My name is Monica DePaul, and I am running for the position of pledged delegate for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Committee’s convention this summer. I am asking you to join me at the IBEW Local 177 union hall on Saturday, May 7 to caucus for me in this great opportunity to represent Jacksonville as part of Senator Bernie Sanders’ bid for president of the United States.

Who am I? I am an adjunct professor at the University of North Florida who teaches freshman-level English courses. I impart the necessary skills of critical reading and writing to the next generation of working professionals who aspire to enter a very wide variety of fields. I have spent my entire journey through higher education in Jacksonville, having started at UNF as a freshman in 2005, earning my bachelor of arts in English and Philosophy in April of 2009 and my master of arts in English in December of 2011. I have taught classes since January of 2012.

As an adjunct, I advocate for reforms within the system of higher education. This past fall, I helped to organize a Jacksonville Fight for 15 rally and spoke out on behalf of Faculty Forward Network, an organization advocating for fair pay for college professors and fair tuition for college students. Both faculty and students have been dealt grave economic injustices thanks groups advocating for a corporatized model of higher education, including conservative legislators, rich business donors who care only for their own interests, and increasingly bureaucratic college administrations, leaving education by the wayside. Bernie Sanders is fighting for free undergraduate college tuition for all students and fair pay for all workers. Proper funding of education and fair pay for all are essential to an informed and civically engaged population, and I wish to help Senator Sanders on Jacksonville’s behalf.

Working with Equality Florida and the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, I spoke up in the fight for the Jacksonville City Council to pass an LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance. As a transgender woman, I need to set the record straight on what gender identity really means. Too many Republicans, spurred by fear rhetoric from vicious hate groups from around the nation, conflate trans women with male rapists and pedophiles. I witnessed conservatives spewing outright horrid lies and hate speech at the City Council meetings hoping to drown out the true stories of Jacksonville’s transgender population and spread widely debunked fears about attacks in bathrooms. We are not perverts; we are hardworking citizens trying to live out lives as our genuine selves without fear of violence or discrimination. This slander is partially why the HRO has been placed on hiatus. Transgender representation is of the utmost importance since the recent passage of HB2 in North Carolina has set a national precedent for institutionalized bigotry against an already marginalized population. Bernie Sanders has been a champion for LGBT equality throughout his career and advocates passing equality policies at a national level. I hope to support him as an out and proud representative of Jacksonville’s transgender community.

I am also local author of young adult paranormal satire stories. I was one of the authors featured at the recent Jax by Jax literary expo in Riverside. I encourage my readers to take initiative and fight for what they know is right, and I do that through stories of vampires and other demons that take place right here in Florida.

Regarding my stance on the environment, Jacksonville has poor water quality compared to many areas of the country. This is unacceptable. As the crisis in Flint, MI, has made painfully clear, rich business interests cannot be trusted to keep air and water clean. Bernie Sanders accepts the views of the majority of scientists that climate change is real and is a major threat to national health and security. I agree with him and hope to see better regulation of polluters around the country, especially here in Jacksonville.

Lastly, contrary to popular belief among politicians, Bernie Sanders accepts that universal healthcare is not only possible but essential. For too long, private insurance companies have had free reign over who is allowed to live and die, all to maintain their profits. As an adjunct professor with no benefits but plenty of reasons to seek out healthcare, I know what being uninsured is like, having experienced it in the recent past, and it is a dangerous, expensive, unaffordable condition. While the Affordable Care Act has helped me, it has hurt many others. Only a single-payer system like Senator Sanders’ that bypasses corporate insurance middlemen and stingy employers can truly help reduce the costs of healthcare.

The time has come to end the dominance of the powerful in the American government. While workers live in poverty, the privileged wealthy get welfare in the form of massive tax breaks. Alongside Bernie Sanders, I fight for you, not the wealthy.

Thank you for coming out and supporting me in this opportunity. I would be honored to represent Senator Sanders on behalf of District 4, and I need your help.

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