William Moses Summerville Seeks 42nd Congressional Seat
By Dianne Anderson
With the Primary races in full charge toward the November runoffs in Long Beach, leaders and elected officials are talking about out-of-control inflation, lack of access to affordable housing and criminal justice reform.
But not many are making the connection between crime and poverty.
Rev. William Moses Summerville said some candidates are starting to pay attention to the issues that are hard to ignore.
“But it’s unfortunate that homelessness is now becoming a federal issue when it is a local and state issue, especially in California. However, I am supporting Sen. Alex Padilla’s (D-CA) Housing for All Act of 2022,” he said.
Running on the platform to “serve the people,” some of the top issues facing his congressional district are health inequities, unequal wages for equal work, and climate injustice. Privatization of water is increasingly common, which could be bad news with the state in a drought and water sources drying up.
“If we’re not careful we could be in another Flint, Michigan with just how vulnerable we are by big money and money in politics,” he said.
Among his legislative goals, he wants to see economic justice with universal basic income of $2,000 payments issued monthly to individuals who make less than $85,000 a year. Also, he’s looking to push for compensation in the form of paychecks to close the racial wealth gap as reparation for slavery.
If elected, another goal is to get on the health committee to ensure social services, mental wellness services and spiritual care services are better funded. He is a strong proponent of Medicare For All.
As a hospice chaplain throughout Los Angeles and Orange County for the past 15 years, he said it is sad how healthcare is so unaffordable, and people can’t afford to work when they’re sick.
“Too often, cancer patients can’t afford treatment,” he said. “I’ve been doing this work for 13 years in clinical ministry. People are choosing hospice with their terminal illness because they can’t afford healthcare.”
Rev. Summerville has served as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, and the virtual convention in 2020. He also served as the Assembly District Delegate for the Democratic Party in 2017 and 2019.
“As a delegate, I was privy to see how the inside works, and I saw how the corruption on the inside works. I noticed there really couldn’t be an effective change in those spaces that I was a part of,” he said. “I was like okay, I’ll run for Congress.”
He also served a tour of duty as an Air Force Reserve Chaplain, and is currently Pastor of Kingdom Come Community Church.
Throughout the campaign, he has partnered with nonprofits to distribute over 5,000 pounds of food to the community. Recently, they held a food drive in partnership with Second Baptist Church of Santa Ana. Other community partners included Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and Family of Faith Christian Center during the holidays.
At his most recent event, a Single Payer Health Fair for America charged only $25 for the community to access a complete blood work, a $600 value. Participants were also offered a follow-up with a specialist of their choosing.
The right to organize unions is another important concern, and he said labor laws need to be scrutinized. As part of his campaign, he held an entrepreneurial business expo spotlighting government resources for small business owners. Presenters focused on getting information about funding and resources to the Black community.
“The question becomes [why] more specifically Black small businesses are not receiving the funds. Nobody is proactively getting the funds to us,” he said.
Lately, he hears more anxiety about having to pay back business loans that were being advertised as grants. He said it has negatively and disproportionately impacted Black business owners.
“Loans that were supposed to be transferred into grants, but it didn’t turn out [that way] now they’re beginning to pay it back,” he said. “You’re not guaranteed to be qualified for the grant if you took the loan with a small business like a soul food restaurant.”
The good news is that he sees high energy in his campaigning, which he feels is the most diverse of his competitors. The community is welcome to come out and volunteer, canvass, and phone bank, he said. They are still on the ground canvassing Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Voters should have started receiving their Primary ballots in the mail May 9, which also opened in-person early voting at the regional Registrar of Voters offices. May 23 is the last day to register to vote at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration.
June 7 is the last day to vote by mail or at their polling places that open from 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.
The top two vote-getters for all elected offices will then go on to compete in the November election.
He’s in it to win it, but regardless of the outcome, he said that he remains focused on community service and advocating for the people.
“I’m most positive about the level of spirit that people are fighting back in response to the corporate greed society that we currently live in,” he said. “You see Amazon unionizing, and a coalition of folks coming together behind this campaign because people really want change.