With great enthusiasm, I ENDORSE SEAN CARRIGAN as the 2018 Democratic Party candidate for South Carolina District 2 in the race against “Status Quo” Joe Wilson. Read below to find out why!
Voters, Friends & Neighbors:
I cannot thank you enough for your support—be it your vote, your financial contributions, your volunteer efforts—during our 2016 campaign for South Carolina’s Second Congressional District. As you know, I signed up to run for U.S. Congress just one day before the filing deadline. Why? Because no one else was willing to stand up for our community of 700,000—no one else was willing to stand up to “Status Quo” Joe Wilson.
They said I had no business running for federal office—that I couldn’t even get Joe Wilson to debate me once. They were right—I debated him twice. I cleaned his clock both times, and our campaign won the hearts of well over 100,000 Voters. We responded to your individual and community needs, not the needs of special interest groups. We took a bold stand for women’s rights, improved infrastructure, healthcare for all, and increased educational and employment opportunities for everyone.
After months of careful consideration, I have decided not to run for Congress in 2018. I have determined, however, to lend Sean Carrigan all manner of support and resources to defeat “Status Quo” Joe Wilson, and I greatly encourage all of my supporters to assist Carrigan for Congress in this regard.
SC District 2 and its 700,000 citizens in Aiken, Barnwell, Lexington, Orangeburg & Richland Counties need much more than just your vote—we need your time, financial contributions and all the other resources you can muster. Starting today!
I remain convinced that, together, with Sean Carrigan in Washington, we can find a “Better Way!”—plus forever remove one of Donald Trump’s henchmen from office. “Status Quo” Joe has to go!
“CARE AGAIN, VOTE CARRIGAN!”
Below is my recent interview with Sean Carrigan.
ARIK BJORN: Why are you running for Congress?
SEAN CARRIGAN: October 2015, is when I retired from the Army—that’s when I started paying attention much more than just to soldiers. I looked around and I didn’t like what I saw. I thought, “Well, I’d like to continue serving and try to make a difference for my fellow citizens.” I did some self-examination and discovered that I have the skillset that I learned in the Army to help make things better for people. I learned in the Army to hold people accountable, and it really frustrates me to see folks not being held accountable, to see folks who hurt our fellow citizens with their decisions and propaganda.
I decided, “You know what? Someone needs to change that.” And then I realized that I’m someone. Twenty-eight years ago, I joined the Army so I could be part of something bigger than myself. Now I’m running for Congress to be part of something that’s bigger than myself again.
There are 700,000 people who have been underrepresented in South Carolina District Two. Probably about 7,000, maybe 10,000 of those folks, have been “represented well” over the last two decades, under Joe Wilson. The rest of the 690,000, they’ve been ignored.
BJORN: Are you saying Joe Wilson only represents the One Percent?
CARRIGAN: That’s exactly what I’m saying. Joe Wilson doesn’t have a true interest in what right looks like. When you look at the things Joe Wilson has voted for, and the legislation that he’s introduced, which is nothing except for naming a post office—but when you look at his voting record, you see time and again that this man stands for corporations—not workers. He doesn’t stand for the average person. It’s interesting that his actual real name is Addison Graves Wilson. He changed it to “Joe” so he could identify as the average Joe. When you start looking at his record, he’s anything but. If you think about his voting record, it really should be “Foe” Wilson because he’s pretending to be a friend, but he’s really an enemy to 690,000 folks in our district.
BJORN: What would you say to Joe Wilson’s face in a debate?
CARRIGAN: First, I’d be shocked if he showed up—Joe Wilson doesn’t like to face adversity. But if I had the opportunity, I’d tell him I’m one of the few people that he has helped in South Carolina Two. By great fortune, I’m one of the few individuals who can actually afford to retire. But now it’s my turn—it’s our turn—to retire him. One-quarter of our elderly population in District 2 face poverty. Joe Wilson hasn’t helped any of these folks be secure in their golden years. People are still fighting for housing, medical care. Heck, they’re trying to figure out how to put food on their plates. It’s time to put Joe out to pasture so that someone in Washington can look out for all of us.
I’d look Joe Wilson right in the eye and tell him, “Hey, we were both in the Army, buddy. One of us learned how to lead soldiers, and one of us learned how to hide. I led soldiers in the battlefield, what did you do? Based on your record, looks like you’ve mastered the art of covering and concealing.”
BJORN: What will be the mission of Congressperson Carrigan?
CARRIGAN: I want to help people live with dignity and respect. Folks need a better way. Folks need to know there’s someone out there fighting for them. I’m that person. If it makes sense to try to help a person get a hand up, then I’m going to fight for that thing, whatever it is.
2018 is extremely important. Obviously, we have a cowardly dictator in the White House. He dodged the draft how many times. We need a bold Congress willing to stand up to Trump and block him completely. Trump is intent on harming our citizens, but Joe Wilson lets down his guard completely and in fact stands by Trump’s side. I’m going to fight to protect every single person in District 2 and all across South Carolina.
BJORN: Your personal household might be the kind of home that traditionally has supported Joe Wilson and Republicans. Your children are in college and pursuing business opportunities; your son has followed in your military footsteps. You’re retired, served in the military, honorable career, combat vet. Your wife has a successful career, as well. What is it that similar families aren’t seeing?
CARRIGAN: I was brought up in a family that believes in helping others. I wasn’t brought up to do for myself and my immediate family and not care about others. A core value of the Army is selfless service. Selfless service to me means that you’re going to help other people without needing thanks for anything. That doesn’t mean some people—that means all people.
When I look at Joe Wilson, I don’t see selfless service, I see selfish service. Selfish service is really what he’s about. He’s looking out for himself and a small group of people. The current Republican agenda has shifted to be unrecognizable—I have a feeling today’s Republicans would reject President Eisenhower. There was a time when I didn’t always agree with Republicans, but at least we could call them patriots. Trump Republicans, they’re not patriots.
Joe Wilson has made it clear he’s a Trump Republican. He’s anything but patriotic, and I believe he will sell out his constituents if he and his One Percenters benefit. But workers are what I’m interested in. Workers are the ones that need to grow the middle class.
We need to protect the working class. As I talk to different people, they tell me about the atrocities at work. This person gets harassed based on being a female. This one gets harassed for religion. This one gets harassed for being a minority. But their peers aren’t sticking up for them; they’re not going to report it to human resources because they don’t want to lose their job. They don’t feel like the system and their elected officials will stand up for them.
The atmosphere and conditions—people are afraid to help each other. They’re afraid to show compassion for each other. This is why so many people have turned to the Republican way over time—they’ve become convinced that’s what they’re supposed to do. They were supposed keep their head down. They’re not supposed to stick up for their fellowman. The only way that’s going to change is if we get back to supporting worker’s rights, living wage, collective bargaining.
BJORN: What do you do when you’re not running for Congress? How do you have fun?
CARRIGAN: Well, if you ask my wife, my main fun activity is doing “honey-dos” around the house.
BJORN: More selfless service.
CARRIGAN: Exactly. Fun for me is family time. My children are young adults now, but I love catching up with them. I like to play a round or two of golf. But trust me, you won’t find me on the links in Washington. You’ll find me fighting hard in legislative foxholes, not sand traps.
BJORN: Sometimes voters confuse running for Congress to running for President—they expect you to be an encyclopedia of all things policy and government. At the end of the day, while you’re working hard to stay up to speed on all of the important issues, you concentrate on just a couple of issues that really matter to the District community. You emphasize education, criminal justice, healthcare, national security, and economic prosperity. Why those five in particular?
CARRIGAN: Well, the fundamental core of my mission for District 2: I want people to be housing secure, I want people to be medically secure, and I want folks to be food secure. I believe that these stressors lead to many of our other problems. Things aren’t right when a person doesn’t know when they’re going to get their next meal, when a parent has to choose between food, rent, or buying medicine for their child. If we can guarantee those three things, if we can pass legislation and guarantee those three things for each and every citizen and legal immigrant, then I think our entire society will benefit as a whole.
My mission as a candidate is no less than my mission was in the Army. In the Army, we practice taking care of our soldiers and their families. Soldiers need to have their families taken care of so that they can perform the incredible, hard task on the battlefield that we ask of them. We have to make sure that their housing is secure, we have to make sure that their families’ medical and general needs are provided. When those three things are met, our soldiers are able to do what we need them to do.
Housing, medical, food on the table. If that’s the pillar for being in the military, it only makes sense that we do the same thing in society.
BJORN: Okay, Election Day has come and gone—you hand Joe Wilson that pink slip. Carrigan heads to Congress! What does the first month or so look like?
CARRIGAN: I doubt I’ll even get my desk set up before I start forming like-minded friendships and introduce myself to colleagues across the aisle. I know Congressman Clyburn will be excited to have a fellow South Carolina Democrat by his side. In fact, with the success of Mal Hyman, Mary Geren, and either Joe Cunningham or Dimitri Cherny down in District 1, Congressman Clyburn will have his hands full mentoring so many first-term Democratic colleagues.
BJORN: A lot of Voters think, “All I need to do is show up on Election Day and cast a ballot—my job is done.” You spent part of your time in the military as a recruiter—what do you have to say to such a Voter?
CARRIGAN: Well, we need some excitability and buzz. We need to get people pumped about 2018. Every Democratic Party candidate needs to be the talk of the town. And everyone needs to know and broadcast that November 6, 2018, is the day that we’re going to change our lives forever—it’s the day we take back South Carolina. But I can’t do it myself. When we break it down to the smallest element, which is the precinct level, we’re going to get people excited. The reality is, we need a presidential year turnout in order to win this thing. If we get people excited enough, we can deliver that.
BJORN: You talk often about “help” and “harm,” and that so often people vote for their harm, not their health and betterment. How do we get people to care about their own self-interest?
CARRIGAN: I think voters do care about their own self-interest, but many have been indoctrinated into a specific mindset. Those folks are really just going to be hard to reach—for instance, Trump’s core base, 30% to 35%, who are not going to vote for me no matter what, sadly. When I win, I’m still going to look out for their best interest regardless. But we really need to motivate the blue voters to go to the polls. Our greatest enemy for this midterm election is Apathy.
We also need to attract the “purple” voters. Some folks call me a John Deere Democrat, and voters need to understand that I’m not like a typical dictionary Democrat. I believe in fiscal responsibility. In the Army, one of our biggest challenges was eliminating wasteful spending. It’ll be no different when I’m in Congress. When a bill is being debated, I see myself going on CNN and calling out some bull crap that got added to a bill that shouldn’t be there. In fact, I want to create legislation that will stop that from happening. It won’t be a popular bill, but it will start that conversation going.
BJORN: In general, why are working family voters walking away from the Democratic Party, which in theory is supposed to most represent their basic needs—the three pillars you talked about earlier?
CARRIGAN: I think they’ve been sold a bill of goods. The reality is we Americans have short-term memories. It was George W. Bush who created the conditions for our economic crash and recession; he pushed us into two wars on which we spent estimates of $4 to $6 trillion. In fact, we’re still spending money on it today. Then the recession killed the housing industry, it destroyed jobs, it caused wage stagnation. That lays at the feet of a Republican Administration.
President Obama did a great job at steering this country through the Recession he inherited. Unfortunately, as jobs grew, the wages really didn’t grow. It was difficult to do both at the same time, so he got the jobs going back more than any other President has ever. But we’re just now starting to see wages go up.
BJORN: What is the difference between supporting the military and supporting soldiers?
CARRIGAN: In nearly three decades of military service, I’ve watched different Commanders-in-Chief lead our military, watched different committees come and go, different Congresses come and go. I’ve always noticed, “Hey, what’s going on with this piece of equipment? What’s going on with our pay and benefits?” You take note of those things as a solider, because when they interfere with your pay yet remain willing to deploy you, that sends a message to the soldier.
What being pro-military means to me—Republicans are definitely pro-military, but I think that’s where it ends for them. Being pro-military is when you love a tank, you love a ship, you love an aircraft, you love all that equipment, but when it comes down to loving the soldier—which is our most valuable resource—you vote against their pay and benefits time after time.
Pro-military hawks like Joe Wilson are willing to send our soldiers to war, have them spill their blood, have injuries and come back as wounded warriors, then vote against bills that benefit veteran care and treatment. It’s despicable to sit here knowing that my brothers and sisters in arms aren’t being deployed responsibly, and then to consider that they’re not taken care of when they return from the wars the hawks sent them to.
BJORN: Are you saying there are Congresspersons who are themselves in the military but really just serve something different other than the soldier needs?
CARRIGAN: Absolutely. It gets me hot under the collar to see Joe Wilson riding in a tank down a parade. Real tough guy. Let’s compare Wilson’s military career to mine. Joe Wilson served part-time, a little bit in the Army Reserves, a little bit in the National Guard. While he was in, he was a lawyer. To my knowledge, he did not deploy to any battlefield to fight any enemies or lead any soldiers. And I’m pretty sure that military lawyers either help soldiers make wills or convict them of crimes. Me, I served 28 years, helping soldiers, providing them resources so they could be successful. I led them on the battlefield, returned them safely home, and helped take care of their families on a day-to-day basis. Full time, 28 years. I didn’t just talk about the mission, I lived it. That’s the end result. That’s the difference. That’s leadership. That’s what I provided our troops.
When you want to compare military careers, there’s really no comparison between the two of us. I know what soldiers need. Joe Wilson knows what the military needs—he thinks the military needs another tank, another airplane. He thinks the military needs soldiers deployed to go beat the Muslim out of somebody—which is patently ineffective. That’s Joe Wilson’s military.
BJORN: Tell us a bit about the Carrigan Family.
CARRIGAN: Well, my wife, Loren, is the love of my life. When I retired from the military, she decided to retire from dental hygiene—we both started doing real estate. We enjoy working with each other, things are great.
My son Dennis is 22—he’s going to college in Charleston. He’s a specialist in the Army Reserves—wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps a bit. My daughter, Taylor, is 20—she’s a junior in college in North Carolina. She’s just loving outdoor activities, she’s looking to become an outdoor activities coordinator. Sarah, my third daughter, just graduated from high school—she’s currently working on being an entrepreneur, making handcrafted jewelry.
BJORN: I heard there were four other members of the Carrigan Family.
CARRIGAN: Yes, if you count tails and feathers! My wife and I are avid animal lovers. We have two dogs. Goldie’s 11, she’s our rescue pet—best dog I’ve ever seen in my life. Our other dog is a Pomeranian named Lindy. Lindy’s a cuddle dog—if my wife had to choose between the dog being in the bed and me, well, I would lose. We also have two birds that are incredible, an African Grey named Riley and a Green-Cheeked Conure named Shiloh.
BJORN: It is possible we’ll seed yard signs that say “Carrigan for the Birds”?
BJORN: Finally, let’s talk about what you need from District 2 voters to secure the path to victory. How can volunteers and regular folks help the Carrigan for Congress campaign?
CARRIGAN: The last candidate for South Carolina District 2 obviously picked up the ball in dire circumstances. If we want to make a football reference, he got it from the 20-yard line maybe to midfield. It wasn’t close enough to score, but it got people excited. Thankfully, I don’t have to start at the 20-yard line. I’m going to be starting on the 50. Now it’s up to me to create the offense to get that ball into the end-zone. And we’re going to do that through canvassing, through social media, through getting people excited about a better future for everyone.
BJORN: If I’m a voter and I have a couple hours per week that I can use to help future Congressmen Carrigan get elected, what do I do?
CARRIGAN: First, applaud yourself for wanting to volunteer because that’s outstanding. It’s the first step in taking back our state back and getting the representation and the rights that we deserve. The person you need to contact is BREANNA SPAULDING. Breanna is our volunteer coordinator, and she will send you an information form to help identify your skillset and to place you on a team. A person can donate one hour a week or one hour a month, we have a place for you on our team.
Oh, and let’s not forget—yard signs and ads don’t pay for themselves. I wish I could self-fund but unfortunately I cannot. Joe Wilson already has several million dollars and an office in place. We need financial support, and you have my word that not one penny will be wasted.