“…duty as American citizens…”

One area that is near and dear to my heart is helping to train up people for future leadership. Whether it is a manager in my business, a future member of the House, or a young person who has taken an interest in public policy I value the opportunity. As a state representative our office hosted many interns, some have gone onto careers in the private sector and some have remained in the service of the public. One intern who spent time with our office during the 2013-14 legislative session has continued their internship with me as Marion County Commissioner.

She is Monique Nelson, a lifelong Salem resident, completing her degree at Chemeketa with hopes of continuing at Corban University in the Leadership and Political Engagement Program. I asked Monique to write about Election Day. Here is her response:

“When I reflect on the significance of voting on Election Day, my thoughts immediately turn to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the cause of liberty. I think about General George Washington and his troops, many of whom wore tattered rags and walked barefoot in the snow, suffering from frostbite and life threatening illness during the long winter at Valley Forge. So many American patriots have sacrificed so much, including their very lives, since the birth of our nation on July 4, 1776, all to secure freedom for future generations.

While many Americans know the date our country officially broke away from the British Empire, most Americans won’t remember the dates that the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were adopted, on September 17, 1787 and December 15, 1791, respectively. Our founding fathers presented the U.S. Constitution to the American people after many hotly contested debates and long, grueling days and nights during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. When a woman inquired as to what type of government these great men had decided to give the American people, Benjamin Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” As indicated in Benjamin Franklin’s response, our founders understood that tyranny would eventually rear its ugly head somewhere down the road.

Our greatest duty as American citizens is to guard our republic. As President Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in the United States when men were free.” Part of our responsibility in protecting our rights is to educate ourselves and elect leaders who will respect and uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Exercising our right to vote is one of the best ways that we can honor the sacrifices of all of the Americans who have come before us, who have dedicated their lives to defending our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We must all stay involved in the political process to ensure that we will always have a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. I hope as each of you took the time to fill out your ballots this election season, you also took a moment to be thankful for the privilege of living in a country as free and as blessed as ours.”

My hope is that you are inspired as I am with the youth of our community. Monqiue may be contacted through my office at 503.588.5212 or email me at kcameron@co.marion.or.us. It continues to be an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Marion County. Thank you.