Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO – When 60 percent of the people in Texas do not vote because they are disenfranchised with both Republican Party or the Democratic Party, it gives an unknown person such as Tom Wakely a shot at getting his message out to people who identify with him being the “little guy”, rather than wealthy people who have nothing in common with someone who makes a certain amount of income.

Wakely was in San Angelo last month for a meet and greet with his supporters. The event was held by the Tom Green County Democratic Party at Los Panchitos Restaurant.  

In 2016, Wakely, "the little guy" ran for Congress as a Progressive Democrat and Economic Populist, against an incumbent, Congressman Lamar Smith. Although Wakely lost, he did receive more votes than any Democrat in the State of Texas who had previously run against an incumbent Republican, Congressman.

Conexión asked Wakely when did he decide to put his “hat in the ring” for the Governor position?

“I got talked into it earlier this year in January.” “A lot of the people within the 21st Congressional district saw that we did so well against Smith, so they wanted me to consider running for Governor,” he said.

After looking at the numbers, he finally decided to put his name in the hat, officially this past July 18. Wakely was asked what separated him from his other two democratic opponents--Cedric Davis and Jeffery Payne?

“I am the only progressive one and the only one who is not a millionaire.” “I speak the most common language in Texas and that is the language of income and inequality," said Wakely. 

The majority of the people in the state are low-income which Wakely says he identifies with them.

Wakely has four major concerns that is he is running on: inequality, healthcare, gun violence and global warming. The biggest issue he sees here in Texas is inequality. “The solution to one problem is generally the solution to another problem,” said Wakely. “We need to break that school to prison pipeline and one way to do that is raise the minimum to $15 an hour.” Just raising the minimum wage is not going to resolve the question of income and inequality in Texas. “We need to rebuild the labor union movement.” “There’s a direct correlation between the decline of a labor union and the decline of the middle class, not just nationally but in the state of Texas, also” Wakely said.

Wakely is also campaigning on repealing Texas’ right to work laws, passed in 1993 under a democratic administration.

Another thing Wakely is in favor of is to scrap the State’s franchised tax system, the margin tax. He proposes a business income tax system. “We need for corporations in this state to start paying their fair share of expenses.” Currently, corporations are only paying a little less than five percent when on the national level, corporations are paying 10 to 12 percent, stated Wakely.

In concluding the interview, Wakely was scheduled to be in Longview, Texas for a weekend debate, Saturday, October 28 against one of his democratic opponents, Jeffery Payne. 

Wakely was asked how he planned to fund his campaign?

Wakely whose campaign theme is “People Before Profits,”  stated he plans to raise funds Bernie Sanders style, meaning small donations through social media.”

"Someone has to be out there giving a voice to the voiceless and that’s what I am trying to do,” concluded Wakely.

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