I live in a great country. I live in a great state. But my culture, my nation and my state are struggling. When I think about my children and my grandchildren, I’m troubled about the kind of future they will have. My sense of obligation to be involved as a steward over this place I call my home has grown and matured in the past 20 years or so. That sense of obligation is why I’m willing to serve in the state legislature. I feel an urgency about doing this. I want to take up a greater mantle of stewardship. Responsible stewardship over this place my family and I have loved for generations.
My life experiences are diverse. I grew up on the farm and I currently operate our family’s operation with farmland in both Grant & Lincoln Counties. I know many of the struggles and concerns of our agricultural community. Our farmers, cattlemen and also our orchardists, tree farmers, etc. need advocates; especially when rules and regulations seem more of a hindrance than a help. Too often they are treated as if they are “users & abusers” of the land instead of conscientious caretakers. It seems some in government think farmers & ranchers want to carelessly pillage the land. Seemingly, they don’t realize that would be “self destructive” or “financial suicide.” The agricultural businessmen & businesswomen I know are wiser than that. In fact, they are some of the most intelligent and business savvy people in the state. They are environmentalists in the truest sense on the word.
I’ve learned much through my various leadership experiences. My 27 years of coaching have helped me lead young people toward excellence and integrity. I’ve coached for three school districts. I see their struggles and believe most of our public educators have a heart to do what’s best for our kids. I also believe that, ultimately, parents need to be the overseers of their child’s education and I support the variety of educational opportunities available to them in this day and age. That includes public, charter and private schools, online education and home schooling.
My nearly 29 years as a pastor involved me in many lives. Their experiences and difficulties were varied. Teaching, counseling, consoling and leading them in times of great joy and, at times, heart-breaking tragedy. All this impacted me greatly, but also brought great satisfaction. In that experience I’ve dealt with the criminal justice system, counseling services, state regulatory agencies and the medical industry. During those years, I also watched as hurtful regulations devastated the timber industry and my friends lost jobs. I saw manufacturing leave the community because of regulation, power costs and subsidized foreign competition.
My 38 trips to other nations have taken me to the poorest of the poor. I’ve had someone offer me their child, hoping I would take their little 2 or 3 year old child to America for a better life. I’ve had villagers ask me to help them come to America, believing this is the place of hope. I’ve chafed at the government corruption in second and third-world countries which robs their people of opportunity and prosperity. Often, the corrupt were government officials lining there own pockets from the American benevolence that country had received. Unfortunately, often there’s similar corruption in Washington D.C. and in too many of our state houses. It makes me angry when I hear of corruption going on in Olympia. I want to help bring solutions and not just complain about it. My overseas experiences have also given me an eyes-wide-open perspective as our state deals with other countries in the areas of trade, immigration, etc., which I believe could serve me well in the state house.
I’ve been blessed with much. With that comes much responsibility. As a state, we’ve been blessed and we have important responsibilities. Of great importance is our responsibility to protect the right of individuals to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The most vulnerable of our society often are not experiencing that. I believe it is our responsibility to protect the unborn, the sick and the aged and I would oppose measures that do not look out for them. Our children are also vulnerable and I would support measures that would truly enhance their protection from illicit drugs, physical and sexual abuse, and the violence that seems to be growing around us. At the same time I would oppose measures that would damage the family, the backbone of a strong society.
In closing, I began this article talking about stewardship. Just what is that? It’s a matter of taking care of what we have and guarding the values that have made this a great place to live. I want to be a good steward. Some say our foundations are being chipped away. I think "dynamited" might be more often accurate. The French political philosopher, Alex de Tocqueville, wrote in the early 1800's, “America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” I'm grateful for some of the positive changes we've seen in the past couple of years in our country, even though so many have vigorously (and sometimes violently) opposed the good. That opposition and some other things have not been so good, but let's be those who will keep moving forward to renew our greatness as a state & nation. So, I appeal to those of you who have a voice in the legislator replacement process we are in. I would very much appreciate your support. I think I have the common sense, the integrity and the leadership experience to be a good steward for the 13th Legislative District.