The Musician Politician

Guest Commentary

Volume CVI, No. 6June, 2006

John Hall

Why, people ask, would a successful guitarist, singer, songwriter and Local 802 member want to be in Congress, let alone go through a grueling campaign? The answer is that I care about my country, my home and the future we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

The Bush administration, abetted by Republican majorities in both the Senate and House, has made America less secure.

A pre-emptive war in Iraq based on false information has taken the lives of thousands of our soldiers, cost us hundreds of billions of dollars, and hurt our image around the world.

A healthcare system in crisis is getting worse, as the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies buy votes in Congress for the status quo.

The energy policy created by Vice President Cheney behind closed doors – with representatives of the oil and utility industry included but consumer and environmental groups excluded – has given us skyrocketing gas prices and increasing dependence on foreign and polluting energy sources.

Public education is under increasing strain, the federal courts are being shifted further to the right, privacy and choice are under attack, and New Orleans is still reeling from the incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina.

The solutions are available now and we need a Congress that will vote for them:

  • A Marshall Plan for energy independence, focusing on solar, wind, biofuels, tidal and small hydro sites, and conservation.
  • Full funding of public education, including music and art programs, and increased student loans to make college available to all.
  • Single-payer health care, with a government willing to negotiate the best prices for prescription drugs.
  • Peace and diplomacy as our tactic of choice in international affairs.
  • A corporate pledge of allegiance requiring some loyalty to American workers in order for companies to receive government contracts.
  • A rollback of the tax cuts for those earning over a million a year.
  • Campaign finance reform, and a voting system people trust.

I will also call for an end to the consolidation of the radio industry and advocate a broadcast royalty for performers like that which exists for writers.

Workers’ rights to organize and bargain should be protected. The creative community’s contribution to our nation’s balance of trade should be recognized and nurtured, since American music and film have long been popular around the world.

National security cannot just be measured by military strength; it must also be judged by job security, pension security, health security, environmental security and trust in our elected and appointed officials.

With your help, I will fight for real security, checks and balances, and common sense solutions to our problems.

I am a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, a former school board president and county legislator and an award-winning songwriter.

Please support me with a contribution and by spreading the word to your friends. Together, we can take the 19th district and rock the House in November.

For more details, please visit

John Hall, a member of Local 802, is campaigning to represent the 19th district in the U.S. House. The 19th district includes all of Putnam County, most of Orange County, southern Dutchess County, northern Westchester County and northern Rockland County. The primary election is Sept. 12; the general election is Nov. 7. To register or to find our your poll site, call (866) VOTE-NYC.