100 Day Listening Tour: Highlights

Dec 09, 2015

I sent this email out on November 19 to my supporters who had entered their email addresses on my website. I’m posting this across all media so everyone can catch up before I share links to press releases, radio interviews and published articles.

November 19, 2015: Today is the last day of my 100-Day Road Trip; I drove 14,128 miles around America. This is a personal note to thank all of you who have supported and encouraged me along the way. My campaign has jumped to another level – my platform is precise, my intention is laser-sharp, my ground organization is growing and my 50-state strategy to get on November 2016 ballots is nearly complete. It happened like this:

I left home on August 12 and drove through 34 states: Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. I posted pictures and comments on my campaign Facebook page.

I talked with and listened to hundreds of people: veterans, teachers, students, activists, lawyers, nurses, nursing assistants, artists, writers, musicians, inventors and entrepreneurs, chefs, cooks, sales clerks, hotel and motel staff, architects, designers, engineers, traditional builders, natural builders (off-the-grid and green energy designs), carpenters, plumbers, electricians, small and large business owners, current and retired business executives, retirees traveling across America in recreational vehicles, millennials hiking and biking across America, very young parents and single moms struggling to make ends meet, students and parents worried about college debt, grown children worried about healthcare for elderly parents, and senior citizens worried about our damaged democracy and the future of America.

I always tried to ask, “What one issue do you want me – as a Presidential candidate – to focus on?” The top issues I heard about were: jobs and the economy, the cost of and access to quality healthcare, unfair taxes, horrible school systems that did real damage to children and families, the cruel lack of justice in courts and law enforcement, mass incarceration, corruption and dishonesty in politics, the failure of government agencies at every level, outright rudeness and negligence of public sector employees (especially to veterans, young parents, senior citizens, African Americans and Native Americans), drought and the damage we are doing to our environment, immigration confusion, fraud in the delivery of government benefits, terrorism and national security. If I had traveled around the country after November 13, I am sure that Paris and terrorism would have been mentioned more often.

Balancing all that pain and frustration were heartwarming stories of communities coming together to feed the hungry, house the homeless, care for the sick, rally around desperately ill neighbors or local tragedies, support first responders, and launch innovative local or regional programs that solve real problems. All of this reinforces the truth behind Track 2 of my 7-Track plan: Multiply Solutions. The concept behind this track is simple: “We have the solutions. Our problem is not the solutions. The problem is the federal government gets in the way of solutions.”

Somewhere around Day 40, I had a major insight – I realized more clearly what several experts had been telling me for months: a serious independent candidate for President of the United States must understand the rules and regulations for getting on the ballot in each state. Generally, this is called “ballot access.” Ballot access includes many different elements:

  • There is no single “Independent” party in the USA though some political parties do use the word “independent” in their title.
  • Each state classifies non-traditional parties with different labels: “minor” or “non-affiliated” or “non-partisan” or “independent.”
  • The rules and detailed regulations for an independent candidate to get on the Presidential ballot are different in each state.
  • The numbers of signatures needed to get on the ballot are different in every state; and different numbers are often required in the same state depending on whether one runs as an individual candidate or as the nominee of a non-traditional party.
  • Each state has different dates to mark the beginning and ending of signature collection in that state.
  • The signature petition itself looks different in each state with some requiring the name of my vice presidential running mate before collecting the required number of signatures to get on the ballot
  • Some states require the names of my “electors” to the Electoral College to be on the signature ballot.

These are some but not all ballot access rules. By Day 42, I realized I needed a ballot access team – which I now have and YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN. Please let me know (via Feedback on this web site) if you want to be on the team for your state!

Around Day 50 – driving from Dallas, Texas to Baton Rouge, Louisiana – I realized I urgently needed to write again. On Day 59, I finished Transform America by Transforming Government – the updated version of my platform with concise examples for each of 7 Tracks. I sent it off to Democracy Chronicles, which is now publishing (with much better graphics) all my blogs and articles on government reform and independent politics in America.

Then I went to work on two articles about veterans’ issues. On Day 71, I sent off Transforming Veterans Affairs: A Plan and A Kick in The Pants. On Day 75, I drove to my hideaway in the Adirondack Mountains; on Day 79, I sent off Veteran Suicide and Moral Injury. I then spent three days prepping for the October 31 Independent Presidential Radio Debate on Revolution Radio – which was a great experience with questions ranging from how we can get Americans back to work to the impact of foreign trade deals and how to cut the fat out of government.

On Days 83-85, I talked again with the people I consider the core members of my campaign staff – the list will be posted soon. I have teams for Finance, Communication and Social Media, Ballot Access, Signature Petitions, Millennial Outreach, Video Production and Website Development. I also have what is generally called a Kitchen Cabinet – policy experts I talk to about Campaign Strategy, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Defense, Counterterrorism, Tax Policy, Government Acquisition Management, Inspectors General, Business and Industry, Labor, Justice, Veterans, Housing, Healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid, the Environment, a Transition to Sustainable Energy, Small Business, Science and Social Media.

The following week, I worked with my Ballot Access team and started to identify the states where I would begin to collect signatures. I paused on Veterans Day for a small-town memorial service; this year we heard the stories of a very few of the 35,000 possibly recoverable missing in action and prisoners of war (MIA/POW). The Pentagon has recently shifted from using medical and historical records to using mitochondrial DNA to identify remains; let us hope many more families can welcome home lost soldiers – a sad reminder of the cost of war and the bittersweet closure of returned remains.

After a quick trip to New Hampshire and Rhode Island to touch base with local networks of support, I outlined a new series of articles on the failures of individual agencies and my plans to transform each one. That night the world learned of the terror attacks in Paris. For four days and nights, I watched events unfold, listened to eyewitness and expert interviews and worried about writers, poets and musicians I had met in Paris. As some know, my experiences with Spoken Word Paris and The Other Writers Group in 2013 and 2014 pressed me to precisely present my ideas about government reform and the dynamics of peacemaking. Onstage at Spoken Word Paris and a 5-minute time limit forced me to get right to the truth of what I wanted to say.

So here I am on Day 100 and 14,128 miles later. I am a focused and determined candidate. My platform -- Transform America by Transforming Government – summarizes what I know to be the best path forward for our nation. My 7-Track plan to re-boot our agencies and build peace here at home and around the world stands strong. My strategy to get on November 2016 ballots is nearly complete.

At the top of my To Do list is a set of foreign policy statements that balance the reality of terrorism with the promise of peacebuilding. These policies will reflect Hemingway’s often-quoted advice: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” I promise I will do that.

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