Ben Jealous confirms run for Maryland Governorship

Former NAACP President believes his Civil Rights Record will inspire voters
By Hazel Trice Edney

 

ben jealous headshot-3.jpg Benjamin Todd Jealous

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Former NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, also former Black press executive, is launching a political career.
Perhaps recently best known as a surrogate for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Jealous confirmed this week that he is running for governor of Maryland. He cited his long record of civil rights and the diversity of the state of Maryland as being to his favor.
“When I was president of the NAACP I learned just how quickly my neighbors here were prepared to move forward on civil rights. In one year, we abolished the death penalty, we passed marriage equality, we passed the Dream Act. I’m running for governor because I believe we’re prepared to move just as quickly in moving forward on our education, on employment, on the environment while continuing to protect civil rights,” Jealous said this week in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “I’m running for governor because I believe we can do much better by our kids right now.”
Jealous is entering a crowded field of seven other candidates for the Democratic primary to be held June 26, 2018. He believes disaffection for the scandal-laden Trump administration may cause voters to lean back toward Democratic leadership after electing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November 2014. Hogan is eligible to run for re-election.
“Larry Hogan is governor of Maryland because in 2014, we had a high tide of Republican turnout and an ebb tide of Democratic turnout,” Jealous said. He pointed out that Hogan won by 60,000 votes after 125,000 Democrats who had voted in 2010 didn’t show up to vote in 2014.
“In this era of President Trump, they can only remember having a president that is competent to serve. And now they see the impact of having a president that is quite the opposite,” Jealous said. “So long as we turn out Democratic voters who are used to voting in gubernatorial elections, there’s almost no way that he can win.”
The election will be held Nov. 6, 2018. But first Jealous must distinguish himself among the crowded Democratic field. In that regard, he may just have a not-so-secret weapon. If he can win an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, it may bolster his chances significantly.
“Let’s just see,” was Jealous’ only response when asked whether he expects to receive Sanders’ endorsement. Sanders won 36 percent of the vote in Maryland’s Democratic presidential primary. If Jealous can win a majority of those voters; plus a significant portion of Maryland’s 45 percent Black vote, he is a strong contender to win the Democratic nomination.
But the key will be to excite the Democratic base to the polls. Jealous believes he has the record to do just that. Maryland has a 45 percent White constituency and 10 percent that encompasses other races. Jealous believes his background and civil rights record could attract a following similar to the “Rainbow Coalition” that was amassed during the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign, for which Jealous also worked in 1988.
Jealous was born in Pacific Grove, Calif. But his parents, a mixed-race couple, had met in Baltimore. His father, Fred Jealous, who was White, helped integrate lunch counters in the South. His mother, Ann Jealous, worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s. As a teenager, Jealous became steeped in civil and voting rights work and spent summers in Baltimore with his maternal grandparents.
“The combination of an activist rooted in the tradition of the NAACP and the civil rights movement and an activist rooted in the Bernie camp, gives us a broad base that looks like Maryland similar to what you saw of Doug Wilder in Virginia after the Jesse Jackson campaign,” Jealous said.
Jealous’ career has been woven with civil rights and politics. Between 2000-2004 he served as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Earlier in his career, he’d worked as an editor for the historic Jackson Advocate newspaper in Mississippi.
After NNPA, he became founding director of Amnesty International’s U. S. Human Rights Program. In 2008, he became the historically youngest NAACP president at the age of 35, an office he held until 2012. He later became a venture capitalist with the Oakland, Calif.-based Kapor Center for Social Impact. He also played integral rolls in the presidential races of President Barack Obama.
“I’m blessed to have lived my life as a progressive in the Black community who is committed to fighting for a better life for everyone in our community and ultimately for everyone in every community…It’s that life, that path that starts with Jesse Jackson ’88 and goes all the way through Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign,” he recounts. “It’s that life that started with my parents and my grandparents rooted in the NAACP, raised in the NAACP; ultimately leads into the labor movement and the environmentalist movement and the LGBT movement and the women’s rights movement. That’s me, that’s where I’m rooted and where this campaign is rooted.”
If he wins, Jealous would become the nation’s fourth Black governor in modern history. The others were Virginia’s Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, elected in 1989; Massachusetts’ Gov. Deval Patrick, elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010; and New York’s Gov. David Paterson who served two years after the resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2008.
Jealous, 44, has two young children to whom he often refers when expressing concerns about the future of Maryland. Reflecting on the economic deprivation that became a national spotlight during the Freddie Gray case, he accuses Hogan of having ignored Baltimore during his tenure.
“This is a governor who has shifted millions of dollars away from public education and into voucher programs and who has toured the state with [Trump-appointed Education Secretary] Betsy Devos and has embraced Attorney General Sessions’ foolishness of trying to revive the failed war on drugs by also investing millions of dollars in building up law enforcement to go after heroin addicts as law breakers rather than as people who need to be sent to rehabilitation,” he says. “The only way to create a better future for Baltimore and its residents is to have a governor who is always for all of its residents; including Baltimore. Right now it feels too often that we have a governor who is always for all of Maryland except for Baltimore…You simply cannot starve a city that’s supposed to be the economic epicenter of the state and have the state prosper.”
Ultimately, the voters of Maryland must be inspired enough to believe the election even matters. “It’s going to take us deciding that our children’s future, that our family’s economic future is important enough for us to turn out,” Jealous says. “And so, at the end of the day, we will do what it takes to turn out voters. Donald Trump will make that easier and Larry Hogan will make that easier still.”

Trump Atrocities Report (TAR)

trump-1The  Greene County Democrat begins a new column this week entitled Trump Atrocities Report (TAR) in which we will explain some of the outrageously negative and harmful actions taken by President Donald J. Trump and the Trump Administration. The motivation for this column came from a discussion at a recent meeting of the Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy, an Alabama collaborative of 40 social justice organizations.
Some of these actions will be legislative changes, overzealous cuts in Federal regulations, appointees that are unqualified or chosen to destroy the government function they were asked to head up and official statements that do not make sense or are ‘alternative truths’.
Some of the atrocities are where President Trump or members of his family will get a financial benefit from their position or have a clear conflict of interest.
We are starting with some blatant examples of atrocious conduct by Trump. We already have a long list of items to make this a weekly column.
We hope you will clip out this column and share it with your friends especially those working people and women who voted for Trump thinking he would improve their lives. We want to educate and persuade them that they made a grave mistake in voting for Trump and his supporters so that they will not repeat their error in future elections.

Atrocity No. 1: Selecting a cabinet of millionaires and billionaires who are unqualified and chosen to destroy the department or agency they were nominated by Trump to lead. A few examples:

a. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for Attorney General. Sessions has opposed voting rights, civil rights, womens rights, LGBTQ rights and most human rights. He has been nominated to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer to enforce the laws protecting these rights that he does not believe in.

b. Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. She does not support public schools, never personally attended a public school and did not send her children to public schools. She has never used the Pell grant or college student loan programs she has been asked to administer. She did make $200 million in campaign contributions to Republican lawmakers in the past five years, which paved the way for her confirmation.

c. Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt is a “climate change denier” who has sued the EPA twenty times to remove regulations on clean air, water and nature as Oklahoma Attorney General.

2. Atrocity No. 2: Removing the Obama regulations that prevented the mentally ill from securing a permit to own a gun. This is the first of many regulatory changes dictated by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which will make our nation a more dangerous place to live!

3. Atrocity No. 3: The ‘Muslim Ban’, which prevents visitors from seven Mideast countries from entering the United States. This is part of Trump’s unconstitutional attack on immigration and refugee relief. More than 60,000 legal visitors and H-1B visa holders were stopped from entering the country and there was chaos at the nation’s airports, until Federal courts intervened to correct this injustice. This action gives terrorist organizations a “trump card” in recruiting more members and has the opposite effect of keeping us safe!

4. Atrocity No. 4: Removing regulations that required transparency in the payments by American corporations to foreign governments. This change was enacted on the day that former Exxon-Mobil Oil CEO, Rex Tillerson was elevated to become Secretary of State. Someone needs to explain how this regulation permitting oil and gas companies to hide bribes to foreign governments helps American workers to get more jobs!

Billionaire campaign finance maven Betsy DeVos confirmed as Secretary of Education

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary, approving the beleaguered nominee “with the help of a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence,” reports The New York Times:
It was the first time that a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination, according to the Senate historian. Taking the gavel as the vote deadlocked at 50-50, Mr. Pence, a former member of the House, declared his vote for Ms. DeVos before announcing that Mr. Trump’s nominee for education secretary had been confirmed.
Here are some of the best Twitter reactions to the confirmation of DeVos, who as The Times notes, “has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system.” NJ Senator Cory Booker pointed out that DeVos “did not attend public schools herself, did not send her children to public schools and has never taught in a public school”.
At the Congressional hearings on her confirmation, it was also pointed out that neither she nor her children had ever applied for a Pell grant or student loan. As Secretary of Education she will be administering these and many other education programs that she knows little about.
Critics protested the nomination because daughter-in-law of Amway cofounder Richard DeVos—who Forbes estimates is worth $5.1 billion––has had little-to-no involvement in the nation’s public schools. In the past several election cycles her family gave $200 million in campaign contributions to Republican Senate members, including four Senators who served on the committee that confirmed her.