Letters From the 50th Congressional District, Redux

I was asked to provide my thoughts on the other four candidates. Since I had already typed it up, I decided to share it publicly. Just for the sake of clarity, these are just my opinions, and I’m no one particularly special. I’m just an engaged voter, and the room was full of engaged voters. We were all in the same room having a shared experience, but since we each bring our own world views and life experiences with us, we didn’t all experience the candidates the same way. My mother, for example, does NOT agree with my assessment of Ammar Campa-Najjar. Just because I don’t like a candidate doesn’t mean they’re not a good candidate, and just because I don’t like a candidate today doesn’t mean I won’t like them in 6 months. This is just what I currently think about the current candidates. We’re over a year out from the primary, and a lot can happen in a year. This is a process folks, and I’m processing it.

Glenn Jensen – His background makes him one of the most electable candidates in this district, and I think he had the best answer when it came to protecting our digital information. He’s clearly very knowledgeable about that topic. But I have a lot of concerns about Jensen. In his opening statement he said he was a former Republican. What made him switch? He has worked on legislation in the past. What legislation? When? He said he’s worked with the Department of Defense. In what capacity? He said that he supports the ACA with some minor changes, but then later he said he supports Single Payer healthcare. To me this is an inconsistent statement. I felt he was pretty vague on most questions, and in both his opening and his closing he said “Your lives matter.” The phrasing and intonation felt to me to be an appropriation of ‘Black Lives Matter.’ It was too close to saying ‘All Lives Matter’ for my comfort. For me I’ve had enough Republicans in sheep’s clothing. I am going to back a truly progressive candidate, regardless of his or her electability.

Gloria Chadwick – I think her experience in the healthcare system would be a real asset in Congress. There are far too many lawyers and not enough nurses making decisions for this country. My reservation about Chadwick is she seems very good at talking about hyper specific topics that interest her, and terrible at responding to what her audience wants to hear about. If Chadwick presented any substantive plans to help the district, I missed it as I struggled to follow what felt to me to be a stream of consciousness monologue about the minutia of the hospital board. Frequently I found myself thinking ‘What the heck is she talking about right now?’ It seems like she’d probably be very good at drilling down on the nitty gritty of law making, but she is going to have make some drastic alterations to her presentation style and her message if she wants to get elected. ‘Here are some super boring specifics about what I did on an arcane board no one really understands’ is not inspiring messaging.

Josh Butner – Like Jensen, Butner’s background makes him one of the more electable candidates for this district. But for me, Butner wholly failed to make any sort of impression, good or bad. I said to my husband an hour after we left ‘I’m already starting to forget Josh Butner.’ Everything he said was just so generic. He’s running to serve people. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We need to invest in our future. And then in his closing he quoted this most-often quoted JFK quote. It’s as if he came from a factory where they produce fungible centrist Democratic candidates. I suppose this can be turned into an asset, because I also didn’t find anything objectionable about him. Or at least that would have been an asset in the past. We live in a world where Donald Trump is president. Today it might be a bigger sin to be forgettable than objectionable.

Pierre Beauregard – I do not doubt for a moment Beauregard’s sincerity, I love that his card can be planted to grow wildflowers, and I’d love share a bottle of wine with him and hear about his life, because it sounds like he’s led a fascinating existence. I just don’t think he comes off as a serious candidate right now, bless his heart. I worry he’s not going to be able to attract sufficient funding by a long shot. He doesn’t have any specific plans for, well, anything. His closing was strong, but it felt like he was making up his opening statement on the fly after having just been told for the first time ever that he needed an opening statement 60 seconds before being handed the mic. I think he can be a very effective activist and agitator, but I just cannot see him being effective within the system at this point.

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