As part of his closing argument in his vie for US Congress, candidate Dana Ferguson is appealing to voters across the political spectrum with the release of 10 commitments.
The First District is home to a very diverse population of people, all with different backgrounds and beliefs on the issues. Our representative should recognize those differences, and make an effort to be sure everyone’s voice is heard. Here are my commitments to every person of this district.
I will show up.
The number one frustration we hear from residents is a current lack of Congressional accessibility. The job of a representative is to work for the people.
I will commit to at least 20 town halls over the course of my first term. I will engage in regular meetings with local businesses, visit your communities, and open direct channels for local municipalities and the state legislator to communicate with my staff and me. We already have in place a robust plan of constituent services, inspired by Bart Stupak’s example.
I won’t divide.
For the past four years, the electorate has been divided by leaders who use fear-mongering and demagoguery. I pride myself on having run a campaign on the merits of my candidacy and on the issues. While I am a Democrat, my loyalty is to the constituency, and I will not disparage or disregard others who don’t agree with me. I will use my position to work for the people and for unity. I will resist the opportunity to capitalize on division.
I will be independent.
Having certain principles and beliefs does not predetermine my vote. I will look at every situation independently and vote according to what I believe is best for our district and our country. There’s a misclassification that a Democrat will only vote along with party leadership, but the collective voice of my constituency is more powerful than any influencer in Washington. I am strong enough to dissent and I’m principled enough to stand my ground.
I will not promote partisanship.
With certain priorities, sometimes both parties risk becoming too focused on their own preservation or strength and consequently disenfranchise people among a broad political spectrum. Not every bill should be political and not every issue is partisan. Fighting should be taken out of the issues on which we agree. We must work together to create change.
I will have the courage to speak out against anyone–whether a colleague or a hate group–who looks to limit or discriminate against individual rights.
I will listen. Your voice will be heard.
Before I vote on any issue, I will gather data and background information as well as allow ample opportunity for citizens to express their opinions. As a true representative, I understand perspectives other than my own are important in making informed decisions. I want to understand how decisions on the Hill might impact my constituents at home in ways that may not be readily apparent to me. Your input in the process is essential.
I will only be influenced by the people.
I ran my campaign on a shoe-string budget, funded overwhelmingly by individual donors. Corporate PAC money, special interest groups, and lobbyists will never influence my vote. I have made no promises or commitments to any organization in exchange for an endorsement or contribution.
I will always be honest.
Whenever I make a vote, I will be transparent about why I made my choice. I will not shy away from telling you what I believe is right–even if we disagree–and provide you with the same opportunity. I will not dodge difficult questions nor cater my answers according to my audience.
I will expand communication.
An informed electorate is an empowered electorate. This campaign already uses social media, videos, press releases, texting, surveys, and blog posts to gauge the pulse of First District citizens. This will only be enhanced during my term. You will regularly know which votes are coming up and I will actively garner your input through various channels. I will remain accessible and I will dedicate staff to reply to your inquiries in a timely manner.
Far too often we are left guessing how a representative made a decision or why they voted a certain way. I will always explain my thought process and stance on issues. I will explain my votes and be open to questions from constituents on the votes. I will hold myself accountable to the citizens of the district by allowing all concerns to be addressed.
Considering the disconnect between residents and their representative over the past four years, this is a top priority.
You will be served.
Many of the duties of being a representative do not take place in Washington. The work is at home. If residents are having difficulty with issues that can be addressed by my office – issues with unemployment, VA, passport/immigration, Social Security, Federal aid and relief, etc. – you have my commitment that resolving casework will always be a priority.
I will be representative.
For too long the role of being a representative has become detached from the concurrent role of being a citizen. It is time to unite the two roles once again. I have lived my entire life as a constituent of this district.
My roots have made me who I am, shaping the type of representative I will be. They will serve as a daily reminder of the people and communities for whom I’ve been entrusted to work. The standing of politics and politicians has been increasingly tarnished due to the growing corruption, distrust, abuse of power and money flooding elections.
It’s time to bring respect, responsibility and representation back to government and elected officials. First and foremost, I commit to always representing the people and to provide solutions we can take home.