When I first came to America, I heard that the Democrats were the people who represented the poor and the marginalized, so I rooted for them to win. But, after growing up in a district that has been ruled for 25 years by an entrenched Democratic party machine, which wants to ban gay marriage and voted against the ACA, I'm not that naive anymore. 

My district's story is a warning about our broken two party system. Year after year, my neighbors vote for Democrats. Our district is made up mainly of working class immigrants. They are progressives who decisively rejected Trump in the general election, and supported Bernie during the primaries. However, the local Democratic party continues to elevate its own family members and wealthy business people to run for office. The result is an oligarchy, that privileges the well-connected and the rich.

Our local party may simply be too corrupt to be reformed from within. That is why, on the southwest side of Chicago, we are trying to start something new -- an independent movement that cares more about holding the wealthy accountable than about connecting the dots of the latest conspiracy theory. Instead of endless partisan debates about Obamacare or Trumpcare, we want a single payer health care system, not incrementally, but now. And, instead of a politics that privileges one group over another, we want an America that works for All.

The road to election won't be easy. I am not rich, I have a quirky name, and I am proud to be gay. Immigrants, workers and LGBTQ people are almost non-existent in Congress. But, like the people of my district, I have spent my entire life overcoming obstacles. And, as a scholar, teacher and organizer, I have relentlessly pursued truth and the public good, rather than self-interested profit. You can trust that I will continue doing the same. 

Learn more about our efforts at mat2018.com, and help us out with a donation.

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