George Gluck wants constituents of Maryland’s 6th District to vote for the democratic candidate on Nov. 8.
“But not the one who has a big ‘D’ after his name,” Gluck explained.
Democratic incumbent John Delaney, who is seeking re-election, is a Democrat in name only, according to Gluck, who pointed to several votes Delaney has cast with the Republicans.
He pitched himself as a true Democrat, in the mold of Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who rank high on Gluck’s list of political role models.
But unlike Johnson and Roosevelt, both elected as Democrats, Gluck, 69, of Rockville, is making his bid for elected office under Maryland’s Green Party. He described the third party’s policies — summarized as 10 key values with names such as “ecological wisdom” and “community based economics” — as more democratic than those of the Democratic Party itself.
“We no longer have a democracy in this country,” Gluck said. “We have an oligarchy. Our country is being run by a handful of rich people.”
Gluck, who works as a consultant in the information technology sector, sees it as his responsibility to “even the playing field.”
He pledged first and foremost to advocate for the reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which gave corporations free rein to spend money on political activities and led to the rise of so-called super PACs. The “clean” part of Gluck’s “clean, lean, green” campaign slogan refers to his refusal to accept campaign contributions and his belief that all political campaigns should be publicly financed.
“No one can own me,” he said of his decision to run an entirely self-funded campaign.
He named raising the minimum wage, forgiving student loan debt and establishing a single-payer national health insurance as other ways he would restore democracy, if elected.
He acknowledged that these types of programs might require more government spending. At the same time, he said, he supports “lean” government in the sense of spending money only to actually make a difference — on education programs, for example.
One way to offset increased spending would be to reinstate the securities turnover excise tax, or STET, a small percentage added to every trade in stocks, swaps and other financial investment transactions. Gluck also proposed a more progressive income tax structure to raise tax rates for the highest income bracket.
Asked for more detail on how much he would tax the highest earners, Gluck said he would first need to consult with other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Keeping his party’s emphasis on environmental issues, Gluck also pitched several “green” initiatives, including switching from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar. He and his wife rely on solar panels for electricity and hot water for their home.
Some of his campaign fliers he’s passing out today come from a prior campaign for Montgomery County Council in 2010. The rest are printed on recycled paper.
His current campaign is his fifth time seeking elected office. He ran for the Montgomery County Council in the 2009 special election and again in the 2010 regular election. This year marks his third consecutive run for House of Representatives.
“I’m going to keep running as long as I can,” Gluck said. “Eventually, millennials will understand why they’re having problems and vote for folks like me. It may not be me, but I can help pave the way, at least.”
Gluck will square off against three other candidates in the Nov. 8 general election: Delaney, Republican Amie Hoeber and Libertarian Party candidate David Howser. Ted Athey, who is unaffiliated, is a write-in candidate.
Members of Congress are paid $174,000 a year and serve two-year terms.