I woke up today and read of the return of Senator Tim Johnson to the public eye. It was great news. Tim and I served in the U.S. House of Representatives and he is a great public servant. I smiled when I saw the picture of him and his talented wife, Barbara, in South Dakota responding to the cheers and accolades from many of his supporters who have prayed and hoped that he would recover and return to public service.
Tim is up for re-election in ’08 and I was struck by an observer who said it was time for a quiet campaign.
In some ways I, too, have been running a quiet campaign. I call it my “Working for Senate” campaign where I take jobs for one day throughout Idaho. I work shoulder to shoulder with Idahoans who show up every day for their shift and responsibilities to provide for themselves and their families.
I started my “working” campaign in June and have now taken nine jobs throughout Idaho. They're all listed at my website, and the video above shows me working on a union jobsite in Pocatello. (Thanks to longtime Kossack Serephin for shooting this and putting it on YouTube.) Yesterday a reporter asked me to name the most grueling and rewarding jobs so far. That’s a tough question. In each situation I have learned a great deal.
I certainly found being a garbageman as the most physical and grueling. When I worked in the nursing home in Pocatello it probably was the most rewarding and emotional. Of course, making cheese, packing cargo chutes with the brave smokejumpers, shadowing probation officers, working construction, working on a farm, and assisting at a geothermal energy plant were also enlightening and rewarding. The most fun I had was working with the Boise Hawks minor league baseball team in Boise. It was really a hoot hawking peanuts, being part of the grounds crew, announcing the game and wearing the Humphrey the Hawk mascot suit (it was 100 degrees) was really fun.
We all read today’s headlines that wage levels have increased this year, but the number of Americans without health insurance has grown. As “Sicko” pointed out, even those with health insurance aren’t always protected from facing bankruptcy. We must do more. I will do more as a U.S. Senator. We can start with expanding the CHIPS program, allowing small businesses to pool across state lines, and allowing Americans over 55 years of age to access group insurance. We all know that our preoccupation with Iraq is keeping us from addressing these critical issues. That's why Congress needs to take action this fall to plan an orderly withdrawal.
Labor Day is just around the corner. As this holiday approaches, I wanted to spend some time with you and tell you more about ‘Working for Senate” in Idaho.
It’s an important part of my journey to the U.S. Senate. I will continue to work with Idahoans after I am elected. As a candidate I am spending more time listening than talking. I think this is an important approach in today’s environment. Idahoans talk to me about their challenges in raising their families, saving for retirement, purchasing health insurance, and paying their taxes.
I just passed a milestone in my campaign. Yesterday, I received my 100th contribution via ActBlue. To those of you who have already contributed to my campaign, thank you so much. I also met some of you at the YearlyKos convention in Chicago, and that was fun. If we didn’t meet, I hope you caught the panel I did with Christine Pelosi, Charlie Brown, and Gary Trauner on C-SPAN 2.
I announced for the U.S. Senate seat in April, and I have been working and running hard ever since. I know that with adequate resources we will win. I feel the momentum grow each day.
Happy Labor Day. Let’s work together to make political history together in 2008.
With best wishes and thanks.