Campaign FAQs

WHAT MAKES YOU QUALIFIED?

A:

No American citizen is inherently “unqualified” for political office, as long as they match the qualifications set forth in our Constitution.  The fact that we have developed a “political class” with its own ideas about what makes someone “qualified” to enter its ranks — usually meaning a background in business or law or finance – is part of America’s problem today. When it comes to the full and vital participation of the average American in our political system, an elite political machine has created a “lockout.” Unless you have or have access to a lot of money, a story that makes you easy to portray as a “heroic American,” or a profile which the elite would define as “serious” (this usually precludes such truly serious work as teachers, scientists, artists, activists and so forth), then for all practical purposes you’re left in the spectator box. This is exactly what needs to change if we’re going to reclaim our democracy.

The Constitution doesn’t signify that Congressmen, Senators or even the President have any specific previous professional experience in order to qualify for office. Significantly, the authors of the Constitution left it to the people of each generation to determine for themselves the skill sets they felt best matched the needs of the country at the time.

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE?

A:

hug1.pngFor thirty years, I have worked up close and personally with people in crisis. I have found that when things are truly down, you have to do more than just fix something here and fix something there. You have to dig deep into yourself and ask yourself some serious questions — about who you really are and what you’re doing.

As I see it, the United States is a country in crisis. We won’t get out of it just by fixing something here and fixing something there. We as a country now have to dig deep down and ask ourselves some serious questions — who we are as a nation, and what we’re doing.

I’ve longed to see that kind of conversation and that level of consciousness inform the leadership of our country. I have asked myself how I could foster that, and have decided that the best way I can do it is to run for office myself.

HOW WOULD YOU GET THINGS DONE IN CONGRESS?

A:

It is often said about politicians that they need to go to Washington and “get things done.” Which begs the question, of course, as to whether anything is being done there right now. In fact, what is being done is often questionable in terms of the values many of us hold dear.

The House consists of 435 Congressional Representatives. Neither I nor any other candidate can walk in with a magic wand and say, “Voila! I’m here to get things done!” In the House of Representatives as in the life of an individual, the first question is not really what do we do, but rather who we are and what we stand for. I would go to Washington with a viewpoint and a set of values – the belief that as citizens we are stewards of a sacred trust, challenged by current circumstances to defend democracy itself from the tyrannous tendencies of money and power when wielded against the rights and powers of the people of the United States.

 It has been said that a person can base their life on circumstances, or on a vision. I believe the circumstances of the United States have become so challenging because we have lost our vision – namely, our commitment to democracy itself; our willingness to do whatever it takes to expand our freedoms and protect them from encroachment; and our sense of responsibility as individuals to be engaged and active citizens. It’s hard to complain about rights being taken away if you weren’t really using them to begin with.

 The American government has lost its ethical center and its deep commitment to democracy, drifting ever more consistently in a corporatist direction. And no one specific legislative initiative can fix that. I believe that a wave of independent candidates, all committed to a huge course-correction, is necessary to turn our ship around. I feel my campaign, and most importantly my win, can help inspire such a movement.

 If any district in America can help create a new political conversation, it’s California’s District 33. I will not go to Washington just to represent the interests of the people of this district; I will go there to represent the consciousness of the people of this district. Californians do more than simply get things done; they get new things done.

WHAT IN YOUR BACKGROUND PREPARES YOU FOR THIS JOB?

A:

bookstore_2.pngI have had a thirty-year career as a speaker, counselor and author. I have written ten books, one of them named Healing the Soul of America (1997). I founded the non-profit organization in Los Angeles calledProject Angel Food, which is a meals-on-wheels programs feeding home-bound people with AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses, plus two other organizations (The Los Angeles and Manhattan Centers for Living) that provided non-medical support services to people living with life-challenging illnesses. I co-founded The Peace Alliance, based on the campaign to establish a United States Department of Peace. I am on the Board of Directors of RESULTS, a citizens lobbying group working to create the political will to end hunger and poverty. In fact, it is exactly the skill set I have developed over the last three decades that makes me feel I can contribute something meaningful to the role of Congressperson.

Normally it is said that the devil is in the details, but when it comes to American politics today, I believe the devil is in the big picture.  Constant debate about this or that detail, or this or that particular issue, is often like a red herring that hides the larger, most important issues: is America truly manifesting the principles of liberty and justice and true democracy that are the bedrocks of our system? The work I have done for the last thirty years involves aiding individuals and groups in cleaning up their own house, atoning for their errors, respecting others for their own decisions, finding their own meaning and purpose, and working to stand on their own first principles. I personally think Congress could use some of that.

YOU’RE RUNNING AS AN INDEPENDENT? AREN’T YOU A LIFELONG DEMOCRAT?

A:

Absolutely I am. And if elected, I would caucus with the Democrats.

But I’m interested in a new conversation in American politics, one that I don’t think can be contained by any political party. While the two major parties have an important role to play, I think their chokehold on our system is unhealthy. What either of them has to say is less important than what the people have to say, yet their dominance sucks the air out of our political discourse.

America’s best ideas have often emerged from outside the party system. Abolition didn’t come from a major party; it emerged from the Abolitionist Party. Women’s Suffrage didn’t come from a major party; it emerged from the Suffragette Party. Social Security didn’t come from a major party; it emerged from the Socialist Party. I think it would be extremely healthy for both major political parties if more independent voices made their way to Congress.

ARE YOU RUNNING TO ACTUALLY WIN, OR ARE YOU JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT AND EXPAND THE CONVERSATION?

A:

I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life making my point and expanding the conversation. For that, I don’t need to run for office. I would not be running were I not serious about trying to win. Anything less seems out of integrity with my requesting that someone vote for me.

I hope this campaign will give people who haven’t participated in a Congressional campaign before – particularly those who have felt sidelined or cynical about the political process – the inspiration to renew their commitment to the exercise of their own citizenship. What needs to be done now can’t be done only from the sidelines; those of us who share the values of this campaign need to stand on them, run on them and win on them. This way we’ll reclaim our democracy and do our part to help save the world.

COULD A VOTE FOR YOU SPLIT THE VOTE?

A:

No!  Due to California's open primary, the top two vote-getters in the primary, regardless of party affiliation, then proceed to the general election.  What this means is that there are only two people on the ballot in November.  The possibility of a split vote therefore does not exist.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RETIREMENT OF CONGRESSMAN HENRY WAXMAN?

A:

The political world was atwitter January 30 over the retirement of Congressman Henry Waxman, who announced he will not run for reelection. Mr. Waxman has had a long and illustrious career as a Congressman, and I join with others in my sincere best wishes for the next phase of his life and career.

Almost as soon as Mr. Waxman’s announcement was made, a great wave of speculation began as to who else will run for his seat. New candidacies have already emerged. And all that is good. Democracy is at its best when a lot of us want to play.

I wish to make very clear where I stand politically in relation to Mr. Waxman’s surprising announcement.

What I spoke of two weeks before his announcement, and what I will speak of two weeks after it, will be the same. I wasn’t running against Henry Waxman, any more than I’m running against any of the specific candidates who will be joining the race now. I’m running against the system that produced them.

We will hear some say, “Oh, now the race has burst wide open!” – but do not be fooled. America’s traditional two-party system is not wide open. It is fundamentally narrow and constricted, at the effect of economic intimidation by forces that will only tolerate a little tweaking here and there.

No one should confuse the rash of new candidacies emerging over the next few days as representing a fundamental contest over the future of America. Rather, a very narrow vision of possibilities remains at the heart of our political system: given that huge moneyed forces are going to continue to have their way with us -- grabbing whatever resources they wish, then leaving crumbs to fall on the floor for everyone else to fight over -- here’s how this or that candidate will help build a bigger and better pile of crumbs. We need to do more than fight over crumbs; we need to put the American people back in control of our country’s destiny.

I am running for Congress because I feel in my heart that the political status quo today, instead of protecting the American people from encroachment by an unholy alliance of money and power, has become too often the handmaiden and advocate for that alliance. And at a time like this, there’s only one thing to protect us: ourselves. It’s time for a new American Spring, a pro-democracy movement here in our own country, by which we rid the US government of the undue influence of money, probably through a Constitutional Amendment forbidding it.

A majority of the American people, both on the Left and Right, feel money wields too much influence on our politics. We need to break the chokehold of a system that represents a narrowing of the democratic franchise for the majority of our citizens, by calling the system on what is really wrong. From income inequality to climate change to child poverty to GMO’s to our high mass incarceration rate, the most important issues will not be addressed until we deal with the issue that underlies them all. As long as Wall Street owns America, the American people will not.

HOW CAN I HOST A YOGA FUNDRAISER FOR YOUR CAMPAIGN?

A:

How to Host a Yoga Fundraiser

Thank you so much for your willingness to host a fundraiser to support the Marianne Williamson for Congress campaign! Below are some general guidelines:

1) Consider a date to have a yoga class for which the profits will benefit Marianne for Congress. A fundraiser typically requires attendees to pay in order to attend the class.

2) Contact us at fundraising@marianneforcongress.com. We will finalize a date with you for your event.

3) We will give you yoga party packet including voter registration forms, flyers, posters, buttons, bumper stickers, t-shirts and donation envelopes. Attendees can  receive t-shirts for a $15 donation.

4) On the day of the yoga class, a staffer from Marianne’s campaign will attend the event to manage donations. The volunteer will have an iPad and will be able to take credit card donations

5) Any donations collected need to include the donor’s first and last name, address, phone number, email address, employer and occupation. This is required under federal law.

6) Donations can be accepted via cash, credit card or check.

7) Decide  how much you’d like to charge for the class. Cash donations are limited to $100/person. All information required in #5 are still needed for cash donations. Credit card and check donations are limited as described in #8.

8) When your event is confirmed with the campaign, we will set up a custom event and donation page for you so that people can RSVP online.

9) If you wish to streamline your event, guests can pay online before attending the class.  We can modify the custom event page to accept prepayments from attendees, making the day of the event go that much easier!

10) When advertising or holding the event or seeking donations, please make sure to remember the following and include it in any literature or flyers you produce:

Contributions to Marianne Williamson for Congress are not tax deductible. All contributions are subject to the limitations and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Individuals can contribute $2,600 for the primary election, and another $2,600 for the general election. The first $2,600 of an individual’s contribution will be designated for the 2014 primary election, and any additional amount up to $2,600 will be designated for the 2014 general election. A couple can contribute $5,200 for the primary election and $5,200 for the general election. Partnerships may contribute up to $2,600 per election so long as each contribution is properly attributed to one or more individual partners. Contributions may not be accepted from corporations, national banks, labor organizations, federal government contractors, or foreign nationals unless they are permanent residents (“green card” holders). Federal law prohibits reimbursing contributors for their contributions.