Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-WV) Announces Candidacy for President  ... back >
Nov. 12, 2018 - State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-WV) announced he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President today in a short video filmed at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. 

Ojeda is making a populist pitch aimed at working class citizens.  On his campaign website, Ojeda presents the first of a projected four missions: "Service Requires Sacrifice."  The website states, "Anyone who is elected to Federal public office, or is appointed to the Cabinet, must sacrifice any net worth over a million dollars to charity of their choice (a real charity, not some family foundation run by their kids)."  The restrictions would continue after they leave public service as well.  This eye-opening proposal, likely unworkable and unconstitutional, does nonetheless cause one to reflect nature of public service and citizen government.

Ojeda, who served 24 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 2014, was elected to the state Senate in 2016.  He supported Trump, a decision he now regrets.  In the state Senate, Ojeda helped spark the nine-day teacher strike earlier this year (which Huffington Post called "perhaps the most significant American worker strike in years.")  He just finished running for Congress in West Virginia's 3rd CD, where he attracted some national attention and raised about $2.2 million but ultimately lost to Carol Miller (R) by a 56.4%-43.6% margin. 

Ojeda joins two other declared Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. John Delaney (MD) and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, in what many observers expect will be a very crowded field seeking to challenge President Trump in 2020.  He faces a very steep climb if he is to compete agaist very well known and well funded figures likely to enter the race in the coming months.
Transcript of Remarks:

I'm Richard Ojeda and 19 months ago I chose to run for Congress.  I chose to run for Congress because I wanted to help the people in southern West Virginia.  In the last 19 months while running for office in southern West Virginia, we received countless phone calls, emails and messages from people all across the United States of America that educated me that the problems we have in southern West Virginia are the same problems that we have in the south side of Chicago, in Flint, MI, in the Bronx, NY, the Rio Grande Valley and believe it or not in places like Silicon Valley.

We have not had people that have really fought for the working class citizens in this country.  The president of the United States, Republicans, and Democrats have focused more on infighting, political wars than they have focused on being there for the working class citizens.

It's important that we start sending people to office that are going to abolish corruption, that are going to fix the health care system, that's going to fight the opioid epidemic, and that's going to create opportunities for those people who live in poverty to elevate themselves out of poverty.  Jobs.  We desperately need jobs, good paying jobs.  So how do we do this?

And that's Mission Number One.  Now what I want to outline here is the fact that we have far too many pigs eating at the trough.  Where I come from service equals sacrifice.  Right now we have thousands upon thousands of troops—Army ,Navy, Air Force and Marines—all across this globe fighting for this nation.  The average salary for many of those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines qualifies them for food stamps.  Now that, ladies and gentlemen is what selfless service is all about.

Now we have elected officials that say they're going to run for office to serve the people.  But in reality they legislate themselves into wealth.  They go into office and after one, two terms they're worth millions upon millions of dollars.  And that has to stop.

Now what I believe in would be everyone who runs for office, for federal office, has to show, has to prove that they mean what they say when they talk about sacrificing.  And that is you are given a net worth of $1 million.  Anything above that you donate to charity.  And I don't mean your children.  To actual charity. 

You are allowed once you retire from federal service a retirement of $130,000 a year with a cap that you are allowed to still make money upwards of $250,000.  After that, that gets donated to charity. 

You will also be required to fall under the very same health care systems as the average citizens out there.  If you served in the military, it's VA for you.  If not, the same health care.  No more Cadillac deals for those in legislation to be able to get phenomenal health care while the rest of us struggle.  That ladies and gentlemen is what needs to happen.  I can guarantee you we will finally see a fix in our health care system when the very people voting on those bills are directly affected and their families.

So once again it's time for people to put up.  If you say you want to serve, you need to serve.  You need to live just like every other citizen out there.  When you cast votes— about the banking industry, about the houseing industry, about the public schools, about health care—you need to be directly involved. 

So ladies and gentlemen, that's pillar one.  There's a lot more that's going to come out later on, but I wanted to let everyone know what my first pillar is all about.

We've got a long ways to go.  This is going to be a long fight, but were going to do this together because I'm Richard Ojeda and I'm running for the President of the United States of America.  Thank you.
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