Letter: Faith has strengthened ability to serve
Published 11:41 pm Friday, September 28, 2018
This has been an amazing journey, knocking doors and meeting hundreds of people as I run to be your next mayor. We have met many folks with great questions and ideas. Occasionally, conversation turns to a minister desiring to be mayor, separation of church and state and whether one would be able to represent everyone equally.
Being a minister and public servant are similar in purpose and can complement each other. Many public servants in our nation’s history have been ministers. One definition for the word minister in Webster’s is “to give aid or service.” Servant is defined as “one that serves others.” The work of a minister is to serve others through human connection. The role of a public servant should be the same. Thomas Jefferson said of public servants, ”When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.” I concur with Mr. Jefferson’s estimation. Human connection is what I will bring to the office of mayor. Whether serving in a spiritual setting or community, the ability to connect with people is crucial. This is what I do daily.
I have been asked if there were instances when my faith conflicted with my service as city councilor. Over 12 years, I cannot think of one. I vote based on the merit of each issue. Any person seeking to serve brings their own personal beliefs with them. Our beliefs make up who we are and how we view the world. I do not deny my faith, nor do I hide it. As a person, it is part of who I am. However, I do not push my faith on others. I seek to meet people exactly where they are and build relationships from there. Over the years, I have committed to continually expanding my personal respect and care for all humankind.
And, I believe my personal faith has strengthened my ability to serve others equally. When I have observed others being mistreated, I have not remained silent. When I felt the rights, dignity or safety of our constituents were in jeopardy, I was willing to stand alone in my opposition and offer common sense solutions. While serving on the council, I encountered some distinct instances involving special treatment for some and maltreatment for others. I do not tolerate that.
My desire is to serve our community in such a way that we can create the warmest, most inviting business and social climate in all of southern Minnesota. My goal is progress and prosperity for all through common sense solutions. My desire is to see us become a we community, where everyone gets a fair shake, every business and individual receives the same treatment and the opportunity to grow and prosper. Some have joked, if I’m elected, would they call me “pastor mayor” or “mayor pastor.” Every time, I have said, “Just call me George.” I love you, Albert Lea, and I am ready to serve you as your next mayor.