David Kulma is running for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the upcoming special election on June 20th in South Carolina’s 5th district.
Kulma is a professional musician and an adjunct professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Through email exchanges and a video interview, Kulma sat down with the Progressive Army to discuss his candidacy and platform.
Medicare for All is one of Kulma’s first policy planks.
Inspired by his mother, who is ill from autoimmune diseases, he says that people with serious illnesses “[have] to pay large medical bills and the insurance companies work very hard to get as much money out of [them] as possible rather than enabling the best care possible. Medicare for all is a better way and we need it now.”
Education is also an important issue that Kulma wants to address. He believes that education is a human right.
I am an adjunct professor of music and I know from the inside how our education system is designed to hamstring our students with debt they can’t pay back rather than to build a society of independent, creative thinkers who will make a better society.
Kulma goes on to discuss meetings with students of his, young people who are going to school full-time, working full-time, and still taking on college debt. “It’s ludicrous!” Kulma concludes.
A unique policy position that Kulma holds is housing as a human right.
Housing is important to me, because last fall I met Dale Dove, the founder of a local crisis shelter who is now working on bringing tiny houses to Rock Hill. The number of people who walked up while I was talking to Dale as he had the display tiny house he made was amazing, and they loved the idea of the house.
Building houses like this, Kulma believes, would enable people with low incomes to own their own housing and afford expenses each month.
Kulma also believes in the abolition of the private prison industry and ending prison slavery by repealing the exception clause for prisoners from the 13th amendment.
After reading about mass incarceration and watching Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th,” it occurred to me that we needed to repeal the exception clause from the 13th amendment. Our prison system should be based on rehabilitation, not the extreme forms of punishment and cruelty we have now.
Kulma talks about meeting Max Parthas, who is advocating for the end of prison slavery. “After speaking with him and doing research,” Kulma stated, “I knew that I need to speak out about the moral degradation that is the continuation of legalized slavery in this country and to work to end it.”
Another important issue in Kulma’s candidacy is fighting money in politics.
I am focused on money in politics, because the legalized corruption is obvious in our political system. And as I sit on stages with Democrats and Republicans vying to be the next person who drinks at the trough of bank and defense contractor money, I realize how necessary getting money out of politics is. They are fine people, but the system will force them into only representing their donors rather than people like me who cannot afford to sign big checks. Our politicians don’t represent us, no matter how lovely their words are.
“We need real people who don’t take this money in Congress.” Kulma concludes, “I could be one of these people.”
Kulma talks about his candidacy and how he is offering a clear progressive platform built on the progressive pillars of the Green Party. Bottom up democracy, social justice, environmental protections, and peaceful foreign policy. “Like Bernie Sanders, I am offering an issues-based campaign that focuses on policies people care about and are excited by,” he says.
The infrastructure in place to assist Kulma is small, but a lot has been accomplished in a short period of time. He has already held two of four planned forums on healthcare and housing. On Saturday, June 17th, he will be having a forum on education and Sunday, June 18th, a forum on prisons. Kulma has also participated in an event for the NAACP.
Kulma states that he felt the need to run for office because he wanted someone to speak about progressive issues in this special election. “I didn’t want to run,” Kulma says, “But after seeing all the Republicans and the corporate Democrat, a Goldman Sachs tax attorney, announce [their candidacies], I realized that no one else was going to run the Bernie Sanders/Justice Democrats style campaign I thought was needed. So I jumped in.”
You can find the rest of the issues important to Kulma on his campaign website at votekulma.org. To hear more from Kulma himself, check out his interview on The Takedown with Nick Nowlin below.