What’s the WC on the Ballot? Mary Anne Hering Explains the Working Class Party
(Mary Dupuis, Oct. 31, 2022)
Michigan, MI – As the midterm election on Nov. 8 draws nearer many are doing research to prepare themselves for election day or already filling out and sending absentee ballots.
In addition to the well-known Democratic and Republican Parties there are “third parties” on the Michigan ballot to give voters an alternative to the big two that dominate US politics.
Other “third parties” include the Libertarian Party, the US Taxpayers Party, the Green Party, the Natural Law Party and those labeled NPA have no party affiliation.
However, its roots date further back. Mary Anne Hering, a Working Class Party candidate running for the State Board of Education, said the origin of the Working Class Party began in Michigan began in 2014. At this time herself and a group of about 30 others with similar views ran for various positions such as the Dearborn School Board and some Congressional Districts.
Soon enough the group decided they wanted to be recognized for what they stood for, not just by their individual names, and they chose to call their group the Working Class Party to represent their ideals.
“It’s directed at ordinary people who do the work,” Hering said. “There was this phrase they kept saying all during the pandemic, ‘The essential workforce.’ Workers are essential 24/7 before, during, and after the pandemic. Yet, politically, those of us who were at the the origin of this felt very strongly that we live in a sort of a monopoly of parties.”
In January 2016 the group began petitioning to get the party on the ballot at farmers markets, grocery stores, Secretary of State offices and more.
Hering said by the time the group was finished petitioning their group had grown to about 70 volunteers. They received about 50,000 signatures, exceeding the 32,000 needed to obtain valid status.
In 2016 the Working Class Party had three candidates and subsequently had about a dozen in 2018 and 2020. This year there are 11 Working Class Party candidates. WC candidates on ballots in Oakland County include Jim Walkowicz for Congress in the 9th District, Andrea Kirby for Congress in the 10th District, Gary Walkowicz for Congress in the 12th District, Linday Rayburn for State Senator of the 3rd District, Kimberly Givens for State Senator of the 6th District, and Mary Anne Hering for State Board of Education.
Hering said although the Working Class Party is an official party on the ballot, they hold themselves to different standards.
“We are not a party in the traditional sense of the word,” Hering said. “We have the name recognition. We’re on the ballot. But a party really is something that’s really participated in by vast numbers of people. And we think the party will actually be built not by just an election, but when workers and people link to what the party stands for.”
She said she believes the party will be built by the people who support it organizing and facing the problems affecting the working class.
“For example, really organize to do something to confront the problems (working class citizens) face, whether it’s school funding, whether it’s problems with jobs that don’t pay enough, we think it’s going to take a fight in the working class,” Hering said.
Hering said if a voter casts their vote for the Working Class Party, they are voting for “recognition that their voice should be heard in the political life of this society – when it normally isn’t.”
Some topics the party is currently focusing on are how inflation is negatively affecting the working class, employment and how working class citizens were negatively affected by COVID-19.
“Our party addresses the concerns of ordinary people,” Hering said. “We say a vote for the Working Class Party shows there are people fed up with ‘Politics as usual.’ People who want to build a Working Class Party, people who respect themselves, because workers are disrespected in this society.”
Hering said one of the defining attributes of the Working Class Party candidates is that they don’t see themselves as politicians. She encourages people to work alongside them to make the changes they want to see.
“People shouldn’t vote for me if they think I’m their savior,” Hering said. “That’s a politician. I’m not a politician. Politicians make promises, most of which are never realized. I’m not a politician. I’m somebody who’s saying it’s up to us the working class together to address (issues the working class citizens face).”
To learn more about the Working Class Party, visit https://www.workingclassfight.com/.
Oakland County Times invites candidates for office to film a video interview. Check out candidate interviews at https://oaklandcounty115.com/2022/06/03/2022-candidate-interviews-and-election-information/. The series is sponsored by the Pontiac Community Foundation.