NOTE: I wrote this in August 2012, when I first sought elected office.
I first took an oath to support and defend the US Constitution when I was seventeen. It was 1976, and I was only a couple of months out of high school when I joined the Iowa National Guard. I celebrated my eighteenth birthday on the obstacle course in basic training at Ft Sill, Oklahoma. I returned home after training and spent two years in the Guard until I joined the US Army, with duty as an MP, and again swore an oath to support and defend.
After reenlisting, while stationed in West Germany (for those too young to remember, there were two Germanys) I was later transferred to Ft Irwin, California where I served two years as the NCO-in-charge of the Drug Suppression Team. I left the Army in 1985 to become a California municipal peace officer and again took the oath.
Every time I have taken the oath, I did it with a deep sense of responsibility and purpose; because, the Constitution means a great deal to me–it’s language has very specific meaning and purpose.
The rights in the First Amendment were properly placed–those rights should be enumerated first. The right to speak, to assemble, to protest, to worship, to think are fundamental to the human condition.
I support all of the amendments, including the Second Amendment. I did not need the Supreme Court to tell me the right to keep and bear arms is a personal right, but I appreciate them affirming what many of us already knew.
I believe that government at all levels exists, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, to secure the “rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. [Emphasis added]. We are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness, but we are not guaranteed happiness.
I believe government should be no larger than is necessary to do the work that “We The People” want done–have a right to expect to be done. That taxes and fees should be no larger than necessary to provide the services the community expects to be provided. That wherever possible government service at the local level is preferable to government at higher levels, because local government is more accessible and accountable to the People.
At the end of the day, I believe those who serve in elected positions have a duty to serve the greater interest of those who they are elected to serve, and not to pander to the interest of individuals or a select few. # # #
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