Day 98: John Wilson, State Representative from Kansas

Photo: Nick Krug/LJWorld.com

Photo: Nick Krug/LJWorld.com

I have little to no interest in politics. And while I know I should – I mean we all should care deeply about the choices that our government makes. But the way the system works leaves me with tremendous apathy. The bipartisan rhetoric in this country has escalated so high that I’m deaf to most of it.

There are the occasional bright spots though. My friend John Wilson is one of them. I met John seven years ago working for a nonprofit that works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity in America and inspire young people to eat healthier, move more and be advocates for healthy change in their schools and communities.

He was probably no more than 24 or 25 at the time he decided to run for state representative of his home state. And while you’d be hard pressed to get me to make political phone calls or go knocking on doors, I flew out to Kansas and spent several days doing just that. He lost the election by about 600 votes and ran again four years later and I once again made the trek to Kansas and worked the phones and walked the neighborhoods. He was sworn into office in January of 2013.

John’s the kind of person you hope your elected official is. And that’s why I’ve done what I’ve done to support him. But John is immersed in a tough situation in Kansas. And without getting too partisan, the state is not in good shape right now. It takes the kind of determination that IRONMAN athletes have to show up to work at the state capitol in Topeka – that’s John. Hopefully this letter will brighten his day and remind him that he makes a difference in the lives of not only those who he represents but those who watch quietly from a distance and are inspired by his unselfish and unwavering character during these challenging times.

Day 98- john wilson

John,

I’ve been meaning to write you for some time. First, congratulations on being sworn into office for your second term. Second, you were thoughtful enough to call me and wish me a happy birthday back in January and I have yet to call you back – so here’s an old fashioned letter instead.

Your state has been making lots of national news in the recent weeks – most seem to be budget related. I recall Gov. Brownback signing a bill a few years back that cut a bunch of corporate taxes that was supposed to get businesses to move to Kansas and fuel the economy.

Day 98- john wilson-2It seems it hasn’t worked out so well. I read about some of the massive cuts that are happening – retiree programs, education, job creation plans (ironic right!), Head Start, healthcare, etc.

I know this must make your job difficult, but you are exactly the kind of person that Kansas needs right now to bring people together and find solutions that have equitable outcomes for all Kansans. Hang in there – your leadership is needed now more than ever.

Social media keeps me somewhat up to date on Jami and Parker. He is looking like a little man these days. I just became an uncle for the second time – so while they’re not mine, I have an appreciation for how special Parker is for you and Jami. I miss you guys and hope that we can find time to get together this year.

Hugs to you and your entire family,
Reed

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