Thursday, March 4, 2010

me, Steve, and HD-71

I didn't plan to blog on this-- or to talk about it outside of close friends and those who "needed to know". But now I'm told that there are all sorts of rumors about this-- although I can't imagine why/how-- so I should probably make sure the record is as straight as possible.

For the last few years, some connected Republicans have tried to recruit me to run for the state legislature. At first, it was broad and vague; then, a few months ago, it got quite specific. I was approached by party leadership to run against Rep. Steve Stemler in HD-71.

I know Steve and have a lot of respect for him. I ran into him quite a bit on the campaign trail in 2006-- and less so in 2008 since he was unopposed. (This is the seat held by James Bottorff for a long time; his widow Carlene replaced him; and Steve beat her in the Democratic primary.) Steve is a relatively independent voice-- in contrast to the common "sure vote" that party leadership likes to have and often gets (in both parties). After the election, he read my book on Christianity and public policy and we met to talk about it. We also talked about the challenges of being principled within the major political parties.

When I was approached by the GOP, they gave me a lengthy list of bad votes from Stemler and a small list of (5) good votes. I knew this was a good year to run-- even in a strong Democratic district against a strong Democratic candidate. But I needed to research whether his voting record was as bad as I had been told. I also needed to talk with IUS to see whether it was feasible (with adjustments in my responsibilities and pay). And I needed to prayerfully decide with Tonia whether this would be a good move for our family.

A bit surprisingly, the IUS angle turned out to be no problem. So, in the future, I should be able to run for state legislative seats in the future. Tonia was open to it-- although this is not the best time in life for it and might affect some big decisions we might otherwise make. I was open to it, especially after thinking about the things I would do-- both in terms of support/opposition to popular issues and in trying to raise awareness on less-popular issues.

And I met with Steve. He acknowledged votes that were difficult and questionable and pointed to some which were procedural and not a good place to make a stand his party. He also asked why he had not gotten credit from the GOP for a wide range of votes on various "conservative" topics in committee and on the floor. With that, the credibility of the GOP "list" was greatly reduced-- and I was left with my initial impression: although I disagree with Steve on some things, I think we need more people like him in the legislature. In a word, I don't think there'd be enough improvement for a campaign to worth our while.

So, I'm not running in 2010 for HD-71.
What does the future hold? God knows...


At March 4, 2010 at 4:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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