By Brian Mittge / For the Chronicle
Over the past few weeks, as I have encouraged voters across the political spectrum to support Jaime Herrera Beutler for Congress, I have heard from people who strongly disagree with the idea.
This column is for them, or anyone who doesn’t quite feel comfortable in either of the two major parties.
Luckily, there is a congressional candidate in the 3rd District who is strongly pro-life, pro-small business, and pro-old-school community values.
The candidate is Oliver Black, and he represents a new political party that I think would fit well with the beliefs of many Lewis County voters: the American Solidarity Party.
“I want to give people an option that they can feel comfortable and happy with later and not regret later voting for someone they didn’t quite align with,” he said. said Black.
Black, 32, is a father and a high school history and civics teacher at a private school in Longview.
I asked Black how he would describe his candidacy and the American Solidarity Party.
“It’s pro-life for life and encouraging worker ownership,” he said.
Pro-life for the whole of life is to oppose abortion and euthanasia, but also to oppose the death penalty.
It also means strong and meaningful support for families once children are born, so that only one parent has to work and the other can stay home with their children.
“That includes maternity and paternity leave,” Black said. “This includes access to healthy food choices. This includes ensuring families have access to affordable housing and supporting life – not just from conception to birth – but from conception to natural death.
It supports small businesses and encourages systems that help large companies voluntarily onboard workers through worker cooperative or employee ownership models (popular grocery chain Winco is employee-owned, for example) .
As part of its pro-worker orientation, Black supports unions in their work to advocate for how employees are treated and compensated.
Overall, Black and the ASP want widespread ownership — that means people can afford and own their own homes and businesses are geared in a way that employees can become owners.
The ASP supports local control whenever possible. Some things need to be done at the national level, but government is best done at the smallest, most local level possible, Black said.
“Education is a really good example of something that’s best done by local school boards or even, I would say, local schools,” Black said.
The ASP also focuses on the environment, which it says is well suited to Lewis County and southwestern Washington, where much of the economy relies on a well-functioning natural environment.
As a third party, the ASP is also pushing for electoral reform. Black people support ranked voting, which allows people in primaries to choose the best candidates they like, rather than being strategically forced to vote only for the candidate they may not prefer, but who , according to them, has the best chance of winning.
“Ranked choice voting lets you vote for who you really want to win, rather than playing the game of voting against who you really don’t want to win,” Black said. “If you look at this vote and feel hopeless about the current situation we have, third parties are the way to go.”
What about people who are afraid of “spoiling their vote” by voting for a third party?
Black said he understands that concern, but he notes that the Republican Party also started as a third party. Until Abraham Lincoln, he had never won a presidency.
“When you think about who was the greatest president we’ve ever had, it was a third-party candidate,” Black said. “Since then, we haven’t learned that lesson and we keep voting those same two parties over and over again.”
You can read more about Black at www.blackforwa3.com and read more about the ASP platform (worth a read) at www.solidarity-party.org. There is also information on how to get involved locally in building a party that offers a real alternative to people who are pro-family, pro-small business, pro-worker and unhappy with the options of both. big parties.
Brian Mittge can be reached at [email protected]