As the primary draws near, I have fielded many questions regarding my campaign (or lack thereof it seems). People want to know where I am, “why don’t you have any yard signs?” is a common question. “I don’t see your Facebook posts, so I can’t share them.” “Why don’t you have a radio commercial?” My answer is always the same, I am not a wealthy white man. Jim Evans and Billy Long are, although I must point out, that is where their similarities end. Mr. Evans has personally loaned his campaign $45,000, I am entirely unable to do that. Mr. Evans is retired and financially comfortable enough to seed his own campaign. I would like to commend him on what I believe is a public service, challenging Billy Long. It is not my intention to attack Jim in his fundraising style, but I feel that I must point out that the monies he has access to are mostly his own, and do not reflect the “will of the people”. Jim has however, blown me out of the water in general public fundraising as well, and I commend him on this. Democratic party fundraising does not come easy in the 7th District. Unfortunately American politics is a game of dollars and cents, not common sense and connection with the people. Frankly, my lack of personal financial resources has been (as I knew it would be) an enormous obstacle. I’ve personally answered the question “Can Mr. Smith go to Washington?” with an emphatic “no”, at this point in history Mr. Smith is too busy making it through the month. He hasn’t the time nor energy to run for public office. It is common for a candidate to seed their account with what are called “candidate contributions”, Rep. Long started his primary campaign in 2010 with a $100,000 self funded donation. Jim Evans started his with a personal loan of $45,000, I opened my campaign account with a one hundred dollar bill, and have contributed just under $1,000 of my own resources…which one of these numbers looks like a winner? Does might make right, in the 7th District it sure looks like it does.
I actually AM a working class person. I have student loan debt, and sometimes I eat ramen noodles for a few days in a row, I plant a garden for food security, and if it fails…well, that’s where the ramen noodles come in, I can’t afford to go to the doctor because my insurance premium is too high. I am a real human being, with real problems. I am the 7th District, and I always will be. Jim is a fine candidate, but he does not know food insecurity, he does not know student loan debt, he does not know what it’s like to have month left over at the end of the money. If this conversation is about knowing the struggles of the people of the 7th district, then why is the conversation centered around two wealthy men as they fight for the seat?
Call me naive, call me whatever you want for that matter, but if you’re wondering where I am, I’m fighting for our rights, the rights of the people, the college grad paying off student loan debt by working minimum wage, the working person who has no gas to get to work tomorrow, the struggling single mother, the child going to bed hungry. It’s time phrases like “the working-poor”, “food insecurity”, and “the shrinking middle class” were not in the vocabulary in the wealthiest nation in the world. I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore. If you’d like to join me, I’d love to have your vote on August 5th. I’m ready to rise to the occasion, and I believe we all are.
R. Genevieve Williams