Home Virginia Politics On the Politics Hour, Del. Lee Carter Discusses Socialism, Jamestown, Unionized Campaigns,...

On the Politics Hour, Del. Lee Carter Discusses Socialism, Jamestown, Unionized Campaigns, Amazon, Guns, etc.

"I don't refer to myself as a Democratic Socialist, just a socialist, because just definitionally, if it's not democratic, it's not socialism."

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Virginia Del. Lee Carter (HD50) was on the Kojo Nnamdi Show’s Politics Hour earlier today, and had some interesting things to say on unionizing his campaign, on guns, on whether or not to attend the Jamestown anniversary commemoration, etc. See below the following screen shot – the Kojo Nnamdi Show misquoting Carter on what he means by “Socialist,” then getting called out by Carter for that and pulling down their erroneous tweet – for a few highlights.  According to Carter, by the way, he doesn’t “refer to myself as a Democratic Socialist, just a socialist,” because “just definitionally, if it’s not democratic, it’s not socialism.”


  • On whether or not to go to the Jamestown anniversary commemoration, Del. Carter said: “It was already kind of fraught because of the history…it’s not just 400 years of there being a legislature, it’s 400 years of a legislature that was founded by slave owners, and it’s also the 400-year mark of when the first Africans were brought to the mainland of the United States against their will…I was already on the fence about [attending], and now hearing that President Trump may attend, especially when he’s stoking…racial animosity and putting members of Congress, particularly women of color, in danger…there’s just no way I can go…Whether or not [Trump] attends, it’s better to just not go.”
  • On his campaign staff looking to unionize, Del. Carter said he believes firmly that “everyone who works for a living deserves to have a union, and that shouldn’t change just because I’m the boss of that workplace…Now we’re in negotiations over their first contract…I’ve already been paying substantially more than [minimum wage]…Right now I’m sort of waiting for their first proposal…I haven’t even seen it yet.”
  • On how he’s being treated by Republicans in the House of Delegates, Del. Carter said, “the funny thing about being the only Socialist in a Republican-held chamber is you quickly learn that your name is a party-line issue…for right now, the Republicans have decided that Lee Carter doesn’t get a Republican vote on any bill in committee…they showed it for two years…I’ve been making sure we accomplish things under other people’s names.”
  • On his campaign unionizing, the Kojo Show tweeted: “@carterforva says he supports his two person campaign staff unionizing. Will he pay more than Virginia’s minimum wage, which is just $7.25 an hour? ‘We’re in negotiations now,’ he says.”  Del. Carter tweeted after the show, “I also said that I already DO pay more than the minimum.” Del. Carter appeared to leave Tom Sherwood speechless when he said, “To paraphrase FDR, any campaign that depends for its existence upon paying less than a living wage has no right to exist.”
  • On the chances of getting rid of the so-called “Right to Work” law, Del. Carter said: “I think it will happen when Democrats have a majority in both chambers; the question of course is, you know, this is not strictly a party-line issue. Obviously Republicans are completely opposed to doing it, but there are some Democrats as well…So, the question becomes how many Democrats defect and what sort of a margin we need in both chambers in order to get it done. And I think, frankly, we’ll need a higher margin in the Senate than we will in the House.”
  • On opposition to his ideas in the House of Delegates, Del. Carter said he’s making “clear moral arguments,” and argued that “by clearly stating these things, it puts a lot of my colleagues in the Democratic Party in a position where they have to explain why they don’t believe that, and that’s an uncomfortable position for them to be in, but it’s not my fault that they’re uncomfortable explaining their positions that are not that morally clear.”
  • What does the word “Socialist” mean to Del. Carter? “It means working people having democratic control over their workplace. That’s it. That’s all it means.”
  • Why is he a Lyft driver, when – as Tom Sherwood said – “they’re not treated well by their employers?” Del. Carter’s response: “Because I need the money.”
  • On Amazon coming to Virginia, Del. Carter said the “real-world consequences” of the deal so far are that “Amazon has only hired a couple hundred people, they haven’t put a shovel in the ground, and already home prices in Arlington County are up on average 17%” (and “a 99% increase” in the zip code closest to Amazon’s new HQ) compared to last year. Carter added: “There’s real economic harm being done to thousands of people in northern Virginia; there are people who are losing their homes, who are facing impending homelessness right now, and tax revenue that comes 10-15 years down the line is far too little and far too late to save them…”
  • On guns, Del. Carter said, “I did 5 years in the United States Marine Corps; if there’s one thing Marines know about, it’s firearms.” Del. Carter added that we need universal background checks, safe storage provisions, localities having the ability to control firearms in their municipal buildings. Also: “We need to not only make sure we’re keeping guns out of the hands, but we also need to make sure that we’re preserving the rights of marginalized people to defend themselves, particularly in the post-August 12, 2017 world, where we’ve seen a horde of Nazis descend upon the city of Charlottesville and murder someone in a terrorist attack. Anyone who’s an activist or a person of color or LGBT or otherwise at risk of politically motivated violence who feels comfortable with firearm ownership, they need to have the ability and the right to defend themselves should they be targeted for politically motivated violence.”