“Why are you running for office?” It’s naturally the first question everyone asks. I’m well aware that it may sound corny when I answer, “Because I want to take care of Oregon,” and “Being helpful is the way I was raised,” but those truths run far deeper than most people know.

 

I’ve told you a little bit already about my friend Bill and how my mom took him in in more ways than one, but the truth is my mother helped out so many people in her lifetime: people she didn’t have to help, even sometimes people she barely knew, certainly people no one would’ve said she was obligated to help.

 

In my friend Bill’s case, it all started when we were very young. He would come over to my house after school and we would do our homework together. Usually, we’d find something else to do afterward, so he wouldn’t have to go home. My mom always offered snacks and invited him to join us for dinner on nights he stayed late enough. He never said no, though very few of my friends ever said no to my mom’s cooking. I did notice that Bill seemed to like second helpings more than most.

 

What my mom noticed was that Bill’s clothes were not as clean or new as most of my other friends, and it got her curious. I should tell you that whenever my mom got curious about a situation, she turned into this force of nature. In Bill’s case, my mom soon found out his life at home was tough in many ways. That’s when extra sandwiches started showing up in my school lunch, and any time Bill came over, my mother just happened to have found some extra clothes that fit him or stumbled across some “good buys” at a sale.

 

She began regularly asking him about his grades. I didn’t think about it much at the time, but she did nearly everything for my friend Bill that she did for me. No doubt she loved him almost as much as if he were her own son, but something truly remarkable about my mother was when she saw someone in need, it didn’t matter in the least how she felt about them.

 

We had a neighbor in those days whom I’ll call “Bob.” Bob used to shoot at kids with his pellet gun if they walked too close to his property on their way to school. One day when we got home from school, we found our house filled with the aromas of a roast beef dinner. We were practically drooling when we got to the kitchen, but instead of dishing up food, my mother told us to go get the red wagon.

 

We loaded all irresistible food into it, and followed my mother over to Bob’s house. As soon as she knocked on the door, we could all hear the coarse language start up from the inside, and there was no question about what sort of welcome we were going to get. But remember how I said that when she was on a mission, my mom became a force of nature? As soon as the door opened, she pushed her way inside and practically strong-armed old Bob back to his comfortable chair. That’s when the rest of us kids realized old Bob had a cast on his leg. To this day, I don’t know how my mother knew he’d had an accident, but it doesn’t surprise me any more now than it did back then.

 

Before Bob could speak, my mom began explaining to him that we’d brought enough food to last him several days and that our father would start coming over in the mornings and after he got off work each day to tend to Bob’s animals since he had a small farm. She explained that she would drive him to all his doctor’s appointments and take him on any other errands or necessary trips to town, and that he should call any time he needed his laundry done. When she finished, all Bob could manage to get out was, “Why?”

 

Without missing beat, my mom replied, “Because this is the way I was raised. Even though we don’t get along well, I cannot make the choice not to help you. My mother would never have stood for it.” And then, she started in on cleaning his house and setting all of us kids to the same.

 

By the time Bob’s leg mended, many other things about him seemed to be mended as well. He stopped shooting his pellet gun at the neighborhood children and became a devoted friend to our family, all because one person, my mother, chose to show him care and compassion, even though she didn’t have to.

 

My mother made the choice to provide special care to our friends and neighbors. She didn’t do it because she had to or because she expected anything in return. She didn’t even do it for recognition. Outside of personal gratitude from people like my friend Bill or our neighbor Bob, she never got any. Growing up with her example deeply instilled these values into me, the same values I fear may disappear from our governance entirely if I don’t do exactly what my mother taught me to do. And so, my choice to run for congress doesn’t come from obligation or a desire to receive accolades or anything else in return. As I said in the beginning, it’s because I want to take care of Oregon, and because being helpful is the way I was raised.

 

 

“Why are you running for office?” It’s naturally the first question everyone asks. I’m well aware that it may sound corny when I answer, “Because I want to take care of Oregon,” and “Being helpful is the way I was raised,” but those truths run far deeper than most people know.

 

I’ve told you a little bit already about my friend Bill and how my mom took him in in more ways than one, but the truth is my mother helped out so many people in her lifetime: people she didn’t have to help, even sometimes people she barely knew, certainly people no one would’ve said she was obligated to help.

 

In my friend Bill’s case, it all started when we were very young. He would come over to my house after school and we would do our homework together. Usually, we’d find something else to do afterward, so he wouldn’t have to go home. My mom always offered snacks and invited him to join us for dinner on nights he stayed late enough. He never said no, though very few of my friends ever said no to my mom’s cooking. I did notice that Bill seemed to like second helpings more than most.

 

What my mom noticed was that Bill’s clothes were not as clean or new as most of my other friends, and it got her curious. I should tell you that whenever my mom got curious about a situation, she turned into this force of nature. In Bill’s case, my mom soon found out his life at home was tough in many ways. That’s when extra sandwiches started showing up in my school lunch, and any time Bill came over, my mother just happened to have found some extra clothes that fit him or stumbled across some “good buys” at a sale.

 

She began regularly asking him about his grades. I didn’t think about it much at the time, but she did nearly everything for my friend Bill that she did for me. No doubt she loved him almost as much as if he were her own son, but something truly remarkable about my mother was when she saw someone in need, it didn’t matter in the least how she felt about them.

 

We had a neighbor in those days whom I’ll call “Bob.” Bob used to shoot at kids with his pellet gun if they walked too close to his property on their way to school. One day when we got home from school, we found our house filled with the aromas of a roast beef dinner. We were practically drooling when we got to the kitchen, but instead of dishing up food, my mother told us to go get the red wagon.

 

We loaded all irresistible food into it, and followed my mother over to Bob’s house. As soon as she knocked on the door, we could all hear the coarse language start up from the inside, and there was no question about what sort of welcome we were going to get. But remember how I said that when she was on a mission, my mom became a force of nature? As soon as the door opened, she pushed her way inside and practically strong-armed old Bob back to his comfortable chair. That’s when the rest of us kids realized old Bob had a cast on his leg. To this day, I don’t know how my mother knew he’d had an accident, but it doesn’t surprise me any more now than it did back then.

 

Before Bob could speak, my mom began explaining to him that we’d brought enough food to last him several days and that our father would start coming over in the mornings and after he got off work each day to tend to Bob’s animals since he had a small farm. She explained that she would drive him to all his doctor’s appointments and take him on any other errands or necessary trips to town, and that he should call any time he needed his laundry done. When she finished, all Bob could manage to get out was, “Why?”

 

Without missing beat, my mom replied, “Because this is the way I was raised. Even though we don’t get along well, I cannot make the choice not to help you. My mother would never have stood for it.” And then, she started in on cleaning his house and setting all of us kids to the same.

 

By the time Bob’s leg mended, many other things about him seemed to be mended as well. He stopped shooting his pellet gun at the neighborhood children and became a devoted friend to our family, all because one person, my mother, chose to show him care and compassion, even though she didn’t have to.

 

My mother made the choice to provide special care to our friends and neighbors. She didn’t do it because she had to or because she expected anything in return. She didn’t even do it for recognition. Outside of personal gratitude from people like my friend Bill or our neighbor Bob, she never got any. Growing up with her example deeply instilled these values into me, the same values I fear may disappear from our governance entirely if I don’t do exactly what my mother taught me to do. And so, my choice to run for congress doesn’t come from obligation or a desire to receive accolades or anything else in return. As I said in the beginning, it’s because I want to take care of Oregon, and because being helpful is the way I was raised.