Meet Andy, our Milwaukee Regional Director!
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself and where you’re from.
I was born and raised here in Milwaukee. Conservative radio was on in the car for about as long as I can remember, so I was interested in politics from a pretty young age. As I’ve grown older, my politics have moved further and further left.
Q: What specifically about Progressive Takeover appealed to you?
The Democratic Party has power in all but the most urbane and reliably democratic areas of the country. If the party wants to say, keep abortion legal, or decriminalize drugs, the first place to start flipping seats is in state legislatures, not Congress.
Q: What’s your most memorable experience working in politics?
The first time I trained a friend of mine to make GOTV calls in 2016 was pretty special. It was fantastic to watch someone go from relative uninvolvement to actively attempting to boost turnout.
Q: What is the biggest challenge to working in Wisconsin?
The minimum wage is way too low here. Money is, if not the biggest, one of the biggest challenges facing a working class person who wants to run for office or participate in politics. The fact that minimum wage workers get paid so low translates to political structures that are completely unresponsive to the needs of low wage workers. Wisconsin also needs to ban unpaid internships. As long as the only people who can get political experience are those who can afford to work for free, working class people will be functionally locked out of politics.
Q: Who inspires you in politics and why?
There are tons of people I could talk about, but if I had to pick one, I would probably pick Ahed Tamimi. I could never imagine being a political prisoner as a teenager, and after 8 months of imprisonment, she has maintained her commitment to justice. She has shown more courage at the age of 17 than most show in a lifetime.
Q: If you could have dinner with one former President, who would it be and why?
Ulysses S. Grant. I don’t know that the two of us would have much in common, if anything at all, but I really value his presidency. Grant was pretty much the only President seriously committed to an anti-Confederate and anti-Klan vision of Southern Reconstruction, and I can really respect that.
Q: Other than voting, what is one of the the issues that you’re interested in?
Climate change is the single most dangerous issue of our time. A lot of people say that the U.S. isn’t preparing for the impending ecological disaster, but that’s not true. The U.S. is preparing for climate change, but with border control and refugee restrictions, rather than renewable energy and carbon regulation. That needs to change immediately.
Q: What would you say to anyone who feels defeated or cynical by the state of our politics?
I think I’d try to emphasize that, despite the awful state of our national and state politics, that there are a lot of dedicated, hopeful people working to make things better, and that you can be involved in politics beyond simply voting and supporting candidates. If you look around the area you live, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a like-minded group of individuals who are already hard at work trying to make people’s lives better outside of the sphere of electoral politics, and there are plenty of victories yet to be won.
Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest lessons the left should learn from 2016?
Moderate Republicans don’t really exist in significant numbers and trying to appeal to them is an absolute waste of effort and time. No matter how moderate a Republican voter claims to be, the chance that they will defect and vote blue is nil. Politics, properly understood, is a contest for power, and there is nothing to be gained by appealing to your enemy’s goodwill.
Q: What’s something on your bucket list?
I’d like to visit at least 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites by the time I die. The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya tops the list in terms of my priority though.
Q: Finally, since you’re in Wisconsin, what’s your favorite cheese?
I’m a bit internally divided, so I’m stuck between cheddar, pepper jack and feta. Realistically, it’s probably cheddar, but I feel like that might be too basic for a favorite cheese.