Engage and be vigilant



To the Editor:

As we pack away my state senate campaign, I give thanks. A total of 9,863 people voted for me in a humbling statement of trust and optimism. Over 550 made $5 contributions to the Clean Elections Fund, qualifying my campaign for public financing – not a single business, corporation or outside interest, just voters.

Over 100 people did the daily work of campaigning: putting up signs, making phone calls, writing letters, driving me door to door and so much more. I learned from you that it was not my campaign. It was our campaign, one aimed at protecting and improving a way of life and the place in which we live. I thank you all.

I am most grateful to the thousands of people who welcomed me at doors. You trusted me with your personal stories, your hopes and fears. The enormous privilege of forgiven trespass confirmed my commitment to serve. I heard worries about the cost of health care, battles with addiction and limited treatment, difficulties sustaining businesses, shortages of skilled tradesmen, rising property taxes and education costs, struggles with home maintenance, environmental risks and, above all, frustration with the dishonesty of politicians. I also saw spectacular craftsmanship in boatbuilding, hard work in fishing, pride in school performance, abundant garden produce, delicious breads and candies, kindness in giving, rallied community support, thoughtful problem solving, great good humor and happy dogs of every breed.

Our county has the strengths necessary to resolve difficulties we face, of that, I am confident. But as voters, I discovered we have work to do. We need to school ourselves on government – what it is and how it works. There were phone calls made telling voters I would take away the second amendment right to own a gun. That is not true. No individual can take away a constitutional right. It takes two thirds of both chambers of Congress to change the constitution, and then three quarters of all states to agree to that change. It will never happen. When we are better informed, we won’t fall prey to those who choose to be dishonest. That is what will make us a stronger, healthier democracy.

I lost the senate race, but I am better for the experience. I congratulate Sen. Brian Langley and wish him strength in the difficult days ahead. I will continue to seek opportunities to serve, and I urge all residents of Hancock County to engage, be vigilant and do what you can to protect and improve our community.

Moira O’Neill

Surry

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