By Roberta Russell .
My cousin, Dean Phillips, is running for president. When I first saw him on Real Time with Bill Maher, linked here , I was refreshingly impressed with his vigor, authenticity, high-minded values, and quick wit. But I did not know he was my cousin until another mutual relative told me.
Third-time Congressman Dean Phillips, Roberta Russell, and Lexie.
Photo by Elizabeth Martinez.
Dean was three years old when my distant cousin Eddy Phillips married Dean’s widowed mother DeeDee in 1972. Dean never met his father, Artie Pfefer, who was killed in the Vietnam War when Dean was only six months old. Dean’s adoptive father encouraged him to meet his family of origin. Eventually, Dean also visited the location in Vietnam where his father died, and heard a moving taped message from him that DeeDee had saved.
Eddy Phillips brought Dean into an extraordinary family. “The lessons I learned from my adoptive family were profound,” he said.
“Money is like manure. If you stack it up it stinks, and if you spread it out it fertilizes. That’s probably the family ethos that we practice in business and philanthropy, and I now practice in government.”
As a youth, Dean was imbued with the philosophy of Tikkun Olam. This Jewish concept, defined by acts of kindness to repair the world, puts forth that each person has a responsibility to work toward the betterment of their own existence and the world around them.
Dean believes that to be heard, whether in a relationship that is political or personal, is empowering, and is the easiest, most successful, and least expensive strategy he has ever discovered.
His track record of crossing the line to hear people in the opposing party in Congress is the hallmark in his career. It is what’s so sadly missing in Washington, where the political world breeds competition and animosity. In the business world, people must work together.
“So, the ethos that I would bring to the White House is one of unity, of competency, but most of all, of celebrating difference… I am focused on surrounding myself with people of different opinions and perspective.”
According to Phillips, the Democratic Party is now suppressing voters, candidates, and debate. The Democratic National Committee just sent a letter to the State Democratic Party in New Hampshire, stating that their primary does not count. At the same time, the Biden campaign has a super Pac in New Hampshire, where a write-in campaign for him has been initiated. “They have a party that is literally speaking out of both sides of its mouth… This is the hypocrisy of democracy. No one is calling attention to it. I tell the truth,” Phillips noted.
For 103 years New Hampshire has been the first state in the nation to hold a primary. Now, the Democratic Party is trying to change that. Why? Because Joe Biden got only eight percent of the votes there in 2020, and they want him to start with South Carolina—a state where it is believed he will do better. Dean Phillips thinks that is wrong. He believes that the Granite State will be the determinant of the whole primary.
If Dean gets into the 25 percent range in the New Hampshire primary, it will show the country that this is a real race and that Joe Biden is most likely an unelectable candidate against Donald Trump. “This might be the spark that would at least give voters a chance to know me before they make a decision,” explained Dean. And he questions, “Why would we Democrats sleepwalk into a preventable disaster by coronating a candidate who is likely to lose?”
More voters should get out and vote in primaries.
Roberta Russell is the founder of the World-Wide Calorie & Exercise Logging Group (www.permanentweightloss.org). She is the author of Report on Permanent Weight Loss, RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love, and Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony.
©Roberta Russell, January 10, 2024, NYC