D’Marie Mulattieri, Independent candidate for the District 39 Congressional seat, is a radical thinker in a rational package. She’s a fearless competitor who doesn’t mince words about how she would succeed without party backing if elected to the House.
“I’m a system smasher, a change-maker,” she said in an interview. Her role models are Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Justice Party presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City.
“I admire Sanders because he stands for what he knows is correct, not what people want to hear,” she said. “Rocky Anderson takes no corporate money and won’t accept contributions over $100.”
On her website, Mulattieri refers to herself as a “socially progressive, fiscally conservative” independent candidate who objects to “the administration’s deep disrespect for the majority of people that live in this country as well as our U.S. Constitution.” Lest she be seen as a Tea Party clone, she also advocates for “essential healthcare coverage for ALL US citizens.” She’s a bit hard to pin down, and she likes it that way.
“Most politicians are bought and paid for by corporations, unions and ‘too big to fail’ banks,” she said. “The entire electoral process is oriented to the wealthy. Officeholders have to spend 75 percent of their time raising money.”
In fact, Mulattieri believes money in politics is the single greatest threat to our democratic system. She’s in favor of amending the Constitution to undo the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that gave carte blanche to corporate contributions.
“Our votes are being nullified by corporations, so our elections are a sham. I’m taking no private interest money in my campaign. And I favor 100 percent public financing in the future,” she said.
If elected, she’ll make campaign finance reform a top legislative priority because “we don’t currently have a representative Congress.” She also backs a single payer health care system and wants to cut defense spending dramatically.
“If we cut our defense budget by 50 percent, we would still outspend China 6 to 1,” she told me.
Mulattieri strongly favors banking reform, including a return to regulations that separated commercial and investment banks. She’s disappointed in bank bailouts that have marked the approach of the last two administrations.
“That money should have gone back to mortgage holders and not the banks,” she said, pointing to such a program in Iceland that has resulted in a more rapid financial recovery. And she warns about a merger and acquisition process in banking that is swallowing up smaller, more community-minded banks.
Mulattieri is also concerned about how banks, other corporations and the wealthy are taxed. She thinks their tax rates are too low.
“We have to look at history, which tells us that less taxation on the ultra-wealthy results in a weaker economy,” she said. She favors putting more taxes “on the people who can afford it and not on the backs of the middle class.”
But she’s also concerned about the Federal Reserve’s role in the country’s economy.
“Why do we have someone else print the money, then loan it to us?” she said. She questions whether the Fed operates outside of a Constitutional mandate – a position more typical of libertarians such as Ron Paul.
Mulattieri’s “tell it like it is” attitude flies in the face of the usual campaign rhetoric. “I stand for what I believe in, not what I think people want to hear. Most politicians pander to the public, then do whatever they want to do.”
But listening is important to her. If elected, she plans to put up an interactive website that keeps the public up-to-speed on Congressional activity and asks for their direct yes or no votes on proposed legislation.
The Independent candidate knows that her chances of winning the heavily Republican 39th District are slim at best, but that doesn’t bother her. If she loses she says she’ll “be out here educating people” for the next two years, then run again in 2014.
“People are frustrated with Congress,” she said. Mulattieri believes she can capitalize on that frustration without attacking her opponents. “I don’t believe in negative campaigning. It does nothing to help voters decide, and it makes politics disgusting.”
She is running against Republican incumbent Ed Royce and Democrat Jay Chen. CD-39 serves a portion of Orange County in Southern California, including the cities of Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Chino Hills and Diamond Bar.