On November 3rd, I spoke with Marge Doyle, who is running for Congress in California’s eighth district. A transcript of our conversation is below.

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—Maciej Ceglowski

An Interview With Marge Doyle, Candidate For Congress in CA-08

Can you describe your district for people who have never been to this part of the state?

It is the largest district in California, it encompasses most of the largest county in California —San Bernardino—as well as Inyo and Mono counties. So it goes from the Joshua Tree National Park on the southern end to Mammoth Mountain on the northern end. In between, we have vast complexes of gorgeous, pristine, beautiful monuments, parks and preserves, many of which are under threat with the current Administration, as well as our current representative [Paul Cook]. He has supported mining in these preserves and monuments, and he also has flipped on the issue of Cadiz.

Cadiz is in the middle of the Mojave Trails National Monument. This is an untouched, pristine bit of desert that is like no other, and cannot be replicated. Their plan is to pull thousands and thousands of gallons of water out of that portion of the desert, and send it to Orange County, which is right next to the Pacific Ocean. In doing so, they will destroy that monument.

I am wholeheartedly against that for many reasons — first, it’s simply too beautiful to destroy.

Secondly, and most importantly for our district, when you destroy the environment that creates tourism, you destroy the jobs that are associated with it. So for our people in this area it is absolutely critical that we not allow Cadiz, Inc. to deplete the water in Cadiz and thus affect things downstream that would for certain affect both the Mojave Trails National Monument and Joshua Tree National Park.

There’s a wide variety of folks in the district. We are mountains and desert. People are party and independent. In some respects, this is the last bastion of the Wild West, and people appreciate their privacy and their solitude. All of that’s very important to folks. It varies place to place. Places like Victorville and Hesperia and Apple Valley are in a little different situation; they’re a growing community and they need resources.

There’s large amounts of poverty here, few jobs and job opportunities, education—for the most part, all we have is up to community college, and not a four year college. I’d like to get that changed, particularly in the Victorville area. But people understand that we are the protectors of our land. Most folks take precautions to do things that are protective of this vast and beautiful land.

What was the moment that made you decide that something had to change, and that you needed to run for Congress?

After the November election, I realized that health care would be under threat. As a nurse since I was 22 years old, and working within health care and health care leadership, I thought there was an opportunity for me to work with my representative, and maybe make a change to help the ACA work better. So I prepared a plan that spoke to that, and made an appointment with our representative, and gave him that plan.

It wasn’t just a plan to fix the parts that are problematic, but it was also a plan of how to pay for that. It wasn’t willy-nilly, pie in the sky; I have almost 40 years of healthcare management experience. I kind of know this stuff.

So you wrote “Margecare”!

Exactly! I wrote ways to fix our current system, because it needs to be fixed. And I gave it to him. I met with him, I showed him what I suggested, he nodded and sent me on my way. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get any buy-in, but the night before the bill was supposed to go to Congress, his staff called me and asked me to analyze the bill. I thought, “Wow, maybe that really did do some good.”

So I analyzed the bill point by point by point. This was prior to the CBO analysis, and the conclusion was that it didn’t cover more people, and didn’t save any money. And therefore I recommended that he vote “no”.

He voted “yes”.

I saw him in the area a few weeks later, and I said, “you know, I’m still mad at you about your vote.” And he said “it doesn’t matter. The Senate will fix it.”

It was at that point that I realized, if he doesn’t think that his vote matters, he must be replaced. Because his vote would have taken away health care for a hundred thousand people in this district. And that matters. That matters a lot.

I was supporting my friend and her candidacy to replace him, because I knew she supported the kinds of things I was talking about, and she dropped out for family reasons. I couldn’t just let him have this district. I couldn’t let him not care about the hundred thousand people whose lives would be at risk. I couldn’t let him, who flip-flopped on Cadiz, take Cadiz and ruin our desert. I just couldn’t do it.

So that’s why I’m running.

This is a challenging district for a Democrat. It’s not on the Democratic establishment’s list of “flippables” in California. What’s your plan for crushing Paul Cook like a bug?

We are outnumbered as Democrats. The key here is several fold:

The first one is, we’re registering people like crazy. We have a whole coalition of people across the huge district who are individually going to high schools, colleges, courthouses, etc. who are registering people every day. We do need to make that a huge priority. There’s even a button on my website that says ‘register to vote’, just in case you’re not registered, or in case you’ve moved, or gotten married, or changed your name or something. That’s a big push.

Second, we want to motivate the folks who normally only vote in the Presidential elections to vote this time. And we have some help in the things that are going on nationally. People are a bit aghast at some of the things that are being destroyed, and some of the things that are being put forward, and I think that will help. We also have a very robust phone banking system to try to motivate those folks.

Finally, our campaign seems to be appealing to Republican women. If we can just get 20% of Republican women to say it’s time for a change, we will win.

What can tech people up in the Bay Area and elsewhere do to help you and your campaign?

Primarily what we need now is money. That’s kind of an unfortunate reality of politics these days. The incumbent has $800,000 in his coffers, and at the moment I have $15,000. We need cash to be able to be competitive in this district.

I will work as hard as I possibly can to get the word out, get my name out, and get our vision for this area out.

What will be your priority on day one after you’re elected?

Serving this community in a way that will improve our infrastructure, and thus improve the jobs overall that run on tourism. We’ve got four pegs to our jobs situation:

We have a huge military presence here—that needs to be supported in a way that makes sense and protects our service members.

We have education, we need to support that, not tear it down. Not send kids to schools that are not part of our public school system.

The third one is health care, which we’ve talked about. We need to shore that up. Eventually we need to head in a direction of universal coverage. I don’t want to abandon those hundred thousand, nor do I want to abandon the rest of the folks who are not covered. And we can do it in a fiscally responsible way. I know we can. I have issues and data I can show you, which I won’t belabor at the moment.

Finally, the infrastructure for the jobs that create the tourism here, and take care of our lands and our monuments and our parks.

I understand there’s a potential for raising fees on our natural parks astronomically, three times over. We need to look at different ways to do that, because that will greatly impact our economy here and depress jobs in our economy. We need to take care of folks.

For the Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley areas, we need to look at ways to pull in a four-year college, and a trauma center. Maybe we do that as a satellite first, from one of the main UC’s. But we need to move that bar.


Please join me in supporting Marge Doyle's candidacy! Tech Solidarity is working to raise $100,000 for Marge Doyle by year's end. Any donation, no matter how small, will help! A maximum donation—$2,700—will go incredibly far in this campaign.

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