The deadline has passed, and all of the names you’ll see on the ballot have been tallied and all of our campaigns will be shifting into the final gear. I wanted to take a moment and talk to you about experience – and why it matters. If you’re one of the many people across Idaho who has had the opportunity to hear myself, and my opponents talk in person, you’re more than familiar with a line my opponents like to use often - “experience matters”.
Those two simple words, that I do not disagree with, I feel are meant to be disparaging and cast doubt about my youth and the fact that I’ve not held office before – I believe they do the exact opposite. Though my opponents will go on at length about the numerous committees, councils, panels, offices, and appointments that they’ve held over the years, you’ll not hear similar testimony from me, because I’m not a career politician, I don’t have a voting record to pick apart – instead I talk about my experience that has taken me around the world, taken me into combat, and put me in a place where I’m responsible for thousands of lives every year as a commercial pilot. I talk about starting my own small business, and pioneering in the drone sector, and I talk a lot about mentors and the people that have had a profound influence on my life, leadership style, and who I am today.
Why do I feel like I can say that Idaho would be proud of me as a conservative Representative of the people? What do I mean when I say experience matters? More Idahoans each day are becoming familiar with me through my campaign, at speaking engagements and campaign stops across the state, and more Idahoans every day are making the commitment to vote for me, this May.
One of the things I’ve heard most, in each county I’ve had the opportunity to visit these past few months, is that my “grandfather would be proud” and that my running is refreshing, and gives people hope. The reason so many people across Idaho know my grandfather so well is because he made a name for himself as the Representative for District 3B. While the people of Idaho knew him for his public work I was fortunate to know him as my grandfather, the patriarch of our family, an avid outdoorsman, fisherman, and as a teacher.
Over the years I learned many things from my grandfather, a lot of which was learned through observation. I watched how he carried himself in our community of Post Falls, and how he listened to the people around him. He showed me that as much as listening is important, it’s equally as important to speak your mind, to gather the facts, and prepare the best plan.
I don’t know if he meant to teach me patience through the building of RC airplanes, but he did – I also was shown that attention to details, no matter how small, are worth the extra time in order to make sure you get it right.
When teaching me to camp and to fish he taught the lesson of being prepared – just as you would expect an Eagle Scout and former Scoutmaster to. Anyone who knew my grandfather knows that as an outdoorsman he had a respect for the land and was a steward of our forests and lakes – he always wanted them to be there for us to use for camping, fishing, hunting, and for our resource industry to thrive.
In watching him interact with my grandmother Lillian, my aunts and uncles, and all of their grandchildren he taught me the importance of family and loyalty – he embodied all of the great qualities of an honest, hard working, family man and that impression stays with me to this day.
Any of you that knew my grandfather knew he was also a bit of a joker, he enjoyed a good story, and would got to great length to engage the imagination. He was the founding father of the “Royal Order of the Pinecone” and inducted the whole family and his closest friends into this otherwise non-existent organization – it was just an excuse to give lengthy speeches laced with jokes and skits to the entertainment of all of us, in later years we were all participating in the showmanship. He was the kind of grandfather who would spend the morning burying a cake tin full of candy and plastic jewels on the lakeshore, just so we could go on a treasure hunt that afternoon and dig it back up – believing we had uncovered the buried treasure of the Lake Coeur d’Alene pirates.
Experience matters, and my experience is built up of many unique parts. Combat duty is something you can not recreate in the boardroom, or in a college course. There’s no experience in passing legislation that will compare to facing a wall of bullets and fire with your closest brothers, on the razors edge of life and death. The experience of starting a business, failing, and then using those lessons and starting another one and succeeding will Trump, in my eyes, the experience of having been appointed to a panel somewhere. Above all else the experience of having been mentored buy some of the greatest people I have known is invaluable, and my Grandfather, Frank Henderson, is truly one of the greatest men I’ve ever known.
Lessons like listening, patience, commitment, family, humor, and professionalism taught by him might as well have been a graduate program in experience that matters. I was more than fortunate to have had him in my life, and I am a better man for having grown up with him as a mentor.
I will always strive to make my family proud, but beyond that I seek to make each and every one of you – proud too. I am as fed up with Washington DC as you are, that is why I’m in this race, because I want to continue my Grandfathers legacy of being an exceptional leader, and a good man – and I want Idahoans to wake up each day knowing that they are being represented, honored, and made proud in Washington DC.
This May 15th, I’m asking that you #PICKNICK and vote for me. Vote for the experience that matters, not the career politician that seems to think they’re owed an office simply by having held a different office already. Vote for one of you, for someone you would be proud of. Vote for me.