Why Run for Office?

This is something I've been asked a lot. By myself, my wife, my family, my potential constituents. And it is a valid question. We deserve to know why people want to be in office because we need to determine if it is for good reason or it is only for ego and power.

I can tell you this with certainty - this isn't an ego or power move for me. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that I know that my odds of winning this race aren't great. It's a long and hard road that may not even be fruitful for me. So why do it? I suppose it's because I feel a draw to help my community and my fellow human.

Ever since I was 10 I have been enamored with politics. The idea that representatives of all walks of life from all over this country could come together and help make the lives of everyone better is a romantic idea that I know is idealistic and indicative of where I was at 10 years old - but it drew me in. Through the years some of that idealism has been beaten out of me. It's hard not to have that happen after volunteering and helping in various positions in several election cycles dating back to 2008. But there is still that idea to me of representing your community and helping improve the lives of everyone by working with other representatives. I still believe in that true sense of democracy - a group of people helping each other to improve the lives of everyone now and for the future.

I know that seems especially foolish in the modern political landscape, and that inability or disdain I have for mud slinging and dirty politics could be my undoing. It also could be that I'm a fairly progressive person in many facets of my life and I am aware I live in an area that has respects and appreciates some conservative values.

My honest opinion is that at the end of the day I feel many of us want the same things - progressive or conservative. We want to see our communities thrive. We want the next generation to have good lives. We want to protect our homes. We want to be able to afford a roof over our heads and food on the table. The people of this area are hard working and dedicated people. I've lived in Midland county my whole life and I know that better than anyone. I am a paycheck to paycheck worker. If I had an emergency spring up I would have a hard time coming up with the money. This isn't some kind of struggle brag - this is to highlight how much I feel and connect to the people of Midland.

We want so much of the same out of life. Where we end up disagreeing is the color that controls just how we get there, and I think it's unfortunate that it has gotten to that point.

That's where I want to try and come in and bridge the gap. I'm progressive in some areas, sure, but ultimately what I'm for is improving the lives of Michiganders, helping working class people living paycheck to paycheck keep as much of their money as possible (and having that money go as far as possible), protecting our environment for future generations, and trying to ensure we all get a fair shake in life. I believe in responsible gun ownership and responsible drilling of natural gas. I believe in giving everyone the chance to get affordable healthcare. I believe in racial justice as well as supporting our police. I believe parents should have the ability to voice concerns and have their opinions validated in education, but I also believe we need to listen to our teachers more and ensure our administrators are working in coordination with them, not against them.

These may seem like playing both sides or playing to everyone, but it isn't. I believe in shades of grey and complex problem solving to help us advance and succeed. A rising tide lifts all boats, regardless of party. That is what I stand for.

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