I'M BENNETT REA, HERE TO REPRESENT CLAREMONT
WHERE I COME FROM
I grew up and came of age in financial instability -- when I was a child, my parents experienced bankruptcy and foreclosure, forcing us to move into my grandmother's house, where I shared a room with my sisters and slept on a wooden board. I took on student debt and graduated college at the height of the Great Recession in 2010. Since then, I have had a diverse career experience, ranging from running a wildly successful event space to bartending, and now, I'm a stay-at-home parent to my infant daughter.
In college, I was a Politics major and a campus captain to register voters for Barack Obama, and for 12 years since, I have volunteered with numerous progressive organizations, including Black Lives Matter, LA Food Policy Council and Planned Parenthood. Over the years, I have planned and executed fundraisers for nonprofits whose focus was food justice, eliminating the racial wealth gap, and providing environmental education to underserved children. In my events career, I managed diverse groups of staff, oversaw a $10 million small business, and fostered partnerships with countywide groups such as LA Magazine, City Plants and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. Plus, most recently, I've been a part-time bartender, so I know how to listen to people. I have also learned a great deal from my wonderful wife, who works as a senior fundraiser at an environmental nonprofit, and to whom I owe immense gratitude.
Before this new economic crisis caused by COVID-19, I was just beginning to work two part-time jobs in order to fill out the needs of our family. Now, we are a single-income household making enough to get by, anxious about our financial future, like so many other people we know. I say all of this openly because we as a society don't talk about financial hardship freely, and I don't see people from my economic circumstances in public office. That is a large reason why I am running for Claremont City Council District 5 -- to bring economic diversity to our council and lead from a place of compassion, empathy and personal experience.
WHAT I STAND FOR
As a Claremont City Council member, I will bring progressive values to what I believe is a deep well of potential. I will be boldly transparent and honest, humble, and empathetic to each and every resident I am fortunate enough to represent.
I will not hide from my values -- I believe in racial justice, economic equity, sustainability and defunding the police. I believe that everyone has a right to their speech, their dignity and to be heard and understood. I believe that we can preserve what makes Claremont unique while building a striking, new vision for the future.
Claremont can take the lead on community safety by defunding the police and reinvesting in a care economy instead of defunding the arts and human services. Claremont can take the lead on COVID crisis response by crafting policy that meets the needs of this unique moment. Claremont can take the lead on income inequities by building affordable housing, creating more programs for low-income families and individuals, and decriminalizing poverty.
I'm building a broad coalition of voters and residents that believe that you are a Claremonter no matter your status. You're a Claremonter regardless of your race, your sexual orientation, your income level, your age, your gender identity, your political affiliation or whether you rent or own. We all have a stake in the future of our city, we all belong here, we all must have a voice here.