OPINION: Make shit in America again

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‘My loyalty is to the people’

By LUCAS KUNCE

We used to make shit in this country. But in the past 25 years, America has lost five million manufacturing jobs and closed nearly 70,000 factories. Our politicians didn’t just stand by – they helped make it happen.

Corporate oligarchs and foreign billionaires bought off elites in both parties with corporate PAC checks and stock dividends so they could rewrite the rules of our economy.

They shipped away our jobs and stripped our communities for parts. They sold off some of our greatest companies and industries to oligarchs in China, Brazil, Belgium and Taiwan, taking trillions in wages and profits out of our country.

And they launched a decades-long war on Organized Labor, pushing schemes like the so-called “right-to-work,” privatization and attacks on prevailing wage to weaken the American worker.

They told us it was all to make things “cheaper” and more “competitive.” Now we’ve got record-high inflation, gas prices over $4 and parents rationing baby formula, while American workers have to compete with slave labor during one of the tightest job markets in decades.

TIME FOR A CHANGE
Meanwhile, Corporate America’s profits are booming, and China isn’t just investing in the jobs and industries of the future – they’re already leading.

We’ve had 25 years of corporate oligarchs, billionaire families and criminal politicians calling the shots. I think it’s time we put working people in charge –  and on the campaign trail, it’s clear that’s what Missourians want, too.

From union halls and training centers to picket lines and rallies, the working people of our state are ready to take their power back. They’re tired of getting screwed over by the same weak politicians and corporate insiders election after election. They’re tired of feeling like they have no one who fights for them.

I’VE BEEN THERE
I’ve lived that, too. Like most Missourians growing up, my family lived paycheck-to-paycheck.

You know how it is – working hard, paying your bills, loving your family, doing everything right, but still living in constant fear that something could happen.

For us, that something happened in October of 1990. My little sister was born with a heart condition and needed heart surgery. And it bankrupted us. But just the way Organized Labor comes together for its own, I was lucky to live in a neighborhood full of working people willing to sacrifice and pitch in to help us make it through.

I joined the Marine Corps to honor their sacrifice. But when I was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, I saw firsthand how corrupt politicians in both parties were willing to waste $6.4 trillion on forever wars and “nation building” overseas, while real people here at home were being left behind. And I had enough.

HERE’S MY FUTURE AMERICA
I’m running for Senate because we need to make shit in America again.

I want to put real Missourians in charge of our state and real Americans in charge of our country.

Instead of more wars overseas, I want to nation-build America – investing in the apprenticeship programs and infrastructure we need to build the next generation of industries here at home and recruit the workers we need to get it done.

I want to:

  • Put our Laborers, Machinists, Ironworkers, Electricians, Carpenters and all our trades people to work building the next generation of energy right here in the Midwest.
  • Reshore manufacturing and put America first in global semiconductor production.
  • Put an end to the false belief that we can import America’s future.

THE MOVEMENT
Running on that message, we’ve built a record-breaking movement right here in Missouri, outraising every other candidate in this race, Democrat or Republican, with grassroots support from every single Missouri county and the city of St. Louis.

We did it all without support from corporate PACs, federal lobbyists, Big Pharma and Big Oil – because my loyalty is to the people.

Missourians deserve a warrior for working people in the Senate. And I’m running to serve.

(Lucas Kunce is one of 11 Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate to fill the seat of retiring Republican Senator Roy Blunt. The Missouri AFL-CIO has not yet made an endorsement.)

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