When Democrat Representative Susan Davis announced last year that she was retiring from her 53rd Congressional District seat, which she’s held since 2003, John Brooks a native of California, and the only remaining African American in any of the local Congressional races, says his background alone should make him a frontrunner in San Diego’s political run for congress.
He argues that in trying to reach Black people from a fossil fueled based economy through a sustainable one, he wants to bring everyone who has a voice to the table. He says, what typically happens in congressional races is that we vote for someone who dictates to us instead of represents us. When it should be about community engagement and bringing those issues to congress.
Born in Oakland, raised in Los Angeles, Brooks, ran for congress in 2012, during the Occupy Wall Street movement. As a conservation guy and a wildlife biologist, he takes pride in saying that he made history by becoming the first person of African descent to receive a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana in 1981.
In a phone interview with The Chocolate Voice on Thursday, Brooks, who’s running a no money campaign had this to say,
“After reading several reports, it’s clear to me that global warming is a great threat to our nation. Issues that we try to address and put a bandaid on such as food shortage, medicine and homelessness, will all be a threat if we don’t get a handle on this global warming issue. Take for instance transportation. It’s one of the biggest barriers to getting out of poverty. If you can’t get to your job, you can’t work. For starters, creating a light rail system will help the current transportation crisis. It’s not a quick fix but, I would like to engage the black community from the start so that we’re not excluded from union jobs, and more importantly we have a seat at the table.”
Another interesting fact is that Brooks is running no money campaign. In some ways, he believes that the decision to do so has caused him to be an invisible candidate. Thus far, he’s received limited invitations to speak, considering the amount of advertising, publicity and dollars being sent out by others running, giving those candidates more visibility.
Currently, councilwoman Georgette Gómez and Sara Jacobs and “considered” front runners. The top two vote-getters on March 3 will face off in the November general election.
Brooks, has lived in San Diego since 1995 and positively says, “What can you do but keep it moving. My heart is in it for the community.”
The 53rd district covers a large part of the county including sections of San Diego, El Cajon and Chula Vista. The district’s most recent voter registration breakdown Democrats have about a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans. There are 185,000 registered Democrats, 94,000 registered Republicans and 14,000 independent voters.
“Imagine if all of the billions of dollars that are spent on political ads basically used to feed ego’s, are put back into community programs.”
According to Brooks, studies have shown that if we spend one percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) and put that towards any of the homeless and community programs out there, that’s 1.7 billion dollars!
“That right there he says would end poverty. We’ve already spent 5.3 billion fighting the Afghanistan war. What it all comes out to economics and scarcity.”
Thus far, his only advertising has been to put out lawn signs and engage in social media. In district 53, which makes up a large number of college students, he believes that it’s more effective to give out information in the manner in which people are used to receiving it—Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms, which doesn’t cost anything to advertise on.
If elected, democratic candidate Brooks, proposes creating community zones through government subsidies allowing for tax credits to be given out to small businesses. This way, he says that people are encouraged to shop in stores and support small businesses in their own communities. Additionally, small business owners won’t have to compete as much with big businesses. He says this will solve three problems— 1) More people are getting out of their cars and walking to stores in the community 2) We are supporting small businesses 3) We stop pollution.
“Bottom line is to give people a selfish reason to do the right thing. The only way to get us out of this is to support and stay local. Be more community minded. Get people involved on a community level.”
Below are few more interesting facts about candidate John Brooks:
- Started a book company, Eleventh Hour Books, twenty years ago, where he writes and publishes children’s books teaching kids about the environment.
- He played football in high school and college. He wanted to attend Oregon State to play football and study Wildlife Biology, but his father suggested he study at the University of Montana who also has a great program where John went on to make history as the first person of African descent to get a degree in Wildlife Biology in 1991.
- He’s currently working on a film project, Nineteen Shades of Black, that focuses on Black Culture is Pop Culture.
- He plays the alto sax.
- He’s a former Law enforcement officer.