Vows to forgive all student loans
By Chinta Strausberg
Former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, who heads a multi-million dollar business, Monday officially announced his bid for the presidency vowing to forgive student loans, mandate all seniors ride pubic transportation free, free health care for those over 65 who are indigent and put prayer back into the schools â€œwhere it belongs.â€
With the campaign slogan of â€œWe Still Believe,â€ his wife, Janette, by his side and flanked by a number of mostly African American ministers including Rev. Dr. Stephen Thurston and long time friend, F. Scott Winslow, Dr. Wilson said heâ€™s entering the race because â€œI believe the common man and woman in this country need a candidate they can identify with.
â€œThe greatness of America is not in Democratic or Republican. The greatness of America is in we the people. It can no longer be Republican against Democrat, citizen against police, white against black, rich against poor. We must become what our country was founded forâ€¦a place where people can be free to pursue liberty, life and happiness and justiceâ€¦truly one nation under God,â€ he said.
â€œI am a Democrat, but Iâ€™m not too keen on party labels,â€ Wilson said. â€œMake no mistake. I am running as the anti-tax Democrat. I am against putting more taxes on hard-working people who are doing all they can to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.
â€œIâ€™m running for president because I care about America,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m running to put America first.â€ Wilson said he is running as the â€œpeopleâ€™s candidate, and Iâ€™m running on the peopleâ€™s agenda for a strong America.â€
â€œI have heard the cries of despair,â€ he told a slew of reporters during a press conference held at the Chicago Baptist Institute International, 5120 So. King Dr. â€œThe people are in pain. Votersâ€¦feel like they have been tossed aside by leaders of both political parties.
â€œI have looked over the field of other candidates, and I donâ€™t believe there is a one who really understands what the people want and what the people need,â€ he said. He thinks they have personal agendas. â€œI believe all of the other candidates are running to take care of their own needsâ€¦not the needs of the people,â€ he charged.
â€œI believe America has lost its way. Many of our citizens have lost trust in our government,â€ Wilson said. â€œThey have also lost confidence in most political leadersâ€ pointing to the opinion polls he says prove it.
Saying there is an aura of distrust among American citizens and the police, Dr. Wilson said, â€œtoo many police officers donâ€™t seem to trust the very citizens they are sworn to serve and protect, but citizens and police must abide by the law.â€
If elected, Wilson vowed to look at both sides of this issue but first he said, â€œWeâ€™ve got to bring some respect to the table. I will direct our Justice Department to work with the local police and community leaders to develop comprehensive plans to end the violence.â€
He vowed to go into under-served communities â€œthat are riddled with violence and show them that their government cares about them and that their government will help them if they want to help themselves.
Wilson said Americans want a stronger economy coupled with more jobs and an equal access to those jobs and the contracts. â€œOur people also demand equal pay for women who do the same work as men. We must put America first.â€
He pledged to invest more funds needed to grow additional small businesses, which would create more jobs.
Saying Americans want better education for their children, Dr. Wilson said people are also demanding, â€œthat we fix our crumbling roads, tracks and bridges. That alone will create thousands of jobs right here at home.â€
And, more than anything, Wilson said people want honesty and integrity among those they send to office. â€˜That is what they will get with me. No tricks. No double talkâ€¦. Just plain talk about our problems and just plain talk about how we will solve our problems together as a nation.â€
Saying Americaâ€™s greatness still lies in the people, Wilson, who is a deacon, said, â€œI believe the reason the people lost faith is because the U.S. itself has lost its way and its own faith. We need to restore that faith today. We need to re-ignite the American dream. I am proof of the American dream.
â€œI know all about flipping burgers at McDonalds Iâ€™ve done it. â€œ Now, Wilson said, he owns a multi-million dollar global business â€œthat came about through hard work and never giving up.â€ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â He vowed to use his business experience â€œto help bring America back to the top.â€
On crime, Wilson said he would demand reform of the nationâ€™s criminal justice systemâ€ because â€œevery man, woman and child in this country need to know that their lives really matter. We must re-brand and reform our nation so that we can be the greatest country that we can be. We must bring into a new golden age of peace and prosperity.â€
On the problems of other nations, Wilson warned, â€œWe cannot continue to be the police of the world and grow our economy at the same time.â€
Referring to the many wars America has and is helping to finance, Wilson said they are â€œan expensive propositionâ€ and that he would put â€œAmerica firstâ€ vowing to â€œpush to reduce our foreign aid.
â€œI believe we can recover at least $5.5 billion from foreign aid and give a portion of it to rebuilding Fergusonâ€¦Baltimore instead of Baghdad.â€ To pay for his reforms, he would cut the military budget of $786 billion (FY16).
â€œMilitary spending is greater than military, $938 billion and Medicare up $351 billion. The interest on that loan alone cost $283 billion along. Health and Human Services is about $79.9 billion, education and housing, urban development is $41 billion.
â€œWe are not going to be fighting religious wars in other countries where we do not belong where people have been fighting since the Abraham days in the bible. We will not be involved in those kinds of wars in America with our armed forces. We will fight the wars that are needed right here at home. America comes first.â€
Wilson said cuts from the military budget would bring â€œsome of that money back home for jobs, free education public safetyâ€ and improve infrastructure while creating Â more small businesses.
Saying he will be the candidate to unite all people, Wilson promised to â€œserve all the people, not just the chosen few. I will help knock down the walls that divide us and with your help; I know that we can become a united people of this great country. We must re-ignite the American dream in every citizen. We the people will prevail because we the people still believeâ€¦.â€
Wilson said under his administration he would reform education â€œso that every child who cannot afford it would get a quality education free of charge so that this would lead to a brighter future. We would reduce classroom size, pay teachers more and we would forgive all student loans, and we will put prayer back into schools where it belongs in God we truly trust.â€
Wilson said he would direct the Justice Department to work with local police and community leaders to develop a comprehensive plan to end the violence. He vowed to go into those neighborhoods. â€œWe cannot go on like this. Someone has to do something, and I am answering that call today.â€
Asked by this reporter what would he do about the Boko Haram group of terrorists who are kidnapping, raping and killing young African girls, Wilson said, â€œÂ Â We have a global economy and America is all the way around the world. First you got to take home first.
â€œThatâ€™s been one of the problems with America. We ran over the world trying to take care of the world when we got the same problems at home. I am committed to home first before we can go beyond homeâ€¦. We cannot spread ourselves in countries we donâ€™t have an interest in when America is at war within itselfâ€¦.â€
Dr. Wilson vowed to privatize government-run businesses â€œ and recreate more small businesses by lowering taxes for the poorâ€¦. We would be using metro programs that partner with corporate America. We would use fair bidding procedures to help small businesses get their rightful share.
â€œWe would help our veterans by allowing our men and women to get quality health care in hospitals and clinics in their own neighborhoods where they live and work, and we would give tax incentives for businesses to stay in our own country. We would not raise taxes on our senior citizens who are over 65-years oldâ€¦. We would give them free health care who cannot afford it. We still believe in America.â€
â€œI am the peoples choice for president,â€ he said emphasizing he will be the neighborhood candidate because he lives in the neighborhood.
When asked why not run for alderman or governor, Wilson quipped, â€œWhy not? America has been good to me…. We didn’t lose the mayor because we brought a log of issues to the forefront, and we will not lose this….
â€œI am not in this to be a lobbyist afterwards…or to make money for myself or to show favor to any particular group or organization…but to help the people….” Â Iâ€™m living proof of the American dream…,” he said explaining he is running on faith and with the people.
Wilson, who during the special mayoral election received 50,000 votes, is the third Democratic presidential candidate to throw his hat into the ring following popular former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin Oâ€™Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.