Sam Riddle runs for Congress to tackle poverty by taxing ‘the rich bastards’

The longtime political consultant and human rights advocate is among 14 Democrats vying for Michigan’s newly drawn 13th district

click to enlarge Political consultant Sam Riddle turns in his signatures to run for U.S. Congress. - Sam Riddle
Sam Riddle
Political consultant Sam Riddle turns in his signatures to run for U.S. Congress.

Sam Riddle, a longtime political consultant and human rights activist, joined a crowded field of Democrats running for Congress in Michigan's newly drawn 13th congressional district.

In an interview with Metro Times, Riddle laid out a progressive platform to attack poverty and institutional racism, protect the environment, increase social security payments, forgive student loans, provide universal basic income, and defend the right to abortion.

The theme of his campaign is “jobs, justice, and peace,” Riddle says.

“How are we going to pay for this? We tax the rich bastards, the oil companies and pharmaceutical companies,” he says. “That’s how we begin to lay the foundation to pay for everything I’m talking about.”

Riddle, an Army veteran, said the U.S. spends too much money on wars and believes much of that money should be spent on working families and lower-income people.

Riddle is among 14 Democrats vying for the seat the covers much of Detroit, Hamtramck, the Grosse Pointes, and northern downriver communities. U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, currently holds the seat but is running in the newly drawn 12th District.

Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Waters has endorsed Riddle.

"I know Sam Riddle. Sam is the only one I trust to fight for us in Congress," Waters said in a statement. "Sam is the Democrat for us."

Of the candidates running, Riddle said he’s the most similar to John Conyers Jr., who held the seat from 1965 to 2017. Riddle worked with Conyers beginning in the 1980s.

“To me, it was critical that we have someone who represents the ideological bent of Congressman John Conyers, and when I look at this field, I see people who represent the ideological bent of the mayor of Detroit more than Conyers,” Riddle said.

Other big names in the race are Conyers’ son John Conyers III, former Detroit City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, state Rep. Shri Thanedar, Detroit schools board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, state Sen. Adam Hollier and Focus:Hope CEO Portia Roberson.

According to a survey released Sunday, McPhail was leading the pack with 20% of the vote, followed by Conyers with 15% and Thanedar with 12%.

Riddle, who was sentenced to 37 months in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to bribery, said he’s not worried about his past conviction.

“I paid for that dearly,” Riddle said. “I took full responsibility. It was piss-poor judgment. I will never repeat the same stupid-ass mistakes again.”

He added, “We are the cumulative total of life choices. I don’t run from it. It made me a stronger, better person to serve and avoid these pitfalls.”

Riddle is the political director of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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