Posted on April 4, 2012
WHO I AM
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors! Good afternoon Northside!
My name is Marcus Harcus and I’m running for State Representative. I’m a Northside native son raising my own family here today because I’m committed to our community. I’m a longtime grassroots activist, writer and social entrepreneur who has advocated for social, economic and racial justice ever since I was a junior here at Henry high school. I love the Northside because I grew up here with my parents and younger brothers; I played in all of the parks as a child, and have met many good friends in this beautifully diverse community. I proudly represent our community everywhere I travel, statewide, nationwide and worldwide! I am the Northside!
MY VISION FOR NORTH MINNEAPOLIS
I have a vision for a better North Minneapolis with neighborhoods where people want to move and live long-term. I envision the Northside being a better place to raise kids, a cleaner, safer, vibrant yet peaceful area with a deep sense of community, strong infrastructure, healthy economic environment, and enriching opportunities for all.
WHY I’M RUNNING
I’m running to serve our community in the House of Representatives because of my deep interest in public policy, because I’m dissatisfied with typical status quo politicians, and because I want to demonstrate the kind of political leadership North Minneapolis deserves. We need more equity-oriented, activist lawmakers and more diversity in Minnesota’s state legislature. If you elect me I’d be only the 8th person of color at the Capitol now, out of 201 legislators. I’m running to change conversations at the Capitol and make sure all voices are represented in the legislature! My intention in getting elected is to sponsor, author and pass legislation which boldly addresses some of the most critical challenges facing Northside neighborhoods and to advocate for equitable economic development!
8 TERMS IS ENOUGH
I want to be clear that I’m not running against the incumbent, I’m running for the Northside! However, because I’m consistently asked why I’m challenging him, I’ll say this: Joe Mullery is a good man who has served our community for decades. On most issues he and I would probably vote similarly, but I believe he’s grown too comfortable in office. Moreover, many of the people I know who actually work at the Capitol, including DFL legislators, legislative staff and progressive legislative advocates, have all told me that my representative is impossible to work with, he’s abrasive, often makes no sense in committee meetings and he wrongly takes credit for everything. Even though he’s a career politician, some of you actually believe everything he says!
Throughout this campaign season he’ll make the case that his experience and seniority have earned him a lifetime of re-elections, but I disagree. I’ve done my research and still don’t see how his experience has been particularly beneficial for our community. Yes, he’s done his job, but what has he really done? Joe Mullery has proven to be a placeholder at best. 8 terms is enough! This is not personal; it’s about the best interests of North Minneapolis. We deserve better representation! The incumbent may represent that past, but I am representing the future of the Northside and the future of the state of Minnesota!
WHY VOTE FOR ME
I’m offering a more equitable, engaging and effective representation style based on the hotter fire in my heart, my organizing background and my ability to relate more to younger generations, low-income and working class families and communities of color.
Many of you refuse to consider a candidate from a younger generation, or one who doesn’t “look like you,” but I’m asking those of you who are open-minded, those of you with asset-oriented, not deficit-oriented community perspectives, those of you who are critical, independent thinkers, those of you who care about others beyond your inner circle, I’m asking for those of you who care about people who are less fortunate than you and I, to vote for me. Be a sophisticated voter and think outside of the proverbial box about the future of our community, think about what’s best for our Northside youth. No other candidate in this race will engage and inspire them more than I will in office.
Most electoral candidates run to be something. I’m running to do something. I’m running to advocate for public policies and public investments that will help ensure a better MN for all Minnesotans, particularly Northsiders.
ON THE ISSUES
The theme of my campaign is PEOPLE OVER PROFITS. It’s time our government started working for the people! There’s a growing divide in America over the role of government in society. I’m on the side that believes government should, can, has and must continue to invest in public systems, infrastructure and opportunities that serve the people, especially those most in need of assistance to make ends meet and access economic opportunities that lead to self-sufficiency. As Paul Wellstone said, “We all do better when we all do better.” Hubert Humphrey once said that, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.”
I’m running for a FAIR ECONOMY, HOUSING JUSTICE, EDUCATION EQUITY & AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE, among many other issues.
When I say Fair Economy, I’m talking about:
Living wage jobs│ Consumer financial protection│ Workers rights│ EQUITABLE public policies, taxation, investments and services│ Entrepreneurship, viable career training, and S.T.E.M. education so Northsiders can be prepared for the well-paying jobs of the future
When I say Housing Justice, I’m talking about:
Foreclosure prevention to keep Northsiders like Monique White in their homes│ State prosecution of institutional subprime mortgage perpetrators│ Financial system-wide modifications of all underwater mortgages, writing-them down to actual market values│ Smart affordable housing expansion│ Just regulation of rental housing to improve livability│ Transit-oriented community development│ Effective homelessness prevention
When I say Education Equity, I’m talking about:
Closing all opportunity gaps in public education to end racial disparities in educational outcomes│ Universal pre-K│ Expand access to affordable college educations for all and advocating for an end to unfair compounding interest rates on student loans and expansion of opportunities for debt forgiveness and just financing│ Lifelong learning opportunities
When I say Affordable Healthcare, I’m talking about:
Enacting the Minnesota Health Plan to ensure affordable, preventative health care insurance coverage of all Minnesotans, which will be expensive in the short-term but ultimately most cost-effective system-wide in the long-term.
MARCUS HARCUS in the HOUSE
I believe in representative government and participatory democracy. With Marcus Harcus in the House, you’ll have a state representative that will bring as many constituents to the “People’s House” as I possibly can to inform and engage Northsiders in the legislative process, to mobilize people directly affected by the issues to testify on their own behalf and advocate with me. I’ll host annual Days on the Hill for our district. I’ll frequently host interactive community forums and bbqs over North. I’ll do my best to increase civic participation from underrepresented groups, including my young peers, Black, White, Asian, Latino and Native American. If you elect me you’ll see future convention delegate rosters that are more reflective of our community demographics. My office will have an open door policy and I’d even welcome Joe to work with me as a constituent.
I’ll close with a quote of the Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”
My central campaign promise to you is to always represent people over profits, to tell uncomfortable truths, to work for the best interests of our district and state, to transcend partisanship whenever I can, to support and hold our government accountable, and to demonstrate progressive political leadership.
NOW OR NEVER
Many of you know that I’ve run for office before. In 2001 I put my name on the City of Minneapolis election ballot as an angry 23 y/o who didn’t intend to win, but wanted to change the conversations during the political season by joining the debates to address issues that typical status quo politicians are either ignorant or indifferent about, like racial profiling and police brutality. I was pulled over by the police more than 40 times by my early twenties, and was even unjustly brutalized once and I have no criminal history or record, which compelled me to make some noise about it because I couldn’t get justice. I know what it’s like to be considered “suspicious,” for driving and walking while Black, like young Trayvon Martin.
I put my name on the ballot again in 2005 because there is too much injustice in our city, on so many fronts, and I wanted to advocate for everyone being represented, and I felt I could represent everyone who underrepresented and disserved by most politicians.
In 2009 I ran for City Council again, but this time I decided that I should actually try to get elected to demonstrate the kind of political leadership that I feel we deserve. Many people may view me as a so-called perennial candidate or a career candidate, but I’m not. The first two campaigns were candidacies, while this, like the last one, is a real organized campaign. I will out-organize the incumbent in the Primary Election on August 14, 2012.
This is the last time I’ll run for office without winning – mark my words. I say this with an equal amount of audacity and humility, as a servant leader: If not me, then who? If not now, then when? My time to win is now in 2012, because it’s now or never. I’m running to make sure all voices are heard at the Capitol, not to be famous but to make the government work for the people, to advocate for social, economic and racial justice. Northsiders, please join the People over Profits campaign!
My name is Marcus Harcus and I approve this message.