Hello everyone. I am new to Spread Eagle Patriot, so I will give a quick background on this article. I recently decided to run for District 3 County Commissioner in St. Clair County, Michigan. This article is part a a series of articles I will be writing on that experience…since it is my first experience running for office. To see the first article in the series, which I refer to in this article, go to www.thebitteramericans.com. Thanks everyone! I very excited to be sharing my work here on Spread Eagle Patriot!
There is one thing that has always held me up when I’ve considered running for office. I don’t tip toe my way into anything. If I make a decision, I jump in head first and dedicate myself to succeeding. When it comes to politics, I worry about my lack of experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I can do this job as county commissioner. It’s not being able to execute that worries me. It’s the constant worrying about being asked questions I can’t answer, especially in my simplified view of politics.
My most recent article addressing running for county commissioner was titled “Look Deeper.” In that article I discussed what I look for in a candidate. I prefer to look much deeper into what a candidate stands for. Go ahead, ask them all the questions you want about current issues, but I would rather know what kind of person they are with their family, at their workplace, and especially in their relationship with Jesus Christ. If I can see a strong foundation, determination, and a track record of success in other endeavors, I don’t need to get caught up in how well they speak ‘politics.’
Let me quickly take a step back and explain my “simplified view of politics.” I personally believe our forefathers intended a simple government. They wanted the average working man to be able to provide a public service through running for office. Instead, we have come to a point today where many politicians make a career of it. They speak a different language and have made things so complicated and tedious, people like myself have doubts when it comes to running for office.
I know I can balance a budget. I can determine what core rights the framers of our constitution intended the government to protect and what services government should provide for the people. What I can’t do is sit back and watch how most governments operate today without getting a headache.
The fact many bills and budgets can be in the four digit range in pages tells me government has gotten out of control somewhere along the line. The average person can’t sit at a city council meeting without wondering at some point what is going on. My feeling is, if I don’t have the time or patience to read a bill and I can’t quickly look at a budget I’ve never seen before and understand it, it’s probably because it contains a ton of information a government should have nothing to do with.
Having said that, it is the reality of government today.
I will outwork the incumbents and other candidates to assure I can serve my county as best as possible, but I don’t have any experience in government.
Is that a bad thing? I tend to think it’s a bonus when looking at a candidate, but I know how it will be viewed if I get cornered at an event or interview on some obscure or overly detailed topic.
I know what my goals are for my time as a commissioner. They are simple, and I hope the voters can appreciate that. I want to be accountable and easily accessible to the people of my district. After all, they are my employers. I don’t have much interest in meeting behind closed doors with the other commissioners to make decisions. If you can’t make the decision on your own, with the people you represent in mind, you shouldn’t be sitting on the board of commissioners. Responsibility with the voters money is also a key. The people deserve a lean, yet efficient government that provides the necessary services, but otherwise steps out of the way.
Will those answers satisfy the voters? I hope so, but I fully expect to hear about my lack of ‘experience’ during this process. Personally, I am pretty comfortable with that lack of experience if it is due to the fact most government is tied up in things they should have no involvement in.
Let me share one last story to explain this viewpoint. Last Friday I spent the day getting my paperwork filed with the county clerk. The application to run wasn’t bad, but the paperwork to organize my election committee was hardly recognizable as English. Take a few minutes to go to your Secretary of State’s website and read the campaign finance rules. By the end of the day Friday, I had made 3 trips and 2 phone calls to the clerks office, 1 trip to an accountant, 2 trips to the IRS’s website, 1 trip to the bank, 2 phone calls to people who have run in the past, and held several other conversations with people I thought might know how to file the paperwork. After all of that, I will be working on this again this Friday because I wasn’t able to complete everything I needed to. On top of that, the rules on reporting campaign finances are so boring and complicated, I can hardly get past the first paragraph.
It’s obvious to me, the government, at all levels, is set up to make it difficult for outsiders. I’m comfortable being an outsider, but I have never been comfortable not being the best I can possibly be at something. I have a dilemma because I have no interest in being the best in meaningless paperwork and overcomplicated procedures, but someone also has to put in the work to change those things.
I will close with a segment of a very short Winston Churchill speech.
‘Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.
I may not have the answer to every question, but I refuse to give in. I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I do know I can outwork everyone else to represent the voters to the best of my ability.