Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stallings, Marley, Andersen, and Reid

Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 3rd Annual Richard Stallings Banquet at Idaho State University. This could so easily turn into a post on how proud I am to be a Democrat in Idaho. Let me just say the evening was amazing!

As Senator Harry Reid spoke this evening I was seated next to Senator Bert Marley, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and next to the head table where Richard and Ranae Stallings were seated. I can't even begin to explain the feeling I had as Senator Reid spoke. I was fired up about Democratic politics in Idaho, I was humbled by the emotion showed by former Congressman Stallings, and I was more proud today than ever to be a Democrat in Bannock County.

Four things come to mind that made this night so spectacular for me.

First, all my life I have had amazing teachers who have molded me into the person I am today. I have had teachers that have stepped into my life when the rest of the world stepped out and I have had only two teachers in my entire life that I can say changed my life forever. One of those teachers was Bert Marley. I was his student at Marsh Valley High School and the extent of his influence on me has yet to be defined. It is enormous. Sitting with Bert and his wife Michelle this evening was an honor. I have never been more excited about a candidate than I am now with him running for State Superintendent.

Second, I've come around when it comes to Senator Reid. I loved Tom Daschle. I love him still. The day he lost his seat was the day I understood true political heartbreak. I never imagined that such a quiet man like Harry Reid could replace Tom Daschle. But he has. He has in a way no other senator could have. I am so impressed with Senator Reid and I was so thrilled at the reception prior to the banquet to meet him, to shake his hand, and to know that in a room full of very important people he didn't mind taking the time to meet me. It was amazing to turn to see Senator Reid walking toward me--just a podunk College Democrat--even more amazing that he was concerned with how cold my hands were! His speech tonight was amazing and despite the Journal prelude to his visit, his stop here in Pocatello on his "red state tour" was admirable.

Third and most important, there is no man I admire more than Richard Stallings. If you've missed it, and how I do not know, I took Stallings' Idaho Politics class at ISU, not once, but twice. I'm sure I learned the first time around everything I needed to about our former Idaho politicians. I'm sure I heard the first time around every one of Richard's stories. I'm sure the first time would have been enough, but it was the second time around that meant the most to me. I had a rough semester and had I not had his class twice a week, I'm not sure I would have kept going to my other classes.

But there is more to my admiration of Richard than his class. The man is the most humble I have ever met. He squirms when you say nice things about him. He does door-to-door campaigning for himself. He'll send you out in freezing weather (armed with an extra sweatshirt and a silly hat), but he'll go with you.

When I decided not to go to Boise this semester there were many factors, one of which was Richard. This semester I will have the great opportunity of going through his congressional papers in the special collections of the ISU library. It probably could have waited, but now is the time and I am very excited.

Fourth, I have grown to love Allen Andersen. Since we began filming the Bannock County Democrats show for Channel 12, I have had a great time and have learned so much. Allen announced Tuesday that he will run for his old legislative seat (the seat that he lost to Ken Andrus) and I couldn't be more happy! What year for Democrats, what a year for Idaho.

I could go on for days. Despite the rough week I have had I am so honored to have taken part in this magical night. Now it's time to get down to business and take back our state!

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