Heidi Sloan discusses activism, importance of working class

Heidi Sloan

Our campaign is drawing a new line around the working class in Texas — a line that begins every conversation not by asking people at their doors whether they are Republican or Democrat, but rather asking, “What keeps you up at night?”, “What are you hopeful about?” and “What do you think it’s going to take for things to change?”

We’re running on issues that take power from billionaires and corporations and give it to working class people. We fight for Medicare for All because it’s the only proposal that guarantees universal healthcare — not “coverage” or “access,” but quality, comprehensive care — to every person in this country. We also fight for Medicare for All because it empowers workers. Decoupling healthcare from employment strengthens the bargaining power of labor unions and emboldens workers to organize on the job without the threat of losing access to healthcare.

When we demand a Green New Deal, we are not just rallying around the urgency of climate crisis, we’re rallying around the dire need of working class families to have dignified work, affordable housing and public transit. Environmentalists have long tried to fight the battle against global warming by prioritizing it above other social issues, but only by linking the fights for social and climate justice — ending unemployment in this country by guaranteeing every person a good, union job to transition us away from fossil fuels by 2030 — will we be able to unify public consensus around action. 

Throughout history, real change has always been driven by popular movements rather than top-down politics, and that is why our campaign so heavily focuses on strengthening organized labor. From getting big money out of politics to taking on the fossil fuel industry, none of the progressive policies we want to achieve will be possible without an organized working class that is willing to fight for each other. Our campaign supports legislation that will encourage the creation of new unions, embolden existing unions to fight for more and win more free time for working people to live their lives (and maybe organize, too).

Because our approach to policy centers around the working class, we’re able to talk about politics in a way that steps outside of the lines drawn by the elites of either party and instead have conversations about how people actually relate to issues. We can meet the native Texan who is fearful about the impact of immigration on their wages by demanding protections for migrant workers against sub-minimum pay and unsafe job conditions. When immigrants are exploited, we all lose. We can meet the families who are hesitant about abortion by engaging with economic realities leading people to choose abortion when they might otherwise want to carry a pregnancy to term. We should support those who say no to parenthood, and we should support those who say yes with baby boxes, childcare and parental leave. We can meet those who are wary of criminal justice reform endangering our communities by highlighting how criminal punishment tears our communities apart and makes us all unsafe. Community safety includes everyone having access to housing, education, healthcare and dignified work.

We only move people to vote in their own interests by meeting them where they are and talking to them. Republican incumbent Roger Williams won his last election by fewer than 30,000 votes when well over 200,000 eligible voters were not mobilized to the polls. Our campaign has brought 800 volunteers to knock 80,000 doors in just six months. We’re on track to reach 100,000 doors by the primary election, and we have a plan for the general election to knock 500,000 more.

Winning in this district is about bringing regular folks into the politics that affect our lives. The fights for climate justice, universal healthcare, worker power, abolishing medical and student loan debt, and an economy that works for the many can only be won if we stand shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors. Nobody, in office or otherwise, can achieve these gains for us, but when we fight, we win. We are drawing a new line around the working class in Texas that leaves nobody behind, and we invite you to stand with us.