Lacing Up My Sneakers
I love to run. It's a way to clear my head, get my blood pumping, and appreciate the beauty of the world. That doesn’t mean it always feels good at first: that first mile is the hardest part. But once I push through the distraction, discomfort, even pain, I fall into a rhythm and I feel as if I could run forever. I'm finding the same is true with running for public office. I've thought about running for elective office more than once over the years, but the time didn't feel right. Frankly, the idea felt overwhelming and there were always other things that needed doing.
That changed on election night 2016. Like so many others, I felt an immediate need to stand up for the values I believe in. In the weeks and months that followed, I wrote letters, made phone calls, signed petitions, marched, and discovered that there was a whole wave of people who felt as I did. And that groundswell made a difference, keeping the most destructive forces at bay. But that began to change, and Washington’s attacks on our values and institutions began to take hold, riding roughshod over the voices who believe in government for the common good. Sure, the groundswell of grassroots protests blocked the White House and Congressional Republicans from repealing Obamacare outright, but now our access to reliable, affordable healthcare is being undermined by a thousand cuts. The foundation of our public education system is under real threat. Regulations that have protected our air and water are being tossed out like yesterday's leftovers. The President’s attacks on the Justice Department and FBI and his appointment of unqualified judges to federal courts undermine our democracy.
As I began to speak and write about these issues, friends and colleagues started telling me I should run for office. Pretty soon a voice inside me joined in to say, "Now is the time. You don't like where politics is heading? Then run for office yourself." If Washington is going to tear down the institutions and commitments we’ve made to our citizens, Connecticut can be part of building them back up by protecting our healthcare and environment, and insisting on evidence-based policies and investments that can lift the economic health of our region. We can build a different kind of wall - one that shores up the institutions that make our society more fair and just, protects all of us from the catastrophe that a health crisis can bring, and stands for integrity, decency, and justice.
So here I am. Running for a brighter future for the place I love, Connecticut's Northwest Corner. Over the next few weeks, I will literally be running throughout the District, through all nine towns and the surrounding countryside, meeting with as many families, neighbors, and friends as possible. I want to hear your concerns and your ideas. I also want to hear about your dreams and aspirations. And I want to hear your questions for me.
If I win the honor of representing you as the State Representative for the 64th District, I won't consider the race over. In fact, I know it's only then that the real race will begin. There are significant challenges to face in Hartford, and I will bring my whole self to meet them. I want a Connecticut that works for all of us here in the Northwest Corner and I believe we can achieve that. Change can be hard and it usually takes longer than it should to achieve what we really want. So let’s start now, building toward the future we know is possible.
I run every day if I can, and I have for the past twenty years. The habit and discipline of showing up to do something every day, whether you feel like it or not, builds resilience and strength. It reminds you that standing up, and putting one foot in front of the other, is the only way to get you where you want to go.