Declared 2016 



Entrepreneur


Jeremiah Pent was born in Arlington, Texas, and raised in Fort Worth. After graduating from high school and marriage, he and his family moved several times around the country, and currently reside in Pennsylvania. He briefly studied at Texas Christian University, but would eventually earn his Masters Degree (in Divinity) from the Westminster Theological Seminary. Professionally, he is an entrepreneur, having founded and run several businesses in a number of industries including agriculture and toy manufacturing.

Pent speaks in broad terms of the need to address the social and economic issues facing the US. He believes the biggest problem currently plaguing the nation is its own lack of unity, and that all other challenges can more easily be overcome if the divisions between religious and ethnic groups can be ameliorated. Other than admitting that this will be a difficult (but achievable) task, however, he offers few specifics on how it might be accomplished. Economically, he favors a balanced budget, advocating the maintenance of a federal government that operates within its means just as, he says, average American families must do. He believes this goal can be reached through middle class tax cuts and a careful restructuring and streamlining of the government's operations.

Pent is particularly preoccupied with the American educational system and its importance to the nation's children, and speaks at length of ensuring that schools are staffed by competent teachers able to properly guide and instruct their students. Once again, however, he is sparse on describing any specific changes which he feels should be made to or by the schools.

An independent candidate, Pent worries over the stark dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats, and claims that these two parties collectively represent only about a third of the American population. He points out the fact that George Washington, the nation's first President, was himself an independent, and that many Presidents immediately following him also did not formally belong to any political party. Concerned about the influence wielded over politicians by wealthy donors, Pent has pledged to accept campaign contributions only from individuals, not rich supporters who act through Political Action Committees and super PACs.

Due to Pent's reluctance to discuss his specific policy ideas, it is difficult to evaluate which voting demographics would be most likely to support and oppose him.
 
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2016 



Humans Right Activist


Ajamu Baraka is an internationally well-regarded human rights activist and a far-left social justice advocate with experience stretching over three decades. He first came into international attention in 1998 after being invited by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Paris to attend an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Domestically, Mr. Baraka played a role in initial establishment of the Southern Human Rights Organizers’ conferences (SHROC) in 1996. SHROC provides a platform for human rights advocates and organizers to discuss strategies and issues involving human rights initiatives in the Deep South, as well as training grassroots activists.

In 1998, Mr. Baraka was appointed Amnesty International’s Southern Regional Director, which allowed him to play an important role in exposing human rights violations in the country. He also served as acting director of Amnesty International USA's National Program to Abolish the Death Penalty. He was subsequently named the 2001 Abolitionist of the Year, conferred by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, in recognition of his service toward the abolishment of capital punishment in the United States.

Between 2004 and 2011, Mr. Baraka served as the Founding Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), the first U.S. domestic human rights organization to use and apply international human rights standards to the country. During his tenure, USHRN’s core base of human rights-related organizations grew five-fold from 60 to over 300.

Since then, Mr. Baraka has been involved with numerous domestic and international human rights organizations such as Black Left Unity Network, National Center for Human Rights Education, Center for Constitutional Rights, Latin American Caribbean Community Center, Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights and Diaspora Afrique. He is presently an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch magazine and several other digital publications.

Mr. Baraka is a fierce opponent of capital punishment. He argues that it is a “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of inmates, regardless of their guilt or innocence, and advocates the abolition of the death penalty.

Mr. Baraka also believes that the United States is a “capitalist-imperialist settler state” and a “corrupt, degenerate, white supremacist monstrosity,” and that there are efforts by the government to “brainwash black people.” He considers President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, among others, as “living embodiments of the partial success” of the country’s “attempt to colonize the consciousness of Africans/black people.”
 
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