The holiday season brings Iowans together with family and friends to celebrate and reconnect. As I gather with my family to celebrate Christmas, I find joy, thankfulness, and faith. I also am filled with hope our communities will thrive with caring neighbors helping one another when times can be tough for some.
It’s a time for reflecting on the blessings I have had and doing my best to give back in any way I can. I’m inspired by the Iowans across the Third District who give their time, talents, and treasures to serve their communities.
Over the past four years, I have worked to serve Iowans in the Third District as their representative in Congress. I like to attack problems and deliver solutions to challenges Iowans are facing. I was able to combine that with my passion for public service and give back by taking your voices to Washington.
A lot of folks I have spoken with as I travel across the Third District share they have lost hope Congress can do anything productive – that partisanship, name calling, and hypocrisy have overtaken the people’s government. And rightfully so. After another partisan election season, politicians and pundits screaming on TV, and the lack of civility we see in some of our politics, it can be easy to become discouraged.
But I have hope. I always have. And I always will. And the Iowans I talk and listen to have hope, too. Yes, we do have our challenges. And we have our differences. But we have more in common than that which separate us.
Despite our political party affiliations or political philosophies, we pretty much all have the same goals. We all want a strong economy, great job opportunities for ourselves and loved ones, safer streets, a cleaner environment, better health care, a more peaceful world, and the list goes on. We just have different ways of approaching those issues.
But these problems are solvable if we bring passion and civility to the table. We need to listen to one another and not talk at or over one another. By sitting down and talking to one another we find areas of agreement with honorable compromise – where one doesn’t give up one’s principles or values, but doesn’t always get 100% of what one wants either. When marriages and relationships work – they do so out of compromise. Our Constitution even came out of compromise.
Most folks do treat each other with respect, dignity, compassion, understanding, and we give back when we can. A lot of problems can be solved with neighbors taking care of neighbors and choosing leaders who do the same. When I listen to your stories from our Third District and how you’ve faced adversity with determination, victories through perseverance, and struggles with humility, I am hopeful decency, kindness, compassion, and community can be strengthened and more apparent in our daily lives – in home, at work, and with our government.
While my term in Congress may be ending in just a few weeks, I don’t intend on giving up hope we can be better. But it starts by not always challenging others, but challenging oneself to do better and be better, and to live by the Biblical rule of treating others as oneself would like to be treated. The founders wanted to create a more perfect union and as our country grows and changes, we can and must continue working to bring the people of our country together.
I’ve worked to bring people together in Congress over the past four years as I sought friendships across the aisle and sought bipartisan consensus on some of the most challenging issues. When my term ends on January 2, I won’t stop serving. As a private citizen, I will continue to care for my neighbors, improve my community, and give back whenever I can.
I challenge you to give some of your time volunteering, share your talents to bring joy, and help bring more hope and results to your community. No matter what is happening on TV or in Washington, DC or anywhere else, it’s selfless individuals who seek to serve others and not themselves who have the most impact and do the most good.
I wish you a blessed Christmas during this holiday season. I pray for your safety and a meaningful time of reflection with family and friends, and that your faith in God and the goodness of who we are and can be together will be strengthened. God bless.