Why I’m run­ning for pres­i­dent

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - BY JOHN DE­LANEY The writer, a Demo­crat, rep­re­sents Mary­land’s 6th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict in the House.

The Amer­i­can peo­ple are far greater than the sum of our po­lit­i­cal par­ties. It is time for us to rise above our bro­ken pol­i­tics and re­new the spirit that en­abled us to achieve the seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble. This is why I am run­ning for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent of the United States.

Our govern­ment is ham­strung by ex­ces­sive par­ti­san­ship. We are let­ting crit­i­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove the coun­try pass us by. And we are not even talk­ing about the most im­por­tant thing: the fu­ture. The vic­tims of this lead­er­ship fail­ure are the good peo­ple we are sworn to serve, and we are leav­ing our coun­try ill-pre­pared for dra­matic changes ahead. The cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion is mak­ing us less pros­per­ous and less se­cure. I’m run­ning be­cause I have an orig­i­nal ap­proach to gov­ern­ing and an eco­nomic pol­icy that can put us on a dif­fer­ent course.

My vi­sion for the coun­try is based on my own Amer­i­can Dream. I was raised in a blue-col­lar fam­ily; my dad was a union elec­tri­cian, and my par­ents didn’t at­tend col­lege. Be­cause of a great education and a help­ing hand from oth­ers, I was for­tu­nate enough to be­come a suc­cess­ful en­tre­pre­neur. Be­fore age 40, I founded and led as chief ex­ec­u­tive two pub­licly traded com­pa­nies that cre­ated thou­sands of jobs and were ad­mired in the com­mu­nity. I’ve been blessed with a great fam­ily and the op­por­tu­nity to give back through phi­lan­thropy and pub­lic ser­vice. As a pro­gres­sive busi­ness­man, I’ve made it a pri­or­ity to be so­lu­tion­sori­ented and have been con­sis­tently rec­og­nized as one of the most in­no­va­tive and bi­par­ti­san mem­bers of Congress. I’ve done this by si­mul­ta­ne­ously cel­e­brat­ing the power of our free-mar­ket econ­omy while in­sist­ing that there is a role for govern­ment to set goals and rules of the road and take care of those who are left be­hind.

My fo­cus is on pre­par­ing our coun­try for the fu­ture. Tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion, au­to­ma­tion and glob­al­iza­tion are the most pow­er­ful forces in the world to­day. These forces have been enor­mously pos­i­tive; they will con­tinue to make life bet­ter, en­hance pro­duc­tiv­ity, solve some of the world’s most dif­fi­cult prob­lems and open so­ci­eties. Sadly, these forces will also elim­i­nate cer­tain jobs and re­quire work­ers to learn new skills more quickly. They will cre­ate se­cu­rity risks and strain our re­sources. We need to re­spond to these large-scale op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges by think­ing about pol­icy from a fresh per­spec­tive. What are the re­sources we have, how do we com­pete and cre­ate jobs, how can we en­sure that ev­ery­one has a fair chance, and how do we pro­tect our­selves?

To do this, we need new in­fra­struc­ture, which can be paid for us­ing my bi­par­ti­san ap­proach to in­fra­struc­ture and in­ter­na­tional tax re­form. We need to be smarter, fu­eled by more in­vest­ment in sci­ence, education and re­search. We need new ideas on the fu­ture of jobs and work, one where we build a stronger and more vi­brant mid­dle class. We need to en­cour­age a more just and in­clu­sive form of cap­i­tal­ism and re­duce bar­ri­ers to small­busi­ness for­ma­tion, start-ups, job cre­ation, in­vest­ment and growth. We need to strengthen our safety-net pro­grams and cre­ate a new so­cial con­tract. We need to re­form the sys­tems of education, health care and im­mi­gra­tion, and en­cour­age more vol­un­teerism, im­pact in­vest­ing and pub­lic ser­vice. And we need to take af­fir­ma­tive steps to re­duce our se­cu­rity, fis­cal and cli­mate risks. This is what my cam­paign will be about.

I am op­ti­mistic about our fu­ture. A fu­ture where re­spon­si­ble busi­nesses work with our govern­ment to lead the world not only in growth and in­no­va­tion but also in pos­i­tive so­ci­etal change.

The Demo­cratic Party cher­ishes op­por­tu­nity over birthright; wants peo­ple to earn a good liv­ing; of­fers a help­ing hand to the poor, the im­mi­grant and those left be­hind; wants all Amer­i­cans to have health care; em­braces di­ver­sity, equal­ity and jus­tice; un­der­stands the im­por­tance of global en­gage­ments; be­lieves that govern­ment can do trans­for­ma­tive things; and stands ready to pro­vide for our com­mon de­fense. This is why I’m a Demo­crat. But we have a lot of work to do, given our re­cent elec­toral fail­ures, and we need a dif­fer­ent ap­proach — one that’s fo­cused on the facts and the fu­ture.

To do this work with the com­mit­ment it de­serves, I will not be run­ning for re­elec­tion to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. No games, no cat-and­mouse, no backup plan at the 11th hour if a fo­cus group goes badly.

My ap­proach goes be­yond party and par­ti­san­ship; I am first and fore­most an Amer­i­can. I be­lieve in a com­mon na­tional iden­tity. I love our am­bi­tion, our values, what we rep­re­sent to the world and our abil­ity to use our great­ness for a good and noble pur­pose. It is my love of coun­try that com­pels me to be­have dif­fer­ently in pol­i­tics — to work to do big things, seek so­lu­tions and com­pro­mise, re­spect the priv­i­lege of pub­lic ser­vice and be op­ti­mistic about the world.

My vi­sion for the coun­try is based on my own Amer­i­can Dream, and my fo­cus is on pre­par­ing our coun­try for the fu­ture.

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