Mark Brazaitis for United States Senate
Mark Brazaitis, Morgantown’s Deputy Mayor, is a Candidate for U.S. Senate
I am honored to announce my candidacy for the U.S. Senate from my great home state of West Virginia. I will be the first write-in candidate to win a seat in the U.S. Senate from West Virginia because, as a real Democrat, I will be running against two (and maybe three) Republicans. West Virginia needs a real Democrat in the Senate.
I promise to turn West Virginia from last to best in 1000 days. We will make West Virginia wild and wonderful again. We can, and will, be the most prosperous state in the nation by the end of my six-year term. We are already the most beautiful state.
As soon as I assume office, I will:
1. Introduce the Appalachian Revival Act.
I will insist that the U.S. Congress pass, and President Donald Trump sign, a $700 billion bill to revive Appalachia. The act will give the people of Appalachia what they have given the country over the last 100 plus years: the power to empower their lives. Thanks to coal and natural gas, the mother’s milk of our country’s economy, Appalachia has sacrificed itself for the growth and success of the rest of the United States, especially states on the east and west coasts. It’s time the rest of the country give Appalachia the cash to: 1) rebuild our roads, bridges, airports, public schools, and public recreation facilities and 2) jumpstart our economy of the future, which will include state-of-the-art medical facilities, innovative small and large organic farms, innovative small and medium-sized businesses, renewable energy manufacturing and sites, revived tourism, manufacturing and design of affordable housing for working people and students, beautiful and affordable retirement communities, and legalized, wide-scale production of marijuana.
Is $700 billion too large a number? Hardly. It is the same dollar figure as the 2018 annual budget of the U.S. Department of Defense (absent the additional $61 billion Congress handed over to big fat-cat defense contractors). Men and women from Appalachia have joined the military in disproportionally high numbers—and have lost their lives at the same high rate. They sacrifice everything for their country. It’s time their country sacrifice for them.
2. Introduce the Empower Our Empowerers Act.
The men, women, and children of the Appalachian coal and natural gas industries, like men and women in the military, have sacrificed their mental and physical health and, in some cases, their lives to give the rest of the country what they need to succeed: energy. It’s time the rest of the country empower those who have empowered them. Any man, woman, or child who, over the last 80 years, has gone to a doctor for treatment of an illness related to their service in the fossil-fuel industry will receive a $50,000 check from the U.S. Government. Where will the money come from? The $61 billion the United States will never again give to big fat-cat defense contractors. It will also come from reparations the United States Government will demand from fossil fuel companies and their enablers who have dodged their fiscal and moral responsibilities to the men, women, and children who have sacrificed so much and have received so little. Pay back time? Yes.
3. Introduce the Teachers Are Tremendous Act.
By federal mandate, every teacher and full-time and part-time staff member in a public school, pre-K through 12th grade, in all of our country’s 50 states will receive a 10 percent pay raise. We can’t have a successful future without educated youth. We can’t have educated youth without tremendous teachers. We can’t have tremendous teachers without paying them what they deserve. A 10 percent pay raise is only the beginning of what teachers deserve.
4. Introduce the Universities Are Universities Act.
West Virginia University is only one example, and not even the most egregious, of public, and especially public land-grant, universities turning away from their core mission to educate people of all ages and backgrounds and embracing an unfortunate and unfortunately long-standing American vice: greed. This Act will immediately suspend public-private partnerships in publicly funded institutions of higher learning across the country until a thorough investigation of the inherent conflict of interest and even corruption of such arrangements are exposed. Universities should not be rogue Fortune 500 companies. They must be creative places where human beings can learn and grow and ultimately become more educated, more compassionate, and more committed citizens of the world.
5. Be absolutely clear about what I stand for at all times.
To be clear now, I stand for:
· Universal health care
· A $15 minimum wage (small businesses may be exempt)
· Unconditional support of the women and men who serve, and have served, in the armed forces
· Paid sick leave
· Paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers
· Paid parental leave for parents who adopt children
· A woman’s absolute right to control of her own body, including an absolute right to an abortion within the first 28 weeks of her pregnancy and ALWAYS when her life is in danger
· Full funding of Planned Parenthood. A fully funded Planned Parenthood would lead to far fewer abortions and greater healthcare for families. That’s what we all want
· A proactive, expansive, let’s-keep-talking approach to diplomacy
· The right of an adult to love and marry any other adult
· The right of West Virginians to own, and hunt with, hunting rifles. (The Mountaineer isn’t holding a badminton racket.) A ban on assault weapons that kill children nationwide.
· Immediate and no-excuses conversion of the U.S. energy grid from gray to green, which Appalachia will lead. Our very lives, and certainly the lives of our children and grandchildren, depend on a complete and total conversation to renewable energy by 2050. Will this be hard? Sure. But this will be harder: floods and fires of Biblical portions that already are the consequence of global climate change.
I believe a man isn’t who he says he is but what he proves himself to be through action. The same is true of a woman and any other adult human being. Children need time to grow and explore. They are entitled to many, many mistakes before they learn who they are and can be judged by their actions.
I will campaign by acting in my everyday life as:
1. a husband and father
2. a professor of English and the director of the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop at West Virginia University
3. a member of the Morgantown City Council
4. a writer
5. a basketball coach
6. the co-director of a Learn to Skate program at the Morgantown Ice Arena, a public facility
7. a volunteer at the Appalachian Prison Book Project and at the Hazelton federal prison
8. a former Peace Corps volunteer who has never stopped believing in giving back to the community—wherever a person finds his or her community
9. someone who has suffered from depression, and, at age 37, spent three months in a mental-health facility, where I learned as much about life, other human beings, and myself as any place I’ve ever lived
10. a friend to many, many people all over the world that I have the great blessing to know.
We will win because West Virginia deserves a winner.