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Video: Jay Williams Addresses TPP, Fossil Fuels, Public Option, Guns, Trump, and More in Aberdeen

If you can’t make it to Melgaard Park in Aberdeen this evening to visit with Jay Williams, you can check out the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate’s comments to the Brown County Democratic Forum right here in YouTube-nicolor.

Williams gave fourteen minutes of prepared remarks on his background and why he can represent South Dakota and solve problems better than Senator John Thune. He then gave a 24-minute extemporaneous tour de force, responding vigorously and intelligently to audience questions and expanding on a variety of domestic and foreign policy issues.

The short assessment: yes, Jay Williams can be your Senator. He can be a darn good Senator.

Here’s Williams’s stump speech:

Then came the questions. First, Williams addresses the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He says he’s skeptical, but President Obama’s strong support for TPP keeps him from outright opposing the trade deal:

Williams then tackles a question on Syria and expands to address Iran, Israel, and our general Middle East policy:

Notice Williams’s comment on how he would have responded to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: send American Muslim clerics overseas to distribute humanitarian. “Return good for evil… the Christian sort of thing to do.”

Asked about fracking, Williams acknowledged the technology’s usefulness but called for a complete change in our energy paradigm: build a smart grid and get off fossil fuels in ten years. Williams said America can do such a moonshot, but not under Republican do-nothingism. He noted that Republicans can’t even offer a coherent replacement policy for the Affordable Care Act, which Williams would improve with one simple reform that he thinks everyone would love: the public option!

Williams took a question on student debt relief and emphasized the need to prioritize education:

As Williams noted in his opening remarks, he’s a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He worked on an aircraft carrier and flew Navy jets and helicopters. He says the only military force that can challenge the United States Air Force is the United States Naval Air Force. But, returning to a theme from his response on Syria, Williams says we have a force more powerful and appropriate for fighting terrorism: our benevolence.

Williams the veteran answered a gun control question without equivocation: he says we should ban semi-automatic weapons, just as Australia did 20 years ago:

Williams wrapped up by noting that he’s eager to debate Senator John Thune, whom he is sure is a fine person but doesn’t do much more serve as a “Republican bobblehead for Mitch McConnell.” Even more significant in assessing Thune’s political character is his endorsement of the “odious”, “racist” Donald Trump, which Williams says is unacceptable:

Maybe John Thune will want to weasel out of the Dakotafest debate and other public forums with Jay Williams. The Democrat’s performance today shows he is a serious, formidable opponent ready to explain to South Dakota everything that is wrong with Thune and his party and everything that Williams and the Democratic Party can do better.


  1. Leo 2016-06-13 18:11

    Good job Jay! Get better! NO TPP!

    I am glad to hear that Jay Williams is not fully committed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He must decide against it. Hillary Clinton at least said it is not the gold standard anymore and that she opposes the TPP, which of course is disingenuous, but at least she said it because she couldn’t have carried Ohio without saying it. The GOP is squarely supporting President Obama on this no good, terrible trade deal. Why in the heck they would do that when they oppose him on everything esle, I wonder? In order to defeat Thune, Williams must become more educated on this and go for the jugular. I want to know where my food comes from, and I want to support our farmers and workers. The TPP and TTIP are massive corporate takeovers of a huge percentage of the global economy and it will not help the middle-class.

    One cannot support Bernie Sanders one day and then Hillary the next without this fundamental issue being decided. Both have said publicly that they oppose the TPP, Jay should do the same. No one can even figure out why President Obama is even for this deal because it flies in the face of everything he has ever said that he is for, namely the middle and working classes. TPP is a massive corporate takeover that will circumvent our American laws, standards, sovereignty and will jeopardize our environmental policies.

    No TPP!

  2. Leo 2016-06-13 18:35

    Williams must address corruption! State and National.

  3. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-13 20:59

    It is definitely refreshing to have a real Democratic candidate running for statewide office for a change like Jay Williams. One can debate the strategy even when up against a “Goliath style” opponent like Senator Thune, but no one can challenge Jay’s obvious sincerity and commitment to the issues of the day.

    If Mr. Williams “Goes to Washington,” I think we can rest assure that he will be the same political leader in DC that he currently is in South Dakota. With Mr. Williams, there will never be a “Yay” to Kemp-Roth, the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq War, and bankruptcy reform without credit card reform, nor a “Nay” to Obamacare, and he understands that if you really want to “Take It Back” that you should have never demurred to camp Hillary before the Democratic people of South Dakota have even voted and the “Palace Guard” super delegates have even made it “fait accompli.”

    Mr. Williams hesitation on TPP is a little disconcerting, but the one reality with that issue that is never discussed is how TPP is as much an attempt to preempt or stymie further Chinese influence in the western ridge of the Pacific rim through a continued and enhanced American influence in that part of the world as it is an attempt at free trade – a reality that is more than just (if not much more its doing) due to China’s growing influence in that area of the world due to aggressive economic and political Chinese policies as it is thanks to past American policies of free trade and favorite nation trading status for countries like China which has further empowered such nations, which itself is thanks to the policies of the “New Democrats” of the 1990s, who are now going to Philadelphia to claim the nomination once again, but unlike Mr. Williams, they may be “New” but they are not “real” Democrats….

    And as a side note of advice…. Although, Mr. Williams is very green, not in capability, rather in his concern for our environment…. It would not hurt for him to remind voters that Senator Thune voted to increase your gasoline prices at the pump when he voted to allow American oil companies to sell domestic crude production on the world market for the first time in 40 years….. Even Trump says “America First,” but when it comes to what will be your pump price at your local gas station, well, for Senator Thune…. Not so much…except much more for you and me….. ;-)

  4. leslie 2016-06-13 21:37

    Jay will be great! We know thune’s multimillions will hurt but we have his character and values on our side!!

    I Was Disappointed In The Rude Reception Jay Received At The Bernie Function In Rapid City’s Memorial Park. Jay Will Need Every One Of Those Young Peoples’ votes!!!

  5. Leo 2016-06-13 21:48

    John Claussen, fearmongering? economic patriotism? I can challenge Jay’s sincerity. He is not yet comfortable in his own skin. You present a cogent argument for TPP, but it is not the right one because it is deceptive – just as President Obama has tried to do without credibility, nor authenticity. Scare us more with China. Make us forget about the “New Democrats” and how they repealed Glass-Steagall which led to 2008 financial crash and loss of much middle-class wealth. You really are not paying attention to the trends, you are likely paying attention to your own self-interest at the expense of South Dakotans.

  6. Leo 2016-06-13 21:55

    leslie, please tell me more about this “rude” event.

  7. Leo 2016-06-13 22:24

    Who Rules America? “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” is forthcoming in the fall 2014 edition of Perspectives on Politics. Its authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University.

  8. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-13 22:35

    Leo, you are missing my true point. I too have real reservations about the politics of the “New Democrats” in general, which goes beyond their trade policies and onto other policies like Glass-Steagall, which you mentioned…..But I was just demonstrating how TPP is more complicated because of the “New Democrats” and what they have done in the past, and now we are about to nominate one of them.

    I expressed no “fearmongering,” rather just the truth. Currently, the Chinese are creating islands for military purposes in the Pacific, challenging us in the South China Sea, negotiating with Namibia to build an Atlantic naval base, on score to be the only nation other than the US to have double digit aircraft carriers in service, and a Hong Kong financial group is working to hopefully build a canal through Nicaragua. It is not fear, rather it is fact.

    You mentioned “economic patriotism.” Well, how is my concern for gasoline prices unwanted “economic patriotism,” but your concern for the decline of the middle class is not?

    Oh, by the way, how can I be accused of “self-interest” when my comments have just challenged the Democratic establishment both here and nationally?

  9. Leo 2016-06-13 22:53

    TPP is dangerous for OUR economy. Complicated yes. Secretly negotiated yes. Good for vast majority of American citizens? No. TPP is anti-Democracy.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-13 23:05

    John, I like that point about gas prices. Why give up domestic oil supply? Back when OPEC had clout, a guy who said, “Let’s export the oil America produces” would have gotten booed off the stage.

    On Jay’s TPP hesitation—I watched him at the picnic tonight. He’s a good listener. He’ll listen to the President. He’ll listen to Bernie. He’ll listen to experts and interested parties on TPP.

  11. Leo 2016-06-13 23:59

    President Bernie Sanders for our sanity!

  12. Joe K 2016-06-14 00:51

    Someone give that fella a mic!! Hard to hear what he says with all of the hissing and background noise. I like what he has to say, but lets hear it clear and loud!

  13. leslie 2016-06-14 01:11

    Jay in suit tie and balding was too much culture shock for the reggae softened young crowd anxious for rock star bernie instead having to unexpectantly tolerate then boo Jay’s factfilled stump speech. Convenience store impatience imo

  14. Max Goodman 2016-06-14 01:26

    I just can’t help but really like Jay Williams!

  15. Mark Winegar 2016-06-14 07:03

    Thank you Cory and Jay for making wisdom available is bite-sized videos. I’ll be posting these on my own Facebook campaign page.

  16. Don Coyote 2016-06-14 09:59

    @JKC: ” It would not hurt for him to remind voters that Senator Thune voted to increase your gasoline prices at the pump when he voted to allow American oil companies to sell domestic crude production on the world market for the first time in 40 years…”

    Except that it wouldn’t. Increased supplies on the world market would put downward pressure on oil prices.:

    “The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently estimated that the impact of an end to the ban could be a decrease in the U.S. price of gas of up to 1 cent per gallon because more oil on the global market could lower overall prices for everyone, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. The U.S. Government Accountability Office said the decrease could range from 1.5 cents to 13 cents. The Brookings Institution last year projected that the decrease would equal 9 cents per gallon.”

    Also, what does Jay suggest US oil companies do with all that oil when the US is weaned off of oil in accordance with his moonstruck energy plan? And since Jay seems to be embracing economic autarky, maybe he should advocate ending beef exports to lower sky high beef prices? ;-)

  17. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-14 11:03

    Don, I was actually just waiting for your response. The last time I alleged this claim on the DFP you were the only one coming to Senator Thune’s defense then as well.

    Let me start by saying I find great humor in the fact that a conservative like you hides behind comments accredited to the Brookings Institution or the US Department of Energy to make your point. (Aren’t you the guys who want to disband the DOE? Why? ;-) )

    But when you read the article you cited, you will notice that you cherry picked your quotes and thus facts. The article also mentions the following comments:

    “But Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service, said the impact would be ‘negligible.'” (The reduction in world oil prices do to the lifting of the US ban on the exporting of US crude oil.)


    “‘I don’t think it changes much,’ said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.”

    But what this article did not touch on nor do you is that American energy independence through greater domestic oil production allows us to create are own energy universe that is independent of foreign forces and or events, and the costs financially which arise from such realities. Not to mention, that domestic production is also potentially cheaper, because it is more dependable, quicker, and less costly to deliver to the American consumer.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-14 16:19

    Joe K, you must be listening to a different video from mine. Jay came across loud and clear in the room where he made his speech.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-14 16:20

    Leslie, that booing disappoints me. People excited about Sanders need to recognize how people like Jay uphold Sanders’s values. They need to recognize that electing Senators like Jay to support the progressive agenda in Congress is crucial to whatever progress the President seeks.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-14 16:28

    Good grief: we’re trying to save the planet, and Don’s worried that Exxon won’t be able to diversify and sustain its stock price.

    Don, if we can make the great leap forward of getting off fossil fuels, is it really our obligation to help corporations figure out what to do with their obsolete product? Please send me the link to the Taft Administration’s Horseshoe Subsidy Act.

    But even if the U.S. stops burning petrochemicals to run cars and lights, Exxon can surely find other countries to buy up remaining stockpiles and make plastics.

  21. Don Coyote 2016-06-15 08:32

    @cah: You and JKC are moaning that domestic oil should only be sold within the US because exporting domestically produced oil drives up gasoline prices (it doesn’t). Then in the next breath you and Williams embrace the idiotic idea of weaning the US off of fossil fuels in 10 years. Tell me again how if it’s illegal for oil companies to export oil and there is no longer a domestic market where do the oil companies sell their products?

  22. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-15 14:47


    Oil prices throughout the world began to collapse after the third weekend of Sept. of ’14. The lifting of the ban resulted in the first exports of American crude in Jan. of ’16.

    The world collapse was greatly attributed to a lessen dependency upon foreign imports of oil over the last few years do to a greater production of domestic crude oil here in the United States which began to initially take off in 2009.

    This new reality existed under the shield of a 40 year ban which eventually allowed and complemented domestic production kept within a finite universe, that being the US market, thus forcing world oil prices down as the US began to remove itself from foreign dependency due to this new found domestic oil production.

    However, when the ban was lifted. It relinquished the potential ability to have a finite universe that is independent of outside events and dictates when it comes to oil, which over time will cause an increase in domestic oil prices for the American consumer as we once again allow ourselves to be held as a nation to the whims of Middle East politics, OPEC, and the wishes of the Saudi royal family.

    The best of two worlds is to have enhanced domestic oil production tied to a continual ban on the export of domestic crude. The worst of two worlds is to sell our domestic crude with no ban, thus further promoting a carbon world, depleting our own resources, and subjecting us to the whims of a very volatile international oil market which is often at the mercy of a very precarious geopolitical reality found most likely within the confines of the Middle East and its crisis ridden politics.

    One of the great untold successes of the Obama administration has been its ability to weaken the hegemonic control that the Saudis have over US policy in the Middle East, oil, and thus our own economy, due to our domestic energy policies over the last seven years. However, my guess is that the Obama administration most likely feels that that has been accomplished and it now plans to use its energy policies to further promote alternative energy sources to further our independence in terms of energy, economics, and politics.

    Although, the Obama administration supported the lifting of this ban, like Senator Thune. I believe Obama did it to hopefully increase oil prices here in the US, thus to hopefully promote alternative energy sources, while Senator Thune supported the lifting of the ban to help Big Oil. Trust me, Big Oil did not try to stop this lifting and they did not stop this lifting because they knew in the long term it would be beneficial to their industry and their price….And with a Senator Thune in charge you only get higher prices without enhanced alternative energy sources….Thanks to Big Oil and their friend the Senator….

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-15 14:52

    Clever, Don, but still no points for you. In the status quo, where the U.S. continues to rely on fossil fuels, it seems silly to export it instead of keeping it for our own energy independence. However, vote for Jay Williams, give us a Congress that is willing to go for the alternative-energy moonshot, and we transform the energy/economic landscape so that exporting oil doesn’t undermine our energy security.

    But you know what? Exxon’s profitability should not drive our energy policy any more than private insurance companies’ profits should drive our health care policy. I haven’t shed a tear over buying only Internet and putting the phone and cable company out of business (oh, wait: now Midco sells Internet). The benefits of kicking our fossil fuel addiction (like survival of the ecosphere) far outweigh the harms of making oil dealers diversify their companies’ operations.

    And come on, Don: you don’t give a hot about workers being displaced by advancing technology. Does your concern for Exxon execs also make you look back and bemoan John Deere and Monsanto’s displacement of small farmers, or computers’ displacement of telephone operators?

  24. Leo 2016-06-19 08:03

    Jay Williams has a unique opportunity to be the next US Senator representing South Dakota. He is real. He is authentic. He is trustworthy. I believe he would represent real Dakotans….not these fake Thune fellows who hide behind Mitch MdConnell!

  25. BlackHills76 2016-06-22 03:19

    “Ban ALL semi-automatic weapons and force an Australian style buy back.” That line just sunk any hope of being elected to a statewide office in South Dakota. The only ad that Thune needs to run is a clip of him saying this and his campaign is toast. Tell me I’m wrong…

    Not that he has much of a chance anyhow.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-22 10:42

    You’re wrong, BlackHills76. Sometimes a guy who talks straight about his policies can win the respect of people he disagrees with and win their trust on bigger issues, like John Thune’s absolute non-performance as a Senator.

  27. Dicta 2016-06-22 10:55

    I’m with BlackHills76 here. I like Jay, but he can’t and won’t win.

  28. BlackHills76 2016-06-23 02:05

    Cory the position of banning all semi-auto firearms and forcing a Government buy-back is not even going to go over well with a majority of SD Democrats. You can say details like that don’t matter and I assume you probably hold the same belief, but it’s not a position that sells well in SD.

    There are millions and millions of semi-automatic firearms in the US. There is no registry and for the most part no one has any idea who owns what. Short of an action to limit or revoke 4th Amendment rights so homes can be searched for contraband without a warrant it’s nothing more then an anti-gun activists dream.

    Anyhow I figure he probably knows he’s going to lose anyhow so he might as well get cheers by telling the handful of very liberal SD Dems an idea they love.

    I’m just suprised that you who seems pretty politically smart doesn’t see that his position will turn off a large majority of SD no matter party affiliation. I promise LOTS of SD Democrats own a semi-auto rifle or pistol. He just told them, “turn em in, we don’t trust you” yeah that’s not going to get votes.

  29. BIll DIthmer 2016-06-23 07:35

    Can you imagine how John Thune felt yesterday after he saw that video?

    Williams must be trying to not win, because taking his position on automatic weapons is absolutely the only thing needed for his defeat. All Thune needs to do is loop 30 seconds of that video, no muss no fuss.

    Cory if you dont understand what kind of screwup this was, you shouldnt be in politics.

    That war chest Thune has sure wont bleed to much this election because of the incompetence, 1. of the SDDP, and 2. The complete failure of a man who had little chance anyway, and now none at all.

    Its called “unreal expectations.” He could have thought about what he said, but he should have never ever said them aloud if he was ever serious about a Senate bid.

    Thats one of the reasons I’m no longer a Democrat. The flaming liberal side of the party is no longer about what might be best, its about what is politically correct.

    Jay williams might be a good man but he will never get the chance to show it because this one clip will sink his campaign five months before the vote.

    The Blindman

    The Blindman

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