As we quickly head toward transitioning into 2022, I have been deeply reflective of 2021. Of all the many actions I took to answer countless calls to help families and individuals in need across the state, this photo is one of my very favorites from this past year, and what it represents. This may not seem iconic upon initial review, but for Oregon, it was historical.
The photo above was taken in June at our in-person eighth-grade graduation ceremony for Alsea School, just days after our in-person high school graduation had also successfully and safely taken place. The ability to have full, in-person learning and graduation ceremonies meant the world to our staff, our students and their families, and to me, personally. I had had a year where I drove several students to our school each day so they could return to the classroom as their own school doors remained closed to full services. What was revealed to me about the significance of that was especially brought forth with our new student Sam, a senior, who had transferred into my district after his parents approached me for help. His story will never leave me and holds a special place in my heart.
Standing there with Brenda, my beautiful and supportive wife, as we were watching students sing the national anthem before I headed up to stage where I shared some words, was a snapshot in time that I will never forget. I’m glad this photo was captured so I could share it with all of you, too.
I’m proud of the incredible work accomplished as a community to make it a reality, despite outside naysayers that said we would cause harm by staying open. In fact, it would have been quite the opposite. Grave harm happened across communities where schools were closed to full, in-person learning, and families, businesses and children suffered greatly as a result of failed lockdown policies. It breaks my heart to know of such suffering. It adds to my resolve to help renew our state and support all Oregonians!
I pray that 2022 brings about more courageous action in your own local community to stand up to do what’s right, even in the face of adversity. We must bring truth forward and step into action for a more just Oregon and a more just America. The rest of the world depends upon us holding the line, and in Oregon, we are on the very front lines of special-interest led agendas and corporate influence.
In our state, you may have a special opportunity to deduct $50.00 from the total of Oregon taxes that you pay (or $100 for joint filings), if you donate to a qualifying organization, which can include donations towards my fight to be your next Governor. Collectively, $50 can quickly become a freedom chest of $50,000, if just 1,000 Oregonians take advantage of this option. We can continue to build up our movement and our momentum by taking advantage of this gift by giving before the end of the year!
If we come together collaboratively, we can create even greater impact to ensure that we help Oregon restore balance, peace and prosperity for all. Let’s end the year with reflections on how we can effectively work together to reclaim our state as we bring back into focus the moments that brought us greater resolve in 2021, for an amazing 2022.
I pray that this coming New Year brings even more hope and an honoring of our state and federal constitutions that serve to protect and prosper all Oregonians. Let us not be struck down by elitists and their “rules for thee but not for me” rhetoric; let us rise up against the efforts to divide us as we refuse to give up our God-given freedoms!
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19).
We are each given an opportunity for new beginnings, new mercies and a renewed sense of peace through Him. May we be blessed as we enter into a New Year! Thank you for being part of our next historical moments as we carry this great momentum forward as a movement by the People of Oregon, for the People of Oregon!
Blessings for a Bright and Beautiful New Year,