15 years ago this month, I announced my run for Eagle County Commissioner and this was my ad shot I used for my campaign. I was told my hair was too long, that I was a snowboarder and that people wouldn’t take me seriously. 11 months later I won with 8000 votes and served for two terms until I was term limited. There was two recall attempts on me. One for taking a nonaggressive stance towards Afghanistan and another for funding early childhood development.
I was one of three commissioners who administered a $100M annual budget. Served on numerous non-profit community, statewide and national boards. Worked on and developed community initiatives that include long-term economic planning, affordable housing and early childhood development to name a few accomplishments.
I continued to run a charity I founded called SOS Outreach that became a leader in serving poor and minority children. 40,000 kids went through the programs at over 35 ski resorts and we raised over $50 million dollars in inkind and cash.
My point is for those of you who have people telling you that you can’t or won’t be taken seriously, I’m here to tell you that if you hold fast to your core values and work to fight cynicism and apathy, you can make a difference, just don’t listen to those that tell you what you can’t do and listen to those that work together to fight injustice everywhere. The issues have gotten bigger for me as they should with wisdom and age, but as we near Dr. Martin Luther King Day I want to leave you with what he was talking about in his final days.
He was talking about ending the Vietnam War. He was talking about ending a capitalistic system that works for some but not many. He was protesting the rights for all people to live by the principles of a Constitution and Bill of Rights. I used his words in my announcement back then about fulfilling the dream of equality.
In Dr. King’s final speech, “I’ve Been To the Mountain Top” he said this, “Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.” And went on to give a story of the Good Samaritan. Dr. King went on to give the part of the story were the Levite asked the Good Samaritan, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
We are all interconnected. If you kill, you will be killed. If you hoard you will be poor. If you ignore injustices, you will have injustices commit against you. But if you have the ability to develop dangerous unselfishness, you will find a calling to serve love and compassion and no one who comes from fear or what you can’t do will be able to win out over the people who’s souls are calling you for help.
Trust me because I have put my faith in trusting those that have given their lives to fight for justice. And they will tell you they weren’t perfect, but the calling is a miracle and when you follow the path of justice for all you will see the glory.
Take sometime this weekend to serve other in the name of Dr. Martin Luther King who gave his life for the cause.