In this week’s edition of my “Freedom’s Journal” column, I’m announcing my May 15, 2018 May primary election endorsements.
Why me, you might ask? Who do I think I am, you might ask? Why should you accept my endorsements, you might ask? Here’s why: To whom much is given, much is required. I have been a radio show host for more than 15 years, a trial attorney for more than 20 years, a cultural/political activist since my college days, and an African descendant throughout my entire lifetime. As a result of those blessings, I have been put in a position to access and uncover enlightening information that can bring about justice, equity, and eventually liberation for Blacks.
Accordingly, prior to each election, I use that information to compile my endorsement list. Why? There are two reasons. One — literally hundreds of voters always specifically ask me to do so. Two — unlike the average voter, I have the time and resources to thoroughly research the candidates. Therefore, I am able to distinguish the good candidates from the bad ones (as well as the not-so-bad candidates from the truly bad ones), particularly in regard to what they have done or not done for our community.
I titled this column “Vote or Die,” but I didn’t mean a mere political death in terms of no influence in local, state, and federal governments. I also meant economic death in terms of no jobs, educational death in terms of no schooling, and actual death in terms of no health care.
Before I list my endorsements, allow me to provide ten reasons why you must vote:
1. Donald Trump
2. His enabling Republican Congress
3. His Attorney General (Sessions) who’s jailing Blacks and ripping Brown children from their parents
4. His EPA Secretary (Pruitt) who’s raping — which is defined as plundering — the environment with air, water, and ground pollutants
5. His Treasury Secretary (Mnuchin) who’s conspiring with banks to rob the public
6. His Education Secretary (DeVos) who’s dumber than a bag of rocks
7. His HUD Secretary (Carson) who wants to evict poor people from public housing
8. PA Republican Governor candidate (Wagner) who — like Trump — doesn’t believe in industry-created climate change but does believe in Trump
9. The first step toward political change is the election of progressive local, state, and federal candidates.
10. I’m no fan of unimaginative, weak-kneed, principles-compromising Democrats. But if we gotta hold our nose and vote for them in order to beat the local, state, and federal Trumpy Republicans, then let’s do it, dammit!
Although I strongly endorse all of the great candidates I’m about to list, three are exceptional. They are Dwight Evans for Congress, Tom Wolf for Governor, and John Fetterman for Lieutenant Governor.
Evans started out as a public school teacher and community activist. In 1990, he made history by becoming the first Black person selected Chairperson of the Commonwealth’s powerful House Appropriation Committee. He is responsible for the economic rebirth of the once-blighted West Oak Lane neighborhood along Ogontz Avenue. It was his Ogontz Avenue Redevelopment Corporation that brought about this renaissance that included Ogontz Plaza in 1987, Ogontz Hall in 1992, Concerned Black Men Headquarters in 1994, and Ogontz III in 1995. He also established dozens of housing units. After his 35 years as an exceptional state legislator, he decided in 2016 to take his state “wokeness” to the federal level as a Congressman. And it didn’t take long for him to make progressive change and for Congress as well as President Barack Obama to take notice beginning with Evans’ “Fresh Food Financing Initiative” (FFFI) that allocated close to $100 million in public and private funds to create nearly 100 supermarkets and 5,000 jobs throughout Pennsylvania. Other states, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York, started replicating his FFFI in various cities. And President Obama was so impressed with Evans’ idea that he created the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative to build supermarkets in poor under-served communities. Last year, Evans held a remarkably constructive criminal justice reform event at University of Penn
Wolf, since taking office as Governor in 2015, has donated his salary to charity and refuses to take a pension. He supports criminal justice and prison reform, which is why he supported the release of Meek Mill and other similarly situated persons jailed for non-violent infractions. He provided health insurance to 720,000 Pennsylvanians by expanding Medicare. He’s focused on enhancing the educational welfare of students, which is why he fully restored the one billion dollar education cut made by the prior Governor, a Republican. Oh, and by the way, he saved financially destitute Cheyney University from permanent closure last year when he personally threw my historic alma mater a much-needed lifeline in the form of a $30 million infusion. Two years earlier, he said, “Cheyney will not die on... (my) watch.” And as a man of his word, he was right.
Fetterman served as Mayor of Braddock for three terms. And during that time, he implemented his progressive- actually revolutionary- agenda. This tattooed, former football-playing Harvard grad fought and won battles for racial justice, immigrant rights, marriage equality, environmental protection, urban farming, quality health care for all, affordable housing, and an immediate end to the so-called war on drugs, which is nothing more than a racist and classist war on Black, Brown, and poor white people.
Now here’s my complete list:
U.S. Congress — District 3: Dwight Evans
Governor: Tom Wolf
Lieutenant Governor: John Fetterman
Pa. House of Representatives:
District 188- James Roebuck
District 190- Vanessa L. Brown
District 198- Bernard A. Williams
City Ballot Questions: YES on all three