Sam Ronan flew to Salt Lake City a couple of weeks ago to support Julianne Waters, who is running for Utah Democratic Party State Chair. I grabbed the chance to interview him for the Progressive Army.
Sam is a USAF veteran, reservist, political activist, and the founder of the Our Voice Initiative. Ronan has run as an OH Congressional candidate and DNC Chair candidate under a progressive platform and a stern call to reform the electoral process to free and fair elections. He currently resides in Ohio.
You can watch the entire interview here.
Louise: Tell us a little bit about yourself, particularly where you are at right now.
Ronan: Right now I’m working towards building an organization that will help progressives get elected generally and to empower the ninety-nine percent. The long and short of it is that the one thing that people lack in their civic engagement is that they don’t know how to run for office. They don’t know how to get on a ballot. They don’t even know how to support their candidates and, even if they do know all of that, there’s usually not enough candidates to go around.
If you are in a democratic stronghold, you are going to run as a Democrat and if you’re in a rural area you’re going to run as a Republican and that’s really the only way you can win. People aren’t really okay with that because they don’t subscribe to one or the other. What we’re trying to do is to make it possible for you or anybody else to get on the ballot and primary incumbents in their places of power because that’s how we start winning. You go after the incumbents in their party.
Some will say ‘wait a minute, you’re still doing the partisanship thing.’ Well, no, ballot access is a problem, not all of us live in California or New Jersey or New Hampshire and can run as Independents. Running as a Republican or a Democrat is just the nature of the beast and the best way to run our candidates and support them through Our Voice. It’s our voice that is being squashed, our voice that has been ignored, and our voice that has had no say in politics for decades. So, that’s what we’re trying to do and that’s what I’m working on.
Ronan went on to speak about the vetting process that Our Voice is establishing and how they are looking for candidates that are progressive in terms of wanting to bring change, whether Democrat or Republican, and how it’s all about being strategic in terms of language and marketing based on where the candidate is running. Our Voice is looking for candidates who are going to fundamentally fight for people’s rights and really care about their communities. Our Voice intends to help candidates with all of this and give them the tools they need such as basic templates for flyers, forms, bumper stickers, and lists of volunteers, media outlets, unions, schools, etc.
I asked Ronan to talk about what he meant by rigged, as in the Democratic party is rigged. He explained that the party as a whole is rigged against outsiders. Sam went on to say:
If you are not in the inner circle, if you’re not in the know and part of the communication and email blasts……… you have to jump through hurdles to prove your allegiance. The party should be about a support structure and should help all candidates.
Watch the full interview for more on all of this as Ronan likes to talk; he’s unbelievably passionate about all of this which is HUGELY refreshing. He says:
Party loyalty should be replaced by loyalty to your fellow countrymen and the parties should just provide every single tool and resource so that candidates can be successful.
The discussion then moved onto the topic of money in politics and some fabulous ideas for fundraising Bernie Sanders style and getting the general population donating very small amounts so that candidates don’t need big donors. He also discussed how to make the State party fundraisers more accessible to the general public.
Lastly, Ronan went on to talk about legalized bribery and how elected officials need to “grow a spine and fight ON BEHALF of the American people“ and how, if we supported our own candidates, we could trounce these politicians that are beholden to corporate donors left, right and center. He then basically took the piss out of the high-dollar fundraisers that the parties on both sides currently hold.
There is so much more in this interview. Ronan and I could have talked for a lot longer than 45 minutes, but if you want to hear the full version of the above highlights and his views on how we deal with income inequality and the wage gap then I highly suggest you listen to the whole thing.
Then, take the time to join the Our Voice Collaboration group on Facebook and find your State group at the Our Voice Website and see if you can offer a few minutes of your time to help this movement grow in time for the 2018 elections and beyond.
Be the change you want to see in the world!