To the readers of TapInto Springfield,
They™ say millennials don't vote. They™ say all we do is ruin the economy and eat Tide pods. But in 2016, millennials voted like crazy, and many of us got involved in politics. I joined my local Democratic party and now serve on my town's Planning Board. I know what it takes to mobilize people because I got mobilized myself, and then turned around and did a lot of mobilizing.
Now, I'm supporting Tom Malinowski to #FlipThe7th – and here's why you should too.
As a lifelong Springfield resident, I'm embarrassed by the fact that Leonard Lance has been my Congressman for a decade. He's even been rated the 5th most useless member of Congress – never written a single bill, can barely get support for anything that he sponsors, can't even cast a newsworthy vote unless Paul Ryan lets him so he can claim he was courageous or something. Let's not even talk about the attacks on healthcare, voting to dismantle Dodd-Frank, letting ISPs sell private data...
Nope. Time for this guy to go.
In 2016, Lance won by 34,000 votes. What will mobilize people across the 7th District – including millennials – come November?
We need a candidate who has experience navigating Washington without sacrificing a bold, progressive message that will turn out the vote. Fortunately, Tom Malinowski presents both. He's spent his entire professional career in diplomacy and human rights, but don't think he's some kind of shapeshifting Washington insider – because that couldn't be further from the truth.
Tom supports a $15 minimum wage, sustainable green energy, an equitable tax plan for working class Americans, a public healthcare option, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, equal pay for equal work, improving our voting machine infrastructure, raising the minimum wage, and paid family leave. He's against climate change denial, the PennEast Pipeline, massive tax giveaways for our richest corporate executives and shareholders, and allowing the lobbyists and special interests to buy elections.
Speaking of which – and this is huge for my generation, as well as The Other Generations – Tom swore not to take corporate PAC money, and that got him endorsed by End Citizens United. That's honestly tough to do when so much dark money is flooding our system. (Fortunately, he's a great fundraiser regardless.) The only other candidate who's pledged not to take dark dollars in this race is Peter Jacob, an inspiring social worker who ran against Lance in 2016, and for whom I served as Volunteer Coordinator.
I can't come out in vocal support of Tom without addressing the elephant in the room: yes, Tom is a dude, running in a year when more women are seeking public office than ever before. But he empowers women every day. Not only does Tom give women a seat at the table on his own campaign, and not only is Tom the father of a young woman himself, but as director of Humans Rights Watch, Tom fought for women all over the world. He fought for a seat at the table for women during the Afghani peace process; he opposed the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia; he funded women's groups in Syria who stood up to deadly extremists. Tom has not only proven that he fights for women, but he knows that the fight isn't even close to over. He's committed himself to protecting Planned Parenthood and women's reproductive rights; and even though that's not exactly rare for a Democrat, we're living during a time when that pledge needs to be louder than ever.
The 7th District has been heavily gerrymandered to protect Rep. Lance's seat, and it's going to be one hell of a fight if we want to win in November and finally say #ByeByeLance. But I say with full confidence that as the son of immigrants and a lifelong district resident, I would actually be proud to have a Congressman who's an immigrant, a Jersey boy, and a fighter.
That's why I'm #TeamTom, and I hope you will be too.