Labor Day

Labor Day is a day to honor the efforts of the American labor movement, set as a federal holiday back in 1894.

Unfortunately, one of the darkest hours in the American labor movement occurred in our district, with the Loray Mills strike of 1929 in Gastonia. That event and the violence related to it renewed the attention of the nation on the struggles of the labor movement and support for the movement grew.

“For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.” Source

My maternal grandmother was an industrial machinery inspector who was a long term member of the AFL-CIO, in which she was also a leader. She was a single mother and were it not for a good union salary she would have struggled to raise her two children. My aunt had serious health complications from having Scarlet Fever at a young age. I will always honor my Grandmother’s memory by pledging my strong support for labor unions.

I will fight for a future where unions are not hamstrung by “right to work” laws that were created for the benefit of corporations at the expense of their workers. I will seek to repeal the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (The Taft-Hartley Act). I will work to ensure that unions have the right to organize unimpeded.

New Podcast – Flip the NC 10th!

We can finally reveal one of our exciting new media projects we’ve been working on: Check out Flip the NC 10th, our new podcast that we’ll use to share information about the pressing issues facing the people of North Carolina’s 10th congressional district.

In our first episode, meet our Communications Director, Courtney Phillips, and hear from me about some of the reasons I’m running to represent the people of North Carolina’s beautiful 10th district.

You can subscribe on iTunes and on Google Play today!

What NC Means to Me

My family moved to North Carolina in August of 1986. We left behind family in New Jersey and Maryland, but my father was a furniture salesman and NC was a hub for furniture manufacturing in the US. He felt there was a better chance to support his family in NC, so we moved to the suburbs of Charlotte. Charlotte was a big change for us. It was large but not as large at northern cities my parents grew up around (Baltimore and New York). It was the right fit for raising a family, large enough to have plenty of social and cultural opportunities without the hustle and bustle of the Northeast.

What I remember most about moving to North Carolina was how green it was. Every family member who visited us would always comment on how many trees there were. The air smelled fresher and looked cleaner.  Most of all, we noticed how friendly and welcoming everyone was. They would offer to help you and ask how you were doing all the time. Before long, we started feeling that these were our people. We had found our true home.

I graduated from South Mecklenburg High School where I was the school mascot and was active in student government. I was active in the Youth Involvement Council where I participated in volunteer projects such as building a storage unit for a women’s shelter and answering phones for tree service in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. And with that group I got my first taste of involvement with government, participating in many Charlotte City Council and County Commission meetings.

I attended Appalachian State University where I double-majored in political science and communications with a concentration in broadcasting. While there, I was active in student government and helped found a student run television station we called Appalvision. It was there that I fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains. Whenever I need to recharge, I take a trip to the Parkway. Whether exploring Mt. Mitchell or enjoying historic Asheville, I feel at home in Western North Carolina. Though I have had employment opportunities out of state, I’ve never seriously entertained these options. We love calling North Carolina our home.

My wife and I moved our family to McAdenville in Gaston County for many reasons. We love the small town appeal with easy access to Charlotte. We love our house, our neighborhood, and the surrounding area. And, of course, we have the Christmas lights in December. We are so fortunate to have our kids grow up in Christmastown USA and experience the magic of a community celebrating the season of joy in a very demonstrative way.

The people of North Carolina are amazing. We’re tough. We’re smart. We have been known as one of the most progressive states. Our education system has been a model for other states, thanks to politicians like Terry Sandford and Jim Hunt. We were on the cutting edge in defining the “New South”.  Unfortunately, that progress is in great jeopardy. Just as our history includes great progress, it also includes segregation and discrimination. It also includes Amendment One and HB2.  This is not the North Carolina I know. Progress scares some people.  They fear losing their place in the world. But I believe most North Carolinians know that there is room for everyone at the table. We can carry the lessons of the past, while embracing positive change, seeking expanded opportunities to embrace the American dream.

We have entered a political period in NC where those struggling with the new world are scrambling to protect their myopic world view. They seek to impose their will over the majority and will gradually subvert the democratic process. We see this in the egregious gerrymandering that has a near 50/50 state with only 3 Democratic Representatives in the house out of 13 seats. We see this in a state house where the Democrats must win over 60% of the votes in order to win a majority of seats. This is made worse by measures to restrict the precincts in minority areas and the reduction of early voting times across the state that benefit working people who face economic hardships to vote on Election Day.

I am running to represent the people of the 10th district because I believe that Republicans have gone too far.  North Carolina deserves better representation in Congress. We deserve having our interests served and not undermined in favor of the rich and powerful. We must protect NC’s environment from the effects of climate change. We must protect our voting rights.  From the erosion of our precious Outer Bank beaches to the air quality and natural beauty of our Blue Ridge Mountains, we have a duty to serve as protective stewards of our environment so that our children and their children can enjoy the majesty of our great state. We must ensure that the people of NC have access to affordable healthcare. We must create jobs in order for our people to provide for their families and live comfortably. We need to continue to make NC a place where we want our children to stay and raise their own children. We owe it to this great state and its people.

I am not a career politician. I am not part of the one percent. I work a full-time job like most of you. I am not running for Congress because I can afford it. I am running for Congress because I believe in this state and its people and know we can restore our way of life and ensure no one is left behind because of the color of their skin, who they love, where they’re from or how they worship. Together, we will be the North Carolina we were meant to be. I love this state. I love the people. I will strive to bring prosperity and equality. I will work for you and no one else. On that, you have my word.

Color Blindness is Counter Productive

When I was younger, I thought I was enlightened and would proclaim that I was “colorblind” when it came to race. I would happily befriend anyone and their race didn’t make a difference to me.

anytown.png

I was fortunate enough to attend a camp called “Anytown”. It was a camp where kids of all races and religions came together to learn about each other’s experiences and break down barriers that keep us from truly being free from prejudice. I quickly learned from them that being a minority is reflected in their daily lives in a way that I could never understand. Thinking of them in a “colorblind” way was dismissive of their life experiences and ignored a big a part of who they were as people. This applied to my LGBTQ friends as well. It was a valuable lesson to learn. It is important to treat all people equally without dismissing their identity in the process. Since my days at Anytown, I have worked hard to listen more intently to what my diverse friends are saying and have sought to use my “white guy” privilege to amplify their voices whenever possible.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/color-blindness-is-counterproductive/405037/

There is No Moral Ambiguity

To hear the leader of our great nation, Donald Trump, yet again defend the worst of our nation; unapologetic white supremacists, is disgusting. It completely underscores the fact that he once again proves that he is wholly unfit to serve as President of the United States. There can be no equivocation when it comes to white supremacy. It is evil and the real leaders of this nation have always understood this. From Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama, our presidents, democrat and republican, have made very clear that hate and bigotry have no place at the table in this country. 

I implore Republican leaders, including my opponent Patrick McHenry, to not merely speak pious, generalities about racism and hate, but wholly condemn Donald Trump for his inablitity to disavow white supremacy.  I believe some things are beyond party and allowing Donald Trump to continue with his hateful agenda whether because of party loyalty or political expediency is completely unacceptable. I know there are people of good will in both parties who truly want what is best for this country. But any respect I have for the other party is rapidly fading as they refuse to stand up and say enough is enough. To defend this man at this point will prove to be the downfall to a once great party.  While I have largely disagreed with republican policies and how they define what the American dream is, I have, until now never thought they were anything but honorable and ready to defend the basic tenets American democracy. But that is currently in doubt. Now is an opportunity for my opponent and his colleagues to act for the good of the country and stand up to the President and refuse to allow him to take us down this very dangerous path toward authoritarianism.

America fought a great war and lost many brave men and women fighting against fascism. It is not ok to support those who continue to believe in these evil ideals, especially when it is president of this United States. Until we address the poison at the very top levels of our government we will continue to slide down the road to authoritarian rule. America is a great nation. We have not always lived up to our ideals, but we have been prodded along by visionary leaders from all walks of life who paved the way to a better day by their leadership. We cannot allow America to continue down this road. Who are the leaders for this time? We are awaiting your response. Republican leaders, we are waiting. Rep. McHenry, we are waiting. We are waiting for you to do the right thing. Will you?

Condemnation of the “Unite the Right” Rally

I’m am saddened and embarrassed for America that some of our citizens seem unable to learn from history.

The current administration came to power by using the politics of division to stoke the unfounded fears of an economically stressed population. They fanned the flames and now we see the fire they’ve created.

I reject on every level the goals and claims of these witless protesters. I condemn the violence in Charlottesville that is occurring because of their mindless hatred.

America is greater for its diversity and inclusion. True liberty is not limited to a handful of people based on the happenstance of their birth.

I call on law enforcement to protect those who have put themselves in harms way to stand up and peacefully protest in the name of the ideals of inclusion, compassion, and unity.

Americans must stand together in condemning white supremacy and white nationalism. While our government must protect free speech, we as its citizens have a right to strongly reject violence, hate speech and blatant intimidation in the marketplace of ideas. This is not who we are as Americans. Now is the time for Americans of conscience to make their voices heard and proclaim racism and all other forms of bigotry will not be tolerated. This is a seminal moment in our nation’s history. I believe in the basic goodness of the American people and hope the strides that were made in the previous administration will be restored and that we can return to the understanding that all people are created equal.

Healthcare Bill Defeat

Let me be clear, I am THRILLED the Senate GOP’s latest attempt to “fix the ACA” failed. I’m here in Washington and was with Elizabeth Warren earlier in the day.

I am very thankful for Senators Collins and Murkowski for their long, principled stand for their constituents. I am thankful that Senator McCain followed up on the message of his speech earlier in the week during the motion to proceed vote that if Senate Leadership did not deliver a viable option, he would vote no.

But please understand that despite the people of America winning this current battle, the war is long from over. In order to pass the tax cuts for the wealthy that they want to pass so badly, they need to get the money from somewhere. Cutting this is a big piece required to pass their plan. They will not walk away from this fight. They’re going to come back in some other way, likely with little warning.

Be vigilant, continue to stand together to amplify our voices, and make sure you support those of us working hard to overturn their majorities in Congress so we can stop the assault on the ACA and move towards single-payer or at the very least a strong public option such as Medicare for all.

-DWB

President Trump’s Policy on Trans Soldiers in the Military

Yesterday morning, President Trump issued a Twitter thread announcing a barring of Trans Americans from serving in our military. 

Yet again, our President announces an ill conceived policy that has no merit and one that harms American soldiers.

An American President should not seek to divide their citizens nor discriminate against any group  based on ignorance.

I am extremely proud of each and every American soldier who has fought for our Nation, no matter their personal identity choices. 

I implore the Administration to reverse this harmful policy immediately and to consult with our Joint Chiefs of Staff before making such policies ever again.

I stand with all of our trans citizens and will never be ok with any form of discrimination against them.

Campaign on the Road – iTunes playlist

As I travel the district, I’m spending loads of time in my car. When I’m not talking with people on the phone, I’m listening to some good music.

I thought I’d share my current playlist. You’ll get to see some of my new favorites, some old favorites, and a bit of “road music”.

Enjoy!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/campaign-on-the-road/idpl.u-b3Pa3UW7oEv

Song – Artist – Album
Tell Me a Tale – Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Home Again – Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Love & Hate – Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
Cold Little Heart – Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
Little Numbers – BOY – Mutual Friends
Drive Darling – BOY – Mutual Friends
In the Heat of the Moment – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday (Deluxe Version)
Ballad of the Mighty I – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday (Deluxe Version)
Wall of Glass – Liam Gallagher – As You Were (Deluxe Edition)
Bright Lights – Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu (Deluxe Version)
When My Train Pulls In – Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu (Deluxe Version)
Want You Back – HAIM – Something To Tell You
Little of Your Love – HAIM – Something To Tell You
Good Man – Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
Just Don’t (feat. Yukimi Nakano) – Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
Losing You – Wild Belle – Dreamland
Man of War – Radiohead – OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017
War On War – Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend) – Wilco – The Whole Love (Deluxe Version)
America – Simon & Garfunkel – The Essential Simon & Garfunkel
Over The Hills And Far Away [Remastered] – Led Zeppelin – Mothership
American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Anthology – Through the Years
I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers & Tom Petty – Anthology – Through the Years
Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
Take It Easy – The Eagles – Eagles
On the Road Again – Willie Nelson – 16 Biggest Hits: Willie Nelson
Ride It On – Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly
Travelin’ On – Nikki Talley – Out from the Harbor
Any Road – George Harrison – Brainwashed
Awaiting On You All [Early Take] – George Harrison – Early Takes, Vol. 1
Strangers (Stereo) [2014 Remastered Version] – The Kinks – Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround, Pt. 1 + Percy
This Time Tomorrow (Stereo) [2014 Remastered Version] – The Kinks – Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround, Pt. 1 + Percy
Wonderful (The Way I Feel) – My Morning Jacket – Circuital