SWA #4 Buttigieg & Yang

Swimming in Blue

At this moment, there are twelve candidates vying for the favor of the democratic partyand the future nominee of the party. The focal point of their campaigns is to distinguish themselves from Donald Trump and members of the party are looking at who can actually beat the president. Candidates Mayor Pete Buttigieg and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are two of those people are attempting to gain the favor of the public.

Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana an Afghanistan war veteran and an openly gay man to be specific the firstly openly gay man to run for office from a major political party. The main page of Buttigieg website displays the slogan “It’s time for a new generation of American leadership” fitting in with labeling himself a millennial mayor. The only way to gage any personal characteristics is the meet Pete page consisting of a mere 10 sentences. The page gives the cliff notes of the cliff notes on the life of Pete Buttigieg briefly stating his service in the army reserves as a lieutenant, a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, Harvard Alumna and the owner of two rescue dogs. Buttigieg only reference to policy is his work in South Bend and its transformation with major investment in “advanced industries with a focus on data and technology.” Mayor Buttigieg uses a person to person approach in his governing style. The only information on his policy and views are coming from town halls moderated by journalists or media personalities.

Andrew Yang takes a completely different route in the content and construction of his website. Unlike Buttigieg Yang’s website focuses on his policy and does not leave one stoneunturned. Whether it is paid family leave, controlling the cost of education or even the ever irritating robo-calls that are attacking our phone lines, Yang has been thorough on every topic one could think of. Yang provides a plan to tackle each and every issue if he is to win the presidency. The main initiative Yang has become known for is Universal Basic Income which he has an entire page dedicated too with references and experiments where UBI has be done. The website also uses images of the elderly, African-Americans and Latinos which would likely be his constituency.

The media coverage of Buttigieg is what allows for the ability for his campaign website to be barren of any specific information on him or regard to his policy. Whenever a candidate is able to gain traction in the media for their personal style, the media usually comes forward and takes the reigns in their campaign effort. This allows for candidates whose identity plays a large part in their appeal to the public dominate the news cycle and run the narrative for them. The term “Identity Politics” has become a dirty word in a way as candidates who are part of marginalized groups attempt to stay away from in order to appeal to a wider demographic.

This is a turn from usual practices during the democratic party as candidates unusual attempt to appeal to a key base which will provide a steady start and will help establish and eventually catapulted them to the main stage. The Mayor of South Bend who prides himself on being a candidate who was able to have a political career in a deep red state, wants to reach across the aisle to Trump supporters and hopes to build a bridge with Chick Fil- A because although he doesn’t support their politics of donating to LGBTQ groups but loves their chicken. Andrew Yang the entrepreneur from New York City who guest starred on a podcast that Alex Jones calls a second home to developing a following from white nationalists on 4chan yet finds it laughable that they would support an Asian man. The media documents this and serves as a departure from normal democratic party practices.

State of The Union Address SWA #3

The state of the union address primary purpose is to inform Congress and the American people the status of the country and the president’s goal for the upcoming legislative session. The address originally planned for January 29th was pushed back due to House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi after suggesting that the address is to be rescheduled. Speaker Pelosi cited the shutdown, which would’ve been on its 39th day at the time address, to be held after the government was reopened due to strain essential agencies would face preparing for the grandeur of the event.  The President then signed a bill re-opening the government for three weeks so a bi-partisan homeland security package to sign into law including funding for the wall on the southern border. Even with the cancellation and in fighting with Democrats, President Trump held the theme of unity in his address.

“We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans.” The beginning of the address sets the tone of collocation with Democrats as the divided government calls for compromise to achieve any substantial work. Trump went on to highlight the shared beliefs on promises that were campaigned on; defending American jobs, fair trade, revitalizing infrastructure, reducing the price of healthcare and prescription drugs and a safe, updated and secure immigration system. The reference to the campaign promises as “shared” further shows that even with the differences between the parties, common ground can be found. For example, on infrastructure, he says “I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill — and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment”.

On the other hand, the President made it known that if the House majority were not willing to compromise, he would get it done. When speaking of the funding of the southern border, “In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall –the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built.” He later says that everyone should get together and compromise to get the package passed but he made it abundantly clear that the wall will get built and he’ll be the reason behind it. This very much could be alluding to the idea that the President has floated around in declaring a national emergency in order to secure funding for the wall, the ultimate executive power move. Following his view of executive power, the president brings up the investigation spearheaded by Robert into the Trump campaign and collusion with Russia during the 2016 Presidential Election. In his boasting of the economic growth the country has faced in his tenure with 304,000 jobs added in January, Trump states “The only things that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations, If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!” His view of congressional oversight is clear, he believes that the investigation which he refers to as a “witch hunt”, will hinder any further growth and ability to sustain our economy. That the investigation itself is a partisan ploy to undermine his efforts and the legitimacy of his presidency which shows obvious resentment and the feeling that he as president, should not be nuanced with these type of things as it interferes with their power.

The Democratic response of the address lead by the former candidate for Governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams, served as an opposition of the sentiments expressed the president. Abrams details the chronicles of her own family who fluctuated between the lower middle class and working class sharing the hardships her parents had to endure. Through these hardships, Abrams highlights that “while success is not guaranteed, we live in a nation where opportunity is possible. But we do not succeed alone.” Abrams major disagreements come to the partial government shutdown which left hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed many working without pay.  That the decision was not notable as it put the American people in hardship many not being able to pay rent and need assistance to secure food. Another area of disagreement comes from the defense of Roe v Wade a stark contrast to Trumps want to end late-term abortions. Abrams acknowledges that compromise can be met in securing the border but the displaced children must be addressed. Another area of compromise which is possible is on the fronts of agriculture, entrepreneurship and health care shared interests with President Trump.

Virginias state legislature shares similar issues in their agenda to those highlighted during the state of the union. The major legislative goal for this session is job creation, unemployment, farmland preservation, environmental justice, DACA recipients and tax policy. At the moment Virginia is contesting an abortion bill from Gov. Ralph Northam. The bill’s intention is to lift all restrictions on abortions in the state of Virginia which Republicans in the legislature have fought against in particular the provision to allow abortions in the third trimester. This aligns with Trump’s call for a bill to be signed to end late-term abortions be signed by Congress and Democrats calling for Roe v. Wade to be held up fully. However. they differ as environmental protections are seen as a bipartisan issue as Governor Norton signed an executive order establishing the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice and in a bipartisan win with legislative leaders, backed a coal ash clean-up bill enforcing Dominion Energy to clean up four coal ash ponds around the state with some dating back to the 1930s. In response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Donald Trump signed more than a year ago, the Senate Finance subcommittee is brainstorming options for helping Virginians who might pay higher state taxes this spring because of changes in federal law. The Virginia legislature is somewhat mirroring the state of Congress at the moment, compromising on issues which affect all people but staying true to those which are embedded in the values of the two parties respectively.

 

 

 

 

Domestic Policy Foreign Policy
Confirm nominees that are stuck in the Senate Prevention of war with North Korea; Attending second summit with Kim Jong Un
To end HIV in the US by 2030 Withdrawal from INF treaty
500 Million to end childhood cancer over the next 10 years Withdrawing troops from Syria
United States Reciprocal Trade Act:  if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the same tariff on what they sell to us

 

 $100 billion in defense spending from allies

 

Infrastructure investment Recognized Juan Guaidó as legitimate leader of Venezuela
Prescription drug pricing & Transparency New trade deal with Chinas is in talks
to prohibit the late-term abortion

 

Speaking with afghan leaders and the Taliban
Increased funding for personnel on the southern border and to build the wall Strong opposition towards Iran. Reaffirming the positive impact of Withdrawal from the nuclear deal
Replacing NAFTA with USMCA — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that will re balance the trade relationship to benefit America

 

 

 

 

Maryland’s 8th District SWA #2

In my home state of Maryland, Jamie Raskin serves as my congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Raskin has represented the 8th congressional district since 2016 and had previously represented District 20 from 2007 to 2016 in the Maryland State Senate. Raskin won the eighth-house district securing over 55% of the votes in both the 2016 and 2018 election cycle solidifying his safe seat in the district named the 97th most Democratic nationally. The demographics of the Washington metropolitan area is 88.08% urban and 11.92 % rural. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 data, of the 747,185 it is approximately 48.8 % Male and 51.2? %. The racial makeup consists of 60.4 % white, 19.7% Black, 15.6% Asian, American Indian and 0.7 % Alaska Native, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and an ethnic population of 19.6% Hispanics. Congressman Raskin has set his agenda geared towards addressing the needs of the diverse population to which he serves.

The issues Rep. Raskin has decided to focus on this term are Social justice, environment, foreign affair & national security, health care, Immigration, seniors, veterans, voting rights & campaign finance, and workforce& job development. Raskin has shown his stance by securing 10.6 million dollars to assess the needs of Maryland’s children and he introduced a bipartisan bill to overturn Citizens United. Currently, Congressman Raskin serves on the House judiciary, oversight and reform, administration, steering and policy, and rules committees in the 116th congress. Rep. Raskin currently is a part of a whopping 89 caucuses including being the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Free Thought Caucus and the House Education Caucus.

Maryland is one of ten states which employ multi member districts in its legislature. Delegate Bonnie Cullison is one of three representatives of the 19th district serving in the 439th session of the General Assembly. Rep. Cullison lists her priorities as high-quality education, supporting small business, a safe and secure community, environment, economy and access to affordable health care. As a three-term incumbent, Cullison served on the health & Government Operations committee and has sponsored the Student Data Privacy Council to review practices and the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act in 2015. Currently, she is the assistant Majority whip, an associate member of Maryland’s Legislative Latino Caucus and chair of the Insurance and Pharmaceuticals Subcommittee of the Health and Government Operations Committee. The 19th district a suburb of Washington D.C., is classified as urban with a population of 121,618 according to the 2010 census. The racial makeup consists 54.37% White, 19.34% Black, 12.33% Asian, 9.47% Other, 4.00% Two or More Races, 0.44% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.05% Pacific Islander. The district is diverse in race and in gender where 51.7% of the population is female and 48.3% are male.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia & Maryland’s 19th District SWA #1

The current state of government of Virginia is divided as not one political party currently holds power in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office simultaneously. Currently, the governor’s office is held by a Democrat and the house and senate are controlled by Republicans. In the 2019 legislative session, Republicans are currently the majority with Sen. Thomas Norment Jr. serving as Senate Majority leader and Rep. Todd Gilbert serving as House Majority leader accompanied by Kirk Cox as speaker. Sen. Dick Saslaw and Rep. David Toscano serve as Senate and House Minority leaders respectively, however, Democrats have maintained control of the governor’s office with the election of Ralph Norton and the president of the Senate Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax. In both chambers’ republicans hold a slim margin of three in both the House and the Senate which could pose some issues in accomplishing its legislative goals.

The major legislative goal for this session is job creation, unemployment, farmland preservation, environmental justice, DACA recipients and tax policy. Governor Norton signed an executive order establishing the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice and in a bipartisan win with legislative leaders, backed a coal ash clean-up bill enforcing Dominion Energy to clean up four coal ash ponds around the state with some dating back to the 1930s. In response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Donald Trump signed more than a year ago, the Senate Finance subcommittee is brainstorming options for helping Virginians who might pay higher state taxes this spring because of changes in federal law. The Senate Committee on Education and Health approved Bill 1640 that DACA recipients and others who applied for permeant U.S. residency would pay in-state triton rates at state schools. Lastly, Governor Norton announced Virginias Unemployment Rate is at 2.8% which is driving the fixation on job creation due to it being the lowest rate since April 2001. This legislative session in its short time frame has shown effective bipartisanship focused on ensuring the betterment of the state and its people.

I am from Maryland’s 19th district represented in the Senate by Democrat Benjamin Kramer and in the house by Democrats Charlotte Crutchfield, Bonnie Cullison and Vaughn Stewart under Republican Governor Larry Hogan. The issues Senator Kramer has focused on this legislative season are Seniors, Environmental Protection, Public Safety, Animal Welfare, and support for those with Special Needs. As a delegate, Sen. Kramer was instrumental in passing the states strongest drunk driving law “Noah’s Law” after an officer who was killed by a drunk driver while completing a traffic stop and now currently sits on the Finance Committee and working on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program monitoring data for possible misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. Delegate Cullison prioritizes issues such as support for small business, high-quality education, safe and secure communities, environmental protection, the economy, and access to affordable healthcare. As a three-term incumbent, Cullison served on the health & Government Operations committee and has sponsored the Student Data Privacy Council to review practices and the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act in 2015. Delegate Charlotte Crutchfileds who serves on the Judiciary Committee, prioritizes strong public schools, economy, public safety, and health. Freshman delegate Vaughn Stewart has set his agenda are healthcare, transportation, education, environment, gun sense, fiscal responsibility, Economy and honesty, and accountability. Stewart currently sits on the House Environment and Transportation Committee. As a first-time voter in the last election cycle, I am very optimistic in my representatives and the work they will do this legislative session.