Sarah Smith is a Progressive - who has been endorsed by the Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress and is running as a Democratic Party candidate in the 9th Congressional District of Washington. She was interviewed by #WeThePeople on October 11th, 2017.
John starts by telling us that Sarah Smith is running against Adam Smith – not the one who wrote the book about the economy and capitalism, but kind of the same because he’s an Establishment Democrat who takes a lot of money from the Military Industrial Complex. We need to get rid of him obviously – John says, and we’ll talk to Sarah about that. She has not only been endorsed by the progressive groups mentioned above, but she has already been on the Jimmy Dore show - so this is like small beans, but we’re glad to have her because she is a Progressive. So Sarah, thank you for joining us on the program today. Thank you so much for having me - she smiles brightly, adding that there is no such thing as small media. It’s all big media! John is happy, and says - referring in part to a prior discussion in the Green room, we haven’t even had Adam Smith on the program and you are definitely way more kind than him already. Sarah laughs. Laura explains to everyone what they have to do if asking questions and drops a link to Sarah’s website while inviting the audience to try to ask about what isn’t on the site, or isn’t being discussed and that they are curious about.
You have great endorsements already. How did you manage that – John asks? Well – replies Sarah, you can’t nominate yourself so someone in your community nominates you. They basically send your reference over to a whole team that combs through it (and there is) a full vetting process before they do what they did with me, i.e. they gave me a quick phone call. They went through some of the basics; talked about some policies and about how I feel about the current state of affairs in politics. After some back-and-forth for a couple of months, they asked me whether I wanted to run for WA’s 9th district. And I said yes! I still don’t know who nominated me. I don’t want to know. I didn’t ask because I feel like not knowing means it could be anybody that I pass by on the street, and I feel like that makes me work harder. So I chose not to know. John and Laura think that is pretty cool, and John says that’s a great way to look at it, because it could be anybody in her district or even outside of it. Congratulations - he says.
They move on to healthcare. We see a photo. Sarah explains that her father was saved by Medicare. Her parents are older. My dad is in his 70s now and a couple of years ago he got really, really sick. It was bad enough that my older sister called me – she tells us, and said that I should come up to Oregon - I was in college in Arizona at the time. We tried to coordinate and bring something fun so I blew through my entire savings to buy a ticket and fly up to be with my family for a couple of days, and we turned it into a little surprise. That photo was taken when we all showed up and he doesn’t really remember (that day) now. He had blood poisoning and cellulitis. Because dad had access to Medicare, he could go to the doctor and get seen and (the treatment) didn’t bankrupt the family. We had been wiped out by the Crash in 2007 and my dad forced to retire then, because if he didn’t and didn’t Early Access some of his retirement benefits then my family would have gone under completely. So we sold our house, uprooted our life and it wound up leaving me on my own at 17. I couldn’t (have) watch(ed) my family go through that again - especially as you know, retired people don’t exactly have a whole lot of money (unless says John they are part of the 1%). Exactly – Sarah agrees. Anyway, thanks to Medicare dad got care - and good quality care, at a really good hospital in Oregon. He had an excellent specialist and in short wouldn’t be around today if not for Medicare. Part of the urgency behind my very strong outspokenness for H.R.676 - which is Rep. Conyers Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, has to do with me feeling that no family should have to worry about that kind of thing. Right now medical bankruptcy is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the wealthiest country in the world and people are making gallows-style jokes about how GoFundMe is now the largest healthcare provider in the US – that’s not good enough! My story should be the exception, not the rule and I feel very strongly and passionately that no person should forego care - because if my dad had waited even just a little bit longer, like a week … he’s an older guy and he wouldn’t have survived that. I try to imagine if I were somebody who didn’t have health insurance - and I was for a very long time in my life, if I had done what my dad did … it wasn’t the Nazi V-2 bombings in London that took him out, it wasn’t moving overseas and uprooting his life, nor building his family up, nor losing everything in the Crash … it was stepping on a stinging nettle at the wrong time in the garden! That’s my dad! I look up to him. He’s an amazing person who has lived an incredible life. She’s emotional remembering it all and says that she wants to leave this world better than she found it. Very Bernie – John says. Thank you - she replies appreciatively, and continues ... and what better way than to ensure that no other kid has to go through all that. John says that he is not insured right now. I’m one accident away from I’m not even sure what - he says, as are many others in America. They agree that it’s ridiculous.
And this ties into Adam Smith and the large amount of money that he takes from the Military Industrial Complex. WA has a nice business going up there with those guys, especially with Boeing - you were telling me. You used the word decency – John says, but there is none when we can spend $700 billion on the military and nothing on healthcare. Would you work to reduce military spending at all? I absolutely would and I’ve been outspoken about it – Sarah says. We are overspending on the military by an astronomical amount. I actually have a background in classical studies and every time I see the military budget and the graph that shows the distribution of our funds … all that echoes through my head is that Rome fell when the military had too much power and the wealth gap between the poor and the elite was way too big! That’s what crushed Rome and this is what we are seeing. It’s like staring at history and we’ve the chance to do something about it. With my background, I can point to it … The military budget is overinflated. We are spending so much money going overseas and fighting undeclared wars that Congress hasn’t even debated, because of the authorized use of military force that we thought was okay in 2001. And we’re spending astronomical funds to go fight oil wars for other countries that we just don’t need to be fighting, and as a result it’s regular people that are suffering. It’s our roads that are suffering. It’s our students and our sick. These are American lives that are being lost right here at home because we are so focused on this nebulous moving-goalposts idea of a foreign threat. Well said – says John, reminding people that this is why we need Sarah Smith not Adam Smith in Office. John continues - Adam is difficult to run against because he looks good on most counts and if you’re pro-military you look at him and think that (there’s nothing) wrong with this Democrat. You told me you were in a discussion with him and you cleaned his clock the other night. Define for me the difference between the two of you. She laughs. Adam Smith has been doing the bare minimum to be counted as a Democrat or a Progressive Democrat – she says. He takes half-measures because that way he can point and say - Well no, I sponsored a bill for a freight infrastructure (or) to re-vamp all that … so I’m progressive! However the real strain on our infrastructure comes from people not freight. The American Society of Civil Engineers says that we need 4.6 trillion dollars in overhaul just to bring us up to speed, and last night (10/11/2017) in our roundtable (discussion) he was asked how much he would spend and he said – Hundreds of billions. I said I would spend trillions because that’s what we need. Right now - she says, with the Republicans in charge of everything it’s really easy to “be a Progressive”. There’s no risk of the votes coming up or of losing donor money. What is hard is to hold the line and be progressive when it counts, and when Adam was in Office - when we had a Supermajority in the House and Senate and we had the White House, he didn’t sign on to H.R.676 and he didn’t put forth legislation for public debt-free college. He didn’t help sponsor any kind of legislation for infrastructure overhaul ... major meaningful infrastructure overhaul that is. After 21 years in Office, we just don’t have time to wait for him to drag his feet and take bold steps. We need someone in Office who is going to do it now. He’s an incremental Democrat – John says. Exactly – Sarah replies. That’s the establishment way – John continues. “Look I moved an inch here.” “Yes but we lost a foot over there!”
Healthcare is a human right - John (reads?). So I take it you are Single-Payer all the way and believe that we should fund it? She nods. What do you say to those who say we don’t have the money for that – John asks? Well – replies Sarah, if we have 72 billion dollars that we can throw into the military budget, I think we have that amount to put towards a Single-Payer option. This discussion came up in 2016 with Bernie and Hillary. Bernie talked about the Robin Hood tax – and we’ve just kind of stopped talking about that for some reason. I think it should be brought back into the conversation because I’m also very enthusiastic about debt-free publicly-funded college and vocational school, and that was how (he) proposed to fund it then. The projections said that we could pretty much wipe out student debt (1.44 trillion dollars). I think it was in 5 years. Then we would generate billions of dollars in revenue off of this, which we can use. The money is there, we just aren’t spending it right. John agrees.
You guys are doing well with this fight for $15 – John says, but talk about this “Right to work” is wrong, and where you stand with unions and labor? It should be called “Right to not work” – Sarah says, or “Right for the employer to fire you whenever they want.” I am very pro-union. I have a friend who just took a union job up here and he is thrilled about it. John shows a slide where we read the following:
“Right to work” is WRONG:
Wages - Average median household in a RTW State makes $8,740 less per year than a family in a free-bargaining State.
Infant mortality is 12.4% higher in RTW States.
Risk of Workplace death is 58% more likely in RTW States.
States with RTW laws spend 32.7% less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than free-bargaining States.
Unions have been demonized – she says, especially in the Conservative crowd and with the Republican rhetoric suggesting that unions are just after your money which is not true at all. They are about protecting you and making sure your employer doesn’t take advantage of you, because we’ve got jobs that are now minimum wage jobs with no benefits. She explains that the reason people had good-paying jobs and full benefits years ago, was because of unions who protected those wages and benefits and workers. We have just allowed this script to be re-written about unions and it just flat out isn’t true. Right to work is such a bogus name for what that kind of legislation is. I think there is a bill in the house right now to try to convert all of us on a national scale to RTW. I think that’s wrong. It’s depriving workers of the real opportunity to have a protected good-paying job with benefits. John leans forward to say –Yeah, we’ve seen this before. Sarah agrees. We know – John says, what it’s like when kids work 15-hour days in coal-mines. And when we all worked 80 hour weeks – adds Sarah. I don’t want to do that. I already work 40 hours on top of campaigning. Good point to bring up - says John, so you are working as well as campaigning right now?
Sarah works full-time for a business in downtown Renton – she tells us, and she loves it. She has a very supportive boss. I’m very lucky, but I still have to work my 40 hours because I have bills to pay and student-loan debt and mortgage and car payments … So I don’t have the resources and the fiscal power to just stop working. And - says John, if you’re running for Office you’ll have some debt from that too. Exciting! My husband - she says, is trying not to think of that. I only bring it up – John tells us, to let everybody know that you are making an investment in the United States of America and in yourself - in working for us. That’s not just you making a time investment either. Your family is involved too. Your husband is your tech guy. Thank you. That’s a huge commitment. At the end of the day - she says, it’s not about me. However someone needs to do this. It’s important. We need someone who will stand up and run and be the voice of our district.
No questions (from YouTube chat) yet - says Laura, when John asks. They’re just getting warmed up - she says.
Our wonderful content team grabbed this from your site – John says. Would you like to explain? We see a slide with the following: Regulate this (is written), followed by an image of an assault weapon, not our bodies (is written), followed by a sketch of the lower half of a woman’s body. We had an abortion bill that went through the House recently. I am a long time feminist and supporter of Planned Parenthood … Her dad raised her and her sisters to be strong and out-spoken. Right now we are more focused on regulating women’s access to birth control and safe abortions than on guns! There are stricter regulations on what I can and cannot take to avoid getting pregnant than there are on what kind of gun I can go into a local gun shop and purchase, on how much ammunition I can purchase and even on how many guns I can purchase. As a woman I can assure you that I have killed a lot less people with my vagina than someone has with a firearm! We need to put more priority on firearms and gun regulations and things like that. Part of being a Representative is being a steward of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so we also need to make sure that we are operating within that scope. However, the big thing that we need to focus on is that we are not putting our Right to (keep and) bear arms above our Right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think it was in 2014 alone that 33,599 people died to firearms, and we need to look at that figure. Millions of people have been killed because of firearms. At this point the tables are turning and things are shifting and we need to re-prioritize and make sure that we are providing progressive gun-control that actually listens to the Second Amendment, but not at the expense of other people and human life. John agrees that there are a lot of other things that we regulate more than something that can kill us. My favorite quote so far – he says, is “If you say that a car and a knife are equivalent to a gun, then you have those two things … Why do you need your gun?” Exactly - she says, and then adds a story of her own.
The laws that we see being pressed down on us at this point – John says, are nonsensical because they are not designed for people, they are designed for the sake of profit. This whole thing is really about regulating profits in the healthcare industry and (pandering to the Christian Right). What do you think of Donald Trump and his chances of remaining (in Office)? Sarah doesn’t think that the Twenty-fifth Amendment will be invoked until after 2018 because the reality of the situation is that they really want to hold on to the Republican and Conservative chokehold in Congress right now and they are trying to ram through all these bills. I think they’ll ride this out for as long as they can stomach, perhaps until he starts picking fights with Paul Ryan and Mitch O’Connell. I don’t think they are going to have the spine to stand up to him because what’s happened is that it has become less about the people and less about Congress having any kind of integrity and doing its job. The only phrase that comes to mind is – Have some dignity! John talks of GOP old-schoolers who wrote a letter addressing this situation, but says that they are all on the take and we don’t even have a unified Democratic Party standing against the President. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are still trying to work deals with Mr. Insane. They recently (10/11/2017) found out that he wasn’t going to hold his word with them on (the) DACA … Go figure – he says! Sarah adds: “Man who lies to everybody, lies to us!”
John wants to talk about Adam Smith who has lots of ready money. Sarah – he tells us, is doing really well for a progressive candidate, who is looking for us to help her out. I point that out because – he says, it is up to us to fund Sarah. Adam is funded (2017-2018) by the following industries: Defense Electronics; Lawyers/Law firms; Building trade Unions; Defense Aerospace and Real Estate. He is also funded (2017-2018) by the following contributors: Northrop Grumman; Deloitte LLP; Painters & Allied Trade Union; General Dynamics and Baker, Donelson et al. That’s where unions get tricky - says John, because there are a lot of unions right now backing some “establishment-y” people. You have to be careful with what union you are aligning yourself with. Sarah nods. Have any unions backed or endorsed you yet – John asks? Not yet – she says. I haven’t gone out in search of their endorsements so far, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to start going and talking to them and talking to their leadership. My ultimate preference would be individual donations all the way. I’m swearing off corporate money. I don’t take any super PAC contributions or I don’t work with them at all. I’m not taking any deep-pocketed money. For information, Adam is having a fundraiser in about a week, and the suggested individual donation for an attendee is $500. To put that in perspective, my average individual donation is $25. $25 is my husband and my entire budget for date night! It is unbelievable to me that the party of the working people would have fundraisers that are inaccessible to the working people, because then it just becomes about paying money to go rub elbows and take photo-ops with people. It’s not about the people at all, not about the constituents, not about the working class, not about rebuilding the middle class and it’s not a fundraiser about Medicare for All. It’s not a fundraiser that’s going to help any kind of policy that’s about the “Summer for Progress” or anything like that! That there shows the schism between the people that Adam is working with and fighting for, versus those I am working with and fighting for. I don’t take corporate money because I don’t want to represent corporations. I want to represent people. So I need to work with the people, and if people aren’t willing to give me their money and put that kind of fiscal faith in me, and they aren’t willing to donate to my campaign, then I’m doing something wrong. I just can’t imagine asking people for $500 and thinking I’m doing something right. I know Adam is about 70% funded by PACS and by the military right now. And I am 100% funded by individual donations. John draws attention to the fact that Adam wants to get rid of budget caps because that would allow them to increase spending without worrying about the budget which is a big issue right now. He has no problem with a 700 billion dollar budget for the Defense (Department), because that’s money for him. They all know what they are getting out of Adam for this … defense contracts. What do the people in your district want – John asks? You’re going door-to-door. Do they want more contracts for defense? No – replies Sarah! They do not.
My district is really interesting. We are a “majority minority” district. The majority are immigrant families and people of color. We also span from one of the poorest areas in King County through Mercer Island which is right across the shore from where Bill Gates lives - which is also in my district, and Jeff Bezos has lived on Mercer Island. So we span a huge range of different incomes and I’ve actually made a point to go to every single one of these cities and canvass in these areas and knock on doors and talk with people. Did you talk with Jeff - John asks. Was he there? I tried - Sarah says. Laura and John laugh. Sarah continues - I tried to figure out which door was Bill’s - she laughs. Every time I knock on someone’s door and I get the opportunity to chat, I find that they are dying for someone to be bold. They want bold representation! The message that we’ve got has spanned across different income levels from families making $300,000 a year to $30,000 a year. This kind of platform is something the people in this district have been dying for. I’ve been a fighter my whole life. Ask my mom. I always fight for the underdog. I don’t like watching people who are disenfranchised, marginalized, pushed aside and who are struggling (only) to be dismissed constantly. The fact is we can’t just keep waiting for someone to take the reins. Someone just needs to do it. Sarah has seen in all these places that she’s canvassed in, how people have had the same response. After 21 years of borderline inaction in our district, it’s time that one of the most progressive areas in Seattle has that bold progressive change. John and Sarah joke about Seattle and progressivism.
Adam has a bill that he is trying to get through about immigration jails and the fact that they are private profit-centers. It’s just disgusting (hearing about) the conditions and what is going on there. Where do you stand on this – John asks, and what is going on in your State with regard to these things? I’m on the Neighborhood Action Coalition for South King County – Sarah replies, and the President for our coalition - who is a very good friend of mine, went and did a tour of the SCORE jail - which is one of our detention jails. He toured it and talked to the warden and everything like that, and he said that in as much as a detention jail could be, it was the best he could have possibly hoped for, and he is huge on immigrant rights and immigration rights. He goes to downtown Kent and passes out Know-your-Rights flyers and things like that, and voter files and he has fluent Spanish and registers Spanish speakers … Adam and I do agree on this. For-profit prisons and private prisons are abhorrent. They are a blight, an absolute stain and I hate that something like this even exists in my State. Sarah is happy that in this high-immigrant community, she and Adam align on this subject.
What are Neighborhood Action Coalitions – John asks? They are really cool actually – Sarah replies. The term we all use is the GSNAC (Greater Seattle…). A few of us in South King County realized that the needs of the people here are very different from those of the people in Seattle City. Our priorities are very different. The types of communities that live in the different parts (of Seattle) are very different. We kind of split off and made a sister coalition with them for people that are in South King County (SKCNAC). We’re on Facebook. We recently held a town hall for Renton City Council candidates. We put it together and I ran the audio-visual for them, which means I did all the recording and Facebook live streaming, and my husband moderated it. It was a really cool event. They are making sure that they are reaching out into their communities. They are talking with a bunch of activist groups and working hard to ensure that community members who want to be engaged can be engaged and can stay engaged. It’s really fun to work with them. She does a lot of these live streams and town halls – John says. I like to be accessible and available for people – she replies. What kind of Rep. is that – he says jokingly. It is scary and even intimidating too – Sarah says, getting live questions and talking about these things in town halls, because you never know what people are going to be prioritizing or what someone is going to be concerned about or if you are going to have all the answers. However you don’t know what you don’t know and if nobody comes and talks to you about these things then you don’t know that this is a big deal in this area - but (you certainly cannot know that) if you are not going out and talking with them. That’s a really important part of being a candidate for me – engaging and touching base with all the different communities and I always end everything with please do e-mail me your questions. I want to answer and if I don’t know something, I want to find the answer. No one Congressperson has all the answers. I have to be willing to go and look for the stuff. I’m in the habit of that now which means I’ll be in the habit in Congress and it’s something that I want to continue to do even up to my last day in Congress. You stopped my heart a few words back – says John. Bernie Sanders may be the only one who actually does that - even though everything you say is logical and sensible and what we want to hear. I want to do this - she says. I’m not going to presume to know what the needs of the people are. I want them to tell me what their needs are. That’s the whole point of the job. The people tell you what their needs are, and you are then able to vote and introduce legislation according to those needs. I’ve reached out to Libertarians, Republicans and Green Party members … I’m just trying to take this charge of reaching across the aisle very seriously and make sure that if I represent this district in the 9th - I think we run about 25% Republican and it’s important that I reach out to them too. They deserve to have the opportunity to talk with me just as much as any Democrats do. You’ve said that no Congressperson knows it all, but apparently everyone in Congress knows more about science and climate than scientists do - John states, before asking Sarah what her thoughts are on that and then suddenly realizing that Laura has been trying to get some questions in.
Jeff Pearson in YouTube chat had a question relative to the discussion you had on legislation a while back – Laura says. Representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada are presently trying to renegotiate NAFTA (10/11/2017). What are your thoughts on NAFTA? Thank you Jeff Pearson - Sarah says. I think NAFTA was a bad deal for American workers. I’ve done a lot of familiarizing myself with NAFTA and with the provisions of it. I’ve read the stances of the politicians that I respect, and I think that it took good jobs away from Americans and it didn’t replace them with good-paying jobs. It replaced them with low-wage service industry based, jobs. It took away a lot of bargaining power from the unions. It hurt a lot of our machinist jobs. It hurt a lot of those manufacturing jobs that we hear of that are leaving this country. It took a lot of work away from Americans and a lot of wages out of our pockets and a lot of money out of our economy. I don’t think it was a good deal and I don’t think that it was negotiated right. I’m glad they are in talks to (re)negotiate it but I don’t think it was a good thing to have in place in the beginning and I do think it’s part of what is contributing to our economic problem now. Hey Ladies - says John (with a recognizable drawl), that’s a Bill bill though! You don’t want to pick on Bill Clinton’s bill. Come on now. They laugh. John thanks Sarah for citing sources and adds that from what he understands from Bernie, most trade deals are bad deals. I paraphrase – he says. Sarah nods.
Melissa would like to know whether we should have a cabinet-level Secretary of Science and Technology. Great question Melissa - Sarah responds. My gut instinct is to say yes of course - but then we also run the risk of what happens if that’s an appointed position and we get a President like Donald Trump. I mean, one who thinks that climate change isn’t real and puts in someone regressive who is going to push back on Science and Technology and things like that, or someone who is a science denier or who thinks we shouldn’t explore outer space and we should defund NASA and we shouldn’t make strides with alternative energy … I’ll have to think about that one ... It’s a really good question – she says. John talks of Lamar Smith and of how he isn’t qualified for the position he holds (Chair of the House Science Committee). I think - he says, that where Melissa is going is that this person would need to be qualified. Absolutely - Sarah says. I can’t believe we have someone in the EPA who doesn’t have a background in anything related to the EPA. No, just money - says John … which I guess is a qualifier somewhere - she adds disapprovingly. I would love to see us hammer out qualifications and qualification requirements for these positions. By way of an example, I would say that the leader for HUD should probably have some experience doing Housing and Urban Development. They joke a little. Then John says - you have to admit the people that are in Office in these roles right now, we’ve never seen the likes … It’s unprecedented the lack of qualifications in all of these roles …
Laura, were there any other questions – John asks? (Rory) just wants to know what ideas Sarah has about rebuilding the economy (and the) job market in her district? My district – Sarah says, is home to Boeing and a lot of mechanic work and machinist work. I just want to put a disclaimer on this. A lot of the things we want as people, we are told they are in different compartments. Healthcare is separate from education, which is separate from the Green economy which is separate from the job market … but, that’s not true! These aren’t separate boxes. They are rooms in a house and you need all of them in order to make that house functional. So I think that the best possible way to rebuild our economy is to implement each of these major things that we want to implement, such as Universal healthcare; access to debt-free education and access to vocational schools … because one of the two major things we need to do in order to help jump-start our economy is to invest back in our people and we do that in the form of investing in new industry - which right now is most strong in Green Energy so investing therefore in a Green Energy economy and not just assembling here in the U.S. like we do, but manufacturing too. We should be manufacturing the components to solar panels and putting those solar panels together. We should be investing those 4.6 trillion dollars into our infrastructure. We are going to need people to build these roads; to design these roads and downtowns; build the downtowns … We need businesses to occupy these new downtown areas. That’s when we are going to see the economy jump-start itself because all of a sudden people are making good, livable wages. Medicare for All means an extra up-to-$1000 a month that people will be putting back into the economy. Same goes for debt-free education, that will be an average of $350 a month that also goes back into the economy … In other words this is money that we see come back to us. So all of this has to happen at the same time! John loves the rooms in the house analogy. He thinks that most people including Bernie are not as clear on that.
He continues – Washington is very technology orientated. You, I, Elon Musk and everybody else - all see that in the future robots are going to be doing a lot more of this mechanic work, this (automative) work … Does education tie in there? What are we doing with our citizens? And I just want to throw UBI at you because you’re a Progressive. What do you think of that?
Sarah laughs. I’d say there is a kind of a two-pronged answer to that one – she says. Firstly let’s take education because I’m very passionate about that and can get a little ranty about it. Wonderful - says John. Education is crucial to so many of these things that we want to do – she says, because we can’t build solar panels if we are not training people in vocational fields on how to build them. We can’t design solar fields if we are not paying for people to go to a university and learn these skills on how to design them. If we don’t have the skills in our workforce we are never going to be able to jump-start that economy that I keep coming back to - that Green economy, and we need to make sure that that education our people receive is debt-free. All people deserve to have access to education, and right now the way that our system is set up disproportionately affects low-income families and people of color - and that’s just wrong! Education is what people use to build themselves up. I talk about my dad literally collecting scrap metal from bombed-out ruins when he was a child. He used to hike multiple miles to go get meals from the Red Cross delivered in an Emergency Truck, but it was because he went to school and because he got educated that he was able to build his life up and become something and somebody and come to the U.S. and build up that dream for us and for my family. We can’t keep talking about the American Dream and then refuse people the tools to actually achieve that American Dream.
Universal Basic Income is interesting – Sarah continues. I really like the theory behind it, but there have been mixed messages and studies and I don’t think it is going to be the silver bullet that people are hoping it is going to be. I think right now we have a huge opportunity to focus on long-term solutions in the society that we’ve got now, which are really important for us to focus on because that is going to be some kind of immediate relief. I do think we should address and talk about UBI in the future, and as a serial planner I love that we are having this conversation now before it becomes a problem. However I don’t have the knowledge and the information to be comfortable saying yeah or nay to UBI (at the present time). Is it Finland that is waiting on some results right now? I’m kind of just keeping an eye on that. They are already out - says John. They were a success and Canada already tried it in the 1960s. I’ll send you some resources (Please do – Sarah says.) because everything that they’ve done regarding UBI so far has been very successful and what they’ve found was that the people that got the money didn’t turn around and spend it on drugs or spend it on fun. Some of them spent it on education and others to improve their work conditions. I agree - says John, that we are not there yet but we are going to need it to provide purpose for people. I have read – Sarah says, that when people - having pursued an education, invested money in the economy it freed up money in one area to be re-invested into another area (of the economy). We do need to have this conversation now because when we do hit that (pre)dominantly automated economy we need to have a plan. It would make an interesting change from this moment when we didn’t seem to have a plan for a lot of the stuff that we are dealing with now. If the solution (after research) is UBI then that is the solution that I will push enthusiastically and emphatically for all people – she tells us.
Laura has a question from Alpha (Grey) Knight in YouTube chat about Sarah’s thoughts on a combo: UBI, Universal healthcare and guaranteed 3D printer. To make your own replacement organs … – John wonders? Sarah and John like the idea of that 3D printer, and Sarah adds she’d love one for free. Universal healthcare to me - she says, is a dog-whistle term. We should say Single-Payer Universal Guaranteed healthcare. To the sound of John’s laughter, Sarah says that 3D printers are awesome. I would support the bundle - she says with a grin. Alpha (Grey) Knight clarifies that (he) means a 3D printer for everyone that is capable of printing everything - including itself, and a communal source of printable material. That’s a really cool concept - Sarah says. I suppose on a larger scale it is about providing for everybody’s basic needs. I think that’s partly what the government’s responsibility is – to care for the basic needs of the people. We all need housing and access to healthcare, education, a good-paying job and protections from discrimination. If we’re talking on a metaphorical 3D-printer scale - if you will, about the government providing for all of our basic needs, I think that is really what is crucial and at the core here. We need to make sure we have a government that is providing for the people and not just taking away everything they are supposed to be providing, so that we can go get into more undocumented wars overseas – she says. John is impressed!
(Danny Naf) asks how we can most effectively advocate for Medicare for All and College for All, so that candidates like you can run on these proposals and actually win. The biggest thing that you can do is support grassroots progressive candidates as often as possible – Sarah replies. If there is a candidate where you read their platform and agree, then get involved. It isn’t just money. Give them time. Door-knocking is hard, especially in the hilly areas in Seattle - and I’m realizing how out-of-shape I am. Phone-banking is also so important. She enthuses about the incredible volunteers in her campaign. I’d be lost she says without some of them! Spread the word about these progressive campaigns. Word of mouth is far more important than we are giving it credit for. Social media is really important. What she is saying everybody - says John, is we need to practice democracy. If we want a candidate to win, we need to get off our ass. Social media is great, but you are right. This organization wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t be having this interview if it weren’t for all the volunteers that make it happen. Campaigning is tough and can wear you down, but the energy of my volunteers gives me energy – Sarah says.
To conclude, Sarah has the following message for everyone. Unlike Adam Smith, I’m a Progressive not because it’s convenient but because it’s hard. It’s how I was raised to be, because it is what the compassionate choice is – she says. Right now we are in the middle of a moral crisis. People are dying without healthcare. Students are drowning in student-debt. We are not bringing any good-paying jobs back. Climate change is right at our door and we are already suffering from it. We don’t have 21 more years to wait for our Representative to suddenly find his voice and it’s not going to take the election of Donald Trump to get me to step up to the plate and take a swing for people. It’s going to take day 1 and getting my foot in the door. It’s not going to take me 13 years to sign onto H.R.676 but from day 1 when I have my first opportunity to start co-sponsoring bills, I pledge to do so. We just can’t wait anymore. We need Progressives in Office who are going to actually show up, who are going to fight the good fight - even when it’s hard. I pledge to be a leader in Congress on the things that matter to my constituents. I want to be a Representative of, for and by the People - and that’s why you should vote for me.
What a very relaxed, informative and good-humored interview! The links are in the video description. Good luck on August 7th 2018, Sarah Smith!