Transcript of Address to the African-American Leader's Caucus
I am honored for the opportunity to introduce myself and share my personal, civic, and political philosophies. I am new to the game in some regards, this is my first attempt at running for a political office. I am a retired Army Colonel, having spent the first thirty years of my professional life serving my country as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the United States Army. I am the proud father of two children, Michelle and Jarrod Rogers. Michelle is a graduate of Meade High School and is currently a Jr. at George Mason University. Jarrod is a Jr. at Meade HS.
I am very proud of my service to the nation and now I want to continue my service to the nation by serving my community with the same vigor, enthusiasm, and experience I’ve gained while in uniform. I have had the good fortune and blessings to travel and live across this great nation and the world in service to my country and as a private citizen. I have been a member of the Ann Arundel Community for the past 10 years. President of the Meade High School PSTA and President of the Russet Community Home Owners Association [Insert correct office] I coach the Severn Seminoles, Anne Arundel Youth Football Team. This year my 8-10 yr olds won the Maryland State Championship and I am so proud of the boys, they worked hard and learned an invaluable lesson; the work you put in is directly proportional to success you achieve.
Political and Personal Philosophy
I am a believer in “It takes a Village to Raise a Child”. Children are the living legacy of a community. A family is to a child, as a community is to a family. My belief in strong families and strong communities is the foundation of my political philosophy, which can be succinctly summed up as “E2C2”, Economics and Education, Country and Community. A thriving community needs a robust economy, good schools and an environment that is both physically and environmentally safe.
My area of expertise within the military was the management of contracting officers who have the legal responsibility to award government contracts to small business and major corporations alike. I have a firm grasp of the economic impact business can bring to a community and I will pledge my experience to help make District 32 a business-friendly environment, that promotes the growth of small business and is attractive to corporations.
Application of E2C2
I have learned several best practices formally through formal education. I hold a Masters of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I hold a ____ from the U.S. Industrial War College. I have observed and led the implementation of such business best-practices over the course of my career, and truly wish to implement those that are in keeping with our finest customs and traditions so that they may enrich our community.
As someone who has held formal and informal leadership positions, I understand and value the importance of effective leadership. People desire and respond to good leadership. Good leadership is collaborative and transparent. Good leadership, with the right vision, can create a synergy that is infectious. I want to earn your choice to help lead this community as your State House Representative for District 32.
The So What, Why Political Activism is No Longer a Luxury
Now that I have shared some things about myself, I want to pivot and share part of my vision for the upcoming midterm local, state, and national elections. America is at cross-roads. We are embroiled in a cultural, ideological war with those who would literally undo the gains this country has achieved over time through the Civil Rights Movement, The Women’s Rights Movement, The LGBTQ Movement, and many other progressive movements responsible for bringing America into an enlightened age where the first Black President became a reality, and where the first Woman to receive the Presidential nomination for the Democratic Party was possible. [pause for effect] Let me repeat, we are embroiled in a Cultural, Ideological War that requires our full mobilization. The stakes are high, and we must have all hands-on-deck!
The Trump Administration has leveraged wedge issues, to create fear amongst many Americans and used this fear to deceive many Americans into voting against their own interest. “Make America Great Again”, is thinly coded language (some people call this blowing the dog whistle), for taking America back to the time it was led exclusively by men and the wealthy. Back to a time where people of color had to come in through the back door. We can never go back to those times. We will never go back to those times.
America has always been about competition and opportunity. (for the first time in a hundred years we have had people in the oval office, such as Steve Bannon, who openly hold and espouse racist views and advocate for white supremacy. These views have emboldened those who believe America was a better place when we had to go through the back door. This Dog Whistle has awakened hateful White Supremacist who have always been among us, but now their perverse ideology has been given legitimacy by people who hold the highest elected offices in America. Right here in our own community, a young patriot, Richard Collins III, a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in my Army was stabbed to death by Sean Urbanski, a troubled young man who found solace in the warped and hateful rhetoric of the Alt. Right.
We must stem this tide, but We can’t stem the time alone. In the aftermath of the Trump Administration, the young folks have coined a phrase “stay woke.” That means to keep us from going back, we must be different, think different, vote different, (early and often). We must donate our time, energy, and money to candidates who will speak truth to power and advocate for those who don’t have a voice or a seat at the table.
A December 12 Washington Post Article reported on keywords that the Trump Administration deemed to be distasteful. Words like: Diversity, Inclusion, Under-served, Under-Privileged, Evidence-Based, Climate Change. The article was complete with a spreadsheet showing these words and what terms could be used in their place. This is an unabashed attempt to control what our political institutions say, and how we think. This is Soviet Style-Censorship and Propaganda. This is Un-American.
I once had a mentor who was fond of saying, “I need ya help…” What he meant was, I need you to commit to a long, at times arduous struggle. The kind that may cause you to say, “Lord, feet are tired.” But at the end of the journey, Your soul would often be at rest for the good work you had completed. Tonight, African American Leadership Caucus, “I need ya help!”. I’m Mike Rogers, Candidate for District 32 Representative for Maryland State House of Delegates, and I look forward to the opportunity to compete for the privilege to serve you.