April 23, 2017

Running for Election

• By John F. Chisholm •

I’m running for election, state representative, District 102.

My thoughts on the matter are mixed. On one hand, I was raised with the example of civic duty. My mother, crippled by polio, still served as town clerk. Her brother was a selectman for several terms. Their father was moderator of town meetings for years and years. Near the end of his time, he served as a state representative.

Like my forebearers, I, too, have served in various civic positions; budget committee member, selectman and school board representative, too. Beyond even that, I was on the library committee and the Municipal Review Committee.

It was my duty as taught me by my family. It was an education as well.

Ironically, that’s what gives me the experience to wonder just what I’m getting myself involved with now.

Because if elected, I won’t enjoy the hours and hours spent traveling back and forth, to and from Augusta. In a similar vein, the time spent away from my family won’t be available for reuse later. No.

Still, I have my nomination papers. I’m collecting signatures. As noted above, the running has begun.

Lloyd Hutchinson, one of the first residents to sign my nomination petition asked a question straight to the point, “Why are you doing this?” He grinned. “You don’t look impaired.”

Thanks for that, Lloyd. I gave you a clumsy answer. Please, let me refine it.

Civil discourse is the critical tool of government. It’s often overlooked. Today it’s unfashionable. Bitter acrimony has replaced it. That has to end. As tightly held as our opinions become, the realization that not everyone agrees with us has to come with them.

In fact, if we were to count issues, I’m confident that our common ground is larger and stronger than our disagreements. It’s true. I want us to rediscover that. I want to build on it as well.

So, yes, I’m running as a Democrat but I represent the Mutual Respect Party. That’s even if I’m the only member. Think about it. Working together is the only way anything has ever been accomplished. Further, if I’m going to run for office, I don’t want to waste my time.

Equally important, I don’t want to waste yours, either.

So please, realize that running for office is far more difficult that it sounds. In many ways it’s a sacrifice. But it’s important duty, too. For me, I have a compelling need to proclaim the importance of civil discourse to ourselves, our communities, our state and our country.

It is all that allows us to keep building on our motto:

E Pluribus Unum. From many, one.