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Speech Script: RepresentMeAZ Kickoff Event

My name's Charlie Verdin, and I'm running for Congress.

District 2 is not a liberal district. I know we've recently seen a huge backlash against Martha McSally, but don't let that fool you: District 2 is not liberal.

However, this also isn't a conservative district.

This is a swing district. This is a complex district. And the only way to represent a complex district is to be here. To talk to the people of this district. To listen to them.

And, when you get back to Washington, you have to do what they ask you to do.

I know we're excited right now since the pendulum of this swing district seems to be swinging away from Martha McSally. You might see this as an opportunity to replace her with a far left representative; a hard-liner dedicated solely to the progressive agenda. And, yes, that would be satisfying for a term or two.

But this is a swing district. And, eventually, that pendulum is going to swing the other direction. And then we'll be right back where we are now.

I don't want to win this seat for a few terms. I want to win this seat to keep it. I want to make sure we have someone in this seat, advocating for civil rights, advocating for women, advocating for comprehensive health care for the foreseeable future.

And that means having someone willing to advocate for these ideals, not just to Congress, but also to the people of this district. And if I can't convince the majority of this district, then I need to be prepared to take a back seat.

Communication. Collaboration. Consensus. That's how you stop a swing district from swinging. We can't admonish McSally for not representing her district by electing someone who will do the same thing, just in the other direction.

I'm not here to pander to you. My positions are probably the same as yours, but my point is that my positions aren't the core of my campaign. I'm here to offer an alternative to the destructive party politics that have ground discourse in this country to a halt.

The reason I'm running is because nobody else is offering what I'm offering. The other people in this race will offer to fight for Medicare for All, the environment, and education, and I'll fight for that too, given the chance.

But above all of that, I'm fighting for a better vision of representative democracy. As your representative, I don't want to just fight for the ideals of the people in this room, or the leadership of the Democratic Party. I want to represent this district. This whole district.

If I can't convince the majority of this district that medicare for all is the way to go, then I won't vote for it. Even though I believe in it, even though I desperately want to see this country move toward true universal healthcare, I wouldn't vote for it if the majority of my district told me not to. Because I believe even more strongly in a collaborative government. I believe that the most important job of a representative is to represent their district.

That's what makes me different from other candidates. I'm fighting for a vision of how a representative democracy should be. I'm fighting for the ideal that representatives should be in near-constant communication with the people they serve.

That's what being a representative is about. Advocating in Washington. Advocating at home. And, above all, representing the people you serve.

And that's why Martha McSally has failed as a representative. She doesn't really care what you think. She'll vote how she wants no matter what you say. And she won't even let you know what she's thinking half the time, so you can't even start the conversation. She hides from the people of her district because she's afraid to get yelled at. That's not what a representative should be.

They should be open. Accessible. Transparent. Sincere.

If you believe in this message, if you want to see this district represented properly, not just for the next 2 or 4 years until the pendulum swings back the other way, but for the foreseeable future... then I ask that you follow me. Help me get to that position, and I'll show this district, this county, what it really means to be a representative.

We need sincerity. We need transparency. We need a real representative. I'm ready to represent you. I'm Charlie Verdin, and I'm running for Congress.