Note: This is the second of a series of posts to hopefully help expand on my candidacy for Clinton City Council. You can read the first piece here, Like my campaign page on Facebook for other updates, or follow me on Twitter to learn more. Thanks for reading!
I don’t remember what piqued my initial interest in politics. From a young age, I was interested in the fringes of politics. While I was growing up, my parents listened to talk radio, so I read a few books by Rush Limbaugh and others to try and build a political identity. For most of my young life, I guess I was a Republican by default due to my parents and growing up in Utah. I remember the Gulf War unfolding on television in 1991, and some bits and pieces about the election of 1992, but I was still too young to understand what everything meant.
This probably started to change as I approached high school and started to “rebel” against my parents as teenagers tend to do. And part of this rebellion was against the political party of my father. My father was a proud “Reagan Republican,” though this doesn’t mean that he always voted for the Republican option for president. I remember him attending the GOP Caucus in the early ’90s and returning home (or receiving later in the mail) a picture of him shaking hands with Orrin Hatch, Utah’s senior senator at the time (and currently). Nevertheless, some of my antagonism against Bush or Dole in the ’90s might have been more about having a reason to argue with my dad, and my political identity began shifting once I started college in the fall of 1999.*
*Feel free to read about my full political conversion in this post from a few months ago.
In 1994, my father filed to run for the state legislature as a Republican. I was young and don’t remember much about it actually, other than my dad purchasing a couple of yard signs and some brief conversations about the upcoming caucuses. However, my dad finally landed a job with the post office after years of trying, forcing him to abandon his political dreams.* He worked for the post office for the next 15 years or so, which prevented him from running for office again.
*The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from running in partisan races (among other things), and it was much more important for him to have a stable job than run for office at the time.
Even though this aborted run was short, it still sticks out in my mind. I don’t know why my dad wanted to run for office, though I would imagine it was because his legislative district was represented by a Democrat. But the fact that my dad cared enough, instead of just grumbling along with whatever talk show happened to be on KRCL at the time had an impact on me. And his aborted race over 20 years ago led me to run for city council this year.
Why suddenly this year? Well, there are a couple of reasons. I have considered running for office in the past, but I have also spent around the majority of the last 15 years employed by the federal government, which restricts me to running in non-partisan elections. Second, I finally have some stability in my life after leaving the military in 2011 (as I elaborated on in yesterday’s post), making now the first time I have truly been able to attempt a run for something. But the ultimate reason that I have decided to run is what happened during the lead up to the 2016 election in November and some of the aftermath.
I don’t think I need to rehash what happened or who I voted for. Based on some of my other posts on this blog, you might be able to tell. However, I watched volunteerism and local organizing work because of the work of my wife. She texted and called during the primary season for a particular candidate, texted and called for other similar candidates during the election, and continues to work with local groups in ensuring that everyone’s political voice is heard. She was elected Vice Chair of the Women’s Caucus at the state level of the Utah Democratic Party, serves as legislative chair in our neighborhood, and continues to volunteer for national level organizations. She’s an inspiration, a model of a great citizen for my son, and her work inspired me to get further involved as well, and I felt like running for City Council was a good start.
Even if I don’t win my election in November, I plan on remaining involved in any way that I can. Later in the week, I will talk about what my plans for Clinton are regardless of the results of the election in November. However, I do firmly believe that we as citizens can have the most impact locally when it comes to politics, and this led me to run at the local level to try and affect some change (or maintain the status quo when necessary). Tomorrow, I will go further into depth about what I see as the critical issues facing Clinton as the calendar approaches 2020.
Until next time…