The Fourth of July has always been a favorite holiday for my family. We were not a political family; we rarely spoke about the Framers or the Declaration of Independence. It was a day to appreciate each other and this country that provides us opportunity and safety. Even as we struggle today with a sluggish economy where opportunity is not as available as we want it to be, today is a good day to appreciate what we do have, aspire for more, and consider what else we can do to serve our communities and country.
I wanted to make my own contribution so I left the area for a career in public service after I graduated from the University of Washington. My Fourth of July celebrations in recent years included watching the fireworks in Washington, DC, from the White House South Lawn and from the porch of the Capitol building. For someone with my humble background, being in those historic places evoked powerful feelings of patriotism and service. The Fourth of July inspired me to work harder. Yet, even when I attended the celebrations in Washington, DC, I would often think about my family and friends back home having bloc parties in Fall City or camping at Lake Alta State Park.
When I left my career in the other Washington for this campaign back at home, I knew there was risk. Running a campaign for Congress as an Independent can be lonely. You end up battling against both Democrats and Republicans facing the organizational challenges of not having party support. I also wondered how I would connect with people after my years away. My concerns were unwarranted. Connecting with people through this campaign, discussing my experiences growing up in this Washington and working in the “other” Washington, has been one of the best experiences of my life. I will look back on these months of my life fondly.
I am now home for the Fourth of July. I will be driving around the District with my wife, mother, sister, and good friends (and a dog named Archie) stopping by various public events. We have volunteers around the District as well. You will see them with our T-shirts. I know this is not a day for heavy campaigning. It is about people, families, and communities coming together. I believe that someone who wishes to represent an entire Congressional District should not set-up a camp in a single community over a holiday. We decided to hit the road.
This country is going to get back to greatness. I would not be doing this if I believed otherwise. We have everything to be great. We have resources. We have talent. And we have work ethic. We need our leaders to get past partisanship and lead. The drafters and signers of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were not Federalists, Democrats, Whigs, or Republicans. They were Independents and Americans.
I declared my independence from the two parties and the other forces that have caused our problems in recent years when I decided to run for office as an Independent. You have a choice in coming weeks too. You can declare your independence by supporting Independent candidates, like me. You can become a Windependent. Have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July. We hope to see you in the days ahead.