.
Do you support same-day voting registration?
Would you oppose the onerous requirement of official photo identification before affording citizens access to the polls?
5) Environment/ Global Warming:
No issue reveals more clearly the flaws of the U.S. political-economic system than global warming - the dominance of greed and corporate power over the public good, and the near-sighted focus on the short-term over the welfare of future generations. It is known that the U.S. has the natural resources to power the entire country solely from clean, “alternative” sources of power- whether with solar cells that would require a miniscule fraction of the California desert, or from wind turbines on the Great Plains and in the Great Lakes. It has also often been said that we need a new Apollo Program for clean energy (if not Manhattan Project), in which science, industry and government would cooperate on a crash course to produce novel results in a limited period. Immediate action would include raising the auto fuel economy and impose mandatory caps on carbon pollution while investing in public transportation, energy conservation technologies and alternative energy development--in the process, creating new jobs which pay well. PDA calls on the Democratic majority in Congress to lead boldly in reducing our country's oil dependence and use of fossil fuels.
Will you pledge to take an uncompromising leadership role on legislation to enact the enormous changes and sacrifices that will be required to stem Global Warming?
No, because leadership requires compromise. I want to be, and will be a leader on legislation to enact real change to stem Global Warming, but I also acknowledge that not everyone will agree with my path to a solution. I will be an advocate, I will persist in gaining consensus for my ideas and priorities, but I will also work with my colleagues to truly address this issue and find real solutions to get to 51 (or 60) votes.
Will you pledge to enact an Apollo Program for clean energy?
Yes, absolutely. We need a national initiative of the top priority to find, develop, and foster clean energy development and technology. America should be a worldwide leader and innovator in this field, and we have the money, resources, and minds to make it a reality. We just need a national commitment, and the “Apollo” program is just such a commitment.
What kind of personal vehicle do you currently drive? Is it rated ZEV, or PZEV?
I drive a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid.
Will you work to improve the air quality in our country?
Please estimate your campaign costs:
Primary Election: $750,000
General Election: $8,000,000
How much money have you raised to date?
Please list independent expenditures that may impact your race:
To my knowledge, none.
Candidate Name: Duskin Lassiter
Address: 7992 NC Highway 8 Lexington, NC 27292
E-mail address: email@example.com
Office for which you are running: U.S. Senate for North Carolina
Date of Election: November 4, 2008
Registered Political Party: Democratic
Campaign Mananger: Edwina King
Campaign Treasurer: Edwina King, Phone: (336) 884-1159 Fax: (336) 884 5019
Campaign Aide: Lyssa Stuckey Phone: (336) 441-5285 Fax: (336) 441-0041
Campaign Address: 1824 W. English Rd. High Point, NC 27262
1. List endorsements from organizations and/or individuals:
2. How would you describe yourself politically (i.e. progressive; moderate democrate, etc.)?
I am not fond of labels, but I would describe myself as a Franklin D. Roosevelt style of Democrat.
3. List elective or political party offices you have held, including committee appointments:
4. What is your primary occupation:
I own and operate a trucking company.
5. Why are you running for US. Senate?
I’m running because the current free trade agreements are destroying the manufacturing base of this country, which is seriously affecting my business. If elected, I will aggressively defend the American worker. The second reason for running is the overall lack of an energy policy. I use tens of thousands of gallons of fuel per year. For this reason, I support a bold five year plan using a closed loop photo bio-reaction system. This plan can lead our nation to energy independence. Third, I believe that universal healthcare is not a privilege, but a right. I take a unique stand on certain issues, but I believe in doing what is best for America as a whole.
6. What experiences have prepared you to run for the US Senate?
Running my own small business has given me exposure to other small business owners throughout the country. Without this experience, I would be a poor candidate indeed.
7. If you receive the endorsement of Progressive Democrats of America, how do you intend to use it?
Winning this endorsement would mean one step in many towards building a coalition that can actually beat Elizabeth Dole. It is not enough to just win the Democratic activist vote we also need the independent vote as well. The independent voter is not ignored by the republicans, and that is why they keep sending republicans to the US Senate.
8. Do you agree with Congress’ decision to reauthorize the Patriot Act?
No. The Patriot Act does not reflect our democratic principles this country was founded on. President Bush has abused the powers of his office and Congress has offered no oversight or guidance.
9. If elected, which committee(s) would you prefer to serve on and why?
I’d prefer to serve in the committees responsible for trade, budget, military affairs as well as foreign policy. This is where true leadership is needed.
10. Will you pledge to support such immediate and total withdrawal from Iraq of the military forces, including supporting legislation towards this goal?
The speed of our withdrawal all depends on the current government of Iraq. I see no movement towards political reconciliation, nor do I see progress towards the improvement of women’s basic civil rights. I can’t support a regime that isn’t democratic and fair. In light of these facts on the ground, we need to leave sooner rather than later. If the Iraqi government changes its position, I will reexamine my own.
11. In addition, will you forswear any preemptive military attacks upon any nation?
Yes, a preemptive strike is nothing more than a nice way of saying “a war of aggression”.
12. Will you commit to fully support investigation into the White House’s false claims justifying the invasion of Iraq, and would you support impeachment of Bush, Chaney and other administration officials for these and other high crimes?
It sounds like a wonderful thing to do, but by the time I’m elected they will be literally walking out the door. No doubt we in the Democratic Party will be glad to see their backsides.
13. Have you participated in or spoken at any events, demonstrations, meetings or
teach-ins opposing the Iraq war and occupation?
Yes. Most every time I speak, I voice my opposition to the war in Iraq.
14. Have you organized any such events?
No. Unfortunately my work schedule keeps me from planning a large event.
15. What is your approach to the health care crisis?
I feel there is a need for mandatory healthcare. My plan is based on a percentage of personal income. The day you are born, your coverage starts. The day you start working is the day you begin paying for your healthcare.
16. What is your view of Guaranteed health Care through an Expanded and Improved Medicare-for-All system?
It’s the best thing to come around since sliced bread.
17. If elected, would you support a publicly financed, privately provided national healthcare program, which insures access to comprehensive health care for all in the U.S.?
18. Would you support a not-for-profit, doctor-patient controlled system for which would eliminate the private health insurance industry (with protection for eliminated workers) as the intermediary determining access and the level of care?
19. Would you support the government’s ability to negotiate fair prices for treatment as well as drugs, as it does for those covered by the Veteran’s Administration’s plan?
20. What is your position on “Fair Trade” versus “Free Trade” agreements?
Free trade agreements are destroying America. I support a Balanced Trade Policy that ends our 758 billion dollar deficit.
21. Will you have pledge to reverse the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans?
22. Do you support the right of workers to organize, in any situation?
23. What is your relationship to labor nationally and in your district?
I fully support them.
24. Do you have union endorsements and supporters in your district?
I currently do not have any endorsements, I am new at this.
25. What is your approach to bringing communities “out of poverty?”
I feel that a one dollar per hour increase each year until the minimum wage reaches $12.00 per hour would bring communities out of poverty. I will also demand a return of our manufacturing and service industry jobs from overseas. These industries must be protected to insure long term growth for our nation.
26. Would you support the legislation of the “out of poverty” caucus?
Yes. I know what poverty is.
27. What efforts would you support to provide meaningful resources to Katrina survivors?
I would support more affordable home loans and flood insurance, plus enforce better building code standards.
28. Do you support comprehensive and humane immigration reform as outlined above?
I feel that with 12% of the population being foreign born, we have already opened our doors wide open. With the economic situation being what it is, we must take another look at who we let in. ½ the world’s population would love to live here, but this country couldn’t support that. Real wages have been on the decline since the early 70’s. We currently have an oversupply of low wage workers and the average illegal crossing the border has a 7th grade education and speaks no English. The best way to fight poverty in America is to lower the supply of low skilled workers coming into the country. This would raise low income American workers’ wages by 8-10%. This is how to fight poverty. Finally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to reward someone who has broken the law. We should remember about all those immigrants who do follow the rules. I think they would be quite upset to see that the rule of law doesn’t matter.
29. Have you reached out to immigrant communities and advocates in your district?
I ask for support from law abiding legal immigrants.
30. Will you pledge, if elected, to support only voting methods in which ballots are cast on paper?
31. Do you pledge to support “Clean Money” public financing of public elections?
32. Would you accept public financing for your current campaign?
33. Do you support the restoration of voting rights to past felony offenders?
34. Do you support same-day voting registration?
35. Would you oppose the onerous requirement of official photo identification affording citizens access to the polls?
36. Will you pledge to take an uncompromising leadership role on legislation to enact the enormous changes and sacrifices that will be required to stem Global Warming?
37. Will you pledge to enact an Apollo Program for clean energy?
Yes, I’ve done that already!
38. What kind of personal vehicle do you currently drive? Is it rated ZEV, or PZEV?
My personal vehicle is a 1998 Ford Ranger. It is not a zero emission vehicle.
39. Will you work to improve the air quality in our country?
Absolutely. I want to propose a 5 year, $308 billion plan that not only removes 90% of carbon dioxide from the air, but will make us energy independent.
Approximately 100-150 a month in office operation for Nov-May, I estimate $1,000, and including fuel, dry-cleaning, and fees to apply to run, I would estimate $5,000.
General Election: I hope to raise more money after the primary and add advertising to my current budget.
How much money have you raised to date?
Our campaign has not raised a significant amount; I have been financing the campaign with my own funds.
Please list independent expenditures that may impact your race:
Simply taking time off from my business is a huge personal expense and sacrifice on my part, but if I can make this country better, it’s worth every penny I’ve spent.
Thank you for including me in your outreach to the candidates for U.S. Senate. My responses to your thorough and well-researched questionnaire are as follows:
Marcus W. Williams
Attorney At Law
P.O. Box 1005
Lumberton, N.C. 28359
Candidate for the U.S. Senate: Primary, May 6th General, November 4th
Since I entered the contest on February 29th, 2008, the deadline for the issuance of most endorsements had expired.
Politically speaking, I am an eclectic pragmatist, with steady progressive fire.
My political experience includes a unique "hat trick" in student governments. I was the first person ever elected Student Body President at Lumberton High School after the consolidation of the racially segregated school systems. Again, I was honored to have been elected Student Body President at the Univ. of N.C. in Chapel Hill, where we made some landmark contributions (including the initiation of mass transit on campus, the implementation of the current unicamel legislative body known as the CGC and the seminal application for UNC-FM radio). Finally, I was elected Student Body President at the Univ. of Minnesota School of Law, the first minority to attain that position.
I served for 3 terms as chair of Precinct 16 in Wilmington, N.C., twice as the Parliamentarian at the New Hanover County Democratic Convention, Vice Chair of New Hanover County Democratic Party and Chairman of the Platform Committee of the County Democrats (in the last year in which Democrats were elected in the majority of all major Boards or Commissions in New Hanover County).
My occupation is that of being a lawyer (28.5 years). My consistent career focus has been to empower and represent low income individuals in their critical, civil survival needs. For 17 of my 22 years in Legal Services, I served as Executive Director of three Legal Services Programs. Legal Services of the Coastal Plains in northeast N.C. spanned 11 counties, which were: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank and Perquimans. In Wilmington, N.C., I spearheaded a large seven county program covering Bladen, Brunswick, Colombus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties. Subsequently, my duties as Executive Director of statewide Pennsylvania Legal Services based out of Harrisburg, PA, required executive supervision and leadership of 24 locally based programs throughout all 67 counties of that (at the time) fifth largest state in the U.S. My final twist as a blue collar lawyer was to serve as an Assistant Public Defender to represent indigents in criminal matters.
I am running for the U.S. Senate because I am sincerely convinced that I have acquired the unique sets of skills, especially through advocacy in significant defining struggles, which has forged me into being the best equipped to serve all
of the people of N.C. Further, I was not satisfied with what or who was being offered. On the one hand, the incumbent has served as the out of state, unwavering, national chief cheerleader for a failed and discredited Republican administration. On the other hand, the two leading Democratic candidates constituted more of the same old story. One, who had to be cajoled into running, is the hand-picked nominee of the old guard, power elite of the party. The other is the darling of the high-financed, special interest groups. I know North Carolina can do much better.
Many of the aforementioned advocacy challenges have prepared me in a broad substantive context to serve, lead and assure that my staff provides excellent constituent services. Further, my experience in successfully creating and sustaining community based, economic development projects provides the blue print for collaborative public private partnerships which could be replicated to uplift impoverished communities. As a U.S. Senator, I could lead the resurgence of our blighted communities, help provide meaningful job opportunities and rebuild the expectations of our youth.
The endorsement of the PDA would constitute a point of reference needed to demonstrate and acknowledge our substantive gravitas and give this campaign
Reauthorization of the Patriot Act was necessary if only to quell some fears. The Act can be inherently dangerous when it is cited and used to eviscerate our individual constitutional freedoms, which I intend to staunchly safeguard.
The Judiciary, Appropriations and Foreign Relations Committees interest me at this juncture. However, I would reserve my right to change should the newly constituted Senate offfer better leadership possibilities.
It should be noted that I have always opposed the war in Iraq. The documented public expression came during the Dr. Martin Luther King celebration convened by the Moore County NAACP in February, prior to the bombing, in which I was the keynote speaker. While evoking the spirit of Dr. King, I insisted: Mr. President , DO NOT go to war over oil.
I feel that the Iraq war was ill-advised, unnecessary and pretentious. My pains of conscience indicate that I should have done more to try to thwart it. At least, now I feel I will have the blessed opportunity to help to end it.
I applaud the PDA's emphasis on diplomacy and cooperation.Personally, I subscribe to Lincoln's mantra: Malice towards none; charity to all. Simultaneously, I am cognizant that we must stay vigilant with all of the military options prepared to be invoked or utilized with split second speed. Perhaps I am informed by the fact that my father was an Army officer, or was it those Air Force ROTC courses which I studied while at UNC in Chapel Hill?
Therefore, with respect to Iraq, I would maintain quick strike capability to serve as a working deterrent for any inimical, radical extremist force which may have designs to cripple or proactively damage our national security.
With respect to economics, first, let me share the fact that I took a heavy concentration of courses in economics in Chapel Hill and but for Student Government responsibilities, it would have been my second degree. Therefore,
I view the current fair trade/free trade dichotomy with an informed base of knowledge. Moreover, having served as chief executive officer for seventeen years of balanced budgets, with no questioned costs or defalcations, I intuitively know how to manage fiscal matters. Fair and free trade is what I would pursue.
With respect to unions, I was pleased to interface successfully with seven unions while serving as CEO of Legal Services in Pennsylvania. All collective bargaining agreements were honored and there was an atmosphere of mutual respect and seamless cooperation on my watch.
With respect to the Katrina episode, there is no greater example of the deleterious effects of cronyism. Of course the survivors deserve what they were promised and what assistance was allocated. Moreover, the diversion of applicable resources should be investigated and safeguards implemented to obviate recurrence of abuses.
As an inveterate runner/jogger, especially in my younger days, I pledge to do what must be done to promote clean energy and the concomitant features of clean air and water.
My S-10, 4 cylinder Chevy 2000 truck is not a major environmental problem. I, do, look forward to encouraging the scientific community to unleash its genius to ween us from our dependence on oil. Tax incentives and the economic returns to scale will enable the U.S. to prevail ultimately in this arena.
Finally, with respect to restoration of the rights of felons, be advised that such a provision does exist in N.C. It, generally, is incumbent upon the felon to complete all the requirements of the sentence and re-register to vote.
With your help, we will win the Primary and inherit the traditional resources (preferably not PAC money) of the Democratic Party as we fight for the win in November. Thank you for the opportunity to vie for your support.