It was recently suggested to me that all candidates should have ethics pages on their websites. I completely agree.
More than anything else, I find myself driven by a desire for fairness. I am fortunate to have mostly been treated fairly throughout my life–I’m an American white male, so I won that particular lottery–but I have experienced unfairness. I’ve been the new kid in school, been denied a raise when almost everyone else in the company received one, and been singled out by teachers for unwanted extra attention. I have had friends pulled over for driving while black, seen a job applicant not get hired because she was too attractive, and know a few people who get picked on by TSA because they have Muslim-sounding names. It is this desire for fairness that drives me in my personal life, and it is this desire for fairness that I will use to guide my campaign.
As I form my campaign team, I will strive for diversity. I want a mixture of backgrounds and ideas, largely because I need to hear a variety of voices to keep me headed in the right direction. Obviously, as I am running a small, underfunded campaign, initially I will take whomever I can get. If I get to the point where I can afford paid staffers, I will:
- Pay equally, regardless of gender or ethnicity,
- Strive to maintain diversity in my team by trying to have a staff composition that reflects the demographics of the 3rd District, and
- Respect the opinions of all staffers, avoiding preferential treatment.
I will be honest. I will treat everyone with respect. I will avoid calling my opponents names or denigrating their characters–although I will not refrain from using their own words against them. I will not take the words of my opponents out of context.
I will not mix my personal life with my campaign life. If I am attending a sporting event, I am there to watch and cheer on my team, not to gain votes. Having said that, I strive to be accessible, so if you see me in public, I will be happy to talk with you–unless it’s the 85th minute of a tied Chattanooga FC game, in which case I’ll likely ask you to come back in ten minutes. If you want to talk to me on the phone, ask me for my number.
Harassment by anyone on my campaign will not be tolerated. Any accusations of harassment will result in the immediate suspension of the staff member in question pending an investigation. If the accusation is criminal in nature, I will notify the proper authorities immediately.
I will not accept donations from organizations or individuals who do not share my views. I do not have the luxury to be able to turn down all donations from special interest groups, but if I am accepting contributions from a group it is because I agree with at least most of their core values. I will not change my positions or, if elected, my votes, simply because someone gave money to my campaign. Having said that, I won’t lie and say that giving money to my campaign won’t make it easier to get my attention. It will. I can’t deny that getting a contribution from a group might cause me to make that group’s interests a higher priority than otherwise, but only on a scale of moving something up on the schedule, not putting something on the agenda that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
In general, I do not believe in sacrificing one group to help another. I believe that in most situations a win-win outcome is possible. Too many people in government are unwilling to compromise, but I believe that compromise is essential if we want to accomplish anything truly important. For example, I am not a fan of AARP, as their work to help those over fifty often comes at the expense of young people–such as their promotion of communities limited to people over a certain age, with the benefit that they don’t have to pay for public schools.
I will not have my daughter campaign for me. I may tell stories about our experiences to illustrate points I am making, but she will not appear in any campaign advertising materials. She may accompany me to some campaign events–I’m a single dad, and sometimes this can’t be avoided–but I expect she’ll sit quietly in the back reading a book. (Feel free to say hello–she’s a good kid.)
Is there something you think I missed discussing here? Please, please, please let me know.