DECISION 2012: Ursula Rozum

Public jobs will put money in unemployed workers' pockets to spend. With more customers, business will expand and hire. The economic slump persists because of insufficient demand, not an insufficient supply of capital. The big banks and corporations are sitting on about $5 trillion in bank reserves and corporate cash. They won't invest until they see more customers. So government has to fill the demand gap. The most cost-effective way to do that is for government to directly employ people meeting unmet community needs. The indirect, trickle-down approach of the Democrats and Republicans through tax cuts to increase demand doesn't work well because businesses won't invest until the customers are back and American consumers are still at record levels debt after decades of wage stagnation.

Do you think you’re a viable candidate?

Yes. Public opinion polls consistently show majority support for progressive policies I advocate: climate action, public jobs, Medicare for All, military spending cuts, higher taxes on the rich. The tragedy of American politics is that progressive public values are not translating into progressive public policies. That's why I am running as the Green Party candidate to drive progressive policies into the debate. The Democrats can no longer take progressive votes for granted. Progressive voters have the Green alternative to vote for.

As a third-party candidate, do you think you can be heard in Congress?

Third party representatives are heard more than your typical Democratic or Republican back bencher. Both Maffei and Buerkle voted with their party over 90 percent of the time. They did not stand out. I will have one vote, the same as every other Representative. The other Representatives will have to give me something I want in order to get my vote for something they want in close votes. But as the first Green in Congress, my voice will be amplified. The public, the press, and the other members of Congress will want to know what policies I advocate that got me elected as an outspent, outside the two-party system candidate. It will give me a public platform for my progressive policies, like it did for Paul Wellstone after his underdog election to the U.S. Senate enabled him to put his signature campaign issue, single-payer Medicare for All, into play in the early 1990s. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent socialist from Vermont, was heard when he was in the Congress and is heard now in the U.S. Senate. Senator Sanders needs independent progressive allies in the Congress with him.

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