What gives me hope

What gives me hope

When I attended LGBTQ Victory training last month, I had a revelation.

In our conversations, I realized that many of my colleagues in so-called safe-blue-states were facing the same barriers I do as a gay man running in a red state like Idaho. But they are suffering in silence, and they were shocked by the boldness of our campaign from a state like Idaho.

To me, it was a no-brainer. I can’t and won’t be anything less than who I am. I am a gay man running for Congress in Idaho. And that matters.

I’m reminded of Harvey Milk’s famous “Hope” speech. The part that always stuck out to me was Harvey telling us that young LGBTQ people have a choice – to move to where the laws are more in their favor, or to stay where they are and FIGHT!

In my last campaign, I was generously invited to Channel 7 KTVB’s Sunday morning program Viewpoint to talk about my race.

Host Joe Parris covered a range of important issues with me, but the most important part was when Parris asked me what it means for me to be an openly gay man running for federal office in a conservative state like Idaho.

I took that opportunity to share some of the personal stories people have entrusted to me throughout my campaign, including letters I’ve received from parents of LGBTQ+ youth who talked about how important it is to see an openly gay man run for office.

Much like Harvey, I’m running for Congress for every kid in every small town who feels like they have to stay safe in the closet because no one understands them.

I’m running for Congress both because I have hope for the kind of country we can be, and because I want to make that a reality for all the kids who don’t have the same support network I had.

Representation matters, and right now it is so important that LGBT people are visible and that we take a seat at the table.

The same is true of every major issue we are grappling with right now. From abortion to marriage equality, to protecting Social Security and Medicare, to defending our democracy – all of us who have a stake in these outcomes deserve to have a voice that truly represents us.

And right now, Mike Simpson does NOT represent us.

On every major issue, Simpson votes in lockstep with the Republican Party and their big money donors – even when a majority of conservative voters disagree. That’s why he voted AGAINST expanded healthcare for veterans, why he voted AGAINST protecting abortion rights, why he voted AGAINST reducing inflation or reining in Big Pharma.

I believe that Idahoans deserve better than a congressman who kowtows to Donald Trump no matter what it means for our community.

I know this race is a long-shot. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the fight.

I’m not giving up on Idaho, and I hope you won’t, either. I believe every seat is worth fighting for. It’s time to flip this seat from red to blue and deliver for THE PEOPLE!