Who I am
My name is David Liggera. I am a twenty-six-year-old master's degree holder who, until recently, was working as a parcel handler for UPS, and I am running for Congress in Utah's 1st district. I have lived in numerous locations over the course of my life, for a variety of reasons, from New York to Michigan to the United Kingdom to Estonia and locations which lack widespread International recognition. Through it all, I have been blessed and fortunate enough to have the love and support of my family who have been constant sources of support and inspiration for me. Out of all those places I have lived, cultures I have interacted with, and environments I have experienced, none struck me quite as positively as did Utah's. The sheer warmth I encounter on a day-to-day basis from neighbors and strangers, coupled with the rapid growth and objective appeal of growing communities such as Ogden for people outside of Utah, made it utterly irresistible to me as a home and a place I could grow as a person and start a family.
In addition to wanting to continue experiencing the best of what Utah has to offer, I want to continue working to support the activists and organizers that I have been fortunate enough to meet and interact with. The work I have done on projects to help LGBTQI+ persons were pivotal moments for me not only as opportunities use my talents to help those in need, but to start to see the scope necessary for such projects to work and the number of people in and outside of Utah who were willing to help. That is the environment I come from, and I wish only to continue promoting and supporting them to a greater degree than I have in the past, at the very least by using the visibility of my Congressional bid to highlight their amazing work. Working within Utah's 1st district should be positively transformative, elevating those who have been marginalized while ensuring that the uniqueness and positivity of the district remains preserved.
Why I am running
I am running as a progressive Democrat candidate for Congress because I believe that the United States is currently in a precarious and puzzling situation. The Trump administration has their examples of successful policy which are constantly invoked: The stock market is continually growing, unemployment has been decreasing, and we have maintained our considerable standing on the global stage, bringing long-term security and prosperity to us and the rest of the world. On the other hand, even the positive factors which can be cited as examples of America's health do not accurately depict how life has been for the average American. Rather, they emphasize the growing divide not between different partisan groups, but between the wealthiest and the more materially deprived members of the United States, and the impossible and growing burden placed upon our planet.
The stock market's growth and declining unemployment rates cannot only be considered signs of general economic wellbeing in the United States. What it does indicate is the increasing wealth and power of large corporations and monied interests as they consolidate their wealth and power in an increasingly global arena. While success by itself should be praised and supported, this success comes at a substantial cost to the American people, especially with regard to minority populations. Companies enjoying material success celebrate not by trickling down their prosperity, but moving it upward to obscenely wealthy CEO's and business owners while cutting benefits to employees. Work undeniably exists, but positions increasingly do not offer even living wages to workers, keeping them in uncertain and utterly dependent living situations. The result is the creation of an economy that works for very few in favor of propping up those who need it least, increasingly marginalizing the hardest working and most vulnerable in the pursuit of propping up and further enriching the wealthiest among us.
Global security likewise is a critically important concern. Materially speaking, the United States is still the most impressive country on the planet. However, the challenges we are facing and will face cannot be addressed with military might alone. Climate change threatens the prosperity and lives not only of Americans but the global population in its entirety in a plethora of different and developing ways. The operation and existence of the border concentration camps imprisoning families separated from their children, as well as the withholding of critical humanitarian funds from disaster-stricken Puerto Rico and bans targeted at visitors from Muslim-majority countries, highlights the current strategic thinking of the Trump administration, to continue unleashing atrocities against vulnerable economic and minority populations. These contemporary actions emphasize the existence of a bloated and uncontrollable Federal government with the capabilities and potential will to strike at all Americans in the face of unrest, dissent, or challenge to entrenched monied interests, a threat which jeopardizes the safety of Americans and the rest of the world alike. Coupled with the growing threat of climate change, and the risks facing all of us cannot look anything less than dire and deserving of immediate and effective action.
While the Trump administration merits special mention, it would be erroneous to claim that the broad powers afforded to the Federal government and the environment in which they operate came into being only because of them. At a foundational level, structural inequalities perpetuated throughout generations of government action and inaction continue to affect and harm millions of Americans. The progressive movement championed by politicians in Congress and the Senate has been inspirational, highlighting the possibility of bringing about positive change without being beholden to or reliant upon monetary support from enormous financial interests. Even this singular change in how campaigns are run has an enormous impact. By limiting the oversized influence that special interest groups and the wealthiest parties in the United States have, progressive candidates ensure that the policies they craft and support are done with the goal of supporting their constituents and the American public, rather than those interests, or interests dictated or strongly suggested by a political establishment.
Additionally, and while this may be a perspective that not everybody will agree with me on, progressivism is fantastic at cutting above partisan division. President Trump's promises to "drain the swamp", limit the influence of monied interests over the executive branch, and to provide assistance to those affected by the student loan crisis are all things that I would support anybody's pursuing, regardless of party affiliation. Running as a progressive will have two direct and immediate implications for how I run my campaign. The first is that I will not look for donations from special interest groups unless there is significant overlap between their goals and mine and I am able to explain my accepting their donation beyond simple financial interests. The second is that I am running as a Democrat, not because I feel any special kinship to the Democrats (I was a registered Republican for years) but because the Democrat party has an open primary in Utah. Having the opportunity to appeal to all registered and potential voters in Utah's 1st district, regardless of affiliation, is a truly wonderful opportunity, and I truly believe that it will take all of us working together to ensure that the wealthiest among us do not curtail our abilities to enjoy the privileges, liberties, and inalienable rights afforded to us by the greatest country on Earth.