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My Turn 8-11-2010

Every community needs its heroes, and those heroes can come in all different sizes and shapes. They can be young or old, men or women. Race and religion don’t matter. Heroes stick their necks out for others, often for little or no monetary compensation. They volunteer for the tough jobs that most people have no desire to tackle.
The heroes I want to salute today are the folks who stepped up and ran for public office. Whether they won or lost, they stood up and said “I’ll do it, if you’ll let me.”
Every one of the local races was marked by candidates that worked hard, and ran clean campaigns. Whether knocking on doors or greeting fairgoers, these special people asked the voters for the privilege of serving their community.
Nobody locally is really in it for the money. Local government offices don’t pay enough to justify the headache of getting asked questions while standing in line at the grocery store, or for the angry phone calls at home in the evening. But people still want the jobs. They ask for the jobs. They spend their own money to try to get these jobs.
Contrast that with the folks in Washington today. For most, it’s not about the service, it’s about the power. Too many are arrogant. Too many are quick to point the finger of blame at someone else. Too many come to Washington with little money, and leave as millionaires.
Instead of open discussions, there are endless attacks. Instead of working together, almost everything has sharp party-line votes. And both major parties in Washington are to blame for the problem. Congressman Pete Stark of California recently said the federal government can do most anything it wants in this country. Unfortunately, Stark seems to reflect much of Washington.
Missouri voters sent a message to Washington this week, with 71 percent voting against Prop C, which would bar the federal government from requiring that individuals purchase health insurance. While I’m sure some federal judge will overturn this law, the point is clear. Washington has too much power.
The founders envisioned citizen legislators, people who would serve in office for a time, and then return home to their lives and business. Too many have been in Washington for way too long, and don’t have the slightest clue what life is like back home. It’s time for the voters to remind Washington politicians that they work for us.
It’s time for a new batch of heroes to step forward, just like Kim, Mary, Gretchen, Debbie, Jill, Michelle, Paul, Ron, Eddie, Steve, Leih Ann, Roberta, John, Scott, Rick, Neill, Craig, Keri, Brian and Wes did.