I had to email the appropriate editor at Ballotpedia with my photo, as I had somehow forgotten to include it in my profile submission, and it's awfully hard to edit a profile once it's submitted.
Below the fold are a few excerpts from my responses to the Candidate Connection questionnaire. The questions are not presented in the same order as on the actual questionnaire—e.g., the lighter human-interest stuff like "What's your favorite book and why?" was toward the end, whereas here it's closer to the beginning.
What do you perceive to be the United States’ greatest challenges as a nation over the next decade?
The gravest existential threat to the human and natural world is anthropogenic climate disruption. This nation needs to catch up with other post-industrial nations in crafting and enacting policies that reign in the excesses of capitalism, such as business interests that deny climate science because it is inconvenient for their bottom lines.
Apart from that, we have appalling levels of poverty, wealth disparity, health disparity, infant mortality, maternal mortality, and lifestyle diseases. We need to make it easier for people of limited means to purchase healthy foods and live in healthy environments. That means more and better public transportation. It means changing housing policies and stopping gentrification (which is really more like urban colonialism). And it certainly means a single-payer, nationwide health system to replace the profit-driven "system" we have at present.
What qualities does the U.S. Senate possess that makes it unique as an institution?
The U.S. Senate is one of the most undemocratic institutions of government in the so-called free world, even before you factor in the influence of corporate money on policy-making. I hope that I live to see a constitutional amendment that changes the composition of the Senate. You don't find many legislative bodies in which each state, province, region, or territory gets the same amount of delegates irrespective of population. Direct popular election of Senators didn't even start until 1913.
If the Senate were a truly deliberative body tasked with considering the consequences of legislation upon generations to come, as with the Iroquois councils, that would be a welcome change.
If you are not a current senator, are there certain committees that you would want to be a part of?
1. Foreign Relations
2. Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
What is your favorite book? Why?
If I had to name just one, it would be "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace. CAUTION: Reading this novel can take over your life and change you in unexpected ways. DFW's bold experimentations with characters and dialog, his explorations of mental illness, and the messed-up world he imagined (messed up in far funnier ways than the "real" world) win the post-modernist sweepstakes.
What is something that has been a struggle in your life?
In my blog, I have been fairly candid about my chronic depression, a condition I supposedly share with some revered politicians including Abraham Lincoln. For years I thought it was something people just had to work through, but then discovered that many (including my spouse at the time) cannot without medical help. I have also had friends with various types of mental illness, which has helped me empathize with them and include mental health care as a large and visible part of my platform.