Good evening, Daily Kos! My name is Rich Anthony, and I’m running for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.
As a Progressive, I’m encouraged by the wins of fellow Democrats Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, Mark Warner and Barack Obama, each of whom carried the 10th. For years now, demographics have been pushing the district inexorably into the “blue” zone politically. So, this race is very winnable for the right Democrat with the right message and the resources to get that message out.
What is that message? In part, it’s that Congress spent the last decade robbing the middle class in broad daylight and nobody bothered to call the police.
Let me put it another way. The fiscal and policy choices made by our representatives in Washington represent nothing less than a betrayal of trust to the middle class. As a result, the middle class – historically the backbone of America - has seen its leaders turn their backs on them through a systematic dismantling of the core values America was built on. Instead of that kind of “leadership,” we need people in Congress who get up every morning wondering what they can do to help get people back to work and get this economy back on track. We need leaders focused on “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.” In a way, it really is that simple.
Before I go any further, there are a few things that you should know about me and that will become obvious to the voters in the 10th CD as the campaign moves forward.
First, I’m like most people in my district. I wasn’t born into money, I didn’t go to an Ivy League school, and I haven’t spent my life building contacts and networks that would one day help me get elected to Congress. I don’t have a bunch of wealthy friends or family that can fund this campaign. My wife and I both work and spend most of our free time making sure our kids grow up happy and healthy and do their best in school. The middle class values we were taught as kids are the same values we’re passing on to our children. We all give back to the community as much as possible and we’re thankful for what we have.
Second, with me, what you see is what you get. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. Voters will see that I don’t do “spin” and that I tell it like I see it. I’m pretty sure that’s going to get me into trouble at times, but that’s fine; frankly, I’m tired of hearing politicians talk but never say anything. If you ask me a direct question, you’re going to get a direct answer. It won’t be sanitized, consultant approved, or watered down to a sound bite.
Finally, I’m proud of the Progressive Democratic values I stand for and I will fight passionately for them. People ask me what it means to be a Progressive Democrat. I tell them that I want good schools for our children, safe streets and communities, clean air and water, politicians who tell the truth, ethical businesses, jobs that pay a good wage and come with good benefits, access to affordable health care and when we get old, respect and dignity. I’ll settle for nothing less and I will fight everyday to protect and defend those values.
I’m a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt and one of my favorite quotes comes from him: "Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big." Roosevelt delivered those words a century ago. Today, the "Party of No" can talk all they want about who’s to blame and who did what, but in the end talk is cheap. I believe actions, more than words, reveal someone’s true nature.
Along those lines, what does it say about members of Congress when they pass legislation making it easier and more profitable to shut down factories here in America and ship those jobs overseas?
What does it say about members of Congress when they vote to bail out Wall Street but forget Main Street, where small businesses have been forced to close their doors and layoff loyal employees?
Worst of all, what does it say about members of Congress when they mortgage our children’s futures in the form of a ballooning deficit and a worsening economy?
Unfortunately, it’s become permissible for our elected leaders to be more concerned with their own political future and the future of their party than with truly serving the people they represent. What ever happened to leaders for whom words like character, honor and respect used to mean something? What happened to people looking up to their leaders as role models for their children?
Sadly, that’s not the way it is today.
Today, people need jobs. Our children need a high-quality education to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. What we don’t need are career politicians who have no ideas for solving our country’s problems and frankly aren’t even trying very hard to think of any. What we don’t need are politicians who have turned their backs on people in need. Perhaps it’s time for those politicians to know what it's like to be out of work.
In my next post, I’ll fill you in on the Republican incumbent I’m running against – Frank Wolf. This is a guy whose best idea for solving the unemployment crisis was to vote against the economic recovery package and then hold a job fair at which many of the employers were federal agencies like the CIA and FBI. In addition to his (many) other faults, Frank Wolf apparently has no sense of irony.