A Decent Man

I have written before of my concern about Senator Russell Pearce and the damage he has done to this state. Before deciding to step up and do something about it, however, I wanted to know something about the man who proposed to replace him, Jerry Lewis.

Would he be any better?

My objective was to get a sense of the man.

I had never met him; so I arranged through a mutual acquaintance to sit down with him face-to-face for an extended conversation. I did just that, spending the better part of two hours alone with him.

I left with very strong impressions, based not so much on any particular political positions, but on a sense of him as a person. What I took away from this conversation, more than anything else, was a sense of his basic decency. This is a father, husband and citizen with a broad range of concerns about state government ranging from education to economic development; not a single issue zealot.

I think his motives are just what he says they are: to make ours a better community. Most candidates claim they were “approached” by community members to run. It’s rarely true. The vast majority of political candidates start out trying to convince others to support them. While there is nothing wrong with that, in this case I believe Lewis really WAS approached by others in his community to run. His candidacy did NOT arise out of personal ambition.

Lewis told me of his desire to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats in the legislature. Based on my assessment of his disposition, I am convinced he means it. He would be one of the few (from either party) to do so. And we could all benefit from that.

My guess is that there are a lot of issues where we would disagree. But I think Jerry Lewis’ disposition is to listen with an open mind and heart. In this era of hyper-partisanship and vilification of those who disagree with you, that is a pretty good start. We could use more of Jerry Lewis’ type of civility in our public discourse.

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