When I decided to file for State Senate, I knew that the political odds of winning were very long. But I believe that it is healthy for our democracy for candidates to participate in the process offering distinct choices for the voters and I was happy to carry the flag for working families, progressive values, fixing healthcare, and growing the middle class.

What I didn’t expect was the learning curve that a new candidate needs to climb very quickly. Filing an F-1, C-3’s and C-4 with the PDC are intimidating your first time around. The PDC recommends that your campaign does not allow the candidate to also serve as treasurer, and that’s for good reason. There’s just too much to learn while you’re putting together the other components of a campaign. But I’m hard-headed and I’m committed to spending every possible bit of campaign contributions towards getting my message out to the voters.

We need to make this easier because I can only imagine how many good people don’t run for office in Washington because the process is intimidating without help. But there is a bigger challenge once you cross all of the regulatory hurdles. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, various organizations also hosted events where politicians could meet voters directly. But now in order to reach voters, you have to connect with them through the political media, newspapers and online platforms.

The media has always been a business and so it needs money to run their operations and pay their journalists. In the past, newspapers were able to sustain themselves with subscriptions, advertisement and classifieds. But the rise of internet has disrupted that entire business model. People expect their news websites to be free. To survive, news sites have had to winnow down the quality of coverage and rely of corporate sponsorship that may have some influence over the how politics is covered. Paid ads from politicians is one revenue source remaining from the past.

All of this is awful in terms of providing voters with the fair, fact-based journalism that is required to inform voters about their election decisions. When someone starts a political campaign, the most important question they are asked is, “How are you going to raise enough money to hire consultants and purchase enough media to win?” The question, “What ideas do you have to solve the tough challenges we face?” is almost an afterthought or window dressing. But that’s our problem! We will never get the right people in office if their most important skill is raising money from people and companies who have enough money to invest in politicians. My opponent is an powerful senator because she is smart and charming, but most importantly, she is amazing at raising money from big donors.

The only thing that beats money is votes. Your ballot is the strongest form of currency in our system. My mission now is to offer you a real choice. We have an opportunity to have a Senator who only works for you, to whom you can reach out because constituents come first, not corporate lobbyists. I’m excited to be your champion, let’s do this together.