Category Archives: Congressional Campaign

More About Me and Key Issues (Ballotpedia Survey, Part 1)

Please see my 4/10/2020 revised campaign platform, which supersedes issues presented here. I have now endorsed universal healthcare for all and a universal basic income for all Americans.

Here is a bit more about me in response to the Ballotpedia Survey. The survey is quite long, so this is just Part 1. I will complete it later this week.

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Richard Thripp. This is my son, Ricky. I’m a teacher educator at University of Central Florida teaching technology and I studied financial literacy among future teachers. I’m running for Congress in Florida’s 6th district as a progressive Democrat. I think we need a change in government. What we’re seeing now is unbelievable. We have basically seen every promise that Trump has allegedly made be torn down again and again. Now, they’re actually coming for your Social Security and your Medicare benefits, even though you spent your whole life paying into them, as many seniors have in the 6th district. This district has an incumbent Republican who is not a good guy at all. He comes out and he says things that are just unbelievable, [but] it’s [a district] we can WIN. I think we’re going to see that all over the country—what you saw in 2018 [blue wave in the U.S. House]—we’re going to make it even bigger this time, and we’re going to restore the government to what it should be: Working for the people, instead of the special interests and the wealthy corporations that are receiving the largest tax giveaways in modern history. Thank you, and please pitch in if you can, and as we get closer to the primary and general election, we’ll be building a movement with volunteers and possibly even staff. Thank you.

Headshot

GradImages: Portrait of Richard Thripp

Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less.

I am a teacher educator and recent graduate of the University of Central Florida where I studied the financial knowledge of future teachers for my dissertation. I’m 28 years old, a husband, father to a 10-month-old boy, and born and raised in Daytona Beach. I was formerly Republican as both of my parents are fervent Trump supporters, but became increasingly outraged by the terrible policies and attitudes we are seeing, as well as more understanding of the climate crisis, economic inequity, and issues of discrimination. My purpose in running for Florida’s 6th Congressional district is to get these important messages out there, mobilize the Democratic base in order to win the race, and to support whomever is the Democratic nominee for president in order to put the brakes on what will be seen as a dark chapter in American history. In Congress, I will fight corporate and special interests and advocate for the 99% on a host of issues.

Please see my 4/10/2020 revised campaign platform, which supersedes issues presented here. I have now endorsed universal healthcare for all and a universal basic income for all Americans.

Key Messages (Top 3)

Addressing the Climate Crisis
Restoring Congressional Authority
Strengthening the Affordable Care Act

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

Most prominently the climate crisis, as we need to address this with legislative action. My support of the Green New Deal has already been heavily criticized, but what we have now is actually a cash grab for polluting corporations. Emissions that are not regulated or taxed are a subsidy. We don’t necessarily need carbon taxes, but just that polluters be required to take actions to be net carbon neutral. Of course, much of human activity now would be unprofitable if not for kicking the can down the road, and would have to be curtailed. My district just had a huge near-miss from Hurricane Dorian, the rapid intensification of which was fueled by hot ocean waters from the human-caused climate crisis. We know from scientific evidence that the increase from 0.03% to 0.04% of atmospheric CO2 is of HUGE consequence (even though it sounds small), and methane from fracking is a big problem too. Congress needs young people like me who will take leadership rather than bribes on this issue. As a father of a 10-month-old boy, I owe it to him to take action.

Addressing wealth inequity is another big problem. What we have now is like feudal times, and this is no accident (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010). The Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went straight to the wealthy, and is the greatest robbery in the history of our country. Just empowering the IRS with resources to enforce EXISTING tax laws against the wealthy would make a huge difference.

What is your campaign slogan?

I Once Was a Republican, But Now I Know Better

What was your very first job? How long did you have it?

As a teenager, my father illegally employed me for his under-the-table business cleaning kitchen exhaust systems in restaurants within the same Congressional district I am seeking election to. I would spray caustic chemicals to remove grease, clean grease traps, scrape dried and encrusted grease off filters, and go on the roof to secure and clean the fan unit.

As a 15-year old, my first legitimate paid employment was as a student worker at the Holly Hill Public Library (unfortunately, no longer exists). I helped many people with computers and technology including learning new skills, finding jobs, and I even taught a computer class to seniors consisting of three two-hour lessons.

What is the first historical event that happened in your lifetime that you remember? How old were you at the time?

As a 6-year-old I found the 1998 Florida wildfires terrifying. My father rigged up a pump to our swimming pool to hose down the tar-and-gravel roof on our 1958-built house as flaming embers rained down in our yard. The fires we now see in California and Australia are far worse, due to the climate crisis. The fossil-fuel funded Republicans and Labor Party cover their eyes, ears, and noses.

Who do you look up to? Whose example would you like to follow, and why?

As a financial educator I look up to Dr. Annamaria Lusardi for her leadership, research, and advocacy for financial literacy. We need strong financial education coupled with effective regulation that prevents Americans from being fleeced by predatory or misleading financial products and practices. Among politicians I look up to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for breaking the mould and showing that young people can attain higher office and make a (positive) difference. Claims of a socialist, welfare agenda are overstated. What we have now is plutocratic oligarchical welfare for privileged wealthy elites. I do advocate individuals like myself capturing a portion of this wealth through long-term investing in the stock market such as an S&P 500 index fund. Unfortunately, only about 50% of Americans actually do this, and for those who do it’s limited to retirement accounts. Just because the stock market is up does not mean the typical American benefits.

To be continued…

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For Parts 2 and 3, click below:
On the Climate Crisis and the Next Decade (Ballotpedia Survey, Part 2)
Perspective, Issues, and My Potential Role in Congress (Ballotpedia Survey, Part 3)

Please see my 4/10/2020 revised campaign platform, which supersedes issues presented here. I have now endorsed universal healthcare for all and a universal basic income for all Americans.

I Once Was a Republican, But Now I Know Better

I Once Was a Republican, But Now I Know Better

It is difficult for me to explain why I decided to live with my father until age 26. He definitely wanted me there, but it was a bit like how victims of emotional abuse or domestic violence often do not flee, even when they have the opportunity to. Although never politically active until now, I am a former Republican who now knows better. Republicans talk of the “silent majority” who are for Trump, but don’t speak out because they don’t want the attention or ridicule. But, I think many young people share the experience of being ridiculed by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, bosses, even friends—for not supporting Trump. My mother is also a fervent Trump supporter and part of the religious right, and both of my parents believe in Pizzagate and a host of other insanity. I believe there is an often-silent majority that is baffled and appalled at what is going on in our country.

For me, the turning point in my switch to the Democratic party came in March 2019, which I realize is profoundly and embarrassingly late. In politics, people who change their minds about something are branded as liars, flip-floppers, and all other manner of insults. In education, however, most definitions of learning center around change. If you condemn people for changing their beliefs, you may as well say that education is pointless.

In June 2018 as Kristy and I found out she was pregnant, my parents both launched an onslaught of anti-vaccination messages, warnings, and threats. As a graduate student at University of Central Florida, it was always difficult to reconcile what I learned from my professors, peers, and research with what my parents were telling me. However, becoming a parent myself was different—I was now being not asked, but commanded to willfully endanger the life of my son and others by refusing vaccines. I turned to the academic literature to find the truth, and was also fortunate to be supported by Kristy, who was already a Democrat and pro-vaccine. My parents continued to tell me not to listen to the research—that it is funded by Bill Gates who just wants to kill and maim as many people as he can with vaccines, and by the Illuminati whose mission is purportedly trickery, mass murder, and keeping the “sheeple” trusting and stupid.

Kristy left it to me whether to invite my father to the hospital, and in hindsight I was so foolish. While my wife was in labor, my father was screaming at doctors and nurses outside the maternity ward about how they are poisoning and killing people with flu shots. He has the unusual distinction of having a criminal record and jail time only for direct criminal contempt of court (which is another caper in and of itself), so I worried that he would be arrested or worse, tased or shot for fighting back. I conspired with our midwife and nurses to administer the Hepatitis B vaccination and pretend we only had the vitamin K shot, which even by itself was objectionable, but to a lesser extent. We were quite tired three days later leaving the hospital, so I had my father meet us when we arrived home, ostensibly to watch the baby so we could sleep. Instead, he pressed me into admitting we vaccinated Baby Ricky, launching an hour-long tirade ending with him saying he never wanted to see any of us again. That was the last conversation (if you can call it that) we had. He never even held his only grandchild. A week later, I changed my voter registration.

It didn’t matter that under two months later, Trump came out saying “they have to get the shots.” Trump’s followers have blinders on. They ignore or explain away any of his actions they don’t agree with, thinking he is their friend and is continually persecuted by the “deep state.” They chant “lock her up” even while Hillary Clinton roams free; meanwhile many of Donald Trump’s associates are now felons convicted by juries of their peers convened by his Justice department. George H. W. Bush and son were blood-drinking child-raping Satanists, but somehow Donald Trump is righteous and pure. (Yes, I am aware of Dinesh D’Souza’s argument that courts railroad defendants and that taking a guilty plea shouldn’t be seen as an admission of guilt because going to trial is so dangerous for defendants. I’ve listened to more Alex Jones than anyone should, and I know many of the alt-right’s talking points better than they do themselves.)

As a child I was told I received less than half of the vaccines, and I would have received none if only the Internet was available to my father in the 1990s. In August 2018, Kristy and I took the efforts of getting our vaccine records, where I found this was false—I had all the vaccines except two booster shots. I then received the TDaP, MMR Part 2, and 6-month series of 3 HPV vaccines prior to our son’s birth, with no ill effects. Later, I was told by my parents that this was meaningless because an infant is far different, smaller, and more developmentally fragile than a fully grown adult. Frequently, I run into children who had their vaccines yet don’t have autism. It just doesn’t matter. Faith trumps facts, and humans are wired this way. Using reason and science is like trying to turn the tide of an ocean.

I’m a pessimist, geared to focus on the negatives. I could get 1,000 supportive messages but I will hone in on the few that will call me a hypocrite, a liar, a weak person, a shill, or a moron for posting this. I have a lot more I could write, and I will write it all eventually, but this will do for now. I know there are countless other untold stories like mine, and many do not have the luxury of broadcasting them like this. You can’t really speak out if your partner, parent, boss, or others controls the roof over your head, the purse strings, or emotionally and physically abuses and manipulates you. In the end, you have to work through it and endeavor to treat others better, such as I hope to treat my son as compared with how my father treated me and compared with how his father treated him. For a time, you may even be bamboozled into oppressing others as part of such a regime, and although such actions are not excused, that does not mean that learning, changing, apologizing, forgiving, and becoming a better person is a fruitless exercise. This is why I am now a Democrat.

Candidate Petitions for Ballot Access

Update on 1/06/2020: I have decided to reverse my position on this and to just pay the $10,440 filing fee instead of petitions. There are a load of roadblocks with the petition method (no doubt intentional) and I believe my time is better spent mobilizing the Democratic base by getting out to local clubs, caucasus, and events.

I have decided to qualify for ballot access via the candidate petition method in order to save my campaign approximately $10,000. (It is expensive to get on the ballot in Florida!) Please read my message below to a local Democratic club for more information or to get involved.

Hi there,

It was great meeting all of you and joining the Southwest Volusia Democrats club at the January 2, 2020 meeting. I would have gotten involved earlier but having a 10-month-old, teaching, and completing my Ph.D. at UCF this past semester prevented it.

I am running for U.S. Congress against Michael Waltz in the 6th district and Club President Dana Dunmire had mentioned the club regularly signs candidate petitions. I had previously thought I would pay the $10,440 filing fee as a loan or donation to my campaign, but have instead decided I will collect the 5,479 signatures required by March 23, 2020, which will be a lot of work requiring about 100 signatures a day for a safe margin of error, but each signature saves the campaign nearly $2 assuming I get enough of them.

I will canvas for the signatures extensively over the coming weeks including from your club at the February meeting. I have also uploaded the petition form with several items pre-filled here for any who would wish to share it to be printed/filled and given to me in person or mailed to me:
http://thripp.com/files/congress/Blank-Petition-English-Thripp.pdf

Please note the original forms with handwritten signatures and dates from voters must be submitted in-person by myself and that only registered voters within the district are eligible, which includes all of Volusia and Flagler counties as well as St. Johns County south of St. Augustine Beach and parts of Lake County including Eustis. You can enter your address on this page and if “Michael Waltz” appears (scroll past Trump/Pence/Rubio/Scott), you are eligible for my petition: https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/

Please send me a message with your address if you would like to receive a self-addressed stamped envelope along with six blank petition forms by U.S. Mail. I can also receive petitions in-person or by mail to:
RICHARD THRIPP FOR CONGRESS
265 HICKORY AVE
ORANGE CITY FL 32763

I will also visit the Volusia County Democrat Headquarters soon to leave blank petitions with them. I recall last month they had a stack of blank petitions for Sheriff Mike Chitwood’s re-election.

Best regards,
Richard Thripp, Ph.D.
Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress (FL-06)
Adjunct Faculty, University of Central Florida
http://thripp.com
me@thripp.com

Update on 1/06/2020: I have decided to reverse my position on this and to just pay the $10,440 filing fee instead of petitions. There are a load of roadblocks with the petition method (no doubt intentional) and I believe my time is better spent mobilizing the Democratic base by getting out to local clubs, caucasus, and events.

Donate to Richard Thripp’s Campaign, Democrat for Congress (Florida’s 6th District)

Donate to Richard Thripp’s Campaign, Democrat for Congress (Florida’s 6th District)

Using ActBlue, the Democratic grassroots donation platform that Bernie Sanders uses.

Addressing the Climate Crisis
Restoring Congressional Authority
Strengthening the Affordable Care Act
Prioritizing Education
Ensuring Fair and Equitable Taxation

Donate to Richard Thripp's Campaign

Your donation will go toward:
Ballot access fee
Signs and flyers
Outreach efforts on the ground

Republican incumbent Michael Waltz has raised over $600,000 toward re-election already. I am the only serious Democrat running against him.

Thanks,
Richard Thripp, Ph.D.

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On the Assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Congressional Authority

Last night, President Trump ordered the assassination of a top Iranian general who has been responsible for many American and civilian deaths. Considering this action on its own, many military experts find it easily justified. Placed in a broader context, there are clear conflicts of interest. Trump himself warned in 2011 that Obama would attack Iran to boost his chances at re-election. Now, Trump is doing exactly that, and it is well-known in Washington that he has been scrambling to get any sort of legislation passed, such as tax credits for low-income Americans, that could help him be re-elected.

The U.S. Constitution is clear that “Congress shall have power . . . To declare war” and also “to raise and support armies.” Yet, the Speaker of the House was not even informed before the operation was executed, and only Lindsey Graham seems to have known, with the issue being discussed on one of Trump’s many taxpayer-funded vacations to Mar-a-Lago that cost $3.4 million each (exceeding a president’s salary for an entire 8-year tenure). Experts are warning that this is a monumental event that could kick off another decades-long war, such as our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even in Game of Thrones, Nancy Pelosi would have at least received a raven (a message attached to a homing bird similar to a carrier pigeon), possibly even before the operation was executed.

I am friends or acquaintances with several Iranians at the University of Central Florida, who have come to the United States for the opportunities and possibilities available here. The students I know have come to earn their Master’s or doctoral degrees in the university’s excellent College of Community Innovation & Education or College of Engineering & Computer Science, and another is a statistician at the university who advised me as a member of my dissertation committee. The leaders of Iran are out-of-touch with the people and have taken positions that cripple the country’s economy. Compounded by American sanctions, this is resulting in tremendous hardships. Many Iranians want to come to the United States to start a new life in the land of opportunity, while many Americans cannot even place Iran on a map and harbor stereotypes about foreigners that are caustic and out-of-touch with reality.

If elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, one of my goals will be to restore Congressional authority. This includes the power to declare war (which has not been formally invoked since World War II), but also many domestic legislative issues. Washington veterans lament that under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, the U.S. Senate has become zombified, empowered only to confirm appointments of a never-ending stream of Trump loyalists to the federal judiciary. Recently, we have seen judges and the government attempt to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, which will cause untold suffering for millions of Americans. Yet, no one contests that when the courts overturn a policy or law on a statutory basis, that the U.S. Congress is empowered to amend the law to remedy its purported deficiencies and bring it back into force. Obviously, Congress has been dysfunctional for a long time and lately this has gotten even worse, but this does not mean we cannot turn the trend around. As a Congressman, I will support a Congressional Review Act for the Supreme Court that will empower a unified or bipartisan-cooperating government to swiftly act when key legislation falters in court. Although the stacking of the judiciary will be with us for a long time, there is a chance that 2021 will see a Democratic president and majorities in both houses of Congress, as it was (and was squandered) for the Republicans in 2017.

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