Florida 7th

Chardo Richardson

Civil Rights Lawyer

America needs to work for you. In my career, I have fought to better the lives of Floridians, educators, workers, and students, as President of the ACLU of Central Florida chapter and as Director of the Seminole UniServ labor organization. This campaign is my opportunity to do more, and to fight harder to bring opportunity to every Floridian. Since my campaign won’t be bought by corporate cash, my only priority is the welfare of the voters.

Like all Brand New Congress candidates, my life is pretty different than the lives of most establishment politicians. I have been on both sides of poverty. I have faced the same hardships that so many Americans go through. That’s why I will spend the rest of my life fighting for an equal and fair America, where every American has a chance to succeed.

I couldn’t and can’t stand to see people mistreated for the color of their skin, the way they choose to live their life, how much money they have in their pocket, or any other reason.

Strong women have surrounded and shaped me, blessing me with the will to fight for others. My grandmother, after she married a Navy man, brought her six children (including my mother) from Bermuda to Mississippi, to start a new life. She put books in my hands as a kid, and alongside my aunts, made me thoughtful and compassionate. My mother raised me on her own for a while, and I will always appreciate how hard she worked to do that.

When I was a child, my grandmother taught me about civil rights through stories of injustice. One that never left my thoughts is the story of Freedom Summer, where three men who were registering African American voters were brutally murdered while fighting for equality. My grandmother made sure I understood the suffering that people endured.

Since then, I have always stood up for what was right and protected those who needed it. When I was young, that meant standing up to the local schoolyard bully. Today, it means standing up to racism and injustice, for educators and education support staff through my work with the Union and individual advocacy. I couldn’t and can’t stand to see people mistreated for the color of their skin, the way they choose to live their life, how much money they have in their pocket, or any other reason.

Ending the school-to-prison pipeline will boost the economy, decrease violence, and make families whole.

I decided to join the military after high school, to fight for liberty and justice and to do my part in giving back to my country. I spent nearly 12 years in the Air Force as a Boom Operator / Inflight Refueling Specialist, serving four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. There, I saw places that were impoverished and full of human rights violations. It did not fully register then that many of these issues were happening back home in the very same country I was fighting for.

While in the military, I received an A.S. in Technology and Military Service and a B.S. in Clinical Child Psychology. After my honorable separation, I attended law school at Florida Coastal School of Law, earning my J.D. in 2014. I knew that by being a lawyer I could continue to fight for freedom and justice. My heart broke as I saw the unfair reality of our criminal justice system in what’s supposed to be the land of the free.

Until recently, I served as the ACLU Central Florida chapter president. I stepped down in order to announce my candidacy. With the ACLU, I had the opportunity to work with an army of dedicated volunteers fighting for equality, liberty, and justice for the people of Central Florida. Together we have worked to protect immigrants, pursue equal rights for women, and other marginalized groups. This work is often difficult, but I love what I do. I love this country and the incredible people who call America home.

It is clear to me that the school-to-prison pipeline has a stranglehold on our youth and black and brown communities in disproportionate amounts, and this is crippling our nation. Ending the school-to-prison pipeline will  boost the economy, decrease violence, and make families whole. Everyone is affected by the failure of our criminal justice system, and we are all endangered by prisons that educate inmates on criminal behavior. Mass incarceration is a human rights issue that impacts every part of our country.

Our country is breaking its promise to veterans on healthcare, and we must do better.

I will also fight hard for our education system -- from our public schools to our public colleges. This includes students, workers, teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, cafeteria workers, and all. Educators and support staff are overworked and underpaid. Few are properly compensated for the incredible responsibility they carry. Meanwhile, students are losing vital services, and aren’t even learning their basic constitutional freedoms.

As a veteran, I have seen how difficult life after service can be. Our country is breaking its promise to veterans on healthcare, and we must do better. Veterans also face incredible challenges in finding employment. The solutions for our veterans are the solutions we have for all Americans: By fighting for universal healthcare through Medicare for All, investing in medical research, expanding mental health services, training more doctors and building more healthcare facilities, we can ensure all citizens have direct, no-out-of-pocket cost to the services they need. The Brand New Congress plan to invest billions in infrastructure and green energy will create a jobs boom giving veterans options for employment, with free tuition to public colleges and trade schools to build on the skills they gained in their service.

Immigrants in America today live under a cloud of hostility unlike anything we have seen in recent memory. These are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and they have few places to turn for help. I have fought for immigrants’ rights as an advocate. In Congress I will work to secure a path to citizenship for honest, hard-working undocumented immigrants and I will reject any legislation that splits families apart.

The United States was founded on a government that’s by the people, for the people. We have to return to that.

My campaign is built on ensuring a fair, living wage for all workers. If workers are paid fairly, they can spend more time with their families. This has a ripple effect that will bring our next generation less crime, better education, and more stability. I will work with my fellow BNC candidates from both sides of the aisle to raise the federal minimum wage and tie it to inflation, so people working 40 hours a week don’t have to live in poverty.

The United States was founded on a government that’s by the people, for the people. We have to return to that. As your candidate, I will never take corporate cash. I will represent you, not a Board of Directors. This is a campaign of integrity, and with your help, we can win. I am running as part of a team of other candidates from all over the country through Brand New Congress, with the goal of electing real people to Congress who will put our country before their own private coffers.

Vote for me, Chardo Richardson. I am running to be your representative in Florida’s 7th district. I will always serve you, and the American people.

 

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