Democrat for Governor
Change begins by putting forward new, bold ideas that can actually solve the problems we face.
Dear Fellow Rhode Islanders
Dear Fellow Rhode Islanders
I have spent the past weeks and months in homes across our state talking to hundreds of Rhode Islanders about their lives, their struggles and their hopes. What’s clear is that the economy isn’t working for people and it hasn’t for decades.
The economic fact that matters in people’s lives is simple math: the costs of things we need – housing, health care, childcare and other basics – have all gone way up, while incomes for most people have stayed the same or declined. That means life is getting harder for people, and they worry that their kids will be worse off than they are. Worry has become a constant fact of life for many.
Meanwhile, our school buildings are literally falling apart and our hospitals are bankrupt and closing.
Our political system has proven unable to solve these problems. Politicians tell us there is no alternative. They tell us there’s not enough money to solve the problems we’re facing, so the only thing we can do is raise property taxes or put the state further into debt. None of this is true. We can do things a different way.
There is plenty of money in society. We live in the richest country on Earth. It’s just that almost all of it has gone to the big corporations, the big banks and the very wealthy few — leaving everyone else without enough to afford the basics.
I’m running for Governor because we have big problems in our state and in our country and I’m convinced that we need change.
Here in Rhode Island we can build a different kind of economy that works for everyone, an economy that brings money and opportunity — and even economic power — back to people and communities. We can live up to our values and provide a good education for our kids and healthcare for all, strengthen our communities and leave no one behind.
We can do all of these things. I am running for Governor to join forces with people in every city, town and neighborhood to bring fundamental change to our state.
This campaign is about a return to real grassroots politics and government of, by and for the people. I want to meet every single one of you in person. I want to hear your concerns, your hopes and your ideas. I hope you will join us. Come to an upcoming event and share your ideas, sign up to volunteer or share this message with your friends.
I see a future for our state that is bright. Here’s what we can do to get there together:
The world – along with our neighboring states – is building the energy system of the future powered by water, wind and sun rather than coal, oil and gas. Creating this new energy system is the biggest economic opportunity Rhode Island has had in generations. With the wind off its coast, Rhode Island has enough renewable resources to produce twice the energy it uses. I propose that Rhode Island lead the energy revolution by being the first state in the country that not only produces all of its energy from local, truly clean renewable resources — but also exports surplus renewable energy to other states. In addition to the environmental and health benefits, the economic benefits are staggering. It would mean thousands of good permanent jobs that can never be outsourced. And Rhode Islanders should have a financial stake in this new energy system so they can benefit from the profits of our shared natural resources. Under my plan, Rhode Islanders would receive dividend checks every year from the profits generated by the energy system, just as all residents of Alaska do.
As Rhode Island mobilizes to lead the energy economy of the future, it must scrap its plans for the Invenergy corporation to clear-cut more than 100 acres in the forest of northwestern Rhode Island to build a fracked-gas and diesel oil power plant. People in Burrillville, Providence and across the state have been fighting heroically to stop more fossil fuel infrastructure from being built, including the expansion of the Fields Point LNG facility. All Rhode Islanders should join in this fight — the environmental, health and economic harm caused by anchoring ourselves to the polluting, monopoly energy of the past would hurt us all.
Invest at Home
The only solution our government offers to solve our financial problems is to raise property taxes or go further into debt, both of which hurt the middle class. There are other solutions. Every year, our state deposits more than $2 billion dollars in taxpayers’ money in Wall Street banks, which use it to invest outside of Rhode Island and keep the profits for themselves – and they charge us tens of millions of dollars a year in fees to do it. I propose starting our own investment bank, like North Dakota has done with great success, to keep our taxpayers’ money here in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Investment Bank will have a charter and a mandate to invest our money only in Rhode Island, supporting small businesses, clean energy, affordable housing and more. The profits earned by the bank will be a source of growing revenue to plow back into the Rhode Island economy year after year, creating jobs, raising incomes, supporting small businesses and strengthening communities here at home for generations to come, without raising property taxes or putting the state further into debt.
Unlike the Wall Street banks, the state investment bank will be transparent, closely regulated, regularly audited and accountable. It will work in partnerships with local Rhode Island community banks and credit unions to help build one of the strongest local banking industries in the country.
Support Small Business
Big corporations – with government support — have used their monopolistic power for decades to shutter small businesses and stifle vibrant, local economies. That hurts all of us. Local small businesses are the lifeblood and the future of our economy, they are part of our community and they create thousands of jobs. Yet the state gives hundreds of millions of dollars in handouts to big corporations, all while small businesses struggle with taxes, fees and red tape.
We will end tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations while providing relief to local small businesses by cutting taxes and fees. Our new Rhode Island Investment Bank will partner with local community banks and credit unions to ensure small businesses can get the affordable loans they need. We will make Rhode Island the best place in the country to start and run a small business.
Make Work Pay
As we build a new economy and create thousands of jobs in clean energy, small businesses, healthcare and more, we must make sure that every single one of those jobs pays enough to make a living. For decades, big corporations and powerful lobbyists have used their money and power to suppress wages, weaken unions and take an ever-higher percentage of profits for their executives and investors, leaving workers with less and less. To reverse this trend and ensure that all workers can make a living, we will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, support union rights, and give employees a financial stake in the companies they work for. We will do this by supporting employee shareholding and worker-owned cooperatives, so that workers earn a share of the profits they help to generate.
Fight for Schools
For two decades our state has steadily cut taxes for the wealthiest corporations and individuals while leaving our schools so underfunded that school buildings are now literally crumbling and Rhode Island is dead last in the country for the education of Latino children. We must repeal those top-tier tax cuts and finally provide the funding our schools need to invest in good teaching, shrink class sizes, and make sure our schools buildings never fall apart again so that every single child in our state can get a quality education.
Protect Health Care
We must live up to our values and stop balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class, our children and the most vulnerable. We cannot keep giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to huge corporations while at the same time cutting Medicaid and other programs for the poor, the disabled and the elderly. That’s not who we are and not who we want to be. And we must act now to prevent the looming shortage of home health care workers to meet the needs of our seniors, as the number of Rhode Islanders over 70 climbs by 90,000 over the next 15 years. To meet the need for caregivers, we will dramatically expand trainings in the state and offer that training free of charge, and we will set rules for pay, benefits and working hours to ensure caregivers can make a living wage. Caregivers do some of the most important work in society, yet in Rhode Island they earn on average $11.50 an hour or $23,000 per year — poverty wages for a family of four. That needs to change. And we must help our seniors be able to afford in-home care so they can live their lives with dignity and security.
Matt Brown Supports:
- ✓ 100% renewable energy by 2035
- ✓ A woman’s right to choose
- ✓ Gun control, including holding gun manufacturers accountable
- ✓ A $15 an hour minimum wage
- ✓ Union rights
- ✓ Medicare For All
- ✓ Protections for immigrants
- ✓ The legalization and taxation of marijuana
- ✓ Re-importing safe, FDA-approved, low-cost drugs from Canada
- ✓ Taking no corporate PAC or lobbyist campaign contributions, including from the fossil fuel industry