I long ago lost count of how many friends ask, “what are we going to do?” when discussing the current political situation. It certainly is unlike anything we have ever witnessed. We live with a President who, whether you support him or not, increasingly separates himself from the truth, and with Congressional leaders of the same party who, unless they’ve announced their retirement, seldom check initiatives from the White House even when they run counter to the policy orientation embraced throughout their careers.
So, to my friends and others who ask what we can do, I say, go vote!
First, before you vote, ask yourself what kind of individual you want representing you. Then go on a search to determine with whom you are most aligned. It’s actually pretty easy today with the tools available on the internet to penetrate through the campaign rhetoric and examine the record.
For me, this year’s election is not only about sending strong people to Washington, but it is also about sending a strong and clear message regarding the kind of leadership we expect from Washington. To be sure, there are loud voices in the land. And, maybe those voices represent your thinking, but statistically, those loud voices are usually in the minority. So, the key for those who believe differently is to do one simple thing: vote on Tuesday, November 6th for candidates who understand your concerns; who can relate to the families in your community; who want to protect the nation against the threats that loom all around from opioids, to guns, to environmental issues and more.
Here in the 1st Congressional District of Maryland that includes my community of Easton, two factors launched me on a soul-searching voyage. Initially, as I sought views from Republican friends about incumbent Congressman Andy Harris, I discovered little enthusiasm and rather broad disappointment. When I looked more closely, I saw a Member of Congress that seemed to take his cues from the talking points of rather extreme groups.
Before long, people I respect who are Republicans, Democrats and Independents told me I should get to know a candidate running for Congress for the first time, Jesse Colvin. I found a former Army Ranger, intelligence officer, a bright and engaged leader who leaves a very strong and favorable impression. Jesse won the Democratic primary and is marching aggressively on a very uphill climb to the general election in November. He is being helped by a broad base of supporters; so, I decided to take a much closer look at the situation in my Congressional district.
First, is the question of alignment around values and leadership. I want to support an individual who would bring to the position of Congressman a life experience that teaches what the realities in the world really are not just what they hope they might be. Honestly, I want a leader who will stand up and question arguments that are not fact-based or put people at risk through faulty healthcare programs or a failure to lead when it comes to protecting the environment, especially when the district relies so extensively on the Chesapeake Bay. And, it is essential to have a leader who understands the importance of job growth and the destructive nature of trade wars.
In short order, I found the values, the leadership experience and the judgement Jesse Colvin would bring to public office something well deserving of support.
Of course, an election is about a choice. In this case, the incumbent is of the party I have been a member of for my entire adult life. I came to Washington, D.C. with President Reagan and served in public office for eight years. However, I would be among the first to suggest that past Republican party philosophy and policy preferences mean little in the debates being engaged in today. Whether one focuses on trade, immigration (and separating children from parents), Russia (and trusting an adversary above our own intelligence community) or even health care reform, I just don’t find much comfort in my chosen Party based upon utterances from its leadership, or from our incumbent Congressman.
When Congressman Harris suggested publicly that the outcry over President Trump’s statements standing next to Russian President Putin was the fault of the news media, I decided one must, to be fair, dig deeper for any redemption that might be found in the public record.
This did not help.
After nearly eight years, the voters in our Congressional District should ask why….
Why has no piece of legislation authored by the incumbent been signed into law by either a Democrat or Republican President?
Why has no piece of legislation authored by the incumbent ever even been voted out of the House of Representatives?
With so many issues concerning us today, why has the incumbent done so little to introduce meaningful legislation?
Why is current legislation to “serve” the district by renaming a post office in Salisbury sitting idle in a Committee with what experts say has about a 2% chance of passage?
Why, after these years in Congress, does the incumbent hold no Committee or Sub-Committee leadership position in the Congress?
And, why late last year, would the incumbent vote against legislation to aid our citizens impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria along with those who experienced the devastation of wildfires in 2017…legislation that passed with strong bipartisan support?
Finally, although it was a few years back, why, as an elected official that should be a leader in protecting our citizens from gun violence (and, I say this as a gun owner), would you seek to raise $1,000 a person at a bring-your-own-gun political fundraiser?
The contrast to Jesse Colvin who has served our country as an Army Ranger, who has values shared by the citizens of this district and judgment forged in dealing with the world the way it really exists is as profound as it is compelling.
Beyond character and experience, Jesse Colvin has described his values and priorities clearly and directly….and if you are interested, I invite you to take a closer look.
I know that I probably will not agree with every vote Jesse Colvin makes as a Congressman, but I am as certain as I can be that I will be proud he is my representative every day he holds the office.
So, be clear about what you are seeking from your representative and then do your own research. 2018 is a time for Congress to become better aligned with those of us who vote regardless of party! If you, like me, believe we can do better then it’s up to you, like me, to go vote for a candidate that really reflects your hopes and desires for the future.
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.