Political life is about public service, not personal service
There are some days I think my head is going to explode.The election ended Nov. 2 and the schedule at the State Capitol began on Nov. 4. I think that I had Wednesday off, but I am not sure. I really can’t remember.It has nothing to do with what I had been drinking or eating. It had everything to do with the number of phone calls I have received.Maslow, the motivational theorist, says that a person’s greatest need is attention. I think that he must have been talking about normal people and not politicians.Not that politicians are not normal. Maybe I need to qualify that statement. I think that politicians have an inordinate amount of ability to sustain many things. Driving back and forth from town to town for 12 months. Sitting for long periods in meetings and actually enjoying it. Spending hours on the phone listening to people talk about the important issues in their lives.I guess that is why they call it public service and not personal service.It is not a job but a calling. It is a volunteer activity for which the payment is the joy of being able to help someone.I had a lot of help and still get a lot of help. It is not a solitary activity but something that comes about from a group effort.It is about the person who sent me a $5 bill, two singles and some postage stamps in an envelope without a return address. It was postmarked Salida and the sender had written “thanks for all you do” on the inside of the flap. Made me want to cry.That is what it is all about. Helping a person who would give all he or she has to help make a change in our system. Our government.It is also about the nearly 30,000 voters who took the time to register their opinion in House District 56. The wealthy and the poor. The men and the women. The young people and old. The natives and the newcomers. They all took the time to let us know how they felt about their government.The most recent U.S. News and World Report had Colorado as a red state. A Republican state. But if you look very closely, you can see that Summit was dark blue, Democrat, and Lake and Eagle were a lighter shade of blue meaning that they tended toward Democrat. I find this very interesting as it shows that we are truly diverse and that people in our area are mostly independent and vote their consciences rather than along party lines. That is a good thing.The biggest message I received in the past 12 months is that the people who live here are individuals with their own needs and wants. People always wanted to talk to me personally and have me hear what was really on their minds. Not what the newspapers were saying. Not what the pollsters wanted us to think. Not what the political parties were saying but what was important to them as individuals.People want to be viewed as individuals and not as part of a group.I think that is why Ken Salazar was elected. He was seen as a person. A common man. A man of the people and not a candidate of a particular party. His brother, John, was elected in the 3rd Congressional District to replace Scott McInnis for the same reason. Both are down-to-earth real people who will go to Washington, D.C., and represent all of us and not some special interest.This should bolster confidence in our government. I was born when FDR was president. I remember Harry Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush, Clinton and G. W. Bush. I have met three of them personally.Being an elected official involves a huge amount of trust. Thank you for giving me your trust. I will do my best not to let you down.State Rep. Gary Lindstrom represents Summit, Eagle and Lake counties in the state House of Representatives. He is a Democrat. He can be reachedat firstname.lastname@example.org.His website iswww.garylindstrom.com.
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