CD-04 Convention, Loveland, CO
April 15th, 2016
I am Bob Seay, and I am running for the privilege of representing CD-04 in the U.S. House of Representatives. My opponent is Ken Buck.
And that alone should make you want to vote for me.
I am currently the band director and music teacher at Lamar High School. In addition to my teaching duties, I have served as my school’s building rep for our local chapter of the National Education Association. I’m also a political activist.
I’ve done a lot of work, but I haven’t held an elected office. Compare that to the people who have been elected to office but haven’t done a lot of work, at least not for us. People like the Republicans in the Senate.
In a Congress in which 51% of the members are millionaires, I will know how it feels to live paycheck to paycheck. I know how it feels to be really sick and to not have health insurance or the money to pay for a doctor. I know what it’s like to be unemployed and alone.
I have been there.
I think about those points in my life when I get a campaign contribution from someone who lists their occupation as “unemployed.” That is an incredibly humbling feeling. This is not a game. I’m not running just so Democrats can have a name on the ballot. I’m running because I see needs that are not being met.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our campaign. Your donations make this campaign possible. Thank you to the people who have volunteered their time, knowledge, and skills to this effort. I am blessed with a lot of smart, talented, and committed friends. But we’re not there yet. We need your help now more than every if we are going to move forward.
You are encouraging us to go on. You are letting us know – letting me know – that we are not alone.
And that is why I came here tonight: To tell you that you are not alone. Because it can be lonely being a Democrat in CD-04
You are not alone if you disagree with Ken Buck and the radical agenda that he represents.
You are not alone when you believe that healthcare should be a right and not a privilege. A medical crisis should not lead to a financial disaster.
You are not alone when you believe that a woman has a right to make her own personal and private medical decisions. This is 2016. Why are we even still having that conversation?
You are not alone when you tell oil companies that homeowners and communities should have the right to say “No!” when someone wants to put an oil well in their backyard.
You are not alone.
For too long, we have been locked out of the conversations that affect our lives. We have been told to be quiet and to accept the fact that we live in a conservative district. We have been ignored and treated as if we don’t even exist. It is time for us to speak. It is time for us to be heard.
Ken Buck doesn’t want to hear us.
Ken Buck doesn’t want to hear that climate change is a real problem, even though anyone with a thermometer and a piece of graph paper can tell that it is.
Ken Buck doesn’t want to hear about campaign finance reform. Ken believes that corporations are people and that money is speech. But if money is speech, then who will speak for those who don’t have any money?
Ken Buck doesn’t want to hear that being “pro-life” means more than just telling women they have no choice. You can’t call yourself “pro-life” if you repeatedly try to defund programs that help families. If you try to defund clinics that help women. If you support policies that are killing the planet.
We are facing serious problems. But some of the solutions seem pretty obvious.
We can reduce poverty and lower the number of people who need food stamps by requiring employers to pay a living wage. You can’t really call it a “minimum wage” if it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of what it costs to live in a community. At the same time, we need to recognize the needs of small business owners in small towns, the real job creators. We give tax breaks to corporations and they move jobs overseas. Small businesses keep jobs here. Small business owners in CD-04 tend to be very good people. We need a realistic living wage structure that works for workers and for small business owners. And we need to stop using taxpayer dollars to subsidize large companies like Walmart that refuse to pay their workers a living wage.
We can save Social Security by raising the cap on social security contributions. Full disclosure: As a teacher, I am part of PERA, which is not part of the Social Security system. But most of you in this room pay 6.2% of your salary in Social Security taxes. But if you make over a million dollars a year, you pay less than 1% of that income. In what universe is that a fair system?
We can increase our productivity and encourage our young people by making it easier for qualified students to go to college. A college graduate should not have to start out with 30, 40, or $50,000 in debt. It is time for America to get back to the business of investing in education. It is time for America to get back to the business of investing in young Americans.
We can preserve the environment without sacrificing our economy by transitioning to alternative fuels. How many blacksmiths do you know? At one time, this country was full of blacksmiths. They made horseshoes, and wagon wheels, and all sorts of useful things. Where did they all go? Was there some sudden mass extinction event that only targeted blacksmiths? No. They became the men who built or worked on the cars that made their job obsolete. They transitioned from an antiquated technology to a new technology. We need to do that same thing with oil and gas. The people who are drilling for oil today could be the same people who are drilling for geothermal energy tomorrow, or working on wind farms, or solar arrays, or on things that we haven’t even thought of yet. This is not a job loss. This is a job transition.
As we consider alternative technologies, we must also consider alternative crops. Given the changes in climate and our water supply, we need to consider hemp and other crops that are better suited to our new environmental reality. We need legislation that allows farmers to do that. We need to end the “buy and dry” policies that have ruined our farmland and wrecked our economies.
We can fix our immigration problem with laws that let honest people join mainstream society instead of fixating on ways to keep people out. You can’t solve your problems by blaming them on someone else. Racist hatred has never solved anything.
I’ve heard people say that people like me are just people who want free stuff. That’s not true. That would be the Tea Party that expects to receive government benefits without paying anything for it. We understand that nothing is for free. What we want is to be able to say how the money we pay in taxes is spent. As a nation, we have invested a lot of money in corporations, in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, and other giveaways. It is time for us to invest in people. It is time for us to invest in Americans.
This election is a battle of ideas. And in a battle of ideas, we will win, because the truth is on our side. The truth is that Eastern Colorado needs the programs and policies that come from the Democratic party. CD-04 needs universal healthcare. We need economic development. And good public schools. And need immigration reform.
And Ken Buck is not helping us to meet those needs.
We are not alone. The rest of the state needs those things too. The rest of the country needs those things. And the next President of the United States, whomever she or he may be, will need a Congress that will work with them to get the job done.
You are not alone.
Your voice matters.
Your ideas matter.
And in this election, your vote will matter.
You can learn more at our website at bobforcolorado.org.
Or at BuckNo.org