Why I’m Running

It’s Time To Put People Over Politics

This week I announced I am running as a non-partisan, independent candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryland.

It was not an easy decision, but a necessary one — for me and for the time we live in.

So many people today feel politically homeless because their elected leaders no longer truly represent their views. The two parties have been pulled by their leaders to the extreme left and the extreme right, and those of us in the middle have been deserted. Whether you consider yourself center-left, center right or a true moderate, you no longer have a home anywhere in the two major parties.

The partisan infighting and finger-pointing that consumes Congress have brought gridlock, stagnation and even shutdowns. And we are forced to watch as the parties selfishly chip away at our sense of community and drag us deeper into debt without addressing our most pressing social and economic problems, like fixing our schools, creating high-paying jobs and lowering the high cost of healthcare coverage for businesses and families.

The U.S. Senate, once the world’s most deliberative body, has forgotten how to function. Our leaders have stopped working together. They have stopped listening to each other and they’ve stopped listening to the concerns of working people.

We’ve become a country of red vs. blue, when it should be red, white and blue.

It wasn’t always this way.

Two generations ago, my grandparents emigrated to the United States from Belarus and Morocco. They came to America because they believed in this country’s values and ideals. They believed in working hard, getting a good education for their kids, and leaving more for their children than they had for themselves. They became part of the united America that we all believe in, with a functional government that created opportunities that many called “The American Dream.”

But today, we no longer have a united America. Our country is badly divided, in large part because of partisan politics. We now have sisters who don’t speak to each other and childhood friendships destroyed, because we live in an atmosphere polluted by leaders who no longer engage in reasonable, civil discourse.

The dysfunction in Congress is not just hurting average working people here in Maryland, it’s a threat to democracy itself.

This has to change.

But it won’t change — and it will never change — if we keep electing the same people, from the same two parties, year after year, over and over again.

As an entrepreneur who ran five successful businesses, I never intended to run for the Senate. The values instilled in me by my parents and their parents — hard work, getting a good education and giving back to the community I love — has allowed me to share my own piece of the American Dream. The U.S. Senate didn’t seem like a place where I could contribute, much less have an impact.

But all that has changed. The frustration I’ve felt, and the frustration of my friends and colleagues, toward the dysfunction and utter chaos that has enveloped Congress has compelled me to take action, to do what I can to change a badly broken system.

I want to go to the United States Senate for three reasons:

First, I want to help people get ahead. I want to help people get a better education and get the skills needed to succeed. And I want to help Maryland attract the high-paying jobs that Marylanders want. Too many people are working pay-check to pay-check, working two jobs to make ends meet. We need more good jobs and a workforce that’s ready for those jobs.

We also need to reduce the crippling cost of health care, which right now costs Marylanders $1,100 more per person than our neighbors in Virginia, and nationally we spend double the average of other industrialized countries.

Second, I want to help bring the country together. A nation this divided, this polarized cannot stand. I believe that, despite our differences, we CAN work together to strengthen America. It starts with listening to all points of view, communicating respectfully, and using facts to make decisions.

And third, I want to change the way Washington works. Congress is not listening to us, Congress is listening to its party bosses and special interests. Without the shackles of a party label and with the credibility of being a moderate independent, I will help tip the balance of power away from the partisan extremes and into the hands of independent leaders who will get the job done — who will put people over politics.

That’s what I intend to do as Maryland’s next Senator.