As the race for the Democratic nomination for the 8th Congressional District seat heats up, I would like to share a few of my thoughts. I hope that you will consider what I have to say, and pass this message on to your friends.
I have been described by the Washington Post as the most liberal of the Democrats running. Although political labels can sometimes be misleading, I have no problem with this label. To me, the word "liberal" means, among other things, caring about people, and being open-minded. I cherish these values.
While the other Democratic candidates in this race continue to raise hundreds and thousands of dollars, I continue to run a low-budget, grassroots, issue-oriented campaign. The pundits view me as a long shot in this race. I believe that they are wrong, and that I am a viable candidate. Let me tell you why.
Elsewhere on my website I have some position papers on issues, including my position that we need to have a system of public financing of political campaigns. I won't go into detail here, and I invite you to take a look at the article on my website. But to summarize, I do discuss the anthropologist Ruth Benedict, and her studies in the 1930's of the Kwakiutl Indians. Whether indigenous to the Kwakiutl or in response to their exposure to the West, these native Americans had an elaborate ceremony called a potlatch. Rival chiefs would have contests of power which involved piling up material goods, the object being to be the chief with the tallest pile of blankets, canoes, and other things of value. The contest ended with the winner of the contest ultimately setting his pile of worldly good on fire! Modern political campaigns are all too much like that, and I refuse to play that game! So while other candidates scurry to file reports with the Federal Election Commission showing that they have amassed big money, I quietly spend a little of my own money, and contemplate doing some very modest fundraising.
So how can I be a viable candidate in this day and age? It's about name recognition and message, folks. I have chosen to use old-fashioned grassroots organizing, with a little help from modern technology (my website, and e-mail.) I think there is real potential for democratizing the process in this manner, but we still need to change the system and have both public financing of campaigns, and rules requiring the media to give candidates free and low-cost time!
Just a final thought on this whole viability issue. History is filled with examples of candidates who, like myself, didn't win the first time but kept on working, and eventually succeeded. In this race, I ran in two previous Democratic primaries. In both, I came in second, with a signficiant percentage of the votes, notwithstanding the fact that in each case I faced a primary opponent who raised big money and was for all practical purposes annointed by the Democratic Party organization (Ralph Neas in 1998 and Terry Lierman in 2000). Let me restate those figures from the last two primaries:
1998 Democratic Primary (Vollmer spent about $2500!!)
Neas, 25678 votes, 55.6%
Vollmer, 7320 votes, 15.8%
Ibanez, 3266 votes, 7.0%
English 3261 votes, 7.0%
Deichman, 2656 votes, 5.7%
Davis, 2214 votes, 4.7%
Geis, 1754 votes, 3.8%
2000 Democratic Primary (Vollmer spent about $5000!!!)
Lierman, 39904 votes, 61.3%
Vollmer, 9025 votes, 13.8%
Kimble, 8156 votes, 12.5 %
Houmanpour, 4080 votes, 6.2%
Young, 3847 votes, 5.9%
To those of you reading this letter who supported me in the past, I say thank you! I hope that you will stick with this campaign, and help me reach out to expand our base! This campaign is viable, but only if folks at the grassroots have a will to make it happen!
Please take a look at my website at http://www.deborahvollmer.com . And please consider joining the Vollmer for Congress campaign!
On to Victory in 2002
Deborah A. Vollmer
Deborah circulated this message to her e-mail list in June,
2002. A slightly edited version of this
letter appears in the June 13-June 19, 2002, edition of The Montgomery
County Sentinel (page 2).
March 12, 2002
I am running for Congress because I believe there are issues that
are important to us all that merit being placed front and center on our
national legislative agenda. My campaign issues include:
1. Universal, high-quality, and comprehensive health care
(preferably a single-payer, not-for-profit, and publicly financed
national program ),
2. Campaign finance reform, with an emphasis on public financing and rules requiring the media to give candidates free and low cost access to our publicly owned airwaves,
3. Protection of our fragile environment,
4. New approaches to the "war on drugs" (emphasis on social and medical aspects),
5. Support of public education from pre-Kindergarten through college level,
6. Abolition of the death penalty,
7. Civil rights and civil liberties for all,
8. Workers' rights,
9. Strengthening the "safety net" to protect the working poor and the unemployed, with regard to such matters as strengthening the welfare "safety net", and extending unemployment benefits during these difficult times, and
10.. A rethinking of our national strategy regarding the "war on terrorism", focusing on diplomatic rather than military solutions, and policies that focus on lessening the appeal of terrorists, by promoting social and economic justice in the world.
For my positions on these and other issues, please visit the
appropriate sections of this website. This website is a work in
that is revised from time to time. I welcome your feedback.
While the local political pundits view my candidacy as a long shot,
I believe that they are wrong. This campaign can be successful, if you,
my supporters, will give us your help.
The pundits tend to look at the candidates who raise the most
and judge these candidates to be the viable ones. The pundits overlook
the potential of a low-budget, issue-oriented grass roots campaign. Our
primary results in 1998 and 2000 hint at that potential! I know that
many of you out there voted for me in 1998 and in 2000. In 1998, I
spent a mere $ 2500 of my own money on the campaign, and came in second
in the primary in a field of seven, with nearly 16% of the vote. In
2000, we doubled the budget; with a little help from supporters
providing small donations, we spent around $ 5000, and again came in
second, this time in a field of five.
My opponents will probably claim that this record shows that I am
just a candidate who keeps on trying, but can't win. But the history of
politics is filled with examples of candidates for public office who
lost an election, tried again, perhaps more than once, and eventually
succeeded. What is really signficant here, I believe, is that the
Vollmer for Congress campaign has shown how much can be done with just
little money, some solid oldfashioned grassroots organizing, and a
little help from modern computer technology!
It is really up to you, the voters. I believe that by and large,
Democrats in the Eighth Congressional District are progressive
concerning the issues I care about. I believe that you, the voters, are
fed up with the politics of big money and special interests. If I am
correct in this assessment, this campaign really does have a chance at
success. But I can't win this election alone. I need your help!
Please help me spread word about this website far and wide! If you want
to help, simply forward this message to your friends and fellow
political activists, and be sure to include the address for this
website, and invite everyone you contact in this manner to visit the
website. You can also take this a step further: tell you friends that
if they like this website, and would like to help the campaign, helping
is really very easy; they can simply forward this message with the
website address and an invitation to visit the website to THEIR
friends. For all of you out there who decide to participate in this
effort, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
For previous messages to Supporters, click here:
If you would like to volunteer, here are the ways to contact her:
1) Phone her at (301) 652-5762
2) Write her at 7202 44th St., Chevy Chase, MD 20815
3) e-mail her at: Deborah
Maintained by Imad-ad-Dean, Inc.