Hello, my name is Duskin Lassiter. I am running for North Carolina State Senate District 29. Currently, we are all seeing a disaster unfold that I have never seen in my nearly 50 years of being on this earth. COVID-19 has killed nearly 13,000 people as of April 8, 2020, and it will kill even more people in the days ahead. Recently, Congress has passed legislation that will help families and businesses across the nation get back on their feet. I wish I could say that Trump, our Supreme Court, and Richard Burr were doing everything in their power to make us safe, but I would be lying. I want to say we need people in government who are honest. Being honest isn’t enough; we need people who respect scientists and doctors. Republicans are not honest, they have cared little about what doctors and scientists have said, and now we have chaos.
Trump fired the pandemic containment task force; Trump and Burr received intelligence as far back as November of last year and downplayed the serious nature of the event. Trump and Burr were aided and abetted by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and other right-wing anti-intellectuals. Richard Burr actually told a well-heeled group of campaign contributors that this coronavirus would be about as bad as the 1918-1919 global pandemic. Burr also dumped a lot of stock a week before the stock market crash. I put these facts together, along with the Supreme Court 5/4 split decision to not allow Wisconsin to do a mail-in vote election, as evidence of one of two things. Trump and Burr are guilty of gross negligence based on their own actions, or there may be an actual conspiracy to kill off the elderly and poor minorities so that Wall Street doesn’t have to pay higher Social Security Benefits and higher health care premiums. As a state senator, I would promote a medically backed approach to COVID-19.
My second theory is based on the fact that Wall Street has always had a criminal element to it. Who caused the last two meltdowns? Wall Street. You can go back in time and see Wall Street’s hand in government overthrows; think Shah of Iran. Wars and assassinations the world over. If you have studied your history, you will completely understand what I am saying. If you don’t understand, then you are the ones who have doomed us all into repeating some very bad history. The worst, actually! I know what I am saying is harsh and a bit brutal, but we need strong leadership, not crooks and cowards. We need investigations, we need to see Trump’s tax returns, and we need some damn justice. We also need to recognize that trade tariffs have failed. What we should have done was to start building factories three years ago, then restricted imports as our factories came back online. We need universal health care, because one sick, untreated person really, truly can bring the whole world to its knees. Without everyone being covered, we are all at risk. We need to manufacture our own drugs and medical supplies. I was thinking about this and decided that a not-for-profit corporation would save us all money. The government would provide a 0 percent interest rate loan, and this company would make all of North Carolina’s medicines, plus create a stockpile of supplies for the next outbreak. This company would provide good-paying jobs and lower costs by not paying for marketing costs or corporate dividends, and they would get the licensing rights to produce all new drugs created by government-funded research. CEO pay would be in the low six-figure range, not $26,000,000 like it is in for-profit companies. Hospitals also need to return to not-for-profit operating models. Instead of paying dividends, hospitals could hire more staff and have extra beds for future pandemics. Why should we do this? Because I don’t want some jerks from Wall Street to try and kill old people for their money. That last statement may be harsh, but this is how I feel as a candidate for your state senator, and I’ll leave it at that.
Now on to other topics. I am a gun owner, as are most people I know, so I am sure most Republicans can rest easy that you will not see me calling for any gun control measures. I am a small business owner, and I consider myself to be a capitalist in most areas of the economy. We do need rules; however, not everyone is honest. We need to make sure that teacher pay keeps up with inflation, as well as police officers and prison guards. Prisoners need basic toiletries to ensure sanitary conditions, for both prisoners and guards. And not just now, but always. This isn’t me being soft on crime; this is a public health issue to combat the spread of disease. If you don’t believe me, ask any doctor. I believe in the minimum wage. Many Republicans do not. As I see it, you want to rent one of my houses, you need to make $20 per hour. Those who go out to work with the public deserve a living wage. Right now, as I write this, truckers who are working in the spot market are being taken advantage of with $1.00/mile—loads that didn’t really pay the bills 25 years ago. The break-even cost is $1.80 per mile, and if you want to earn a living, it is $2.25 per mile. I hate to say this, but brokers have been ripping us off for years with low pay. Load brokers have no useful function in trucking and should not even exist. Shippers should just post their load online and cut out the middleman. Owner/operators need protection and Congress needs to address our grievances! It would also be nice to not have to pay the grocery stores and Walmart to offload their freight and then say, break down 24 pallets into 80 pallets. That takes hours and truckers are not paid for that time. No other industry does this to truckers. Another burning issue is legalizing marijuana. Sixty-six to 67 percent of Americans support legalization. Even 59 percent of Republicans like this idea. And if you were wondering whether this is a case of blatant pandering for cross-party votes, then you would be correct. I’d like to call this bill the Willie Nelson Marijuana Legalization and Employer Anti-Discrimination Act. I figure that if Willie Nelson is 86, then weed can’t be too bad for you. I think it would be a good idea to legalize edibles first, then smoking and vaping after we get a vaccine for COVID-19. We don’t want to make things worse than they are now. One-thousand people died from the time I started writing this to now. With all the other issues, I nearly forgot affordable housing. This problem is best solved by having the living wage I spoke of earlier. People don’t want to just rent houses; they want to buy as well.
As your state senator, I, Duskin Lassiter, will work for you! There are many more subjects I would like to cover, such as how we are going to pay for this economic catastrophe. The answers are not easy. I can say that Wall Street is going to have to make changes. This winner-take-all capitalism has to change, because what is currently happening was preventable.
So, the final question is this: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Reagan asked this question, and now I ask the same. We all know what the answer is. The grading system is not A to F; it is PASS/FAIL, and the lives of you and your family are at stake. If you elect Duskin Lassiter as Democratic State Senator, I promise to listen to the doctors and scientists and will do everything in my power to keep us all healthy and alive. In normal times, this statement would be deemed by me personally, as sad and uninspiring, but Donald Trump has lowered the bar to this level. In November, you have to make the choice: four more years of chaos, or a state senator who promises not to get you killed.