Andrea L. Kirby: Candidate Statement

Andrea L. Kirby

I am the Candidate of the Working Class Party for the 9th Congressional District.

I am a Black worker, wife and mother of two teenagers. I was born and raised in Queens, New York, to a single mother, her only child. I have lived in Michigan for almost 22 years, working at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for most of those years. At BCBSM, I have been active in the union, in different roles, but always fighting alongside other workers to protect our rights and I have worked to promote political awareness.

When I became a mother, my children became my priority. I wanted to give them the best that I could in order to give them the best start to their adult lives. I wanted to make sure that they were able to contribute to society. But what we found is a school system run by billionaires that is allowing our children to graduate ill-equipped for the future. Those that have a chance to go beyond high school are racking up so much debt that it takes almost a lifetime of work to pay it all back.

As an only child, I stood with my mother as she battled and succumbed to cancer. My mother was a nurse for over 35 years, but at the time of her diagnosis, she didn't have health care coverage, nor could she afford it. Years of paying back past school debt, she was unable to save for an unexpected future. She cared for so many, but when she got sick, we had to fight for health insurance and unnecessary amounts of paperwork needed to keep public assistance. As I looked around the waiting rooms, I saw that I was not the only one. Many of us have to care for family members, at the same time trying to maintain a steady income. Tackling the stress of trying to balance work, family and keeping yourself sane every day while the money we created with our work is being siphoned off to the banks and the corporations. This is the money that is necessary to fund the programs the working class needs.

We are living in unprecedented times with the COVID-19 virus but also with the enormous amount of racial tension fueled behind the horrendous attacks on Blacks by the police. This racial tension is one that enters each Black household, mine is no exception -- tension that is fueled by the rhetoric in Washington. These feelings are very familiar to those in Black communities, but are recently recognized by others around the world. Our grandparents had marched and died for the right to be treated equal and our children are fighting and dying in the same fight.

We hear every day that someone is in Lansing or Washington fighting on our behalf for better infrastructure, racial equality, schools, health care, jobs and housing, etc. but nothing is changing for the better. The Democrats and the Republicans debate the issues but little or no change ever happens. I am running for Congress because I realize that someone from the working class needs to speak to the issues of the working class. I understand that putting one person in office will not make the needed changes happen. Each and everyone of us needs to take an active part in making the change happen. Only when the forces of the working class are mobilized to fight for what we need will change come.

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