Memorial Day Message
I served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 2004, and for years I have been a volunteer adult leader and merit badge counselor for local chapters of the Boy Scouts of America.
My experiences with the U.S. Army and the Boy Scouts of America inform the opinions I hold today as a candidate for public office.
My favorite 1st Class requirement of the Boy Scouts of America instructs the scouts to “discuss . . . the constitutional rights and obligations of a U.S. citizen.”
We as U.S. citizens have constitutional rights, but we also have constitutional obligations. There are people in this country who like to talk about their constitutional rights but who forget their constitutional duties. But I am confident that my former scouts will not be among that number that forget or ignore their constitutional duties.
Over and over again, I would emphasize to the scouts in my care that freedom is not free, that if they enjoyed any right it was because someone else had sacrificed for that right or someone else had fulfilled their constitutional obligations in order to provide that right to them.
With the scouts watching, I would draw two columns on a chalk board, one labeled Rights and the other labeled Duties (or Obligations). For each and every right there would be a least one corresponding duty.
For example, we cannot obtain our right to a jury trial if no one is required to serve on the jury. The scouts would be amazed that all 12 jury members unanimously must declare a person guilty. The scouts would also be amazed to learn that they could be sent to prison if they refused to serve on a jury without a valid excuse--that was how important it is for a constitutional obligation to be fulfilled.
The scouts and I would discuss our rights as U.S. citizens to the pursuit of happiness and peaceable enjoyment of our property. But in the other column under Duties I would list the corresponding duty to obey the laws of the land and the duty for the 11-year-old boys to register for the Selective Service when they turned 18. For the large majority of boys, our discussion was the first time in their lives that they learned that they might be required to serve in the military and sacrifice their lives if their country needed them.
On this Memorial Day, I suggest to you that sacrificing to fulfill our constitutional obligations is what provides to ourselves and others the rights we all enjoy as U.S. citizens.
For example, although no one is legally obligated to run for public office, if elections remain consistently uncontested, then the right to vote has been largely taken away.
I am the first Democrat in the last 8 years to campaign for the Idaho state legislature in Bingham County. For the first time since 2012, when they go to the polls during a general election in November, the voters in Bingham County will be able to exercise their right to choose which one of two candidates they prefer to represent them in the Idaho legislature.
While I am not LEGALLY obligated to campaign for the Idaho legislature, I definitely feel MORALLY obligated to do so in order to provide the voters of Bingham County a more complete right to vote during the general election this November.
I am running to represent the voters of Bingham County, not to represent organizations with headquarters in Boise or Colorado or North Carolina or DC, etc. Over the course of the next several months if you come to believe that, I hope I can count on your vote in November.