‘What are you going to do next?’. That’s the most often asked question of any candidate who has unsuccessfully run for office. I believe that question comes from a good place and is meant to encourage the continuation of the fight. But it’s a hard question too. We jump into a campaign believing we can be successful, and can make a difference. The loss of the race is not the end of the process. But, it makes us question why we ran, what we accomplished and if there is a way to move forward? We ask; ‘Were my ideas truly good ones?. If not, what’s wrong with them and what did I miss? And if they were good, why didn’t I win?’. We asked for the public to measure and judge us, to believe in who we are, and what we could do, and yet we came up short. It’s humbling, and challenging, and it can either push us back out of the conversation, or drive us forward to work harder to make a positive impact in our world.
As I look back over the campaign that I ran the thing that I enjoyed the most was the opportunities I had to sit and talk with the people of NC. Whether it was at a dinner in Rutherfordton, at a gala in Charlotte, a BBQ in Burlington, or in schools and churches across the state, it is through those conversations that I LEARNED. I learned about people’s hopes, fears, dreams, obstacles and opportunities. I learned that there is a great desire, on all sides, to work to solve the problems we all face. I learned that people want to have a voice in what happens around them, but seldom feel like they can be heard. I learned that an open mind and a listening ear, can lead to amazing ideas. And it’s because of that lesson, that I am moving forward in this new direction.
I believe the most important thing we can do is to work together. That doesn’t happen if we are fully entrenched behind party lines. That doesn’t happen when we refuse to acknowledge that there is another viewpoint. It doesn’t ever happen until we decide to make it so. I believe that starting a conversation is the first step toward working together. Now notice, I said conversation. Not talking. Not a lecture. Not a position paper or talking points, but open honest communication, where the focus begins with hearing others before speaking. A conversation that is built on the premise that; both parties WANT to be there, where we can respect each other enough to listen first, can be the most powerful force in facing the challenges in the world.
It’s my hope that I can help some of this happen. I believe we, as a people, can accomplish anything when we work together toward a common goal. But, we first have to understand what the issues are, then we can address them. So let’s talk about the issues. Let’s discuss them openly, without judgment and animosity, and understanding that finding the correct answer is more important than being right. In the coming weeks, I will be throwing out my ideas for discussion. I want to know what you think about them, how it makes you feel, and what we can do to make them better. Every discussion is not going to be about a policy or program. I hope to converse with you about all the issues that are affecting our lives, about the political arena, the geopolitical circumstances that affect us, and anything else that catches my fancy. I commit to listening to you, to welcoming the conversation, and to working together in a respectful manner. If you are interested in chiming in, offering opinions, or topic suggestions, please do! The more people we can involve in the conversation, the greater effect I believe we can have on the world around us.
I look forward to it!