Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Goodbye Ed – The Fight Continues


-by Sam Jammal
Candidate for Congress

This week our grassroots movement retired Ed Royce. It’s a huge win for our community and country. We have had 24 years of Ed voting to attack immigrants, cut education, attack women’s rights, undermine our health care and do the bidding of the wealthiest special interests.

But while we retired Royce, we have not won the war. This is still a must-win seat for taking back the House.

Everything we believe in is still at risk. As a Californian, there isn’t a day that Donald Trump doesn’t attack our state. Whether its his recent decisions on drilling and cannabis or last month’s tax reform that punished our district and state, the mission remains the same-- put a check on Donald Trump.

For those of you unfamiliar with the 39th district, we are one of the most diverse districts in America-- 35% Latino, 30% Asian American, 2% African American ad 2% Arab American. The average age is 39 and we have three colleges and two community colleges in the district. This is not a district where we ever should have had a Congressman who votes with Trump 97% of the time. Hillary won the seat by 8.6%.

But demographics are not destiny. The Nixon birthplace and library is in our district, so there is symbolic importance for Republicans. Trump supporter after Trump supporter are already lining up to carry the mantle. Republicans will not go down without a fight.

We also have a crowded Democratic primary that raises the question of who are we as Democrats and what type of Democrat can actually win.

I am the progressive in this race-- I have been endorsed by Blue America, Democracy for America and Climate Hawks Vote.

I am only candidate with roots in the district. My parents are first generation immigrants from South America and the Middle East-- yes, I am Latino and Arab, so there isn’t a day Trump isn’t picking on me. My dad worked in fast food and my mother was a teacher’s assistant-- everything was sacrificed so my siblings and I could go to college.

But more than just roots and the same immigrant story as so many in the 39th, I am the only candidate to not self-fund. There are 3 millionaires-- 2 mega millionaires-- in my race. None of whom live in the district.

I still have student loans and, until recently, spent my career in public service. My kitchen table is a lot like the families of those in the 39th where the median income is $81,000-- we have to stretch our dollars as far as they can go just to get by. We are not millionaires and need representation that understands how hard we are being hit by out of pocket health care costs and higher rents.

Understanding these kitchen table issues matters. I served as a Chief of Staff in the House and Counsel in the Senate. I worked for President Obama at the Commerce Department. I was in Washington for the good, the bad and the ugly of the Obama years. I saw our party move away from being the party of the guy or gal worried about those bills at the kitchen table.

I am running because we need to be the party of working families again. And I can tell you one thing-- we do not need more millionaires in DC-- we need more fighters. Too much is at stake to just add to the cocktail party circuit.

Our economy is changing. Cars are starting to drive themselves. Drones will soon be delivering groceries and machines are replacing checkout lanes. Automation and artificial intelligence will disrupt so much of our economy. Now, more than ever, we need to be the party focused on working families and preserving the American Dream. Its hard to understand the effects of a changing economy when you haven’t had to sweat a credit card bill in years.

We cannot be the party where your ability to write yourself a check matters more than experience to do the job. It may feel expedient, but this does not win elections. Roots in the community matter-- especially in communities with functioning Republican machines like the one created by Ed Royce.

I am writing because there has been so much news about Royce’s retirement and pundits have declared victory. The reality is that we still need to win. We win with a candidate that fits our district and will fight for us. And, because so much of what believe in and stand for as Californians is at risk, someone ready to do the job on day one.

I am a progressive and I am ready to flip this seat. I started my career as a civil rights lawyer, worked in the House and Senate in senior roles, served under President Obama and worked in clean energy. On day one, I will be a fighter for progressive values and those kitchen tables in the 39th. Join my campaign at Sam4Congress.

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