Published on -10/9/2012, 10:31 AM
As a Republican who is both socially and economically conservative in philosophy, there is much about the other party's national policies that I find troublesome. In fact, I find the tea party to be a healthy attempt to correct the wasteful and unwise incursion of government into areas where it is not empowered to be nor where it is effective. Nevertheless, I will not blindly vote a single party line knowing there are people in both parties who capably serve beyond mere party interests and slogans, those who possess both the will and ability to apply sound principles in the unique challenges of the day.
If I could vote in the 40th Senatorial district, I would vote for a Democrat named Allen Schmidt. As a Leavenworth resident, I cannot vote in the district. But I implore others to vote for the person, not the party, who can best represent the community and district's values and interests in government.
First, a disclaimer. Allen is my brother and close friend. We share family memories, faith, and loved ones. As former career military officers, he and I enjoy the unique camaraderie of those who served in uniform.
Why would I vote for Allen, a Democrat? Several reasons. He is pro-life in every cell of his body. As a Democrat, he took some spears from a few of his own party's caucus while standing firm on Republican-initiated life legislation. Pro-life is not simply a slogan to Allen that earns a political endorsement; it is a value worth the political price of standing up for it. It represents the full spectrum of life.
Allen is utterly committed to the rural Kansas life and culture, again not as a campaign logo but as a lifestyle commitment. Through all of his years in the Army, his intent was to return to his land in Ellis County to live the life he and Ellen found most full. When he retired, he returned to the rural Ellis County farm and home he left when recalled to active duty military service. Now his grown children are returning from across the nation to join in that lifestyle.
He is a hard-working and immensely skilled leader. On active duty he was given the most challenging assignments. In his short tenure in the Kansas Senate, Allen earned the utmost respect from fellow legislators, both Republican and Democrat. He studies the issues, thinks through their costs and effects, and articulates them in a refreshingly candid and effective manner. The result -- respect from fellow legislators and legislation that bears his fingerprints in its final form.
Vote the candidate, not the party. Vote for one who has demonstrated commitment to your values, is skilled in representing them, and bold in promoting them.