U.S. Senate Candidate Challenges Politicians To Campaign For Communities (VIDEO)

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(Photo courtesy of Facebook.)

Lansing, Mich. — True to his word, Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Chris Wahmhoff chose to spend his 36th (and second annual) birthday behind bars Tuesday, but for all the right reasons.

The Kalamazoo River oil spill has been referred to by the EPA as “the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.” Empowered by his own personal journey to improve his health and quality of life at the time, Wahmhoff was deeply affected by the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill, which devastated a number of Michigan communities then, and even now, four years later, continues to churn up tar balls despite the denial of Enbridge Inc. Wahmhoff grew up on the Kalamazoo River, and in many ways, his work for the river is what eventually led him to cast his hat into the race for the U.S. Senate.

Wahmhoff’s struggle on behalf of the Kalamazoo River culminated in a joint action exactly one year earlier — June 24, 2013 — when the candidate skateboarded into Enbridge’s Line 6b in order to halt progress on the pipeline — the same pipeline that ruptured into the Kalamazoo River. Wahmhoff currently awaits charges for the third time for the prior year’s act of civil disobedience. Charges have already been dismissed twice by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Wahmhoff stated on his campaign page:

“Becoming a protestor gave me a reason to read laws, and when you read laws you learn that the study from Princeton and Northwestern saying this country isn’t a democracy is right. Our forefathers warned us when this happens to embrace the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, and embrace the motto of this country ‘NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!’ We do not have representation, we do not have equality, and we do not have democracy. When we are not represented, the Declaration of Independence instills in us the spirit of disobedience. I agree with those who realize that civil disobedience is not our problem — civil obedience is our problem. So my campaign will be a campaign of civil disobedience.”

And that’s just what he’s doing — what a politician should really be doing — not towing the line and facilitating the process of a lost and bought system. Chris Wahmhoff is one of the few who remembers that American democracy is a system of checks and balances. Citizens, judges, lawyers, legislatures and yes, even politicians are necessary in that process. Politicians need to fight for their constituents, risk their necks for the public, lobby for the people. They need to push buttons, ask questions and challenge the established system at all times in order to “err on the side of freedom” for the American people as our forefathers intended, which is why Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Chris Wahmhoff gives of himself Tuesday willingly, to speak out for the people, to even take a lump for the people if it means amplifying our voices a little louder so that they might be heard all the better by those candidates he challenges — establishment politicians.

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(Photo courtesy of Flickr.)

Wahmhoff stated in Tuesday’s press conference:

“… a lot of the politicians say that they’re going to do something. A lot of the politicians hold a press conference and say, ‘I’m going to help this community… and if you help this campaign we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do that,’ and all we ever see, and all we ever hear is them talking …. when you look at history, and you look at the Civil Rights Movement — it wasn’t a government; it was the people in the streets making change. When you look at … slavery and how it got abolished, it was people that went out and changed it, not the government, all the way back to the Revolution. I feel like doing something and taking a step of civil disobedience isn’t speaking. You’re giving yourself, you’re showing yourself that this isn’t just me talking. This is me doing everything I know how to do.”

He added:

“Unfortunately, in our society — you need to have more than words to show people you mean business. So, if that means me getting arrested it’s worth it.”

Wahmhoff went on to say:

“This is to make a statement to challenge all politicians to get their campaigns to focus on fundraising for their communities instead of fundraising for their campaigns. I, myself, again, am going to be donating mine to my local community. Anything donated past bail today will be donated to the community. Any of the art sales, any of the things that I get printed, any of the merchandise — it’s going to the local community. None of it’s going to stick with the campaign. All of it’s going to be a donation effort to show that you don’t need money to win an election.”

Wahmhoff clarified:

“… if I’m going to call other politicians, I need to lead by example, so most of my campaign contributions — everything I can is going to go towards empowering local community, and not for the campaign.”

He stated:

“If we can get campaigning to be more about campaigning for community than campaigning for a politician, that’s way more useful.”

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(Photo courtesy of Facebook.)

The candidate continued:

“In December… Snyder had changed legislation, making the ability to campaign, and campaign contributions in Michigan, skyrocket. We have ridiculous amounts of money being spent on a campaign. In some cases it’s like $20 million. We see Gov. Snyder took out a Super Bowl ad… and we have all this happening in this state. Right now we have hundreds of thousands of people with their water shut off, and issues with inequality. I feel like the money should not be going to campaigns. It should be going to the communities. And I feel like, if politicians are going to be leaders they should lead by example and use their power to fundraise for these communities, and use their voice to speak for these communities where people are getting their water shut off, where people are being exploited by corporations, where people need support and they’re getting more and more cuts to funding. We have companies like GE, like Consumers Energy and DTE that pay no taxes in this state, or in this country, and they get record profits, enormous profits. All the burden is on the middle class, and it just shows. It shows… that this is no longer a democracy. This is an oligarchy.”

Referring back to his press conference and act of civil disobedience that day, Wahmhoff added:

“This is an opportunity for people to make demands and make change.”

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(Photo courtesy of Facebook.)

Shortly before being arrested for peacefully refusing to leave the Michigan state capitol building, Wahmhoff made the following statement:

“I’ve issued a challenge to all of the candidates running, not only in the state but around the country, to not campaign for themselves but to campaign for their communities, to take all the donations, and all the yard sign money that they get and donate it to local communities. If we can’t figure out a budget to help with the roads, some of these campaigns that are getting $20 million should help contribute to that, and also make a standard of … people running in politics to lead with action instead of words.”

Wahmhoff added:

“And also [a] challenge for people — if we find that politicians are not willing to do that, if we find that these politicians aren’t willing to work for anything other than getting themselves elected, then we have time to do local caucuses up until August 5th.”

He concluded:

“And, challenge to the community. You can be smart enough. You can be strong enough, and you can replace these people. We’ve just seen with Eric Cantor most recently that dissent is real and that people’s voices can matter. So, if they’re not going to represent us, I’m challenging the politicians to start representing us. And if they can’t, then I challenge the community to replace them. And I am choosing to lead by example by making a statement … today, and also with making the campaign [a] donation to the community.”

You can vote for MoveOn.org to endorse Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Chris Wahmhoff here.

You can donate to Chris Wahmhoff’s U.S. Senate campaign here.

You can sign up to volunteer for Wahmhoff’s campaign here.

Livestream 1: Entering The Capitol


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Livestream 2: Press Conference/Waiting For The Capitol To Close


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Livestream 3: Arrest


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Livestream 4: Exiting The Capitol


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This story is reprinted from Take 10.