Hi, I'm James
WHERE I COME FROM
James was born in Washington Hospital in Fremont, Ca. He grew up in Livermore where he attended Sunset Elementary, Mendanhall then Granada. James attended college at UC Santa Barbara and then completed his graduate school studies in Europe.
James was raised in a middle class everyday American household. His father was a union worker, and his mother was always there for him and his brother. James was raised to champion standing up for the underdog, to fight for fairness, and to love and accept all people.
A THRIVING CAREER
Currently, James works in the tech industry in recruiting, employee experience, and is a people leader. His interest in working in recruiting and people facing roles draws from his passion to help empower everybody that he meets. Whether it's helping to guide candidates through the hiring process or training hiring mangers on reducing unconscious bias in the interview process, James thrives on helping people find success and fulfillment in their careers and livelihoods whilst at the same time fighting to make sure every candidate gets a fair shot, gets paid a fair wage, and ensuring companies build teams that are diverse of race, sex, thought, and more. Inclusion and belonging are important.
In addition to his work in the tech world, James also works as a waiter and a bartender. Like many millennials, James has had to take on gig jobs and nightshifts not because of the flexibility, but to pay rent, to pay student loans, and to survive.
Why am I running for Congress?
Fight for our Future
My name is James Peters and I am a gay, pragmatic, and progressive millennial, and I want to invite you to join the fight for our future. If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it's that there are issues that will impact all of us regardless of religious belief, political preference, or generation. The only way we as the American people will be able to survive the plethora of crises bearing down on the republic is to come together as one American people. United we stand, divided we fall.
I am running for Congress because America needs young fresh leaders full of ideas on how to cross the aisle and work to confront the worsening Climate Crisis, find ways to expand the services offered through Social Security and Medicare, and fight to ensure our democracy is passed down to future generations. Our current political leadership has become entrenched with political tribalism. I will go to Washington D.C. with a fresh lens and a willingness to work with leaders on both sides. The advent of Donald Trump significantly widened the political polarization in the country; I want to heal that.
Not only do I have the vision to see past party colors and lines, I embody much of the diversity that has made our country the greatest experiment in self-governance in the history of the world. On my dad's side of the family, we are the decedents of Norwegian immigrants who emigrated to this country through Elis Island. On that side, I am the first of my family to graduate from college and graduate school. My father worked first in the automotive industry and was a member of a Union while working at United Airlines. My mother was always there for me. She was at every little league or soccer game. She volunteered at my school functions, was a chaperone on school field trips, and she worked hard to be the breadwinner of our family.
Like many working and middle class families, my world has been dominated by the never-ending steam of "once in a century" events that have proliferated since the turn of the century. My parents American dream was shattered when 9/11 happened. My dad was one of the thousands laid off by United after the terrorist attack. My mom became our family's breadwinner and if it wasn't for her hard-work and sacrifices we might have lost our home. The security that my parents felt before 9/11 for their future was gone.
When the greatest recession since the Great Depression gripped the country, my family felt its pain first-hand. Again, United laid my father off, and my mom was who kept us in our home. 2008 was a watershed year because that was my senior year of high school and I remember asking myself, "What will happen to me when I graduate from college in four years"? Like many Baby Boomers who saw 401Ks evaporate overnight and feared they would (and many did) lose their homes, like many Gen X and Millennials leaving school and going into the workforce wondering what would happen to them, and like the seniors who worried if their Social Secruity check would give them enough money to survive the economic crisis, my family wondered too, "what will happen to our future".
Once I wrapped up college and graduate school, I stepped out into an economy that was transformed by the Great Recession. Silicon Vally had ballooned to become the tech capital of the world, and my home, the San Francisco Bay Area now offered a very different California Dream from when my parents were young people in their 20s. I watched as my friends and I entered a workforce defined by a second class tier of contract workers who were technically W2 employees, but employed by 3rd party companies who did not offer 401Ks, Paid Time Off, Sick Leave (beyond what is mandated by the State of California), or Family Leave. I watched as my former classmates took on second jobs, drove for ride-shares late into the night, and took up freelance work just to survive in a housing market with rents that have gone up 8% on average a year (outpacing inflation) from the time my parents were in their 20s until now. And I watched as my peers and coworkers rented five adults to a 2 or three bedroom apartment and struggled to pay student loans on salaries that, when adjusted for inflation, paid the same as what our parents made 30 years ago for college educations that have become 1,120% more expensive (that's an increase more than four times greater than the consumer price index). As I watched this, I wondered to myself, "What will happen to our futures? Will we be able to own homes, start businesses, or retire? Will we ever pay our way out of our student loan debt into a debt-free future"?
And when the Covid-19 pandemic shut the world down, I watched as friends and family members struggled with staying safe, worrying about medical costs, worrying about job security, worrying about housing secruity, and worrying about the political future of the country as the 2020 presidential election loomed. I myself was impacted by the retraction of the job market and needed the unemployment insurance provided by the federal government to survive. I watched the government respond to the pandemic with federal unemployment insurance, loans provided to keep small businesses afloat, a pause on student loan payments, emergency funding to boost hospital capacity, mandating that heath insurance companies couldn't overcharge people diagnosed with Covid, and a moratorium on evictions. The pandemic touched every part of American life. And I wondered, "If the government can act to secure access to so many basic necessities in response to the pandemic, then why can't we normalize those things to secure the future of middle class and working class Americans"?
And that brings me back to the "why" of why I am running for office. I have lived through the many "historic" events that have unfolded over the last two decades, and I see the challenges facing us in the future: the climate crisis; the domino effect of saddling multiple generations in over a trillion dollars in student loan debt; the erosion of our democracy; the rise of the New Gilded Age and erosion of workers rights despite living in the most economically productive society in the history of the world; the dangers posed to civil rights, reproductive rights and LGBT rights by a conservative super majority on the supreme court; the unsustainable tax code that favors the ultra-rich in place of expanding Social Secruity, Medicare, and more.
We can take these problems on, and like Senator Warren, I have a plan. One of the most immediate and pressing challenges that we face is the imminent danger posed by the climate crisis. We need to pass a Green New Deal to invest in as many green energy options as possible. We need to build electric bullet trains to take the place of cars and planes, we can invest in improving the range and life of electric vehicles, and we need to do what we can to replenish balance to the carbon cycle. For California specifically, we need invest in cost-effective desalination, we need to work to make California's major seaports carbon neutral, and we need to invest in updating the electrical grid to prevent seasonal fires. Fighting for the future of our globe is tantamount. There is no Earth 2.
The Student Loan Crisis is a manufactured artificial crisis. Investing in Human Capital should be a top priority for our government, not handing out trillion dollar tax cuts to the ultra-rich. By expanding the universal public funding of education into all avenues of post-secondary education, (college, graduate school, trade school, community colleges, and apprenticeships), we are investing in America's most valuable and irreplaceable resource: the American people. Universal Post-Secondary education is an investment in the future economic success of America. Saddling multiple generations with student loan debt is slowly killing middle class and working class America. It delays retirement age for the parents of Gen X and Millennial students who wanted to help their child get the best education they could; it delays Gen X and Millennials from buying houses and starting new businesses; and, the high cost and longterm impact of high loan balances disproportionately impacts the racial wealth gap, social mobility of all people who cannot pay to play, and ultimately holds America as a whole back from her full untapped Human Capital potential. We need to fight for the future of our economy, for the future competitiveness of the American economy in a globalized world, and most importantly we need to fight to invest in the American people first.
In addition to fighting to end the student loan crisis, we need to fight to preserve our democratic institutions, our right to vote, and to democratize the Republic. As Thomas Jefferson said, "[we have] a republic if we can keep it". That fight starts with expanding the funding and importance placed on the truthful teaching of civics and an honest teaching of American history. If we cannot teach our young people to honor and cherish our democratic institutions, our republic is doomed to fail. We need to fight for universal voter registration for every American once they turn 18, pass a law allowing any citizen to cast a vote by mail, and we need to revamp the Voting Rights Act to ensure there is no discrimination based on race or ethnicity when it comes to the sacred right to vote. Finally, we need to fight for a more democratic system. We need to pass a federal law to count Electoral College votes proportionally. It is undemocratic for one candidate to win all of a state's electoral votes in a 51% to 49% win. By shifting to a proportional delegation of electoral college votes all of the voters in a state would matter regardless of partisan lean, meaning all votes would truly count. For Congress, we need to pass term limits for both houses. I propose nine terms for the House of Representatives and three terms for the United States Senate. That gives incumbents in either chamber 18 years to make a difference in 9 sessions of Congress. And to make elections more representative of the will of the American people, I call for multi-member districts and proportional representation for elections to the US House of Representatives and rank choice voting for the election of United States Senators and Presidential Candidates. We need to fight to bring in new leadership that has the courage and moral fortitude to do the hard work, and make real changes to fight for the future of the American people.
America is living through a second Gilded Age. A second Gilded Age where billionaires wealth increased an estimated 62%, American workers have seen stagnant wages juxtaposed against the highest inflation in 40 years eat away at their purchasing power while Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk take joyrides to the moon. We need to fix the tax code, but we also need to pass laws to break up powerful companies that are gluttonous in their hoarding of wealth while paying their workers poverty wages. It's time to pass a national $15 minimum wage for all workers (including waitstaff and other workers that are currently paid below the federal minimum wage) that grows biannually tied to inflation and the consumer price index. Any American who works an honest day's work deserves an honest day's pay. And that means nobody who works a full time job should be living in poverty. We also need to expand workers rights to mirror other industrialized countries. To fight for future of the rights of all who work in America, I proposed a 21st Century Worker's Bill of Rights.
The Worker's Bill Of Rights will: legislate the right for all workers to take up to four weeks a year of sick leave, six weeks of personal leave a year and can cash out any unused paid time off when their employment ends, and 18 months of paid family leave; workers cannot be fired on the spot and all companies must give employees a two week notice prior to firing them unless an employee presents an imminent physical or trade secret threat to the company's staff, premises, or proprietary secrets; we need to make it easier and empower workers to be able to unionize; the Worker's Bill of Rights will include legislation to empower the employees, not the employer, to make the decision if they chose to work from the office, a hybrid model or on a permanent remote basis based on if the job was performed either in a hybrid or remote role during the pandemic; the Worker's Bill of Rights will create a 36 hour four day work week and prevent employers from docking off employees current salaries; and finally, it will require all employers with over 100 employees to create a childcare space in the office for children five years and younger. America is overdue on modernizing our work-life balance in the most productive and the richest economy in the history of the world. It's time to prioritize workers who create the billions in wealth enjoyed by the Jeff Bezos' of the world. By fighting for the future of the American worker, we can create a more just and economically level playing field.
When Donald Trump appointed Justice Barrett to the Supreme Court settled constitutional jurisprudence has now come under threat. The 6:3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court of the United States will have the power to overturn a number of key landmark decisions that have carved out rights and freedoms for millions of Americans. They now have the ability to overturn Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges, and even a case like Brown v. Board. Congress must act to codify a woman's right to privacy in making her own reproductive healthcare decisions, to codify the right for same-sex couples to marry, and it needs to shore up the civil rights and voting rights acts. We need to pass federal legislation to protect the right to an abortion across the country and to end the discrimination against LGBTQ people. We need to fight for the future of decisions decided by the court that expand rights by codifying that into federal law.
Finally, it's time to tax the rich and have them pay their fair share. When companies like Amazon do not pay a dime in taxes while profiting billions off of the roads built by the American tax payer, flying through the airspace protected by the United States Armed Forces paid for by the American tax payer, or profit off of the hard work of educated workers whose education was paid for by the American tax payer, there is only one word for that: stealing. It's time to end the corporate theft, and force any company that operates in the American market to pay its fair share. President Biden's proposal for a global tax on corporate profits is a start, but we can and must go further. In the fight for our future of a more equitable America that sees workers wages grow with productivity and with historic corporate profits we need to tax those companies who do not pay their fair share. We need to cut off corporate welfare in the form of subsidies for billion dollar industries and force companies to pay their workers a living wage that is not subsidized by government welfare. No person who is working 40 hours a week in America should have to be living so deep below the poverty line that they need to depend on Section 8 housing or food stamps while companies are making record profits and billionaires net worths' continue to soar. It is repulsively disgusting to digest the wealth gap in our country, and we need to fight for the future of a more economically equitable America for all.
My name is James Andrew Peters and I am a gay millennial running for office to fight for a pragmatic and progressive solution to the challenges facing our country. I am a grassroots candidate who will not accept dark money. There is too much at stake for our people, our democracy, our economy, and our planet. We need action now from politicians ready to do the hard work. Will you join the fight for our future?