Although, overwhelmingly, Trump’s election was an almost unimaginably disastrous thing for the country and the world, I do occasionally try to find a (thin?) silver lining in the heavy, dark, poisonous orange cloud hanging over us. One of those silver linings has been the upsurge in progressive activism since January 2017, both nationally and here in Virginia. This activism has taken a variety of forms, including a variety of groups – on the ground and online – as well as things like podcasting (“Pod Save America” springs to mind), such as the excellent interview series on Virginia politics put together by David Pratt of “Thunderdome: Virginia Politics.” To date, Pratt has posted 20 of these podcast interviews with Democratic political candidates – for House of Delegates, Lt. Governor, and Congress – and they’re very useful.
Check out, for instance, the latest of the “Thunderdome” Congressional interviews (see below), with VA-01 Democratic candidate Edwin Santana. This one’s just over 23 minutes long, and as with the other Congressional candidate interviews, it’s broken into three parts – personal history, professional background, issues. I find this format helpful, albeit brief, in getting to know the candidates.
In this case, Edwin Santana talks about growing up in a “very poor,” rural town in Maine and how that informed his worldview; joining the U.S. Marine Corps; moving to Virginia and deciding to run for Congress after the election of Trump. On the latter, Santana remarked, “thankfully I got out of the Marine Corps, because I couldn’t serve in the military where Donald Trump was my boss; I think that he is the absolute opposite of all the leadership values that are instilled in us — I don’t think that he embodies any of them and I realized we we need some some new leadership, we need some fresh air in Congress and in government, because where we’re going in the wrong direction right now”).
With regard to the issues he’s running on, Santana emphasized the need for universal health care – while he believes the Affordable Care Act was a “good start,” we “need to continue to improve upon that” with a “single payer, Medicare-for-all” approach. According to Santana, implementing Medicare for all would save us $600 billion a year, money that could be used for other pressing needs while guaranteeing health care coverage to “every man, woman and child” in the country.
One other issue Santana said he’s heard people in VA-01 talking about is inadequate access – and the need to expand access – to high-speed, broadband internet. According to Santana, the lack of access to broadband internet is “still a huge problem…restricting educational opportunities for kids. I’ve heard stories of kids who need to go to the public library, to do their homework to sit in the parking lot of a McDonald’s to get access to Wi-Fi because they can’t do their homework from home…small business owners who can’t start businesses because they don’t have the infrastructure in their home…the high-speed the high-speed Internet to do it…whether you’re a Democrat or Republican nobody likes slow internet.”
For more information on Edwin Santana, check out his website here. And for more “Thunderdome Virginia politics” podcast interviews, including several with VA-10 candidates (Dan Helmer, Dave Hanson, Julia Biggins, Lindsey Davis Stover, Deep Sran) click here. I’ll try to start posting new ones here as they pop up. Finally, thanks again for David Pratt for providing this excellent, helpful public service!