As a relatively new blogger, I was excited to get an invitation to participate in a blogger’s conference call helping to kick off the candidacy of Renee Ellmers, who is running for Bob Etheridge’s seat in the House of Representatives.
Honestly, I am normally a bit skeptical of these kinds of events, but since it isn’t everyday that a small time blogger such as myself gets invited to one of these, I took the opportunity to participate. As I began looking into who Renee Ellmers is, I became more interested in hearing about her candidacy.
Without regurgitating her bio (you can check out her website here), the part of her story that interested me the most is that she is not your typical politician, nor is she coming out of the typical politician “farm team” (that being a lawyer). She is a nurse by training and vocation, and up until recently has had no interest in running for public office. In what I suspect will be a story repeated throughout this country, Renee decided to get involved in running for office after the contentious debate over healthcare during the summer of 2009.
Renee’s candidacy is exciting to see for two reasons. One is that she is running to unseat a long-term Democrat incumbent in Bob Etheridge. Two, Renee’s candidacy is more of what our Founders had in mind when they created a sense of civic virtue. Our Founders never intended for public service to be a career. Most of them saw public service as an obligation that one fulfilled, not a vocation in which you served long enough to draw a pension.
George Washington, I think, best embodies the ideal in this case. He was more than willing to serve his country, but he was always looking forward to returning home to his vocation of planter. He never saw himself as a politician or career public servant. He viewed his public service, both as a general and as President, as an obligation he owed to the country, and never saw his public office as something he was owed.
Obviously, I am not comparing Renee Ellmers to George Washington, but her story is one that I think he would recognize. She sees the country at a crossroads, and is very concerned about its direction and especially its impact on the next generation. As she put it on the conference call, being a mom is what really got her to run for public office. It seems that Renee sees holding public office is a way for her to help her country, and I suspect that, if she wins, she will always have one eye on returning to the medical practice that she and her husband run in Dunn, NC. If we can get a few more people like Renee in office, and a few more of the career politicians out, I suspect our government, and our lives will be the better for it.