As you may or may not know, our little newspaper here is publishing its eighth issue this week. We celebrated at Murphy’s Law Tuesday night with a mixer which included The Guardian staff, as well as potential writers, and politicians from a host of different platforms. It was wonderful to be able to meet and converse with Democrats, Republicans, and American Independents who are running for offices in both the Senate and Congress. Everyone was friendly, easy to talk to, and the conversations continued for over three hours. Among those present were Jake Holder (Democrat for Congress, District 3), Charmaine Guss, (Republican for Congress, District 1) Tom Jones (American Independent for Congress District 3), Herb Peters, (Republican for Congress District 1) Greg Hughes (American Independent for State Senate District 1), Jerry Sakura (Democrat for Congress District 3) Brian Landsberger (Republican for Congress, District 1), and James Haning (Democrat for Congress District 3).
It was an unusual mix of politicians from various sides of the political spectrum all freely exchanging ideas under one roof. While reporters of The Guardian Express moved from one candidate to the next, I observed Republicans mildly sharing and debating with Democrats and Independents, making their way through scattered huddles as they freely discussed their political views.
I first spoke with the American Independent, Greg Hughes. I asked him why he decided to become a candidate. He explained that he simply wanted to make a difference. He felt that in Nevada there was no difference between the Democrats and Republicans. He thought that by becoming an Independent candidate for the State Senate seat, he could make a difference. Following my conversation with Hughes, the entire room lit up when Charmaine Guss made her entrance. Wearing a red blazer and a smile that would disarm a prison guard, Charmaine drew immediate conversation from Guardian reporters and their curious guests. I looked to engage another candidate with questions when I noticed an impressive gold shiny name tag that read “Holder”. It was pinned on a black suit jacket pocket of Jake Holder. I had met the candidate for Congress during an interview several weeks earlier. On this occasion he explained that his name tag was the same badge he wore while serving as a navy officer on the Atlantic Second Fleet. Holder was eager to answer my question as to why he had entered the Congressional race in District 3. He declared that he was a Moderate and that the country needed Moderates if Congress was going to get any real business done. We discussed a variety of issues from the national debt to the gridlock that he says has diminished the quality of life for most Americans. He stated that his first commitment to the people would be to work two weeks on and one week off as opposed to the work schedule that congress men and women practice today by working three days a week. Candidate Holder reaffirmed his passion to make decisions that benefit the majority rather than the special interest of the minority.
I next ran across Tom Jones, one of the leaders of the American Independent Party in Nevada. Jones seemed to be enjoying the lively and diverse debates that filled the room. As we came face to face, I asked Jones the same question that I had been asking all of the candidates this night. “Why are you running for Congress”? In his laid back, friendly manner, he put it short and quite succinctly: “We have to do something to save our country.”
Moments after my conversation with Jones, I noticed Brian Landsberger and his wife Mia. My first thought was, “What a wonderful couple!” That’s because with one look at them you knew they were together. Before I could introduce myself to Mr. Landsberger, he was already reaching out his hand as though he was welcoming me. It was quite refreshing. We had a few friendly words and then, of course, I had to know why he was running for Congress. “In a nut shell” Landsberger stated that Nevada deserved something better than what they are currently representing in District 1. He felt that if nobody else stood up that he would not be the one sitting on the sidelines while the country slid downhill.
I got a chance to speak with James Haning, the Democratic candidate in District 3 near the close of the evening. Haning told me that he was not only interested in enhancing the quality of our education system but that he was also particularly interested in fairness for all. Haning seemed to be engaged with reporters and other candidates throughout the night.
My last encounter was with Jerry Sakura who had passed around a flyer to almost everyone in attendance. Sakura gave me a variety of reasons why he had decided to run for Congress. Most of them could be summed up into two ideas. First, Sakura believes that America has gotten away from the real idea of freedom and liberty that was originally fashioned, and thus, he feels that his ideas and solutions could make a difference. Secondly, Sakura believes that lobbyists and their money have corrupted the political arena; therefore, he is running on the idea that a candidate could win an election without accepting any money from lobbyists.
As I reflected upon this celebratory occasion for The Guardian Express, I could not help but marvel at what had transpired during the evening. Although it may have been in a small way, our little newspaper had managed to bring together Democrats, Republicans, Independents, blacks, whites, Asians, rich, poor, middle class, male, female, straight, gay, young, old, employed and unemployed all together for one night to share, debate and discuss some of the most pressing issues that our nation and its people face today. For this night, at least, it seemed there was one thing we all had agreed on. We had agreed to come together, despite our differences.