Here is something exciting that I’ve been working on for the past few months. As we are about to conclude our famous Taking Back The House series, I thought it would be interesting to keep it going in another way. I was looking for candidates we have spotlighted to write a brief op-ed for us so they can tell us why they chose to run for Congress and what they can bring in.
Our first installment is by Vic Meyers, who is running against Cory Gardner in Colorado’s 4th congressional district. Vic’s district will likely not be spotlighted in our series but I got to know Vic a bit over the past few months. Vic is not your everyday politician, because frankly, he isn’t one. instead he’s an everyman who is trying to represent his constituents and not special interests. To donate to Vic Meyers’s campaign, click here. To check out his campaign site, click here. To view his Facebook page, click here and to follow him on Twitter, click here.
Without further ado, please take it away Vic.
I was born in Colorado but I had the great fortune of attending kindergarten in Jamestown, New York. Some of the lessons I learned there about who started our country and why are still with me today. I turned nine years old in our country’s bi-centennial year and remember the red-white-and-blue celebration that culminated with the election of the new president. I was sitting in front of the T.V. when Walter Cronkite (I think it was him) was telling me about how only in America can a peanut farmer from Georgia be chosen by the people to be their new leader. He remarked about how other countries did not have changes in government without great turmoil and sometimes bloodshed.
It was these two periods of my life that put into me the seed of desire to serve my country. It’s why I enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school. It’s why the idea of representative government as described best by Abraham Lincoln, of by and for the people, isn’t just a slogan to me. I view it as the greatest legacy ever given since the first time mankind developed an organized society. It’s a legacy that is worth fighting for and one that we must all do our part to protect.
As I watch the spiraling decline of our Congress and their inability to recognize the damage they are doing to our legacy, I am compelled to act. We all complain and I can complain as well as anybody. But I’m not satisfied with just complaining. I’m the kind of person who has to do something more than complain when I believe it’s within my power to do so. That’s why I decided to run for Congress in Colorado’s 4th district. My current Congressman is the epitome of what’s wrong in our national government. If he ever understood the origins of our government, if he ever read Thomas Paine or the Federalist Papers then he has forgotten what he learned. He represents the Tea Party, a group that is representative of only a small fraction of the people in our district. Defeating him is one of the many things I can do, my part, to protect our legacy.
My district is very large and very rural. The average income is around $50K/yr. Agriculture is a key industry and our small towns are struggling to survive. That is why I’ve chosen to run on protecting Social Security against Chained CPI and other attacks, Immigration Reform and Infrastructure Investment. There are over 80,000 people in my district that rely on their Social Security income. Fighting to protect it is a perfect example of representing the needs of the people. The same goes for immigration reform. While my opponent sings the Tea Party tune, the dairies and farms in our district struggle to bring their products from the field to the market because they depend upon immigrant labor. They need immigration reform. So do the families of the immigrants who work for them.
As the roads and bridges of America crumble for lack of attention, the 4th CD is not exempt. By investing in infrastructure today we save money over the long run and finally get the recovery to reach beyond Wall Street and onto Main Street by creating living-wage jobs. While we’re at it, we can build new infrastructure to support wind and solar energy production. This will create more jobs, local revenues and positive effects against climate change.
I’m a working class husband, father and grandfather. I’m not a wealthy man and I’m not well connected in the political world. I enlisted after high school and was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. After the war I finished college, earning a B.S. in Mathematics. My first job after college was in software, working for a defense contractor. Not liking that job, I took a job with the Colorado Dept. of Corrections where I’m now a case manager with sixteen years in the department. I have life experience that is much more like the average citizen of my district than that of my opponent.
Voter registration and past elections suggest that I cannot win this election. The wealth and power of King George also suggested that our country could never be founded. I have great obstacles in front of me. The most obvious one is money. I’ve traveled to all parts of the district and I’m building a grass-roots effort. If my message is true of purpose, I believe it is, and if the people of my district are as fed up with Congress as I am, I believe they are, then this is not an unwinnable race. It wasn’t that long ago that a Democrat represented this district and the last one that ran underperformed. It’s much more winnable than conventional wisdom suggests.
Because somebody like me isn’t supposed to be able to win a race like this, the benefits of winning will reverberate across the nation. Imagine the message that will be sent when the 4th CD voters stand up and declare that they will no longer be manipulated by gerrymandering. Imagine the message to Senators and Representatives of both parties when they realize that we still have an America where, after enough frustration, there is no such thing as a “safe” seat.
I’m not so arrogant as to believe that I alone am the lone savior of our forefathers’ legacy. I am hopeful enough to believe that there are enough people left in this country who value this legacy as much as I do. While I’ll be working my tail off over the next year to get enough people to believe in me it all starts with getting people to believe WITH me. I need people to believe WITH me that our country is still the same one where a peanut farmer became president. I need them to believe WITH me that if Bill Clinton and Barack Obama can start life where they did and become president, then I can become a U.S. Representative. I need them to believe WITH me that we have a legacy worth fighting for and we all have something we can do to fight for it. I’m doing what I can. What are you doing?
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