It’s been about a year now since I made the decision, with the blessing of my lovely wife, to run for United States Congress as an Independent. During that time we have learned a lot, worked a lot and met thousands of people. Last June I turned in over 1,800 of our neighbor’s signatures who all agreed that I deserved the opportunity to earn your support. Still, with 727,000 people who live in our Congressional district, about 400,000 of whom are eligible to vote, there’s likelihood that you and I have never laid eyes on each other. When I received the invitation to blog for Patch, I saw it as another opportunity to meet you. This blog invites you into my campaign, my mission and my story. Welcome.
Looking back, August of 2011 was significant for me and our country. My 37th birthday was in August; which oddly meant that I caught up in age with my older sister who had passed 5 years prior. I had recently celebrated my first wedding anniversary; which I hear is a good sign for the likely survival of my marriage. I also received final word that my trademark application for the phrase “Patriotic Development” had been approved. It’s a neat thing to trademark a phrase. The process took about 7 months and in my mind its approval confirmed the new path I had recently chosen; that of being a writer and speaker after many years of working in the accounting and finance industry. Just over 2 years prior my father had passed away and yes, I do think there was a correlation with him losing my sister, his first born. Having lived with them both during their final years, I was struck by the brevity of life, the finality of death and the recognition that we are capable of much but we must act sooner rather than later.
In August I began writing and rewriting a book on the idea of taking action in your life for the sake of causes greater than yourself. As a writer I had the luxury of taking a break to watch C-SPAN and observe our elected officials work on causes greater than themselves. They weren’t too good at it. Because of their inability to achieve compromise on fiscal policy, in August of 2011 Standard and Poor’s downgraded our U.S. debt from AAA to AA+. This was the first time in United States history that our debt had been downgraded and it took a bite out of our leadership status in the world. We still lead, but our image took a body blow in the summer of 2011. The bickering and posturing of our politicians does not represent the best of us. We are a better people than partisan politicians depict us to be. “We the people” can do better.
What I saw in August of 2011 was what a lot of people saw – a need to get past the partisanship and focus on citizenship. This was and is an immediate need. Writing a book was my initial way of getting involved but with my wife’s blessing, I took the opportunity that few have –to be a candidate. It is our generation’s turn in history to get involved personally in our national politics. Those who can run for office should and those who can participate in other ways should also make that choice. This is our time.
In our 8th Congressional district we have someone who has served passionately for many years but like many of his peers, has chosen a partisan path that has painted him into a corner. I am speaking of Jim Moran. Once you go partisan with passion, it’s difficult to “cross the aisle,” do it for 21 years in Congress and it’s nearly impossible. I am applying to be your non-partisan representative. I don’t have a political dog in the fight; I have a burning desire to pass laws that secure our success as a nation. This 112th Congress passed fewer laws than the “do-nothing Congress” of 1948. We can do better.
For those of you with whom I have not had the opportunity to engage, the next 60 days will be important steps to earning your trust:
- You will want to know what I stand for and why
- You will want to know how specifically I compare and contrast with our current representative
- You will want to know how I’ll be any different, how a Freshman Congressman can possibly impact our politics, and whether you can trust me with your family’s future
Quite simply, you will want to know whether I “get” how serious a responsibility it is to be your United States representative from Virginia. I understand. We have a lot to talk about and just enough time to do it. For starters, and to learn more about the issues I am focused on, see my website (www.VoteJasonHowell.com) and Facebook Page (www.Facebook.com/VoteJasonHowell). As a follow up, I will address many of your questions, comments and concerns in additional blog posts here on Patch.com.
Our first candidate forum is this Tuesday, September 4th 7:30 pm, at the Hazel Auditorium at the Virginia Hospital Center. Please consider joining us then or at any other of the many forums we candidates have been invited to this year.