By Marcus T Sutphin
As some of you know I am running as a Green candidate for House of Delegates in Virginia. I wanted to reach out to you with some thoughts to ponder as we enter the final stretch of election season. These are my opinions and thoughts about the future of the Green Party.
First, let me tell you that I grew up here in Central Virginia. The people that I am running to represent here are hardworking people, of all professions and backgrounds. They mean a lot to me, and deserve much better representation than what they are receiving. I joined the Green Party because I realized that neither major Party had the answers this country was looking for. As I talk to voters here, it is apparent that I am not alone in my thinking. Government has been so bad for so long that people are angry, frustrated, and certainly distrustful of politicians.
Here are 6 ideas on how I believe we should progress as a Party:
1) The devil is in the details. The GPUS platform is so long that no normal human would even take the time to read it, much less agree with everything in it. Our platform does not need to save the world or solve all of its problems, but provide a framework where we can reach out, communicate, listen, and come up with solutions together. We need to push for GPUS platform changes.
2) Listen to voters, and run on what is important to them, not just us. Some things are very important to us, but will they garner enough support to win elections? For example, I believe strongly that climate change is real. Many of my voters do not. Will I change my beliefs? No, but I can still make progress. For instance, I have not met anyone yet that disagrees with the fact that we need clean air to breath, clean water to drink, or wants the Chesapeake Bay polluted.
3) Avoid trigger words. Be aware of the psychological game that has been played on the American people and use new terms. I am pushing the term “serve the public purpose” to describe what government should do and doesn’t.
4) Support our nation’s Constitution even when it is unpleasant. We will NOT garner support or be allowed a spot at the table unless we do. It is not perfect, but is what we have. If we allow one right to be infringed upon, it opens the door for others to be as well.
5) Support law enforcement and veterans. Perpetual warfare is wrong, but those who served in the military still deserve our respect. Also, we do have a real problem with police violence in America, but fixing it will involve gaining the ear of local law enforcement. Avoid overgeneralizations of them, or any group.
6) Stop being a backup support system for Democrats. They are NOT our allies. They run against us not with us, and are disliked and despised by enough people that they have lost power in this country. Their platform is full of platitudes and no real solutions. If we do not reach Republicans and Independent voters we are finished. Beating Democrats and Republican opponents will only come by differentiating ourselves from them both.
People hold many different beliefs, preconceived notions, and have been purposely brainwashed by their government and the media. Gaining their support requires overcoming many obstacles, bringing people together, and promoting inclusiveness. Most importantly, it involves determination and intelligent thought.
Fariss Supports Pipelines and Campaign Donors, Not Voters
By Marcus T Sutphin
October 9, 2017
In a recent interview with the News and Advance, incumbent Delegate Matt Fariss was questioned about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Fariss stated that he supports the ACP “due to the need for energy in the growing economy and because of his trust in the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. In fact, Fariss trusts the DEQ so much that he reiterated this several times, stating “I trust the DEQ especially” and “I really trust the DEQ to do a good job and keep [environmental concerns] under control”. In response to land rights, he stated that “the project was for the greater good”.
There are several points in this interview, and with Fariss’ support for the ACP that deserve closer inspection. First is whether or not the DEQ can be trusted, as Fariss states. Secondly is the issue of need. Finally, we should look at whether Fariss himself can be trusted to make an untainted decision about the ACP.
Can We Trust Regulatory Agencies
Can we trust the Department of Environmental Quality to look out for the best interests of Virginians? According to a June 2017 report by The Public Accountability Initiative, the answer is clearly no. In addition to Dominion’s (chief investor in the ACP) influence on politicians, they discovered numerous conflicts of interests with regulatory commissions in the state. For example, David Paylor, head of DEQ, once received a vacation trip worth $2,370 from Dominion to the PGA Master’s Tournamount in Augusta Georgia, where he and nine others were treated to a $1,200 dinner. In 2016, Dominion’s philanthropic foundation gave $45,000 to a group called the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the same organization headed by a lady named Nissa Dean, who happens to also sit on the Virginia DEQ’s seven-member water control board. DEQ’s director of Water Permitting Division previously represented Dominion as a client. The list goes on, and can be found in the report.
Do We Need New Pipelines
On the issue of need, I refer you to a study conducted by Synapse Energy Economics in September 2016. In the report, Synapse looked at estimated future peak demand, storage capabilities, and planned reversals and expansions of existing pipelines. The study reported, in short, that demand for natural gas is actually declining, and that future demands can indeed be met without the new 5.5 billion dollar pipeline. The report also examined who would benefit financially from the pipeline. Hint: it was not Virginia residents and landowners.
Examining the Messenger
The final question is the matter of whether we can trust the messenger. In a June 8, 2017 article entitled Dominion’s Deep Reach in Virginia Taints Atlantic Coast Pipeline Approval, author Andy Rowell states that Dominion is the largest corporate donor to state candidates and in fact, the Virginia General Assembly alone has received around $400,000 from Dominion since 2007. Not surprisingly, those politicians who have been most supportive of the pipeline have in turn received the largest donations from Dominion.
In the October News and Advance article by Margaret Carmel, she states that Fariss has personally received $5,750 from Dominion since 2011. What she did not mention was indirect money, where contributions from Dominion are funneled through various Political Action Committees. Most likely, this is because donations of this nature are difficult to trace, and most often go unnoticed. As Andy Rowell points out in his report , “some of this money is redistributed by the leadership to less powerful elected officials, ensuring compliance with Dominion’s agenda down the chain of command”. Let’s look at this connection specifically.
- Since 2002, Dominion has donated $583,000 to Dominion Leadership Trust. DLT has in turn donated $12,535 to Fariss since 2011.
- Since 2009, Opportunity Virginia PAC has received a cool $100,500 from Dominion. In turn, they have donated $10,000 to Mr. Fariss.
- Since 2005, Dominion has donated $96,000 to the Majority Leader PAC. They have given Fariss $16,675.
In addition to these, Mr. Farris’s donor list, as well as the donor list of these PACs , include other energy and related companies that stand to benefit from the ACP. The donations from health insurance companies, coal companies, bankers, payday lenders, cable companies, and other groups are another issue, and paint an overall picture of who Mr. Fariss truly represents.
Serving the American people, and the people of the 59th district, involves more than a smile, warm wishes, and conservative talking points. It involves research, conviction, and most importantly fidelity to the interests of the people. Unfortunately, these qualities are found lacking on both sides of the political aisle. This is why I am not part of the two-party system. This is why I will always reject corporate donors, and why I am the best choice for the 59th district.
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