$15/hr for Those Who Are Last And Therefore First
In the first three weeks of my campaign for Governor, something has become abundantly clear. There are experts in virtually every area of public life who support seeing a new first party, the Green Party, supplant the old first parties of the Democrats and Republicans. They are supportive of a party that believes that people and the planet are more important than profit. They especially believe in a candidate who says, loud and clear, “the last are first.”
What does this mean for my campaign? It means that I am quickly developing a list of leaders in renewable energy, green jobs, supportive housing, criminal justice reform, education policy, higher education, child and protective services, immigration reform, union labor, tax reform and many other categories who want to help my campaign succeed. Their ideas are bringing clarity to my platform. Their connections are ever broadening my horizons. I am giving true progressives in our universities, in our policy networks, in our advocacy groups, in our non-profit sector a place to see their hopes, dreams, and visions for New Jersey find a political home.
This also means that I am not paying for my policy advisors. I am receiving tremendous support for free. People who are receiving wages from their day jobs are excited to volunteer their time to help me out.
This allows me to focus my campaign funds almost exclusively in ways that fit the messaging of my campaign. For a campaign that truly believes that “the last are first,” it seems to me that the resources raised by the campaign should firstly go to those who are last. It is my sincere goal to hire, firstly, canvassers and community organizers who are among ‘the last.’ I will focus on hiring passionate and skilled employees who are often hindered from finding jobs because of limitations thrust upon them by the programs and policies of a broken system. In my mind, many people who are blocked by broken policies and practices are some of the most exciting and capable employees. I want them on staff because I want to win—for them and for all us. I will focus on hiring….
- Re-entering citizens (people coming out of jail)
- Young people who have an undocumented parent
- Youth Aging out of Foster Care
- Refugees and asylees
- Disabled Individuals
- Young people who are passionate about environmental justice
- Very low income Individuals, especially from high-poverty areas of New Jersey cities
- Others who can convince me that their life situation (and those who share similar situations) should be first priority in my campaign.
If I am going to win this election I want it to be because the last have become first, and there is no better way to display this than to show the dignity and skill of those who are at the bottom of New Jersey society- not because of the content of their character but rather because of broken economic, social and political policies that keep people down. I believe this is a winning strategy.
Any person who ends up on my payroll will earn $15/hr. That is the hourly rate I will pay a campaign manager as well.
Over the course of the year, I will also surround our hired campaign staff with people who can help staffers with resumes, with job leads and with general support., This way, when the campaign ends next year, people who have worked hard and developed skills might see their own lives advance. Of course, who knows, maybe some of these people will have shown such tremendous skill and the ability to understand the policies that make lives better for poor and disenfranchised people in New Jersey, that they will become part of my leadership team as Governor!
My personal fundraising goal is $500,000 by July 1, 2017. With $500,000 I could pay 60 people $10,000 each for their part-time work on this campaign, at $15/hr ,while still having sufficient money for shirts, hats, printing, and advertising. Once we hit the $430,000 mark that kicks off public financing, which gives us $2 for every $1 we’ve raised!
Imagine a political campaign that pushes the right policies, and, in the process, brings part-time meaningful employment opportunities to people who are struggling at the bottom of our economy!
My Commitment to You:
Every two weeks I will publish, on our website, how we’re doing in terms of our fundraising. I will let you know how much money has come in and how much has been committed to being spent before July 1. I will let you know how many people we’ve hired. How many we hire is entirely up to you, people of New Jersey. This plan will only succeed with your support.
I will also maintain a running tally of policy experts who have stepped forward to coach me in the areas where I need coaching and guidance. I am proud to be a student this year—a student of all the areas of public policy that I am deficient in. I have much to give already, and, if my ears are open to experts in New Jersey who care about those who are last, and if I am really and truly open to those who are living 'last' in New Jersey, I am sure that this well spring from the bottom will become a force that transforms all of us.
I encourage you to give $15, or $30, or $45, or higher increments of $15 - as a way to remember that a $15 minimum wage is what is fair in New Jersey. That is what this campaign will deliver, from day 1.
Peace to you,