Silver Persinger 

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Age: 35

Family: Single, no children

Profession: Library assistant

Education: Liberal Arts degree from VCU

Where do you live? Richmond, Oregon Hill

Where did you grow up? Salem, Virginia

Why are you running as an independent?
I am running as an independent because I am a Socialist. There is no active Socialist party in Richmond but I agree very much with the socialist view of economics. I am interested in putting forward policies to help poor and working people.

Why aren't you running as a Democrat or Republican?I view the two major parties as being essentially the same -- they are both Capitalist parties. Neither party is interested in economic, tax, land or currency reform which are essential questions to address our real social problems.

What are your signature policies and campaign issues?I am interested in extending democracy by giving people in their localities more power. I support abolishing the Dillon Rule which holds localities under the control of the state government. I believe localities ought to have more control to govern themselves. I also support the election of judges at the local and state level. I support the use of Instant Run-off voting, a more democratic method of vote counting which encourages third party candidates to seek office, and allows voters to vote for the underdog without "throwing away" their votes. I support term limits because I feel that the longer a politician is in office the more likely a system of cronyism and favoritism is to assert a negative influence in our government.

I support assessment reform, i.e. I believe your home's value should be frozen at the price you pay for your home. This would encourage people to move to and continue living in Virginia. Shortfalls in revenues could be address by tweaking tax rates and increasing income taxes on the wealthiest citizens. I support equal rights for all citizens whether they are men or women, regardless of race, national origin, religion, political beliefs, or sexual preference. I have long been an advocate for reducing the work day and work week. I support the shortening of hours to a 6 hour work day / 24 hour work week, with no reduction in pay or benefits. I am also interested in the establishment of day care facilities that are low cost or free for our citizens. I support a New York City tax on cigarettes, and that those revenues be dedicated towards funding our

I am an advocate for legalizing marijuana for recreational, medical, and industrial uses. Hemp is one of the dynamic plants on the planet; it can be used to produce paper, plastic, cloth, fuel, and fiber. It is good for the land, requires no pesticides, and has a short growing cycle. We have been growing hemp in Virginia since the time of Jamestown; it was one of the cornerstones of agricultural wealth in old Virginia. Marijuana is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol and prohibition doesn't work. I propose a $6 tax per box of 20 class A marijuana cigarettes. $5 of that tax to be dedicated to funding a high speed rail system for the entire state and light rail systems in our cities. $1 from each pack should go to fund a free addiction treatment program for Virginians addicted to ALL drugs including alcohol and tobacco and gambling. Also I don't think anyone should be put in jail for the use of any drug, it is a pure waste of money and a denial of an individual's liberty. And perhaps most of all, I am interested in educating Citizens about the processes of our democratic form of government.

Which political party do you more closely identify with? I identify with the Socialist Party, and more specifically the party I am working to promote -- the Free Socialist Party. Learn more, www.freesocialism.org. Between the two major parties, I identify more closely with the Democratic Party.

How do you differ most from them?
I differ because I advocate a massive change in the structure of our governmental, economic, and social institutions. I am not interested in preserving the wealth of a small group of our citizens. I think it ought to be a citizen's right to have access to health care, opportunities for education, job training, jobs, housing, food and utilities.

What changes would bring you into the Democratic or Republican fold? More choices, more discussion, more democratic control by, for, and of the people.

How did you arrive at your political convictions?I arrived at my political conviction by reading and educating myself. Through reading books from the 1880's - 1930's, I've learned a lot about the history of political movements in our county, the rise of the labor movement and labor unions, and the struggle for freedom and equality. I am very inspired by the people who have come before me.

Are you running to win, or running to bring attention to certain issues?I am running to win, and I hope to win because of the issues I am discussing. However, I am not accepting or soliciting donations, and I do not plan to spend more than a few hundred dollars of my own money. I believe in democracy and the power of the people to determine their own government.

Who is your political hero?Terence V. Powderly, the head the Knights of Labor, an early labor union that numbered nearly a million members in 1886. I am also fond of Lincoln, Jefferson, and F.D.R.

Is it wrong to steal office supplies? Yes, it is wrong to steal anything, including office supplies.

What kind of car do you drive? I don't own a car but I ride a 2002 Honda Metropolitan scooter. I also enjoy riding a bicycle.


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