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Opinion John Delaney: Why I’m running for president

Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), left, speaks with Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), right, at a House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on February 4, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harnik/For The Washington Post)

John Delaney, a Democrat, represents Maryland’s 6th Congressional District in the House.

The American people are far greater than the sum of our political parties. It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible. This is why I am running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

Our government is hamstrung by excessive partisanship. We are letting critical opportunities to improve the country pass us by. And we are not even talking about the most important thing: the future. The victims of this leadership failure are the good people we are sworn to serve, and we are leaving our country ill-prepared for dramatic changes ahead. The current administration is making us less prosperous and less secure. I’m running because I have an original approach to governing and an economic policy that can put us on a different course.

My vision for the country is based on my own American Dream. I was raised in a blue-collar family; my dad was a union electrician, and my parents didn’t attend college. Because of a great education and a helping hand from others, I was fortunate enough to become a successful entrepreneur. Before age 40, I founded and led as chief executive two publicly traded companies that created thousands of jobs and were admired in the community. I’ve been blessed with a great family and the opportunity to give back through philanthropy and public service. As a progressive businessman, I’ve made it a priority to be solutions-oriented and have been consistently recognized as one of the most innovative and bipartisan members of Congress. I’ve done this by simultaneously celebrating the power of our free-market economy while insisting that there is a role for government to set goals and rules of the road and take care of those who are left behind.

My focus is on preparing our country for the future. Technological innovation, automation and globalization are the most powerful forces in the world today. These forces have been enormously positive; they will continue to make life better, enhance productivity, solve some of the world’s most difficult problems and open societies. Sadly, these forces will also eliminate certain jobs and require workers to learn new skills more quickly. They will create security risks and strain our resources. We need to respond to these large-scale opportunities and challenges by thinking about policy from a fresh perspective. What are the resources we have, how do we compete and create jobs, how can we ensure that everyone has a fair chance, and how do we protect ourselves?

"We have a really dumb international tax system," Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), told The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza Thursday. Delaney's plan to bail out the federal transportation fund by repatriating corporate cash is gaining traction in Congress. (Video: Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)

To do this, we need new infrastructure, which can be paid for using my bipartisan approach to infrastructure and international tax reform. We need to be smarter, fueled by more investment in science, education and research. We need new ideas on the future of jobs and work, one where we build a stronger and more vibrant middle class. We need to encourage a more just and inclusive form of capitalism and reduce barriers to small-business formation, start-ups, job creation, investment and growth. We need to strengthen our safety-net programs and create a new social contract. We need to reform the systems of education, health care and immigration, and encourage more volunteerism, impact investing and public service. And we need to take affirmative steps to reduce our security, fiscal and climate risks. This is what my campaign will be about.

I am optimistic about our future. A future where responsible businesses work with our government to lead the world not only in growth and innovation but also in positive societal change.

The Democratic Party cherishes opportunity over birthright; wants people to earn a good living; offers a helping hand to the poor, the immigrant and those left behind; wants all Americans to have health care; embraces diversity, equality and justice; understands the importance of global engagements; believes that government can do transformative things; and stands ready to provide for our common defense. This is why I’m a Democrat. But we have a lot of work to do, given our recent electoral failures, and we need a different approach — one that’s focused on the facts and the future.

To do this work with the commitment it deserves, I will not be running for reelection to the House of Representatives. No games, no cat-and-mouse, no backup plan at the 11th hour if a focus group goes badly.

My approach goes beyond party and partisanship; I am first and foremost an American. I believe in a common national identity. I love our ambition, our values, what we represent to the world and our ability to use our greatness for a good and noble purpose. It is my love of country that compels me to behave differently in politics — to work to do big things, seek solutions and compromise, respect the privilege of public service and be optimistic about the world.