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Jacobin - January 18, 2022

Since Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential run democratic socialists have seen tremendous gains in the electoral terrain at a local, state, and national level. Chicago elected six socialist aldermen in 2019, New York now has elected six socialist representatives in the state legislature, and four US Congress members belong to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Jessica Mason, running in Texas’s thirtieth congressional district, is trying to become the fifth.

Growing up in the Hamilton Village apartments in South Dallas, Mason’s family struggled to keep the lights on and eventually faced eviction, forcing her to move in with distant relatives as she finished school. She says she saw firsthand how economic security leads to instability — including a lack of access to affordable health care, good schooling, and secure housing.

Mason is a Navy veteran, housing activist, and democratic socialist running for congress in one of the bluest districts in the country. She sat down with Jacobin contributor Peter Lucas to discuss her insurgent campaign in a district that’s been dominated by the establishment.

Peter Lucas - What inspired you to run for Congress?

I know that my district deserves better. I grew up here experiencing poverty, food and housing insecurity, and the nightmare that is this country’s medical system since the age of seven. My community was set up to fail by design. When you have someone in office that has had the privilege to not have to campaign, to not have to see her neighbor suffer, it builds an enormous gap between our elected officials and the reality that the people in our community are facing. I am running because my story is the story of so many children and people in Texas-30. And that’s the cycle that I’m trying to break.

Jessica Mason - I know that my district deserves better. I grew up here experiencing poverty, food and housing insecurity, and the nightmare that is this country’s medical system since the age of seven. My community was set up to fail by design. When you have someone in office that has had the privilege to not have to campaign, to not have to see her neighbor suffer, it builds an enormous gap between our elected officials and the reality that the people in our community are facing. I am running because my story is the story of so many children and people in Texas-30. And that’s the cycle that I’m trying to break. ...
Read full interview at Jacobin