Thursday, October 18, 2012

Elect Dave Pack for Kansas House of Representatives District 23

This blog post is aimed at my Johnson County, Kansas friends regarding the upcoming state elections.  I understand completely if you bow out of reading this post now if you are not one of my Kansas friends.

If you do live in Kansas House of Representatives district 23, please consider voting for Dave Pack.  If you live in Johnson County, Kansas but you have no idea which House district you live in, check out this voter lookup tool on the Johnson County Election Office website.  And don't be ashamed if you have to look it up. I did too.  Democracy is a learning process.

Dave Pack came to my door a few weeks ago, and I'm afraid I was rude to him.  I should know better, too.  I canvassed for Greenpeace back in 1991, so I know how difficult it is to engage in conversations about important issues with people in their doorways.  I had doors slammed in my face when I'd ask if they'd like to sign a petition to ask our metro leaders to develop a curbside recycling program.  I had lonely elderly folks complain to me about how their children never call when I'd mention wanting to save the planet for our children's future.  I finally couldn't take it any more and quit one day when a man screamed in my face with such force I was afraid he was going to come after me with a shotgun, yelling at me to get off his property.

I don't do the door-to-door stuff anymore.  It's easier to promote causes via the internet these days.  When I want to encourage my friends and neighbors to sign a petition, I simply click a few buttons and share it on Facebook or my blog.  It's so much easier, and safer, than randomly hitting up strangers with a knock on the door.

I didn't mean to be so rude to Dave Pack when he walked up my driveway a few weeks ago, but it had been a very long day and I was cranky.  I was trying to get the groceries out of my car and into the fridge, dodging dogs and cats and a hungry kid asking me how soon dinner would be ready for the five thousandth time since we'd left Costco.  Because it was still relatively early in the election season and no other candidates had bothered to stop by, and because the only people who ever knock on our door anymore are trying to sell something, I assumed he was yet another guy asking me if I needed a new roof or my lawn mowed or a security system installed in my home like most of the others, so I cut him off before he even began speaking with, "Sorry, it's a bad time.  I've gotta get dinner ready."  He smiled graciously and left without a fuss.

Then a few Dave Pack yard signs started popping up throughout my neighborhood.  I got a flyer in my mail with Dave Pack's photo on it, and I realized that was the guy who came to my house.  After studying the flyer and checking some facts online, I felt bad for missing the opportunity to talk to someone who shares my values.  That's such a rare treat.

Once, when I was in high school, a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on our door late one afternoon when I was home from school, but before my parents got home from work.  They seemed surprised when I offered them a seat in our living room and a glass of water.  My breath probably still smelled like Boone's Farm from the night before and I was probably wearing a homemade hippie skirt my mom sewed for me.  I didn't look like them, all neat and tidy and wearing suits.  I didn't look like someone who walks around spouting out about how God is on my side.  They might have thought I was crazy.  But they seemed like nice guys, so maybe they thought I was simply being nice by inviting them in. But honestly, I was the one who had the agenda.  I had recently decided that I did not abide any organized religion that does not love all people, so I immediately asked them what they thought of gay people.  I stopped listening when they began describing hell.  They left me with a book to read and I left them with some opinions of my own about how Jesus loves everyone, we shook hands, and that was that.  I would never shout at someone who comes to my door, even if they do not share my values.

I didn't shout at Dave Pack when he approached me a few weeks ago, but I certainly didn't warmly embrace him either.  I never even let him tell me who he was or what he was there for.  

So let me make it up to him by pimping his message on my blog.

Please, I can't urge you enough to go read about Dave Pack and what he wants to do for our district and our state.  I'll quote a few things from the flyer I got, but please also check out how he stands on various issues compared to his opponent by reading his responses to questions from the Kansas City Star on its Midwest Democracy Project site here.  Dave Pack's full responses are here.

Quotes from the flyer I got in the mail:

I retired from a 40-year career as a professional statistician in June 2012 and filed to run for the Kansas House 10 days later, changing my Unaffiliated registration to Democrat.  So I am not a politician, but a citizen who is very concerned with the direction Kansas is going.

Being "Successful Together" requires:

Quality public education at all levels, a crucial element in Kansas' economic strength

Government working in partnership with the private sector, as it did in the astounding economic growth of Johnson County over the past 60+ years

A fair tax code under which everyone pays their fair share

A government safety net for those among us in need

A true democracy where every person has a voice

"I found your flyer in my door when I got home from work tonight.  I am a registered Republican and a Christian, however I am appalled at the far right that the Republican Party has become.  What has happened to working together to solve our problems, to not being extremists?  After visiting your website and reading about you I am pleased to give you my vote."  --Kimberly Patrick

"We support you because you represent a more moderate and reasonable Kansas and stand up against the uncompromising legislators in office.  Your positions on education, taxes, the environment, and women's health with keep Kansas from falling behind other states."  --The Hamel Family