Ypsi Votes is a new series from the Eastern Echo featuring candidates up and down the ballot in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. Get accessible and in-depth information on the candidates on your ballot. Note: The Echo does not endorse any candidate for any office.
This is the first of two articles featuring the candidates for Michigan’s 12th Congressional District. Check back later in the week for a feature article on Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.
Solomon Rajput is a 28-year-old medical student and self-described progressive seeking to unseat Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in the Democratic Primary for Michigan’s 12th Congressional District.
Rajput’s campaign is taking a unique approach to running a political campaign, which he says is essential to running against Dingell, whose family has controlled the congressional seat for 87 years starting with Dingell’s father-in-law in 1933.
In the face of a massive fundraising gap between Dingell and Rajput, with Dingell’s campaign raising over $1.1 million this cycle compared to Rajput’s $116,000, the Rajput campaign has an “army of young people” both running and volunteering for the campaign to generate high enthusiasm in young voters.
He believes that one-on-one engagement with voters is a much more powerful campaigning tool than something like buying advertisements, so that is how he has focused on campaigning.
At 28 years old, Rajput is actually one of the oldest people on the campaign.
“Our campaign is exclusively and entirely run by young people . . . we have so many high school students on our campaign, so many college students on our campaign . . . the person that ran our Twitter was literally a 15-year-old sophomore in high school.” Rajput said.
“We have an unbelievably amazing, brilliant, talented, competent team, but they also are an exceptionally young team. It's a really fun and awesome campaign to be a part of,“ he added.
One of Rajput’s primary campaign issues is climate change, on which he strongly supports enacting a “Green New Deal”. The policies he is advocating for have the goal of switching to 100% renewable energy sources for transportation and electricity by 2030, and complete decarbonization of the economy by 2050.
Rajput’s environmental and economic policies are intertwined, which is a main pillar of most Green New Deal proposals. For example, Rajput is calling for:
- Investing $85.6 billion in electric vehicle charging station infrastructure
- Invest $600 billion in a public high-speed rail system
- Providing over $2 trillion in grants to help "low and moderate-income families and small businesses" trade in old vehicles for fully electric alternatives
- Invest $172 billion over 10 years to retrofit public housing to be energy efficient and powered by renewable energy sources
- Provide $407 billion in grants to school districts to help them transition to fully electric vehicles
Many different versions of a Green New Deal have been proposed by activist groups and politicians, but Rajput says his plan is inspired by the one introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He says his plans would create over 20 million jobs in the green energy industry.
If elected, he says signing onto a Green New Deal will be one of his first priorities in office.
Rajput is also running on Medicare-for-all, also a key campaign issue for many progressive Democratic candidates around the country.
If elected, he is pledging to cosponsor a version of H.R. 1384, the current Medicare-for-all bill introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill would create a single-payer healthcare system accessible to every American, including dental, vision, and mental health services. Progressive Democrats tout that the plan would save the country $2 trillion over 10 years compared to our current healthcare system.
Under the plan, co-pays, deductibles, and premiums would be eliminated from the U.S. healthcare system.
Believing that “money is the root of all evil in politics,“ Rajput’s campaign has refused to take donations from corporate political action committees, or PACs.
Rajput supports other progressive policies touted by figures like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, including tuition-free college and the cancellation of student loan debt, a complete ban on assault rifles, and the implementation of a buyback program, and an overhaul of affordable housing in the country. To see Rajput’s full campaign platform, please visit his website.