It is both common and reasonable for concerned and interested citizens to ask a candidate why she or he is running for a particular office. I am happy to address that question.
The specific trigger that first led me to run for office is the threat posed by the climate crisis. In March of 2014, I read a review of Elizabeth Kolbert’s book (The Sixth Extinction). The reviewer mentioned the fact that some scientists believe that the ultimate consequence of global warming may be the extinction of the human race. I immediately thought of what sort of future that implied for my children and grandchildren. I knew that government inaction, led by the climate change deniers in the Republican Party, was a major reason our nation was not responding properly to the climate crisis, and I decided that running for office was the most effective way for me to contribute to the effort to address climate change. I lost my first election and might not have run for office again if not for the fact that…
Like millions and millions of my fellow Americans, I was inspired by the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. He convinced me that the political revolution, which I have long thought was needed, was possible. I was an active volunteer in his campaign, which led to me being asked to run for lieutenant governor (I lost), and running to be elected to the Democratic National Committee (I won) and to be elected to the State Committee of the Missouri Democratic Party (I won again).
Over the course of the past four years, I have met a large number of people, nearly all of them good-hearted, well-intentioned, concerned citizens, many quite actively involved in civic affairs. I have learned a lot from the ongoing stream of constructive conversations and political discussions I have had with the people I’ve met. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to share some of the good and powerful ideas I have come across in the course of a lifetime that has included a significant amount of time devoted to reading and reflection, with a focus on topics related to government.
I taught civics, economics, and other social studies classes for 21 years at Van Horn High School (my alma mater). I enjoyed teaching high school. I have happily, and unexpectedly, discovered that running for office with the mindset of an educator is the most wonderful version of teaching I could ever imagine.
I enjoy sharing ideas with my fellow citizens. If enough of us work together and learn to listen to one another with the goal of understanding each other, if we seek to find common ground and shared values, instead of focusing on areas of disagreement, we will eventually elect a government that will disprove, once and for all, that President Reagan’s contention that “Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.”
I believe that bad government is the problem and good government is the solution. I believe that good government in a democracy requires a well-educated and well-informed citizenry, committed to living up to the noble ideals upon which our nation was founded, and working together to reach consensus regarding solutions to the problems we face as a nation.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign (and in its own way, the successful campaign of President Trump) revealed a strong desire for change that is shared by an overwhelming majority of Americans. We are poised to take the next step forward toward genuine democracy. We have an opportunity to re-establish a government of, by, and for the people. If we succeed, we will make history. As a lifelong student of history, I find the mere possibility to be some small part of making history exhilarating.
I am seeking election to the Congress of the United States because I want to contribute in every way I can to making this great country of ours greater than it has ever been.