Why are you running for this office?
Because I can win - I have Ted Yoho's number. Because this election is the most critical midterm of our lifetimes. Because the House is where we can erect a roadblock on the highway to hell down which the Trump administration propels us.
In your view, what are the top three issues facing the country? How are you qualified to address these issues?
1. The climate crisis is a survival or extinction issue. With a PhD in physics I can do the numbers, I can connect the dots - I see the big picture.
2. The system of corporate welfare
3. How would you assess the performance of President Trump?
President Trump has lived down to my every expectation. He said several things with which I wholeheartedly agreed, specifically no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And that Free Trade Pacts needed to be re-negotiated. As I feared, he is attacking the former and exacerbating the flaws in the later.
His pro-fossil fuel and illegal tariffs on solar panels et.al, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, and abrogation of the Iran treaty are whipping the Horsemen of Climate Apocalypse toward the abyss, incentivizing dictators to push nuclear weapons development, and increasing the price of oil to the benefit of Putin and his fossil fuel friends. His appointees across the board are committing the regulatory and deregulatory crimes that their prior records foretold. The above comments are limited unlawful behaviors within the scope of the Executive Branch. His transgressions are encyclopedic - far exceeding the scope of this response. Impeachment is the only recourse.
How would you assess the performance of the U.S. House of Representatives, how it works and the ability of individuals to make a difference?
The Republican House & Senate are permitting the deconstruction of the rule of law that is the necessary basis of democracy. They are functioning as did the Roman Senate of the Third Century - loyalty to the Executive appears to be their singular attribute. It is by this that they are driving themselves from office - a process that is daily quickening. I will not be arriving alone in D.C., I know and am working already with a number of colleagues-to-be. We will arrive in D.C. with vote-ready Acts for Single Payer Healthcare and public funding of elections, aka Healthcare for Democracy!
What more could be done to curb gun violence in this country? Share your opinion on the changes to school safety and gun ownership enforced in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act.
The Florida legislature refused to debate those actions demanded by MDS activists. The bill that was passed is NRA-lite. The debate moves to DC. My position: I hear candidates speaking to crowds saying, “No one is trying to take away your guns.” Well I am. Banning assault weapons – of course. But handguns kill far more people. So if you want to have a license to own a handgun, let's start you off with the 132 hours of training that the Florida legislature voted to require for teachers to have a gun in school. You should be around my children, or yours, with less training? As to the 2nd Amendment. I'm fine with the 2nd Amendment. And the whole Constitution. Specifically the Constitution makes the Supreme Court the final judge of what is Constitutional. And the Supreme Court has accepted as Constitutional Maryland's gun control law – which is consistent with the restrictions I posited above. I've had civilians, police officers, and my Congressman Ted Yoho tell me what they think it says. It often sounds like a recording of the NRA's greatest bloody hits. And no Ted Yoho, the NRA is not doing great things. You can say it. But it don't make it true.
The Stand Your Ground Law has been highly controversial. Do you think the law is working or is there something lawmakers should do to change it?
The effect of the SYG Law has been to make murder both legal and convenient. It encourages 'shoot to kill' as anything less remains a crime. It must be repealed in its entirety. As the many states are unlikely to affect this repeal immediately - it devolves on the U.S. Congress to make murder a Federal crime. The effect of SYG has consistently racist producing African-American deaths at rates greater than the KKK in the days' of our same. This is a federal civil rights issue.
When Richard Spencer came to the University of Florida’s campus last year, the administration at first barred him from renting a space to speak. They later reversed that and allowed the event to take place on campus. What did you think of the decisions made during this?
It was the call of President Fuchs. Other universities denied Spencer as a matter worth litigating. UF shirked this moral responsibility and left us to stand against white supremacy with its fascist overtones. We did so admirably.
Do you support legalizing marijuana for recreational use and why?
Marijuana ought never have been illegal. It must be de-categorized, legalized and all imprisoned now or previously for simple marijuana possession released, exonerated and their records cleared.
Do you support a $15 minimum wage and why?
My father taught me that all work has dignity. That is only true if anyone who works for a living, makes a living. There are no starter jobs. That moral imperative does not brook delay nor exception. Do it now. Make no exceptions: agricultural workers, prison labor, restaurant wait staff. Further, Fight for 15 started in 2012; that 15 is now a $16. This is 'Pump Up' economics - it out performs 'Trickle Down' from day 1 From day 1 businesses will find better employees - the same people but better employees as they will be less stressed. And their business will boom as others' employees will have more spending money. Economic justice demands corollary actions: Those making more than the minimum wage, do so by virtue of education, skills, dedication, and/or dependability. Remedy: Express present wage as a multiple of minimum wage. Demand that that ration be preserved (you may want to join a union if your employer does not see the logic of this). People on fixed incomes, e.g. Social Security, will require compensatory adjustments. No one should be punished for not having been paid a living wage through their career.
What, if anything, should Congress do to address concerns raised by the #MeToo movement?
I support hearings to take community and activist inputs.
Does more work need to be done on campaign finance reform? If so, what?
The Supreme Court decisions from Valeo (or before) to Citizens United mock the Constitution and have overturned a 100 years of settled jurisprudence. The instruction manual for this subversion is the Powell Memo of 1971 commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That plan outlined corporate donations to candidates of both parties and the the national committees of both parties - which became the de facto enforcers of party-corporate loyalty. This paralleled the funding of law school chairs and whole law colleges with the objective and result of producing demented law. Through the Looking Glass law that insists money is speech and corporations are people. The Federalist Society is generously funded to give legitimacy to published blathering as a breeding ground for federal court appointees. The 40-plus year result is a near-perfect Death Star that hovers above us. The only vulnerability thereof is public funding, which exists as a minor defect. We will drop a money-bomb into that defect and vaporize the system of corruption that holds us in thrall. Specifically a $1,100 voucher given to each voter to be used to support any candidate, so long as that candidate is bound to take nothing else, not even self-funding.
Do you believe reforms are needed around the issue of abortion?
Gag laws (in all areas of professional consultation) must be vitiated, but most especially in matters of women's health. Women (well, everyone) has the right to control their own body and health. I do hold that abortion ought to be rare, safe, and legal, but always at the choice of the woman. Rare implies that the society welcomes new children with single payer healthcare, paternal leave and the prospect of free daycare, Pre-K and tuition free public schools.
How do you hope to address North Central Florida’s economy and growth?
The corporate donor-owners of our Congress have starved the middle class by systematic regression of the minimum wage by rising tuition coupled to toxic student loans. Rectifying these things, as discussed at greater length in response to an earlier question, constitute pump-up economics.
How would you gauge threats to the environment and what do you hope to do about them?
Existential. We will, as MLK intoned, either live (and work) together as brothers or die together as fools. We must pass and fully implement HR 3671 by 2035. I will amend that to include a GreenHouse Gas tax at $100/ton of CO2 equivalent, this to be calculated at the source to capture co-generated methane in fracking, the high energy cost of tar sand oil extraction. This will apply market incentives to immediately reduce the most toxic fossil fuels. But this will not suffice. We must move sharply away from the Big-Ag model of agriculture toward regenerative farming.
What should Congress do to improve health care?
Single payer healthcare. Done right, it exists only as a placeholder bill in HR 676, will save one trillion dollars per year, while covering everyone with no co-pays, no deductibles, no lifetime caps while covering dental, hearing, eyesight, mental health, long term care.
What is your opinion of the Sunshine Law?
Corporate donor-owners have exercised their corrupting influence in degree. It must be reassessed - hopefully by straight arrow representatives elected by public funding.
What is an example of a policy or issue you have changed your view on in the last 20 years?
I have only in the last three years recognized the criticality of effective public funding of elections.
Do you support voting on college campuses?
I support on campus polling locations. And I recognize that the future of our nation rests to shoulders of students and will be defined by their votes - or non-votes. VOTE!
Is there anything you want us to know about your opponent¨?
Restricting my comments to Yvonne Hayes-Hinson (aka Hinson-Rawls) in the August 28 Democratic Primary: As a city commissioner, she proposed an ordinance to license bicycles. Such an ordinance in Fort Lauderdale had come to be known as Biking While Black as almost all persons ticketed were African American. She supported the $3.1 million subsidy for The Standard on the corner of West University Avenue and Southwest 13th Street while the east side infrastructure spending languished.
Why should voters vote for you?
For the same reasons that I am running for office: Because I can win. I know my district. Since June 2016 I have been mostly seven days a week out talking, protesting, marching, testifying. And I talk to everyone, not just Democrats, for this is the United States. We will never all agree, but Congressional District 3 is changing. Bernie would have won CD3 in 2016 in the general election, but lost in the closed primary. If I prevail in the closed primary of Aug. 28, my no-compromise Bernie Blue will, with your support, win in 2018. Because this election is the most critical midterm of our lifetimes. We must lay the groundwork for addressing climate crisis. Healthcare for all will quickly reveal the depth and cost of corruption of the donor-owned Congress. Public funding of elections will provide the healthcare for democracy to turn the tide. Because the House is where we can effect this nonviolent revolution.
What type of student were you in college?
Sweaty nerd. My academics were good enough to get me to CalTech (on a National Merit Scholarship). Sweaty? Through college I did not click in any sport; though not for lack of intensity. After college I got to be an ok age group marathoner/triathlete.
What is the last music concert you saw?
Tom Petty Tribute at BDP
Who is your political hero? Why?
There are many. Bernie, MLK Jr, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi. The unifying theme is civil disobedience driving non-violent revolution.
What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
'When someone first shows you who they are, believe them.' (Maya Angelou)