This is the speech I wrote to deliver at the candidate forum. Little had I realized just how short a two minute speech would have to be. I thought this was supposed to be a time for serious discussion of politics and views. This is living politics.
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration."
--Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress , December 3, 1861
I agree with this estimate of the situation between labor and capital. My campaign is borne out of frustration and anger towards our system of government. I enjoy the notions of liberty and democracy that form the core of American political values but I feel powerless against the oppressive position our government has taken against the best interest of its own people.
Our government dictates an economic system that favors a small group of the wealthiest members of our society while enslaving the majority of its population into low paying jobs with little opportunity for growth, development, or security. Like the socialists, I believe people should be guaranteed as a basic right: access to health care, good education, decent and secure jobs, and safe, affordable housing.
However, this election is not about ideas of injustice and inequality.
What can the city do? The city needs to go into business. We need to take a more active role in creating good jobs that pay workers at a minimum, a living wage. And as many of you know, I support a reduction in the workday by two hours for city employees. I realize this policy would cost millions to implement therefore I would like to put the issue before the voters of the city in the 2003 election.
However, it has been over 85 years since we've had a reduction in the workday. And people who were fighting for the 8 hour work day over 100 years ago thought that it would offer temporary relief until further improvements in efficiency and technology would allow further reductions. We've seen those improvements but haven't heard a single word on a further reduction. This is an issue that Richmond could take the lead on, and be an example for the rest of the nation and get fellow Americans thinking and talking about this issue.
I favor the creation of new city jobs such as neighborhood daycare centers that are free to single parent families with stipulations tied to employment and households earning less than $50,000 a year. This could allow single parents to have the opportunity to get a job and get out of the system of poverty.
The city also needs to take a more active role in training and developing its labor force.
This includes education as well as vocational training.
I like the idea of hiring people on for a year contract-- pay them a living wage and training them as construction workers to recondition the dilapidating properties owned by the city. These workers will be learning a skill that can get them a job after the program is over, they will be earning a decent wage, they can take pride knowing that they are helping to rebuild their community. We could also give these workers preference in buying the homes they help to rebuild.
We can also do more for our elderly. It's a good idea to abate the personal property taxes for the elderly. These are people who have spent their lives living and working in Richmond. It is a courtesy, we as a city, may extend to this economically vunerable class of citizens. These people are living on fixed incomes and could benefit enormously from any help the city saw capable of providing them. This is an example of something the city may be able to do if the constitutional amendment passes this November.
In closing, I am concerned by the direction of our political system which has passed into the hands of professional politicians. And our government, which in many cases, becomes a means for robbery of the poeple. People must take over the government from the business men and lawyers. We need a govenment that is made of up of real men and women that care enough to get involved, that have good ideas and compassion for their fellow man.
Finally, I would like to encourage all of you workers out there, despite Virginia's strongly anti-union legislation: UNIONIZE, UNIONIZE, UNIONIZE!