By John Keller | United States
Ed Rushman, an independent candidate for California’s 46th Congressional District, has had a career in as a technical manager, project manager, or simply as a professional services leader, advancing technology efforts. He has worked with companies from local to multinational size, from startups to Oracle, exceeding 130,000 employees. Ed Rushman won the Management Excellence Award in 2013 while leading his team of consultants to a Customer Satisfaction Award. Now, he seeks to a seat in Congress.
Keller: What inspired you to pursue a career in politics and run for Congress?
Rushman: I am not pursuing a career in politics. I am risking a great career leading tech teams to take on politics for a time. John Adams left his farm to found this nation and was away longer than he intended. In the Roman Republic, farmers left the fields to defend their families, then returned. It was the shift to professional soldiers that brought the end of their Republic, and professional politicians threaten ours. 2016 was an awful year for many of us; some lost friends. In prior years, we had to choose between a Democrat and a Republican, neither of whom held a position we fully agreed with, but in 2016 we had no choice at all. Both candidates held views most of the 46th District found repugnant. We saw again that money and party matter most; no one has clean hands. Sure we would not have a better choice this time, I had to run so my neighbors and friends would have a real choice and could vote with a clear conscience.
Keller: What inspired you to run as an independent over either of the two parties that compose the duopoly of American politics?
Rushman: As an independent, I can be free of so many things. Parties become institutions, and even 3rd parties often imitate the big two. I don’t want to make it about money. My only loyalty is to this District, this nation. I can serve best by being free.
Keller: What are the three pillars of your campaign? In other words, what are the three most important stances and policy issues to you?
Rushman: 1) We need to stop killing people. Abortion, war, executions, euthanasia, police shootings, murders: most people do not want these. In particular, people of the 46th District do not agree with the incumbent’s position of abortion on demand all the way to birth, his vote against the Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act, or his vote against allowing doctors to provide care to a newborn child who survived an abortion. Repeatedly, the people of the district have not had the option to vote for a pro-life candidate who did not support death or cruelty in some way. People struggle to reconcile protections for the poor with protections for unborn children. We want a consistent respect for life, not this Party obsession with forcing people to choose life for one group of people at the cost of others. As many as a quarter of Democrats reject abortion completely. That twenty-five percent will now have someone to vote for in 2018.
2) The Dream Act – Congress has put this off for more than a decade and is a prime case of partisan politics. When Democrats had the majority, they did not pass it, and they did not press hard enough in 2017 because Dreamers are political pawns to use at election time. This is a humanitarian necessity, and 800,000 Dreamers serve in our military, pursue education and work, paying taxes and living like the rest of us. We must resolve this while developing a more sustainable immigration policy that will not put us in this position again. There is massive public support, but Congress will not act.
3) A more rigorous approach to budget approval in line with the values of the people of this District. There is far too much waste, and this is not surprising with businesses and special interests flooding Washington with money and gifts. We should evaluate every line in the budget, every program, every long-term commitment according to the good of the people, the real good, the good that doesn’t bring some problem down the line that requires more funding to fix. Every problem has come from someone else’s solution. I’m not talking balanced budget, small government, or any ideology. It’s simply doing it the way that a nation of this size and vitality requires, putting in the same effort I would (and have) for an employer or client. Do what is right with little waste and zero corruption and influence. I’ve taught cost management classes. It’s simpler if you don’t owe a debt to big donors.
Keller: According to recent studies, when factoring in the cost of living, California has the highest poverty rate in America. As a representative, how would you fight the poverty problem in California and America?
Rushman: I would like to free our dysfunctional nation from the grip of big money and partisan politics with the expectation that it will position us to better care for everyone. We can do things that make sense, and at the right levels, if we take self-interest out of the equation. I like the idea of subsidiarity. Some issues of poverty need to be addressed locally, but safety nets can best be put in place at the state or national level. The city of Anaheim is dealing with a concentrated homeless population in a fresh way, and I’d like to see what we can learn from their approach. Again, we’ve never tried to deal with this outside partisan politics and ideological posturing. I’d like us to try.
Keller: The War on Drugs has created a lot of tension in California, due to its statewide legalization. Given Attorney General Jeff Sessions recent actions, where do you stand on this issue?
Rushman: It may go to the Supreme Court eventually, and while I think legalization is unhealthy for the country, the marketing from those who benefit was fierce, with a lot of social pressure. The state wanted the tax dollars. California is so fiscally irresponsible that the state legislature is hungry for every tax dollar they can get, like a bad friend that lives off everyone until they all leave him. And businesses are leaving. Toyota in Torrance was briefly a client of mine, and I have friends who worked there. It was an awful thing when they decided to move to Texas, putting distance between friends, causing children who grew up here to have to move to new schools, putting stress on marriages where spouses have to decide which one must give up his/her job to stay together. Driving away jobs while increasing spending is not sustainable.
Keller: Sanctuary cities have become a hot-button issue for the American political scene, as it seems the Trump Administration has launched a political “war” on California’s policy. How do you plan to tackle this issue in Congress?
Rushman: As I’ve said before, problems come from someone else’s solutions. Sanctuary cities are a solution for poorly crafted immigration policy, and cities have arrogated federal-level policies to themselves. I don’t see how this could survive a Supreme Court challenge, should the Court take it up.
We need to build a sustainable immigration policy free of partisan concerns. Earlier in American history, we had no policy, and it’s grown organically, with spasms of paranoia and racism in the past, and we really haven’t come up with a sensible, consistent policy. There was a more generous 1986 law under President Reagan, and a pullback under President Clinton in 1996. The winner-takes-all approach between two ever-more-opposed political parties results in a kind of policy whiplash, as we are tossed back and forth according to power shifts. Law enforcement is caught in the middle, sometimes being told to ignore the law. This is not a sustainable position, it erodes respect for law, law enforcement, and is driven more by emotion and media than reason or governance. I will work for a reasonable, sustainable policy that is created with change in mind, including mechanisms that can come into play when there are international/global upheavals that create floods of refugees. We need a consistent policy that can be enforced and yet meets the demands of compassion and defense of the innocent.
Keller: If someone was interested, how would they get involved with your campaign?
Rushman: They can contact me via https://www.rushman.org/help and https://www.rushman.org/contact-me, post URLs on social media and spread the word. They can print the flyers on the help page and pass them out. I’d be glad to have people Snapchat, tweet and Instagram with #Rushman2018. The word needs to spread broadly, even outside the District, so that the voters I don’t have the money to reach hear about me. In walking neighborhoods, every person is excited. If the news of my campaign took off, I believe the majority would choose a capable independent without the taint of government experience. Social media is our best bet, along with talking it up at school and among friends.
Keller: Do you have any concluding remarks for readers and potential voters in California?
Rushman: Legislation should be entirely about what is good for the Nation and not about obligations to special interests or Parties. It should not be about a personal gain of wealth or power. It is a sacred duty to the people and should be pursued with that as the highest principle.
It is in everyone’s best interest to get me into Congress, not just the 46th District’s. We’ve dismissed independent candidates for a long time, and by electing me, we can encourage better candidates. The House is the best point of entry for a nonpartisan breakthrough.
We need everyone’s help to make this happen. I’ll talk to anyone, to any group. We have to make this work or admit we like it as it is. I don’t, that’s why I’m running.
I would like to again thank Ed Rushman for his time in conducting this interview. I encourage all readers to visit his website rushman.org and learn how to break the duopoly that is American politics.