My Home Town

Here is just one of the reasons why I am running for Congress with more reasons and plans to follow.

Recently I read a national news story about my home town, Cocoa, FL and its high rate of crime (link below). Cocoa was once a solid middle-class suburb on the Space Coast of Florida that disintegrated into one of the most dangerous cities in the country. I believe this happened as a direct result of racism, social classism, and a failed drug war -- all of which prompted white urban flight, the shuttering of businesses and the total collapse of any sense of community, spiraling the city deeper into chaos.

Before I moved to RI and before I even turned 18, I had been robbed at knife-point for my lunch money (I was in fifth grade walking my seven-year-old sister home from elementary school), been shot at multiple times, and stabbed by a knife. Our childhood home still has the scars from a drive-by that occurred while my friends and I were enjoying the new wonders of MTV. We enjoyed multiple home burglaries too.

Racism and class warfare still exist in Cocoa and in Rhode Island. I don't see it now as often myself, as I am one of those who fled to higher ground. However just because we don't see racism or classism first-hand from our vantage point doesn't mean it isn’t there.

The Progressives aren't all wrong. When I was a youth in Cocoa intervention was needed as was the need for adults to stand their ground and fight so the kids wouldn't have had to. Like Cocoa, Rhode Island doesn't work for everyone either; some areas even mirror Cocoa. We need to provide safe urban cores with community centers and neighborhoods schools that provide for educational and vocational training. No child should worry about what colors they are allowed to wear based on which block they live. Gangs of kids acting as thugs should not run the Providence streets as they do: adults should.

The Conservatives aren't all wrong either. Hard work, education and a high moral and ethical compass freed me and my family from the 11th most dangerous city in the country and the second most dangerous in Florida. We must hold ourselves and each other accountable. Education is important but so is work ethic. Actions need consequences; Drink and drive, ten days in jail; No call No show – you're fired (yes even if you are union). Everything can't be free - somethings must be earned to hold value. Government programs should be asset based not income based. The little old lady with no income but a million dollar summer house in Narragansett and a home on the East Side should not be subsidized while the waitress with 3 kids who earns 39k receives no health care.

Unless we Rhode Islanders come together, we will enjoy the failed economy of Detroit and most likely the crime of Cocoa.

I am no longer the 5th-grader staring down a knife, protecting my little sister; I am no longer the 7th-grader taking the long way home so I can avoid that certain street corner and that certain fight. I have no intention of leaving this state's fight to my children.

Today I am the adult. Today I fight the problems by building teams and bridges. Today I am running for Congress to be the change and the adult I needed as a child. Join me, join the movement, heck- join any movement and at least try. Let’s make our little speck on the planet Earth a little bit better and a whole lot safer.

Maybe I can't make a difference alone, but we can!


Bill Gilbert

For Congress 2022

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  • William Gilbert
    published this page 2018-10-04 16:08:03 -0400