Category Archives: Letters

Letter to Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, January 6, 2020

One of the first things I did in my campaign as a progressive Democrat for Florida’s 6th Congressional district was to write a letter to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s mother, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez (BOC). She lives in my district, in Eustis, FL, and will hopefully vote for me in the August 18, 2020 primary and November 3, 2020 general election. She discussed her move from New York and AOC’s rise to power in her March 2019 interview with the Daily Mail.

I did not hear back, but it was worth a shot.

I did not anticipate 3 months later that we would be in a global pandemic hitting the USA especially hard due to unparalleled incompetence of our executive branch of government, or putting modern monetary theory to the test with many trillions of dollars of stimulus spending and giveaways to real estate moguls and profligate corporations.

Letter to BOC

January 6, 2020

Dear Ms. Blanca Ocasio-Cortez,

Alexandria is an inspiration to many young people such as myself to run for office! I’d like to meet you. I’m running for Congress in your district and am focused on the climate crisis, among other issues that align with Democratic socialism. I’ve included an essay on how I woke up to become a Democrat and other information on my background and positions. I’m a husband, father to a 10-month-old boy, and teacher educator at University of Central Florida. I’m 28 years old as Alexandria was when she ran.

Although I am an unknown candidate, I have already received hate mail for supporting the Green New Deal, along with plenty of other derogatory messages, often completely devoid of facts. I can only imagine what your daughter goes through on a daily basis with her high profile and being a target of hatred for the alt-right.

I think 2020 is a critical year—even more than 2016. I read an article recently saying that if Trump wins another term, he will become even more deranged and dangerous. I have been meeting with local Democrats, who know that Florida is key, which is why Trump held his campaign launch here in Orlando and recently domiciled here. I am not just running for U.S. House, but also for whomever the Democratic nominee for president is.

My wife Kristy, I, and our son will also be visiting Washington, D.C. from February 2–7, 2020. I have never been before. We would love to meet Alexandria if she has the time. Congress is in session this week.

I just got off the phone with Nancy Soderberg, the 2018 Democratic candidate for our district. She raised $7 million (compared to my $0), but it wasn’t enough to win in a district that leans 7 percentage points Republican (but, the 6th is among the better Florida districts to run in!). Republican Trump toady Michael Waltz presently has no serious Democratic challenger except myself. People have given up, but it is exactly the wrong time to give up.

I look forward to hearing from you,
Richard Thripp, Ph.D.
Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress (FL-06)
Adjunct Faculty, University of Central Florida

I recommend reducing Florida ballot access fees from $10,440 to $3,480 for Congressional candidates and $1,782 to $594 for state legislature candidates, costing $1.52 million—FAR less than 0.3% of Florida’s recent $543 million giveaway to big businesses

I wrote this email on April 8, 2020 to other Congressional candidates as well as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections.

Hello fellow candidates,

I am in complete agreement with you.

This is a completely nonpartisan issue.

Florida’s fee of $10,440 for major party candidates to run for Congress is insane.

The petition requirements are also very steep, ranging from 3,749 to 5,772 petitions depending on the district. There are 171 part-affiliated Congressional candidates listed on the Division of Elections website (as well as one write-in candidate who does not have to collect petitions or pay a fee). As of April 8, 2020, only NINE of them qualified by acquiring voter petitions: Donna Deegan (Democrat, CD4), Bill Posey (Republican, CD8), Dana Cottrell (Democrat, CD11), Daniel Webster (Republican, CD11), Gus Michael Bilirakis (Republican, CD12), Margaret Good (Democrat, CD16), Brian Mast (Republican, CD18), Ted Deutch (Democrat, CD22), and Mario Diaz-Balart (Republican, CD25).

The steepness of either method ($10,440 fee or petitions) is true even when there isn’t a highly contagious, dangerous pandemic impacting Florida. Now, I believe it truly is unlawful and the requirements should immediately be reduced quite drastically. I would recommend a 70% reduction in petition requirements for all candidates (federal and state/local) and an elimination of state assessment fees. Keep the party assessment fees if you’d like, which would be $3,480 for Congressional candidates, but waive the $6,960 of state fees.

Although I was able to pony up the $10,440 fee to get on the ballot, this just isn’t fair to most candidates. To be quite honest, it’s most advantageous to wealthy, well-connected candidates, including incumbents, who get multiple $2,800 campaign contributions from wealth individuals and $5,000 or $10,000 per PAC.

Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis proceeded with issuing $543.2 million of unnecessary tax giveaways to large Florida corporations. These giveaways are going to big businesses, not small businesses. For the 162 Congressional candidates who did not qualify by petition method, waiving $6,960 of fees would be a loss of $1,127,520 of state revenue. That’s only 0.2% of the amount of the recent taxpayer-funded corporate tax giveaway bonanza. In fact, it would be even less, because not all candidates who have filed will qualify.

If we add on approximately 330 candidates for the state legislature, waiving $1,187.88 of state fees for all of these candidates would cost no more than $392,000, and in fact less because a bigger percentage of these candidates will qualify by petition.

I think the State of Florida, which recently gave away $543.2 million to big businesses, can easily afford to forgo $1.52 million of revenue on ballot access fees.

Dr. Richard Thripp
Progressive Democrat for U.S. Congress (#FL6)

Updated 4/09/2020: I corrected the fact that there are 9 federal candidates who qualified by petition, not 3 as I had previously heard from a fellow candidate in an email.

Message From New Supporter on Twitter, March 25, 2020

One of my new #FL6 supporters/voters on Twitter wrote this:

“I know who I’ll be voting for to replace Michael Waltz #FL06

Learn more about Richard Thripp here:

And here’s where you can donate to his campaign if you’ve been lucky enough to not have your finances corona-crashed.”

My response:

Thank you!! I appreciate your support & votes: 8/18 Democratic primary & 11/03/2020 general, or vote-by-mail / early voting. Voters in Volusia and Flagler counties, and St. Johns County south of SR 207 + Hastings & the northeast part of Lake County, vote for Richard Thripp. #FL6

I encourage even my Republican friends & neighbors to vote for me in November rather than the incumbent corporatist who lives OUTSIDE #FL6.

My future staff & I will be proactive helping constituents w/ federal agencies, including a NEW district office in mid-town Daytona Beach.

March 25, 2020: I just received $50 from a contributor in Palm Coast, FL. Thank you so much! I believe we can flip #FL6 blue. 2020 is special.

Donate to Richard Thripp's Campaign

On the Wawa Gas Station in Ormond Beach, FL, Slaughter of Oak Trees, True Costs of Environmental Damage, and Corporate Welfare

This is an email I wrote to Marty Price, President of the Ormond Beach Democratic Club, regarding a comment he made on the new Wawa gas station in Ormond Beach, FL and our recent radio appearances on Big John WELE AM 1380 THE CAT in Ormond Beach.

Nicely done, Marty! I listened to you on the air (1380 AM radio). I also called in before you went on and discussed my candidacy. I’ve copied a few people on this email and written a perspective you may not have thought of, below.

I will say one thing about when Ormond Beach Democratic Club president Marty Price said “we don’t need another gas station” on March 16, 2020 on WELE 1380 AM The Cat with Big John. (This is in regards to the new Wawa gas station on W. Granada Blvd. and Tomoka Ave. in Ormond Beach, FL.) When you say this, you’ll get pushback from Republicans and “free”-market advocates. They will say: Obviously we do need it, because Wawa has decided to put a gas station there and believes the free market demands it (i.e., it will be profitable). However, there is an excellent rebuttal to this argument. When Wawa slaughters 2,000 oak trees and doesn’t have to pay for it, they are receiving massive corporate welfare. They aren’t paying for the ecological, atmospheric, and environmental costs. They aren’t paying the correct amount for the damage they are doing, including increased taxpayer costs due to drainage issues on neighboring parcels.

The business of selling gasoline is further subsidized because there is a high cost in respect to CO2 emissions that is not priced in. ExxonMobil already did secret research on this decades ago and estimated, adjusted for inflation, that there would be a need for approximately a $75 per tonne carbon tax in present dollars. That’s 68¢ per gallon of gas that no one is paying. If Wawa had to pay the actual costs of putting a gas station in Ormond Beach, their calculus might change and they might not have done it.

Another thing not priced into our economy: The public and individual medical costs, as well as loss of life, due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). If Disney World and the proprietors of Bike Week had to pay the resultant medical costs due to being open for business, and for wrongful deaths that may ensue due to a growing pandemic that will strain our healthcare system resulting in triage of care, I can guarantee you they would have closed or canceled MUCH earlier. As Democrats, we are not asking for disastrous central planning and command-and-control economies. We advocate for well-regulated free markets, small businesses, capitalism, and American ingenuity, innovation, and hard work. We advocate for fairness. We need to end corporate welfare, subsidies, tax breaks, and privilege for large corporations and wealthy individuals. When Walmart’s employees receive food stamps and Medicaid, Walmart should pay for that.

Best regards,
Dr. Richard Thripp
Progressive Democrat for U.S. Congress (#FL6) | Twitter | Facebook | Calendar | Donate

Letter to Elizabeth Warren Asking Her to Endorse Bernie Sanders

I sent this to Elizabeth Warren on March 6, 2020 via her contact form. Please share.

Hi Dr. Warren,

I’m writing to ask you to endorse Bernie Sanders. I look up to your work with the CFPB. I did my dissertation on preservice teacher financial knowledge and was inspired by you and others to run for Congress here in Florida’s 6th district, championing universal healthcare, climate action, and making our society equitable again in light of unprecedented privilege and wealth stratification. Joe Biden is not the right candidate, neither to guide us toward these ends nor to beat Donald Trump. Wall Street is lining up for Joe. Health insurance stocks are soaring following his blow-out performance on Super Tuesday. I implore you—your agenda is Bernie’s agenda and the agenda of the American people, and he needs all the help he can get. As a 28-year old husband and father to a precious 1-year-old baby boy, I know that Bernie is, at this point, our only hope toward a Green New Deal that can save our children’s future by putting American might behind green technologies to dramatically reduce costs via economies of scale that will spread worldwide to make fossil fuels unprofitable, even without addressing their atmospheric costs. Bernie needs your endorsement NOW, before the next round of primaries on March 10, 2020. His presidency will make a tremendous difference for downtrodden, disadvantaged, and forgotten Americans, as well as people worldwide, including our young people, girls and women, people of color, those with disabilities, and the financially disadvantaged. Thank you for reading.

Dr. Richard Thripp