I felt like the only way to effectively run for office is if you had access to a lot of wealth, high social influence, a lot of dynastic power, and I knew that I didn't have any of those things.
I know what it's like to access the privilege of a ZIP Code but also be born in one that could have destined me to something else.
Healthcare as a human right, it means that every child, no matter where you are born, should have access to a college or trade-school education if they so choose it, and I think no person should be homeless if we can have public structures and public policy to allow for people to have homes and food and lead a dignified life in the United States.
To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity. It's asserting the value of saying that the America we want and the America that we are proud of is one in which all children can access a dignified education. It's one in which no person is too poor to have the medicines they need to live.
It's time we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same. That a Democrat who takes corporate money, profits off foreclosure, doesn't live here, doesn't send his kids to our schools, doesn't drink our water or breathe our air cannot possibly represent us.
I do think that sometimes, especially coming into this going straight from activism to being a candidate or to being a person who potentially, you know, looks like will be holding political office soon, I think we expect our politicians to be perfect and fully formed and on point on every single issue.
Nobody ever wins the first time they run for office. Nobody's ever supposed to win their first bid for office. Nobody's ever supposed to win without taking lobbyists' money. No one's ever supposed to defeat an incumbent. No one's ever supposed to run a grassroots campaign without running any ads on television. We did all of those things.
I'm not running from the left; I'm running from the bottom. I'm running in fierce advocacy for working-class New Yorkers.
It was really my experience at Standing Rock that was pretty pivotal for me because I saw how corporations were literally militarizing themselves against American citizens so that they could kind of maximize their profit margins on fossil fuels.
What I see is that the Democratic Party takes working class communities for granted, they take people of color for granted, and they just assume that we're going to turn out no matter how bland or half-stepping these proposals are.
The idea that we're going to austerity ourselves into prosperity is so mistaken, and honestly, I feel like one of the big problems we have is that, because Democrats don't have a deep understanding of or degrees in economics, they allow Wall Street folks to roll in the door and think that they're giving them an education.
At Standing Rock, we experienced, first-hand, people coming together in their communities and trying to use the levers of representative democracy to try and say, 'We don't want this in our community; we don't want this in our backyard,' and corporations using their monetary influence to completely erode that process.
I started my campaign out of a Trader Joe's bag with a bunch of printed palm cards and an idea.
The Republicans galvanize their base by inciting a lot of fear; they operate on a lot of mythmaking. So we have to have something compelling. We shouldn't be afraid to be bold.
I believe that every American should have stable, dignified housing; health care; education - that the most very basic needs to sustain modern life should be guaranteed in a moral society.
If you're differently-abled, if you're a person of color, if you express your identity in a way that's different from the norm, for whatever reason, there's an implicit bias where people, frankly, sometimes take you less seriously.
I think - I do think that we have to have a secure border. We need to make sure that people are, in fact, documented. But that doesn't mean that we threaten people's lives.
We absolutely do need to make sure that our borders are secure. But what we need to realize and remember is that ICE was established in 2003 right at the same time as the Patriot Act, the AUMF, the Iraq War - and we look back at a lot of that time and legislation as a mistake now. And I think that ICE is right there as a part of it.
I was born in a place where your ZIP code determines your destiny.
My mother cleaned homes and drove school buses, and when my family was on the brink of foreclosure... I started bartending and waitressing.