By Marty Gordon
Cameron Dickerson says his announcement for the Ninth Congressional seat almost didn’t happen after officials from the Montgomery County Democratic Party told him he could not attend their meeting last week. So, instead he attended the Floyd County Democratic Christmas Party event and spoke with their local leaders.
“The Ninth is about the same size as New Jersey, it’s big. I’ve got to provide leadership that hasn’t been here in a decade. We talked shop for a couple of hours, and I met some high- quality people who seemed ready to get to work,” he said.
The Christiansburg native compares his launch to the first college football game he coached in Greeneville, Tenn., at Tusculum College.
“The game started off a little rocky, but we found our rhythm and won in the end just like the campaign announcement. Politics is a lot like college football; you’ve got to roll with the punches, make adjustments and work your strategy,” Dickerson said.
There have been some questions on whether he is running as a Democrat or as an Independent. Dickerson was quick to point out he is not beholden to the Montgomery County Democrats personally.
“My campaign committee Dickerson District 9 is registered to the Democratic Party with the FEC, but I’m like Senator (Bernie) Sanders as an independent,” Dickerson said. “Sanders has his campaign committee registered to the Democratic Party. That’s the only way you get approved to use ActBlue, the Democratic online contribution system.
“I’m actually pretty moderate in comparison to most progressives,” Dickerson said. “I call myself a Conservative Progressive, which is an oxymoron. I’m an ‘Old School Republican.’ Think Teddy Roosevelt. If you remember, the parties switched platforms at the turn of the 20th century so what was a Republican, then is actually a Democrat in today’s political world.”
One on one questions and answers with Dickerson:
Question: Honestly, do you find yourself to be more of an Independent or a Democrat?
Answer: When I was at Christiansburg High, I hung around all the Young Republicans and was Mr. CHS Youth & Government. One of the cornerstones of my campaign is to understand the working man’s perspective and show that you can be a conservative but progressive at the same time. Politics in this country is divided to the point of extremism, and I’m working to provide that middle ground that people so desperately want. When it comes down to it, the majority of people are moderates and believe in compromise.
Question: What is the purpose of the National Progressive Party that you have formed here locally?
Answer: The Progressive National Committee has been tackling political corruption hard since May of this year. I’ve been providing information to the FBI about some disturbing and disgusting practices right here in Montgomery County. I really can’t say more because they’re active investigations. Our committee provides a platform to promote unity and create that middle ground for conservatives, progressives, independents and liberals. Because we’re a Federal PAC and based in Southwest Virginia, I can push District 9 values nationwide even before the November 2020 election. It gives our district a unique leadership voice on the national level while representing everyone regardless of what party you vote. In Q2 of 2020 we’re launching our “Progress Together” marketing campaign, and Southwest Virginia will definitely be in the national spotlight.
Question: Why are you running?
Answer: To provide leadership and vision that has been missing from the district for a decade.
Question: What is going to be the key to get the Ninth back to Democrats?
Answer: Getting people out to vote. Showing that strong leadership in District 9 isn’t about being a Democrat or a Republican but is about the type of person you have as your congressional representative. Character, Morals, Values, Ethics. Does the person you vote in have the drive, fortitude and vision to see things through? I’m battle tested in that regard.
Question: What is the big difference in you versus any other candidate?
Answer: I’ve worked international diplomatic relations for the past few years. My mentality is shaped toward world diplomacy, so using that knowledge betters my ability to provide leadership for District 9. In 2004 the Minister of Finance of Mongolia attended my Eagle Scout project ribbon-cutting ceremony in Pulaski County. Her son is a friend of mine and helped me on the project. I guess you could say I’ve had a diplomatic demeanor since I was a teenager.
Question: What are your feelings about President Trump and all the impeachment talk?
Answer: Ah, the impeachment. Let me explain what’s happening from an intelligence analysts’ perspective. You’re witnessing the very thing that makes our democracy so great: checks and balances. All of this stems from the use of the Unitary Executive Theory from Article II of the Constitution. The theory states that a President has total control of the Executive branch and its policy making. The wording of Article II allows lawyers and legal scholars to interpret the phrasing in different ways, much like the USA Patriot Act, based on situations that arise in the country and the world. Republicans typically use the theory to play to a power stance and Democrats take a more moderate approach in its use. The theory is basically interpreted as the President can do nothing illegal because he is the President. President Trump uses it more than any other President in history because of his unique style. Because we have a Democratic controlled House, they are approaching the theory’s use from the moderate perspective vs. Republicans’ power one. It will be intriguing to see how this impeachment plays out in a Republican controlled Senate.