I am driving to Washington DC this weekend for my niece’s wedding. A year ago I committed to officiating the wedding and I am looking forward to the trip, because of the event, but also because I am going to get a couple of days relief from the constant grind of campaigning. And I’m excited about being a part of launching the next phase of my niece’s life. I find my niece and her fiance to be sweet and smart and really good people. Most important for this event, they have worked just as hard or harder on preparing for a good marriage as creating a beautiful and meaningful wedding. I have seen a lot of young couples focus so much on creating the perfect wedding that once it is over they discover that they haven’t done the groundwork necessary for a lasting marriage. That isn’t the case here.
How this relates to my campaign is that I am trying to do two things at once as well. I am trying to run a winning campaign but at the same time I am putting time and energy into understanding the issues as best I can. I do this so that once I am in office I can be a competent and effective legislator. There is some overlap in the two goals. If I listen to the constituents then I naturally learn more about the issues. And by listening I create the personal connections that give them confidence that I have heard their concerns and might actually do something about them once elected. I also get a chance to interact with the organizations that represent different issues. For example, I had a meeting with the Ohio Education Association last week and learned that there are many sides of education that I had never considered before. This is a process of growth for me that I am truly enjoying and really value.
The end result is that I am finding out that if I run the kind of campaign that connects me with the people, I will become the kind of legislator that works for the people. That meets both of my goals. And, I hope, the goals of the voters.