A Teacher. A Husband. A Father. A Working American.
"I intend to be a representative for everyone in the 24th Congressional District, not just those who happen to agree with me or identify with my party. That means I am willing to listen and engage in conversations, especially when we don’t agree." -Edward "Todd" Allen
I am a government teacher, and have been a teacher and public servant my entire working life. My wife is also a full-time teacher, and is currently in school studying for her doctorate. We have two young kids who love being spoiled by their grandparents. I told you about where I work and about my family first because I think that is what politics should be about. Not ideology. Not party loyalty. Not protest. My policy is People. I believe in things that will help everyday Americans like you and me. I believe in fixing healthcare so when my kids get sick a doctor visit doesn’t break our budget. I believe in compassionate immigration reform because a lot of the kids sitting in my classroom are the ones impacted, and they deserve better. I believe in kicking corporations and standardized testing out of education because the only ones who should profit from our schools are the students. I believe in reforming the tax code so in the Spring my family can keep a little more of what we have earned. My policy is People, bottom-line.
I am tired of waking up each morning feeling as if my representatives don’t know anything about my daily life, my struggles, my worries. I am tired of feeling as if I’m getting kicked in the teeth by those same representatives, who seem to be getting more and more brazen about working only for themselves. I am a working American, and it is time for working Americans to rise up and give voice to what we’re all thinking: We Can Be Better. Put simply, that is why I am running for Congress.
I believe in working towards a better future, a future of national civility instead of national cynicism and political dialogue instead of political distrust. Bobby Kennedy once said that our society had begun to teach that those who differed from us in political beliefs, or skin color, or religion, were alien. That we had learned only to share a common fear, a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. His words ring sadly true today. But we can be better. We can disagree and still maintain our dignity. We can still be who our mothers and fathers raised us to be. We can work together again. We can talk to each other again. We can listen to each other again. We Can Be Better.
"Why are you running for Congress?"
This is the question that I get asked the most, and the answer comes down to a letter. This letter was written on a piece of my teacher stationery not quite a year ago, and was intended for an audience of one: the man I saw every morning in the mirror. These few lines are the genesis of my maverick run at a seat in the United States Congress, the words of an ordinary working man, a husband, a father, and a teacher who wants to make a difference. I wrote:
What legacy will I leave for my children? I want Harper and Sam, twenty or thirty years from now, to take chances because their dad took chances. I still believe in America. I still believe a teacher can challenge a millionaire Washington elite and win. If nothing else, my children will know their dad believed the impossible was possible, that its not too late for us, and that people and character and truth still matter.
I believe working Americans, middle class Americans, need the chance to vote for one of their own: not a long-time political operative groomed by the Party elite, not someone with wealth to burn and time on their hands, and not someone in bed with special interests and corporations. Just a normal American who goes to work every day to put food on the table, then goes out to campaign in the few hours he has left in the evening. I believe the People of the 24th will vote for me because I am one of them, and I will fight for them. When I talk about healthcare reform, it is because my family lives with the cost. When I talk about putting wonder back in the classroom, it is because I am in those classrooms and I see that need. When I talk about tax reform, it is because I know what a few hundred dollars a month would mean to my middle-class family, and your middle-class family. I have said before, and I believe, that the American middle class is a sleeping bear that has been poked and prodded too long by special interests, moneyed elites, and a political class that takes elections for granted. I think the bear is waking up and is gonna be ready for one hell of a fight. I’m ready for that fight. I’m ready to talk to everyone, even if our political views don’t align, and I’m ready to listen, which is something our current representative doesn’t seem willing to do. I think We Can Be Better, and I am willing to bet that most of the people in the 24th feel the same.