Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Response from DeMarco K. Davidson, Candidate for U.S. Representative (Dist. 1)

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

A member of Congress has a few key roles:
1. Make laws that protect & strengthen the American public.
2. Influence Congress to do what is best for the American public.
3. Organize constituents & communities to demand change in DC and Jefferson City.
4. Serve constituents by bringing requested & needed resources to the represented area.

In 2003, I served as the Regional Vice President of my fraternal organization where I was responsible for governing the members in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and a section of Arkansas. Along with learning the culture of hundreds of members, I also shared their concerns to our national officers.

In 2008, I served as a field organizer for Candidate Barack Obama, organizing most of the North City Wards. Along with teaching & serving in the public schools, I saw & heard first hand the daily struggles that the citizens of STL endured. After the election, I helped other candidates and continued to organize communities to address business practices that were hazardous like predatorial payday loans and poverty minimum wages.

In 2014, when Mike Brown Jr. was murdered, through the request of a friend and the Brown family attorney, I established the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund, becoming the volunteer Trustee for most of the funds donated to the family for their daily living expenses. During this time, I assisted in organizing actions to address the injustices that challenged the STL communities.

2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

After graduating from Missouri S&T in 2006, I came home to St. Louis with the skill set of recognizing flaws in systems & processes for improvement. In Engineering Management, we say that the word S.Y.S.T.E.M. is an acronym for Save Yourself Some Time, Energy, and Money. When we look at the systems of America, we have to ask ourselves WHO is saving time, energy, and money with our current education system, our healthcare system, our justice system, and our current political system? With the help of the community, we can improve these systems to be more beneficial for all Americans.

I am not running against any of the other candidates. I’m running for a unified vision of St. Louis. I am the only candidate who suggests the recommendations from the Ferguson Commission and support the Forward Through Ferguson’s initiative of #STL2039. Because St. Louis is such a unique city, we need community-oriented solutions and a leader who can organize the people, communities, and businesses.

I am the only candidate who is focused on the development of new industries that will lead to the creation of new jobs to force America to upgrade its education system. America becomes less competitive in the global market each year. Not enough jobs have been created to replace all of the American jobs now in other countries. I’m the only candidate that will be able to address how the development of automation & artificial intelligence will affect the future of the American job market.

I am the only candidate that is ONE of the 82 MILLION Americans who have inadequate or no health insurance. When elected, I have vowed to not accept the health insurance offered for members of Congress until ALL Americans have adequate & affordable healthcare. I am also the only candidate that suggest that we need a patented medicine review board to regulate the cost of medications & services so that we can develop a Single-Payer system.

I am the only candidate that has participated in the development in an alternative to shelters for the homeless. Since 2014, I have worked to provide consistent, sustainable homes for the unhoused every Winter so that men and women have quality food, water, shelter, and a supportive community.

I am the only candidate that addresses the decreasing population in St. Louis in comparison to Missouri and America. If there is power in numbers, then St. Louis has consistently lost political power for the past 70 years. If we do not repopulate our city, we will continue to be looked over on opportunities for economic growth.

I am the only candidate that organized communities to collect over 15,000 signatures for the Clean Missouri & Raise Up the Minimum Wage ballot initiatives that will be on the ballot in November.

Lastly, I am the only candidate that showed up to the March for Our Lives – STL Chapter Townhall. This townhall was incredibly important because the students and community members had a chance to ask in-depth questions from the candidates. As someone who has mentored and taught over 1000 high school students, I understand the importance of having discussions with the next generation of leaders. Our young leaders deserve more than parental escorts during rallies and photo-ops from us.

3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

Accountability is one of the main issues facing the 1st District office. Many people have shared with me how they don’t feel as if ANY elected officials are willing to be held accountable. The main reason why my slogan is “From STL, For STL” is because I have so many family members and students that still live in almost every neighborhood in St. Louis City & County. I understand that every decision in DC & Jefferson City will affect St. Louis and my loved ones.

St. Louis also lacks a unified vision of success for the future. This office could be a catalyst for a unified vision where the City & the County can remain separate entities if they choose but develop uniform business practices so that our public & social services become more streamlined.

4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

I have a distributive power leadership style where I believe people operate at their highest capacity when they are working on something that they are passionate about. I believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast. One can have all the strategies they desire but if those strategies are not influencing the culture, then those strategies are useless. Throughout my life I have been someone who has learn how to navigate in cultures without assimilating to them and be able to challenge cultures. I’m a visionary. I am Progressive but also pragmatic.

I have been a mentor too many young adults and children. I will utilize the office to train and develop the next group of political leaders to collaboratively work strategically on growing the political influence of St. Louis. I believe many things begin and end with leadership. I am willing to support and work with local & state candidates who have personally told me they are supporting other candidates in the US Congress election. If I feel a candidate is the best candidate for a community, then it does not matter if he or she is supporting me. Supporting the best candidate supports and provides better leadership to the community.

5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

$300: Marquinn Duke – Fraternity Brother, Graduate of Mizzou, Neurosurgeon

$275: Tawnya Davidson – Sister & Campaign Co-Manager, Graduate of Hazelwood, SEMO, UMSL – Licensed Clinical Social Worker

$200: TIED: Michael Brown Sr. (Self Employed: Public Speaker) & Carey Davis (Friend since Jr. High, Former NFL Player, New Head Football Coach for Hazelwood Central HS)

I will not accept campaign contributions from companies that earn profit from war/conflict, the prison industrial complex, or companies that weaken Unions.

6. Since the shooting death of Michael Brown and the national rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement, criminal justice reform has become a national topic of conversation, yet few changes have been made on a national level. If elected, will you make criminal justice reform, and racial equity, a priority in Washington? If so, how?

Yes, Criminal Justice Reform & Racial Equity will be top priorities.

St. Louis currently is the sixth most segregated metropolitan area in the country. As stated earlier, I am the only candidate suggesting to implement the Forward Through Ferguson Initiative of #STL2039 that calls for the creation of a 25-year managed fund to solely support regional racial equity infrastructure for all sectors. I will work with those who are already focused on this effort and work to find the addition finances needed.

As the Volunteer Executive Director of the Michael Brown Sr.’s Chosen for Change Foundation, I have been honored to serve many families who have had family members killed either by police violence or community violence. While the community violence is systemic and can definitely be eliminated by targeting poverty, police violence continues to rise in spite of protesting and community organizing. I’ve met with some of the highest ranking police in the city. I have come to the disappointed conclusion that they are more concerned with public relations instead of public relationships. A cousin of mine was killed in the line of duty as an STL City police officer. My brother is currently a police officer. I want my brother to make it home safely but I also want my nieces and nephews to make it home safely too who have experienced racial profiling.

We have to look at the root causes of crime which often is poverty influenced. Not only will I work to save jobs but also create jobs. We must create immediate-entry jobs for those who have basic skills but also create jobs for those with advance skills & degrees. We have to decriminalize marijuana. We must utilize and maximize our drug courts. We need to spend more money on mental and emotional health for children. I don’t support for-profit prisons for this is one of the greatest failures of America. Our penitentiary system should be focusing on rehabilitation.

According to The Sentencing Project, 6.1 million Americans were prohibited from voting in the 2016 Presidential election due to laws that disenfranchised citizens convicted of felony offenses. As we continue to dismantle pipelines to prison with the hopes of reforming away from mass incarceration, we can take the step of improving our democracy by stop treating the “right to vote” as if it is a privilege. This creates a growing population of people who become subject to laws that they never have an ability to speak against. I will work to restore voting rights.

7. What do you believe is the biggest danger posed by the Trump administration, and how do you plan to fight it?

The obvious biggest threat is an ego-fueled nuclear war or war touching the mainland of the United States. I’m not sure how great any one person can combat against that successfully without being treasonous.

The second biggest threat of the Trump administration is how this administration is exponentially increasing the gap of wealth in America. America is NOT the wealthiest “country” in the world. It does, however, have a majority of the wealthiest “people” in the world. Trump’s administration is doing the bidding of those who have extreme capitalistic intentions who do not value the lives of the working class of America. If we continue to define success as an accumulation of wealth, then the people who run corporations will do whatever it takes to remain in power.

Repealing Citizens United and limiting campaign contributions is something that I support already. Instead of limiting campaign contributions, I suggest we cap how much politicians are allowed to raise for and spend on campaigns. The capped amount will be determined by which political office is being sought and the number of registered voters a year before the election.

For example, a congressional race may only be allowed to raise & spend $1 per registered voter. It will not matter how much one person or company donates. Candidates and communities will focus more on increasing the number of registered voters which also increases the voices of the people but also limits how much money can be spent. This will offer encourage incumbents to work harder on serving constituents instead of constantly fundraising.

8. Are there any issues you believe you could work with the Trump administration on? Which ones?

At this point, I do not trust Trump or his administration to work on any issues. Trump appears to surround himself with people who validate what Trump believes to be true which is not the truth for the majority of America.

9. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for both.)
Congressman Clay: Would you be willing to mentor one of the other candidates if she or he wins the primary?

Candidates Bush & Shipp: How do you plan to deal with the constant decrease of population in St. Louis that has been occurring for 70 years?

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