Who am I?

After more than 50 years as an educator, priest, missionary, husband and father, I have entered the political arena with a sense of urgency. I believe politics should be about accompanying others in their struggles for justice and equality, but that spirit seems lacking today.

I was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the son of immigrants—in the same redbrick house where I live today. It is near the home of Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first woman governor in the United States and the first woman director of the U.S. Mint. Wyoming, the “Equality State,” was the first to grant women the right to vote.

In Wyoming, I learned the values that I believe characterize U.S. citizens at our best: respect for the opinions of others and service to society. In my family I was expected to serve whenever and wherever a need arose.

After high school in Cheyenne, I earned four university degrees including an M.A. in educational administration from the University of Wyoming.

In 1965, I was ordained a Catholic priest but, in both my personal and political life, I have always believed strongly in the separation of church and state and in respecting and honoring the beliefs of others.

For nearly three decades as a priest, I served communities throughout Wyoming and in South America. During my work and travels, I witnessed great suffering – from mineworkers and farm workers enduring health and safety threats on the job, to people battling intense poverty in urban shanty towns of Latin America.

From 1985 to 1993, I lived in a pressed-cardboard-and-tin shack in a barrio on the edge of Caracas, Venezuela. I witnessed remarkable deprivation, often caused by poor governmental decisions. I stood with the people as they courageously challenged their circumstances and demanded change.

In 1994 I married, which meant I could no longer function as a priest within the Roman Catholic tradition.

In my lifelong commitment to learning and helping others, I have studied foreign languages in order to speak what I consider to be the most important language, that of friendship. I am fluent in English and Spanish, and have studied Portuguese, German, Italian, French, Slovenian, Russian, Latin, and Greek. I have traveled some 30 countries.

I have authored a book, op-eds and essays, and given over a hundred lectures in universities, colleges, and other venues here and abroad. I occasionally substitute as a junior-high and high-school teacher in order to maintain contact with youth.

As I run for the U.S. Senate, I also run a few miles every day. I have been fortunate to never have spent the night in a hospital. I was not even born in a hospital.

I am seeking your support to be Wyoming’s next U.S. senator. I would like to take to Washington D.C. Wyoming traditions that I have long valued and that seem missing these days: a spirit of cooperation, respect, and compassion for others.

Why am I running?

I am running first of all because I believe it is crucial—and viable—to bring a Wyoming Democrat to the U.S. Senate.

With the nation’s lowest population, Wyoming and its two senators have a uniquely powerful voice in Washington. However, for the last 33 years, only the conservative voice has been heard. This imbalance has gotten worse as the GOP leadership has moved farther to the right, and no longer seems interested in listening or cooperating.

I have strong ties with people across the state. I believe Wyomingites are hungering for a progressive voice. The incumbent will have been in Washington for eighteen years and people are getting tired of his politics as usual—and unusual, such as shutting down the national parks, forests and monuments when he didn’t agree with the President and Supreme Court.

Wyoming is known as the Equality State because it was the first government in the world to give women the right to vote. However, its two U.S. senators consistently have voted against equal opportunity—whether it’s equal pay for equal work, gay marriage rights, or a higher minimum wage. That must change.

My life experiences have deepened my commitment to the struggles so many people face, here in Wyoming, across our country and around the world. It is their concerns that motivate me to run. I believe the people of our great state and nation deserve leadership that listens, that works with others, and that serves all those in need.

On the campaign trail I have said that I am running because my eyesight is good and my hearing is excellent – and I don’t think our current representatives in Washington see the suffering around our state and country, or hear people’s cries for help. They dismiss sensible and humane solutions simply because they do not fit the right-wing agenda.

While some in our nation are making good salaries, many are struggling to make ends meet. They worry about the costs of education and health care, and whether they will have a job tomorrow. Here in Wyoming thousands of children in Wyoming live in poverty and do not get three meals a day.

I am running for the U.S. Senate to address these and other unacceptable conditions. I hope you will join me and run with me.

My Goals

As Wyoming’s next U.S. senator, my top three policy goals will be: 1) raising the federal minimum wage to make it a true living wage; 2) expanding healthcare by protecting and improving on the Affordable Care Act; and, 3) investing in our nation’s often crumbling infrastructure.

Today, millions of Americans work hard, yet remain poor. Working families go deep into debt, visit food banks, and need food stamps just to get by. The minimum wage must be raised immediately, and indexed to cost-of-living increases. It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s the wise thing to do. Raising the wage will feed the economy, and enable people to transition off of welfare and food stamps. At the same time we must reinvest in programs combating hunger and poverty.

Another top policy goal of mine is to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act. Despite its implementation challenges, the ACA has extended healthcare to millions of Americans. I will fight hard against any Republican attack to undermine this vital progress. We cannot go back to the days when pre-existing conditions and exorbitant insurance costs prevented tens of millions of Americans from being able to seek care. Nobody should have to worry about seeing a doctor when they get sick. Preventive health care is an essential investment in both our physical and financial health. To better meet these needs I am in favor of single-payer health insurance. I will also do everything in my power to protect Social Security and Medicare.

Our infrastructure – the roads, bridges, and water systems that connect us – must be improved. We need to invest in public transit, and far more renewable energy. I will work hard to make sure that tax dollars help create a more reliable, efficient, and environmentally responsible infrastructure and energy supply.

These policy priorities reflect progressive values that I have championed for decades as a public speaker, writer, priest and pastor. I have dedicated all my life to speaking out and standing side by side with people in their struggle for justice. I marched on Solidarity Day in 1968 from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. I stood by the railroad tracks in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to protest war and spending waste as the white trains carried nuclear warheads to the West Coast. While serving as a missionary in Venezuela, I lived in a cardboard and tin shack without running water or sewers for eight years in a barrio of Caracas.

Along the way, I have drawn inspiration from people’s courage among their struggles, and it has deepened my dedication to justice.

My DFA Values

Community: Both of my parents were immigrants from Austria. My mother once told me, “You have a little bit of blood of every race that ever existed on the face of the earth.” I have never forgotten those words. My parents lived that belief and it has been embedded in my thinking and action. While I have been involved in community projects since childhood, my eight years living in a barrio of South America that lacked running water, sewers, electricity, and decent housing conditions, taught me even more about the importance of community. It also showed me very dramatically how government can hurt and can help. I promise to be part of a government that helps.

Security: My campaign leaflet says: “Homeland security requires a strong defense, and good foreign relations. But since 9/11, we have made more enemies than friends in the world. It’s time for a new era of peacemaking and diplomacy. National security also means all our citizens have food, shelter, good healthcare, a quality education, and rewarding work that pays a living wage.” I support a strong national defense, but I am also very anti-war. Wyoming is highly militarized, including many retired military personnel. Yet most military people I have met share my interest in peace-making foreign policies.

Liberty: I want to say clearly that, as a former priest, I have always believed strongly in the separation of church and state, and in respecting and honoring the beliefs of others. I also believe that government should not interfere in the personal relations between adults. Just as the uniqueness of each flower in a garden is recognized as beautiful, so should the uniqueness of each individual be accepted and treasured. Our campaign stands strong for full marriage equality for all, equal pay for equal work, and investments in social welfare, job creation, and education to ensure that all people have adequate opportunities in life.

My Campaign is People Powered!

Our campaign has traveled the state and connected with voters throughout Wyoming. We have worked hard to build ties with many communities: urban and rural, Native American, LGBT leaders and concerned voters who feel unrepresented. We have met with grassroots activists committed to ending the GOP’s near-total control over Wyoming’s state and federal representation. I am a member of the local chapter of the NAACP and of the Laramie County Grassroots Democrats. We have attended numerous Democratic county conventions and have met with voters in 21 of the state’s 23 counties. In communities we have visited throughout Wyoming, voters say they just want a progressive voice—that they are not being heard by the incumbent U.S. senator.

Our campaign has strong support from a “kitchen cabinet” of progressive leaders with a wealth of legislative, public policy and civil rights experience and who have been involved in community activism. Our dedicated and talented volunteers have helped the campaign reach far and wide, both in person and through social media. We actively welcome dialogue with supporters and opponents alike. Local and state media have taken a keen interest in our campaign, covering us frequently and fairly.

From the start, our campaign has emphasized people power over the power of big money. Our slogan, “Run with Charlie,” stresses the idea that this campaign is not about one candidate, but about creating a movement to bring values of balance, cooperation, and fairness to Wyoming’s representation in Washington. We are inviting everyone in our state, Democrats, independents, and yes, Republicans, to “Run with Charlie” – not only to elect me, but to show that people power can beat big money. Even our fundraising is grassroots: to date we have received donations from people in more than 20 states, with 93% of the donations being for one hundred dollars or less. We will continue to recruit a strong and sustainable base of both volunteer and financial support.

Voice support

Supporters:

  • Billy Montgomery
  • Kathleen Cotter
  • Carole Abrahams, NY
  • Ed Boenisch
  • Jackie Meranda
  • Katelynne Donnelly
  • Marta & JR Soriano
  • renny golden
  • Camilla Schneider, CA
  • Cynthia jean Johnson, CA
...and 130 more.


About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

Stay informed -- like DFA on Facebook. ×