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I Am Not Qualified to Serve in Congress (And Neither is Anyone Else)

Video version of this blog post.

The Constitution of the United States does not have much to say about the job for which I am now applying. In Article I, Section 2, there are three requirements:

  1. You must be at least 25 years old.
  2. You must have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years.
  3. Upon your election, you must be an inhabitant of that state.

This is unlike other positions in our society. Doctors and attorneys must complete an accredited educational program, pass a difficult state exam, and maintain an active license. So must teachers and cosmetologists, architects and civil engineers, pilots and nurses. In the State of Indiana, massage therapists must have 625 hours of supervised classroom and hands-on instruction. To join the military, a candidate must meet physical requirements and earn a sufficient score on the ASVAB–the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

Running for Congress, however, is something most anyone can do. Getting elected is about getting votes. Whether or not I am qualified to serve is not about the approval of test makers, but the approval of the people.

Approval can only be sought earnestly through humility. I am not qualified to serve in Congress. No one is. No amount of study nor any set of life experiences can prepare a person to represent their fellow citizens. That requires something far more difficult than passing an exam or convincing a small panel of experts. To serve in Congress with honor one must be trusted by the people, and trust must be earned.

I believe you should trust me and I’ve answered this question here before. I’ve talked about how trust in politicians is short supply. This is, I believe, a qualification of sorts. I am writing and sharing my views. As of this moment, eleven months before Election Day, I have 72 blog posts. I am launching an issues section on this site next week with over ten thousand words and dozens of videos. Trust is about transparency and politicians don’t often commit to sharing what is on their mind. I aim to be different.

I believe you should trust me because I have worked to be a contributing member of our community. I have served on various non-profit boards and volunteered, worked jobs and run a small business. Ask most anyone who knows me, and they will likely agree that I have made a significant, positive impact in the places I have been. But trust is also about honesty. My record, as is everyone’s, is not flawless. I have made mistakes and certainly have my professional and personal regrets. And while I do not see a benefit in broadcasting the errors of my past, I will answer when asked. This is not what politicians often do. I aim to be different.

I believe you should trust me because of my dedication. We all know the relief of a team member that shows up and does their part. Of a loved one that calls when we are struggling. Of the friend who is on time to meet for coffee. This is the person I try to be, and it is the person I want to be for the people of our district in Congress. If we have been friends on Facebook, you know that I have asked a Question of the Day virtually every single day for over ten years [1]. Trust is about reliability. I believe you can count on me. This is not what politicians often do. I aim to be different.

I am not qualified to serve in Congress. No one is. But I do seek a sliver of your time and attention. To share my thoughts and listen to yours. To travel throughout the district and show you the person I am.

Because there is one qualification that is real and essential: yours. You are qualified to make a decision. Each and every day you get to decide if I am the candidate you trust.

Thank you for your consideration.

[1] Starting August 30, 2011 and continuing for a decade, and then some.

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