Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Campaign Kickoff and Headquarters Grand Opening

Here's the transcript of my press conference speech at the grand opening of our campaign headquarters July 16, 2010.

Good evening. I'd like to thank you all for joining us for our campaign kick-off and headquarters grand opening.

My name's Dave Ewoldt, and I plan on being LD28's next State Senator as an Independent.

The first question I often get asked is why a one-time Republican and long-time Green is running as an Independent. There are two reasons for this decision.

The first is that party politics is a distraction from the issues we must start dealing with. The energy supplies necessary to power global economic growth are running out, getting more expensive, and contributing to another impending crisis, global warming. Infinite economic growth simply isn't possible on a finite planet. We've handed our democracy over to elite special interests who put profit above people and planet. Here in Arizona, we also don't have the water supplies to continue rubber-stamping growth. But the response from both major political parties is to give us more of what's causing all these problems.

The second reason I'm running as an Independent is because there are more Independents in LD28 than Republicans, and between the two of them, they outnumber the Democrats, who are also becoming disillusioned with empty promises of hope, and becoming tired of being told there's nothing we can do about it.

The forlorn cry of supporters of the status quo, from both ends of the political spectrum, is for a return to normal, and they simply don't want to think about the simple fact that normal is what got us into this mess. However, since it's becoming impossible to continue denying that what we're doing isn't working, it's time to start doing things differently without falling back on the cop-out that change is not politically feasible. You know, when you find yourself at the bottom of a hole, the first rule is to stop digging.

The alternative I advocate may sound radical, but it's not as radical as killing our life support system, wasting our resources, turning our air, water, soil, and bodies toxic, and destroying the middle class to bail out the banksters. Some people insist that saying this means I'm calling for class warfare. Folks, class warfare is what we have now, and we're losing. Badly.

Doing things differently doesn't mean we have to give up our values, beliefs, and practices. Previous decisions we've all made can't be considered a mistake, we can't beat ourselves up that we were wrong, when those decisions were based on the best information we had at the time we made them.

So, the main thrust of my campaign is that the first thing we must become aware of is that there is an alternative to how we go about doing things; there is a rational response to these rapidly converging crises.

What we must do is become serious about becoming sustainable. My campaign platform is built on a foundation called relocalization. This is a practical, affordable process to develop a sustainable future--where production of food, energy and appropriate technologies occurs much closer to where they're used and consumed. It focuses on supporting and strengthening local businesses that contribute to our community.

The four top issues I'm applying this to in my campaign for Arizona State Senate are water, jobs, education, and the border. Relocalization provides a framework for addressing all of them. I'll take them one at a time and tell you what I'm going to do when I get up to Phoenix.

1) water (we're running out and "inventing" more to support a doubling of the population is a pipe dream), intelligent responses include conservation, charging for how much you use and the cost to deliver it, supporting water harvesting, shifting agriculture to drought tolerant crops that support local industries, and recognizing the connection between water and energy

2) jobs and the economy (infinite growth is uneconomic, and low-wage no-benefit service sector jobs make for a bleak future that increases the social costs we all end up paying), intelligent responses include supporting local investment in local businesses (main street not Wall Street), no tax breaks, exemptions or subsidies to businesses that export their profits out of the state, full cost recovery development impact fees (those who benefit from the amenities of AZ have a responsibility to help maintain them), rebuilding our infrastructure to be energy efficient and people friendly instead of car friendly, reclaiming the state's sovereign right to revoke corporate charters whose harms outweigh their benefits

3) education (Arizona is ranked worst in the nation and we're not preparing students with the necessary skills, starting with critical thinking, for a future that will not look like the past), intelligent responses include increasing funding for education and shifting educational priorities toward nurturing children's love for learning instead of simply being better test takers, supporting research in clean, zero-waste manufacturing, renewable energy, bio-tech, and becoming experts in sustainability so we can provide functional examples and provide the leadership the rest of the world is hungering for

4) the border (what we're doing is trying to slap band-aids on symptoms, and higher walls only lead to taller ladders) intelligent responses include dealing with the root causes, to stop the wage depression that results from NAFTA, stop off-shoring jobs in the attempt to win the race to the bottom, tie foreign aid to strengthening local economies, and accept our responsibility to care for those our previous decisions have harmed while we work on making things right.

For all of these issues, we must quit believing that slapping band-aids on symptoms will solve anything. Instead of being satisfied with the compromise of clipping branches, we must dig up the diseased root and replace it with a systemic alternative that works with and supports life.

As a people and as a state we are capable of doing so much better than what we're seeing coming out of Phoenix today. When it comes to speaking truths, we must remember that we the people are more powerful than we dare to believe. And we must begin exercising this power while we still have a bit of time and a few resources left to do so. When I make it up to Phoenix, my first order of business will be building bridges based on common values so we can work together to begin the transition to a sustainable future. With your support, we can make this happen.

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