Why am I running for re-election to the U.S. Senate?

By Bernie Sanders

Why am I running for re-election to the U.S. Senate? Why do I need your support? The answer is pretty simple. The United States now faces the most serious set of crises since the Great Depression. In fact, if you factor in the planetary challenge of global warming, one could argue that this moment is the most pivotal in the history of our country. A few of the issues that, together, we must boldly address are:

Economically, how do we reverse policies that are destroying the middle-class and increasing poverty? How do we end the immoral and unsustainable situation in which the United States continues to have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth – with 400 billionaires owning more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans?

In the short term, how do we put the 25 million Americans who are unemployed or under-employed back to work? How do we provide health care to the 50 million who have no insurance, thousands of whom die every year because they don’t get to a doctor on time? How do we provide affordable higher-education for our young people, rather than seeing millions of them struggle with oppressive and debilitating student loans?

Politically, how do we build the kind of grass-roots movement that we need in order to make government responsive to the needs of the ninety-nine percent, and not just the richest one percent and their lobbyists? How do we educate and organize working families around a progressive agenda, and effectively combat the right-wing efforts to divide working families around “wedge issues?”

During the last year we should be proud that we have won some very significant victories. The Occupy Wall Street movement has tapped a national nerve and expressed the degree to which working people are disgusted with the power and destructiveness of Wall Street and the income and wealth inequality which exists in our country today. In Wisconsin, Ohio and other states, against powerful opposition, we have won some major electoral victories. But we all know that much more needs to be done.

When Congress reconvenes in late January here are some of the fights that, together, we have got to wage.

At a time when the U.S. House of Representatives is now dominated by right-wing extremists who are intent on destroying virtually every program that benefits working families, we have got to oppose them every step of the way. We will not allow the Republicans to give huge tax breaks to the rich and large corporations, while they work to savage Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We will vigorously oppose their efforts to increase military spending, while they push to eviscerate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and cut back on the ability of working families to receive primary health and dental care.

We must, in a very aggressive way, address the massive unemployment that we face. Today, real unemployment (counting those who have given up looking for work and those working part time when they want to work full time) is over 15 percent: 24 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. In my view, the time is now to pass a major jobs bill which will put millions of our fellow Americans back to work. We must strongly oppose the view that what Washington must do is cut, cut, cut: we must remember that our work, together, must be to build a nation that supports all its inhabitants and not just the wealthy few.

In order to accomplish that goal we need to invest hundreds of billions in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, bridges, airports, water systems, waste water plants and aging schools. Further, as we fight to reverse global warming, we need to transform our energy system away from foreign oil and fossil fuels to energy efficiency and such sustainable energies as wind, solar, geothermal and bio-mass. We also need to make major revisions in our trade policies so that corporate America starts reinvesting in this country, and not in China and other low-wage countries.

As Vermont’s Senator, I am playing a leading role in fighting for the needs of working families and the middle class. I have stood up to Wall Street and the Fed, the insurance and drug companies, the oil and coal industry and the military-industrial complex. And I intend on continuing to do that.

Many of you were a big part of my successful campaign for the United States Senate in 2006, and I thank you very much for your help in getting me elected. Some of you are new supporters and I very much look forward to working with you. If we stand together, we can be successful in stopping right-wing extremism and moving this country forward in a way that works for all the people, not just the powerful few.


Senator Bernie Sanders

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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3 Responses to Why am I running for re-election to the U.S. Senate?

  1. eslkevin says:

    Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaking to a GOP fundraiser in Burlington, Vermont: “You‘ve got a guy here by the name of Bernie Sanders that’s a whole lot like a guy named Russ Feingold, who was defeated by somebody named Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. You can do it here. Just like Russ Feingold got beat in Wisconsin, Bernie Sanders can get beat (in Vermont).” According to one media report, Priebus’ comment drew huge applause.

    Dear Kevin,

    I want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

    I also want to remind you that on December 31, just 4 days away, all Senate candidates will file detailed financial reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In the political world that we live in today, these FEC reports are enormously important because they provide public information as to the state of campaigns. With regard to my re-election effort, these reports will tell our friends and supporters the financial status of our campaign: the amount of funds we have raised, spent, and how much ‘cash-on-hand’ we have. They will also give the Republican National Committee, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers the same information – telling them how vulnerable we might be to a massive infusion of right-wing money into the state to defeat me.

    • eslkevin says:

      The absurd Citizens United Supreme Court decision has rewritten the rules of campaign finance and dramatically altered politics in America. With that decision, corporations and billionaires can spend as much as they want on political campaigns without any disclosure. That is why I have recently introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn that ruling. In my view, corporations are NOT people and should not be allowed to undermine our democracy by spending unlimited sums of money to elect or defeat the candidates they choose.

      But, wish as we might, Citizens United is in effect today, and corporate forces are expected to spend many hundreds of millions during the 2012 election cycle. As, perhaps, the most progressive member of the Senate, and as the longest serving Independent in American history, a weak report could make me vulnerable to an aggressive effort on the part of the National Republican Party, the Tea Party and numerous out-of-state special interests. The Big Money interests – Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the oil and coal companies, the military-industrial complex – are all chomping at the bit to take me down. My loss would be a huge trophy for the right-wing. We must not let that happen.

      When we talk about campaign fundraising, I should also tell you that our campaign functions very differently than that of any other U.S. Senator up for re-election. While other campaigns raise the bulk of their money from wealthier individuals and big donors, we raise a far higher percentage of our revenue from small donations, those under $200. In fact, 57 percent of the funds that my campaign has raised so far are from donations of under $200. This, incredibly, is three times greater than any other incumbent Senate campaign. As a result of your generosity, and the help of many others, over 70,000 individual contributions have been made to the Sanders campaign. Many of these donations are for $10, $30, $100 or $200. I am grateful and appreciative for every contribution, of whatever size, and I thank you all very much for your support. Without the widespread grass-roots help our campaign has been receiving from Vermont and across the country, there is no way that we could be financially competitive in this era of Citizens United.

  2. eslkevin says:

    Message body

    If it doesn’t help billionaires and huge corporations, Republicans can’t be bothered.

    John Boehner’s radical Republicans left town rather than pass a bill to protect middle class families from a $1,000 payroll tax hike. But Senate Democrats stood firm. Boehner caved. The interests of the 99 percent were protected.

    This time.

    10 Senate races are dead heats. If Republicans flip 4, they will seize complete control of Congress. We wouldn’t be able to stop their next attack on the middle class.

    That’s why we must stop them now. And we only have 4 days to do it.

    We’re still $234,000 short of meeting our Dec. 31 FEC deadline. If we miss this goal, the first stories of 2012 – election year – will be how Democrats fell short. We will lose momentum. Republicans will surge. We can’t let that happen.

    Can you give $5 or $10 right now? We can’t stop the Republicans without your help.

    We’ve reached the turning point in the upcoming election. The Iowa caucuses are only days away. This is when we grab momentum – or cede it to the Republicans.

    This is when choices are made. We can have a fighter for the middle class Elizabeth Warren – or Wall Street’s favorite senator Scott Brown. We can have a safety net beneath us – or nothing but bootstraps. We can strengthen the middle class – or favor billionaires by shifting the burden onto workers’ backs.

    I need you to be part of this choice. Join us. The DSCC relies on its more than 500,000 supporters to elect the Elizabeth Warrens, defeat the Scott Browns and ensure that the middle class has a voice in the

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