'Did she say she isn't spending any contributions?? She's going to give it away??'
Yes, you read that right: when you donate, your supporting the community, not a politician.
One of the core principles of this campaign is to donate the financial contributions: you will not see billboards with my name but instead you will see the campaign give back to local non-profits. You will not see negative television ads during the nightly news broadcast, but you will see donation drives during the events. And this website, the business cards and a few t-shirts we'll have made up will be self-financed.
'Oh, she must be one of those independently wealthy people who's just rolling in it...'
(...if wishing made it so... sigh.)
No; I am a full-time, working mother of 3 beautiful girls, with a daycare payment and a budget. Because I am literally writing the checks, I don't take spending lightly and only spend when absolutely necessary. I am determined to break the dangerous cycle of 'pay to play' that seems to have invaded our elections.
'Why such an extreme idea?'
First, it only sounds extreme because it hasn't been done before, but what could be simpler than donating back to the community? This is honestly the part of the campaign that I look forward to most.
Next, financial burden should never keep a single person from running for office. If political candidates can only compete once their bank accounts reach a certain threshold, what kind of equality can we really be representing?
Finally, Democracy is about the ability of each voice to have the same weight; how can that happen when favors are routinely traded? I want to ensure that representation of my district is clear and fair.
'Can't you take donations to cover just the 'necessary' expenses?'
Sometimes it would be so much easier to say 'yes,' but that subjectivity is a slippery slope and a fine line to draw. If you draw the line anywhere else, you begin to justify what is necessary.
'Can you possibly be a 'legitimate' candidate?'
Absolutely. If we continue to define 'legitimacy' by donations, we continue to ask for more of the same. Legitimacy comes from willingness to do the work: if I want to change the system, I have to do something different. I will work harder and prove innovation and dedication determine success, not zeros and commas.
'So if you're just going to give it away, why should I give to you?'
We are stronger when we work together: there is a strength that comes from standing with a group and saying 'this is what's important to us and our community.' Like any charitable giving, you decide what you want to support. I can't convince anyone to support something they do not believe in. But I do hope you believe in your community and in your neighbors, and if you are willing to walk with me and try something new, we can turn a campaign into a tool for good.
'What does this look like?'
I will spend less in total this year than most campaigns spend on postage alone. For example, I have no need to pay consultants to tell me how to dice up my policies so they appeal to the masses (my policies come from the district already); I don't need to pay web designers $15,000 to create a page (I can pay SquareSpace $250 and do it myself); And I am not interested in the quid pro quo game of receiving donations from one group just to turn around and give it back so everyone show's up on each other's donor lists (check out the FEC filing data and see just how much back scratching there is...).
If you want to join me in supporting our community, and I hope you do, feel confident that your contribution has a much higher purpose: to uplift, support and empower the district you live in.