As the band director for Lamar High School, I would ordinarily be spending this time of year getting the pep band ready to perform at football games. But this is no ordinary year. I am running for Congress. The School Board has graciously allowed me to take an unpaid leave of absence until after the election. Mr. Jacob Donato will be filling in for me. I will still be involved, but I will not be in the band room every day.
I am a teacher. That will never change. I hope that by running for Congress, I am teaching my students to stand up for what they believe in, even if their beliefs happen to be different from my own. I hope I am teaching them to fight for what they think is right even when the odds are against them. I hope I am teaching them to put the needs of others ahead of what may be convenient or comfortable for them.
I am running because I am tired of seeing jars in gas stations asking for spare change so a family can pay for their child’s medical bills. A medical crisis should not mean a financial disaster for a family. Someone who is working as many hours as they can get should not have to use WIC or food stamps or other programs to make ends meet. You can’t call it a “minimum wage” if it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of what it costs to live in a community. I am running because I have good students who are locked out of college because their parents can’t afford to pay tuition and they don’t qualify for financial aid. These are hardworking families. They deserve better.
I am running because the people who live in Lamar deserve to have a voice in Congress. For 40 of the past 42 years, Eastern Colorado has sent a Republican to Congress. What do we have to show for that kind of loyalty? We need roads and bridges, water rights, economic development, and so much more. These are not luxuries. These are basic functions of government. These are the reasons we have government.
Theoretically, we have a Congressman who represents our part of the state. He tends to show up around election time. In reality, there is no one in Washington D.C. who speaks for the people who live south of I-70. That needs to change. The Congressman for CD-04 should represent ALL of CD-04, not just a few counties. I love my job and my students. This has never been about me wanting a career change. This is about changing a system that has some serious problems. I want to help my students, their families, and our community. There is only so much I can do in the band room. To do more, I have to reach higher.
So that is what I am doing. I am reaching. I am teaching. And I am working to help the people of Lamar, Eads, and the rest of this area.
East Park Street
Lamar, CO 81052
Filed Under: Letters to the Editor
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