Why I’m Running for Congress

My name is Tom Brier, and I am running as a Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Tenth Congressional District.

It has been said that each generation must win its own fight for freedom. For those of us here in Central Pennsylvania, that time has come. Now more than ever, this country needs honesty and candor in its political life.

Like Robert Kennedy, I believe that we are strong enough to be told the truth of where we stand. I believe that we possess the ability and the desire to understand where we as a country have gone wrong. And I believe that the time has come for all of us — young and old, teacher and student, parent and child, Republican and Democrat — to reaffirm our commitment to one another and create for ourselves a new destiny of peace and prosperity.

To do so, we must first confront the facts. Here are a few: Pennsylvania is home to more opiate deaths per day than any state in the country; our students graduate with the nation’s highest average student loan debt; our infrastructure ranks 48th out of 50 states; and our unemployment rate ranks in the bottom 1/3. A Molotov cocktail of false prophets, corporate greed, and racist creeds has supplanted upward mobility and social stability with downward despair and communal division. At long last, we must say come together and say: “Enough.”

I am running for Congress because, like you, I have felt the effects of these facts. I have lost friends to the nondiscriminatory disease of opiate addiction. I have a six-figure student loan bill. I have seen my mom, a Reading Specialist at a local public school, use her salary to buy supplies for her students, most of whom come from low-income families. I have seen friends and family forgo buying medicine they need because they simply can’t afford it.

I run for Congress because disastrous, divisive policies can be changed only by changing the representatives who make them. I run for Congress because I believe it is time for a new generation of leadership — a generation comprised of the young in age and the young in spirit; a generation that prefers creative experimentation to rigid ideology; and a generation prepared to offer a new vision for recapturing America’s moral leadership in the world.

With civic friendship as our guide, shared sacrifice as our duty, and history as our judge, let us embark, in the words of Dr. King, on a radical revolution of values; a revolution rooted in the garden of growth rather than the desert of despair.

Let us build not walls, but bridges; let us secure affordable healthcare not for the privileged few, but for the entire nation; let us repair a capitalist system that rewards not billionaires, but working families. Together, we can promote the common good over self-interest and create for ourselves a future in which each person is afforded the opportunity to pursue his or her own form of happiness.

If we do well here in Central Pennsylvania — if we meet our obligations with firm resolve; if we move ahead and not behind; if we conquer the challenges of our time — not only will we secure peace and prosperity here at home, but we may very well secure peace and prosperity across the United States. As Pericles said of Athens: “We do not imitate — for we are a model to others.”

The eyes of the country are on us. The mood is ominous and the challenge is urgent. But this is a new beginning, and we are not alone. So let us aim higher. And let us begin.

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