A Call to Service – and Action

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Michael BarrandaI never thought that I would run for office. With a burgeoning legal practice and growing young family, I was convinced that my time and talents were best utilized supporting the various organizations and boards on which I serve, while supporting those willing to hold public office. However, in February I heard the ‘call to service’ when I came to the realization that absurdity had replaced common sense in the Indiana Legislature. As a concerned Republican – a concerned citizen, I recognized that I can no longer lead from the sidelines.

Indiana made headlines for the second straight year when the House of Representatives failed to reach a quorum due to a boycott by Democrat legislators – even to the point of them leaving the state. However, these headlines were topped when Fort Wayne found itself the subject of political jokes and commentary (ranging from the Washington Post and Forbes to Conan O’Brien) when Rep. Bob Morris refused to sign a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. He justified his actions in an effort not to legitimize what he labeled a “radicalized organization” that sexualizes young girls and promotes “feminists, lesbians, or Communists.”*  In defense of this stance he referenced a bit of online research.

Although Morris would later apologize for painting the organization with such a broad and inflammatory brush, he also expressed a lesson that he learned by expressing his personal views. Unfortunately, that was one bell that Fort Wayne constituents are not able to un-ring. Later, in the Washington Times, Morris promised a firm resolve in a culture war that he exposed in the Girl Scouts debacle, stating that “[w]e have been left with no choice but to refuse to cede even one more inch of ground in this bloody culture war.”

While I can appreciate Rep. Morris’ right to have personal beliefs, I do not believe that constituents want their elected officials engaged in a “bloody culture war.” As a pro-life Catholic conservative, I understand the passion with which we should protect the sanctity of life. However, we must also demand leadership that does not lose perspective of the message through propaganda and rhetoric; leadership that does not entice a “bloody culture war” by taking a polarizing political stance against an organization like the Girls Scouts.

Reason must prevail. Always.

Citizens want jobs. We want better wages and low taxes. We want a smaller, less intrusive and more efficient government. We want the best educational opportunities. Most of all, we want a safe and prosperous community that we can be proud to call home. To achieve these things, citizens need leadership. Leaders that the constituents can be proud of, not leaders they have to apologize for.

Ronald Reagan once called Democracy the most deeply honorable government ever devised by man. Over the past year the honor of Democracy has been challenged in Indiana – if not outright mocked. For that purpose I formed an exploratory committee to engage citizens on the issues that matter most to them – and to determine how I might best address them.  I will explore running in the 2014 Republican primary for the 84th District; a race that went unchallenged in 2012. The conversation for accountability begins now. We must raise the level of discourse in Fort Wayne – and the 84thDistrict – and immediately focus on the issues most important to the constituents.

I am prepared to do my part, and I look forward to your help.

*Rep. Bob Morris: Girl Scouts have ‘radical policies’, journalgazette.net, February 23, 2012