Keith Ellison on his vision for America [INTERVIEW PART 4]
Keith Ellison was elected to the Minnesota House in 2002. Four years later, he made the jump to Congress.
He's extremely popular in the 5th congressional district, having beaten his Republican challenger by more than 40 percentage points during the last election cycle. With a record rife with campaign success and the strong backing of his constituents, could another jump to higher office be in Ellison's future?
THE KEITH ELLISON INTERVIEW:
-- Keith Ellison on Chris Fields: "He should be ashamed of himself" [INTERVIEW PART 1]
-- Keith Ellison: "Let's say that the war on drugs is over" [INTERVIEW PART 2]
-- Keith Ellison on freedom of speech: "It's a good and bad thing" [INTERVIEW PART 3]
In the last installment of our interview series, we asked Keith about his political ambitions, and got him to open up about his overarching vision for America.
-- On his political aspirations --
I have no political ambitions to go to higher office. I'm not saying I would never do it. I do have ambition. I'd like to build support and strengthen a certain philosophical point of view across America. I'd like to see progressive ideals have a more prominent role in our society, and what I mean by that is I'd like to see millionaires take the attitude that, 'Hey, this is my country. I'm going to give back to my country through taxes and other ways, charitable giving.' I'd like to see us invest in the public wealth of our nation.
In 1964, Goldwater lost in a landslide. Conservatives didn't quit -- in fact, they began to build and strengthen their movement. They had their big victory in 1980 with Ronald Reagan and since that time they've been doing nothing but trying to get rid of government, taxes, regulations, and there hasn't been a progressive answer to that. [My answer is about] infrastructure, affirming the importance of a balanced economy, both with the private sector and public sector working together, not the elimination of the public sector.
I'm ambitious to recapture the American dream. We have a governing philosophy -- the politics of generosity and inclusion. Everybody counts, everybody matters. You won't see 'Vote for Ellison' on any of my bumper stickers.
We need to create and help grow a wave that will do four things. First, promote the idea that America's awesome military strength and power should be about promoting peace. We shouldn't be messed up in crazy wars again.
Second, we need to promote middle-class and working-class prosperity. That's health care, that's better wages, that's investing in public infrastructure and putting people back to work.
Third, environmental sustainability. Reducing our carbon footprint to zero, living in harmony with the natural world.
Four, we need to do all of those three things on the basis of equality and inclusion, whether black, white, Latino, Asian, gay, straight, born here or abroad, Muslim, Jew, Christian or no faith at all. An American is an American and we embrace each one. That's what I'm ambitious to do.
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