Soldier, officer, author…candidate

My crazy life journey has taken another turn this spring. Like many of you, I had a visceral reaction to the social and political events of the past couple of years. I’ve written often about my struggles to find a way to express myself. Writing has always been my outlet and I will continue using my creativity to speak my truth. Now that my path has taken a new turn, I expect to have much more to write about.

A few months ago a friend of mine asked me to consider running for local office. I laughed. Trust me when I tell you that every cop wants to simply retire to the woods and stop dealing with other people’s problems. But, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was shrinking from a challenge. My career centered on Community Policing and problem solving and it seems to me there are a lot of problems to solve.

I look around and everywhere I see people who have given up on their representatives to even listen to them, let alone work on real solutions to issues they have. The tone in our country has deteriorated into a deeper partisan divide than we’ve seen in a generation. Then there is the backlash against minorities, women’s reproductive rights, and same-sex marriage. This new notion of openly expressing bigotry and intolerance under the guise of ditching political correctness is a spreading cancer that cannot be ignored. We have to stand up in the face of this ugliness if we are to survive. file

The more I thought about it, the less crazy the notion of running sounded. I kept saying, “Why me?” And a little voice kept answering, “Why not you?”

I needed 300 signatures to get on the ballot. Still hedging, I told myself if I couldn’t get them, that was my answer. During the two-week window for signatures the weather was bitter cold and freezing rain. I got the flu. Sandy got pneumonia. My competitive nature kicked in and I got pissed off. No way was I going to quit. Stubborness paid off and I delivered 385 signatures to the election commission in the state capital. Holy crap, I’m on the ballot.

My district is deep red, conservative, but I have to tell you, the fair-minded folks are there. People kept telling me to be careful because even Democrats are conservative around here. But, as I talked to more folks, I started to get a different perspective. What if Democrats and progressives have checked out because nobody’s speaking to them? I mean, why would acting conservative work if they already have a conservative candidate? Besides, I’ve never been one to act like something I’m not.

DSC_0229I helped organize a local March for our Lives event, and I made it my first campaign speech to an audience of over 300. No small turnout for our rural county. I introduced Sandy as my wife and the sky hasn’t fallen.  I reached out to the college democrats in this super-conservative college in town. Those young adults are now on my campaign team, and I’m helping them with their LGBTQ student group. We’ve knocked on hundreds of doors, talking to voters about healthcare, jobs, education, sensible gun safety, and yes–equality.

The journey has been amazing. No, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, and there will always be those who choose the division and hateful tone that the extremists use. But our message of unity and kindness is gaining traction. Opening the conversation with, I’m a former soldier and retired police officer, gives me the opportunity to engage where the word democrat is normally the end. I’m okay with that. Intersectionality is who I am. We’re all more fluid than the pundits and party leaders would have us believe. People are people.

One of my newest supporters, a teacher, told me after March for our Lives: “Two things. First, I want the biggest-ass campaign sign you can get me for my yard. Second, we’re getting ready to see what this community is made of.” Indeed.

So, now you know what I’ve been up to. Although our campaign is about much more than one issue, I believe our community must get a place at the table or else we’ll always be on the menu. Thanks to the Women & Words family for their steadfast support as LM’s life journey continues.

Check out our campaign here: Lisa for PA 8  lisaforpa8@gmail.com  Facebook: @LisaforPA8 Twitter: @LisaBLforPA

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “Soldier, officer, author…candidate

  1. I am soooo proud to know you, LM! And I feel so fortunate to live in Pennsylvania, the state that can only improve because of your unselfish efforts. You and your spouse truly live lives of service.
    Good luck next Tuesday, our Primary Election Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and your spouse have done PA a great service, as well, Renee. I believe we each can and should do what we can to improve our communities and world. One heart at a time. Thanks for all the love.

      Like

  2. Definitely a hero in my book … and that was before all of THIS! Thank you for all kinds of service.
    I am quite liberal in most ways -definitely socially – … but I have also always been a bit conservative economically – not like the “don’t care about anyone Republicans” – but conservative like, maybe we do need to make some economic choices and not just assume the sky is somewhere beyond Mars and we can run a deficit that this generations great-grand children will never see the end of. I have had to get by on a low salary for all of my working years. It can be done. I knew I needed to save for my retirement so ‘eating out’ was a rare thing, brown bagged it for almost 50 years, took 4 vacations in that time, do not have TV and the accompanying cable bills, use the library … you get the picture.
    My Dad was a WWII paratrooper and I had many friends who had to make the choice – serve in Vietnam or go to Canada and risk never being able to come home again. I had a problem with Vietnam from the standpoint of what our government was doing but had the brains to see that the men and women who served there were doing an honorable thing. But this country as a general rule cannot see the nuances of our situations, our problems and challenges … the view is “black or white” with no ability to discern “on the one hand THIS, while on the other hand, THAT.”
    And don’t get me started on police! Yes, some police need retraining or weeding out, but I don’t want to live in a community without police or in a community where the citizen-police relationship is hostile. I wish we could turn around the militarization of police, but I also see that in some areas the criminals – drug dealers and those intent on doing harm to other people –‘terrorists’ domestic and foreign in the news vernacular – are better armed than many police departments. In simple terms, I look at the dark tinted car windows of vehicles today and say, “you could not give me the job of walking up to that car at night for any amount of money.” Totally blind.
    Well, too many sides and questions and difficult to sort out problems … with a citizenry that seems to latch onto simple, un-empathetic and un-thought-out answers.
    Yes, I’ve gotten cynical and have lost just about all hope. I have doubted that we can turn this around. It will be a big job. I respect your choice to attempt to tackle some part of it … and I sincerely mean when I say “Good luck.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. F*ck, that is SO cool, and so inspiring, congratulations! I’m in Australia, otherwise you’d have my vote. We all need to stand up and be counted, especially in the face of Trump, although I’m personally hoping he’s the final death rattle of the Patriarchy. Go you, and the whole LGBTQ+ community, who bring such greater empathy to every discussion table xxx G

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That is such exciting news!! You are going to do great things. Heck you have already done great things! I appreciate you stepping up for our community and bringing about the changes we need. You are awesome!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s