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In the fall of 1986, at the age of 17, I walked on to a college campus for the first time in my life. The town was Seguin, Texas and the school was Texas Lutheran University. Unlike Cal Lutheran, this Lutheran University was located in a small town and had a very small student body. 

Within a couple of weeks of beginning my studies as a Freshman, the school began to receive frequent visitors. Who were they? Politicians. Most were there to make a 15 minute stop between Austin and San Antonio to stump for  candidate they didn't know existed at breakfast, and would forget by dinner.

For me though, this was exciting. This was democracy. Isn't that why I had come to school? Growing up, my ears had been filled with tales of my parents marching in Washington, D.C., and the civil rights movement. They had specifically moved from the the family farms of North Dakota to see if they could make a change to the world. 

As someone who considered himself a Democrat with a list of "must haves" for any candidate before I'd give them my support, I was in for a shock. This was South Texas and I quickly learned that most candidates were centrists, rather than the ideological purists that I'd expected. The line delineating candidates was often just the name Republican or Democrat.  

Thirty one years later, I remember that moment. The realization that I was unlikely to ever find a perfect candidate. Instead, I was encouraged to find the candidate that would best represent me. That's their job, after all. We as a people are electing someone to represent our thoughts, our ideals, our vision. It is up to us to find that person. 

Back in that fall of 1986, I did find that person for me. I wouldn't be old enough to vote until a month after the election, but there was no stopping me from doing everything I could to get people to vote for her. Her name was Judith Zaffirini. She was running for a State Senate seat because she felt people were not being represented by the politicians they elected. The politicians were doing what they wanted and daring people to vote them out. Every day before and after class I would make phone calls and knock on doors. I called thousands of people and knocked on as many doors. I wanted everyone to know that she would make a change. I wanted everyone to know I wouldn't be wasting my time for two months if I didn't believe in her. 

In what was one of the closest results ever for a Senate Seat, she won. She beat the odds and for the past thirty plus years she has been serving the people of Texas. She has a perfect voting record and has cast over 50,000 votes to help others. 

When I decided to make the commitment to run for Congress, it was with that same drive and purpose I recognized in myself from back in college. This time though, instead of getting someone else elected to make a change, I am getting myself elected. It is time that we, as a community have someone who is fighting for us. It is time we have someone who is willing to make a sacrifice and go to Washington because they want to serve. It is time to have someone who represents Ventura County and our ideals. The families, the small business owners, farmers, veterans, students, immigrants, retired and the young. I want to go to Washington and be your voice. Someone who is your neighbor and shares the same values and commitments all of us in Ventura County share. 

2018 is about us. It is about our future.

 

 

 


Committee to Elect John Nelson
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