Marin Voice: Running for office on principle

The following was in the November 5 issue of the Marin I.J.

Marin Voice: Running for office on principle

I WAS A CANDIDATE for Congress this year. I survived the complexities of filing reports, paying fees, and appearing in debates and ran in the June primary. My platform was based on a common sense, centrist position with respect to financial reform, the environment, education, and national defense – views that most educated Americans support.

My central point is that the underlying problem in Washington is the unethical and corrupt dual relationship that our elected officials have with money.

For example, our elected officials give billions of taxpayer dollars to the oil industry which, in turn, gives millions of the same dollars right back to those elected officials! These “kickbacks” are unethical and this corruption leads to our elected officials serving those industries instead of serving us, the voters.

Similarly, Lynn Woolsey, our current congress person, took thousands of dollars from the sugar industry while sitting in a Congress that voted billions of taxpayer dollars to support the sugar industry’s peddling cheap sugar to our children. In my campaign, I pledged to accept no money from any corporation, lobby, PAC or entity other than a person, and I agreed to accept no more than a $100 from any individual.

I hoped that the electorate would understand that when elected officials accept money from anyone they regulate or legislate, it creates a dual relationship. Who does the elected official then serve: the voter, or the guy who gives them cash?

Too much of the time they serve the money guy. That is why Congress has a 7 percent approval rating. It is why we are so familiar with the following:

My campaign was a success and a lot of fun.

Although I didn’t win, it was a success because a lot of people heard, understood and agreed with my message.

With no bumper stickers, no ads, no robo-calls, and no lawn signs, I received over a thousand votes and accolades and support from nearly every one of the other 11 candidates, their staffs and the audiences at the debates and forums.

After all, who could be against asking our elected officials to act like grown ups and to sit down and come up with common sense solutions to our pressing problems?

We have come a long way towards creating a healthy form of government. But we need to remember that for many generations, we thought slavery was acceptable, voting was only for men, and that corporal punishment of children was OK.

The paradigm shifts that were necessary to right these wrongs took many generations.

Running for Congress was hard, but I am grateful for the outpouring of support I received from so many people. I was able to do what I think all of us would like to do: to tell our truth to an (about-to-be) elected official.

Repeatedly, I confronted the audiences, and the panel that included our next congressperson, about the insanity of politicians’ behavior. I denounced the unethical and corrupt practice of taking money from those one regulates and I exposed the crying needs of our environment that our elected officials are ignoring.

I am very grateful to live in America where any citizen can run for office and I challenge our next congressman to do the right thing – or I may feel the need to run again.

Larry Fritzlan of Mill Valley directs a teen and young adult drug treatment program in Corte Madera (

P. O. Box 910, Mill Valley, California 94942