As a 25 year resident of Austin, I have spent my career working for progressive causes like affordable housing, access to healthcare, and transportation choices because I believe it is important that my work have a real impact on improving people’s lives. I started by helping elect progressive candidates and fighting against Republicans as the Executive Director of the Travis County Democratic Party. I led the campaign to establish the Travis County Hospital District and founded the first car sharing service in Texas. I then created the successful effort to invest $65 million in affordable housing and launched and currently lead Austin B-cycle, one of the most successful bike share systems in the U.S.
I did all of these things, not out of ambition or personal profit, but because I care about our community. I know it is not enough to talk about issues: We must take action to create and support meaningful change.
I have never wanted to run for public office, so why am I taking on Lamar Smith, a 30-year House incumbent?
The election of Donald Trump represents a perilous time for our country. Decades of political dysfunction and ever growing wealth inequity have led to a record number of Americans losing their faith in our democracy. As the consummate con man, Trump exploited this divide, and now his administration helped by Congressmen like Lamar Smith are waging a daily attack on science, truth, and our democratic institutions.
Congressman Lamar Smith is an out of touch career politician who is in the pocket of corporate interests. When Smith was first elected, Top Gun was the top grossing film, Cool Ranch Doritos were a brand new flavor, and Hands Across America was a big deal. In the time since then, wealth inequity has grown nearly as fast as the political dysfunction in Washington. For 30 years, Republican policies have gutted the middle and working class, failing on the promise that cuts to taxes for the wealthiest would help us all.
He was the first Congressman to contribute to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign last year, and in January he stood on the floor of the House and said, “Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.” Smith pursues an extreme ideology that would sacrifice healthcare coverage for tens of millions of Americans and attacks legitimate science as his cynical ploy to benefit his special interest funders.
It is time for Smith to go.
The public mood has shifted against the Republicans, and Lamar Smith is vulnerable. A perfect storm is brewing for Democrats to take back the House of Representatives in 2018, but we can only win with a great candidate and the resources to mount an effective campaign. The Republicans are not going to go easily. We need someone who is an authentic progressive and will not shy away from the fight.
I have been through many tough political battles. I figured out how to build coalitions and win while keeping my integrity and progressive values. The time for politics as usual is over. The time for good people to step up and lead is now. I want to take my record of effective, progressive leadership to Washington so we can restore Congress as an equal and independent legislative body, reform our electoral system so it will reflect the voice of voters, and invest in our people so we can all enjoy our country’s prosperity.
- hold Trump accountable for his corrupt behavior and abuse of power by calling for the beginning of impeachment proceedings
- work to end partisan gerrymandering and dark corporate money that threaten our democracy
- pass an infrastructure bill to repair our roads and bridges, expand and upgrade transit choices, and create a modern energy grid
- end the education debt cycle by creating low cost and free tuition programs
- expand access to healthcare with a Medicare for All program so every American has access to healthcare, and we banish bankruptcy by illness once and for all
If you share my vision and you want someone who will show up and fight for you, I ask for your support and invite you to please join my campaign to retire this out of touch, career politician.
Elliott McFadden, Democrat for Congress, TX-21