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FIRST LOOK WHAT I KNOW


Spokane County Treasurer by


Rob Chase My life changed in the 1990s when I got the Internet. I


discovered that there was a lot of information and viewpoints that I never learned in school, home, church or in the mainstream media.


At about the same time my circumstances made me


reflect on the differences in the America I knew as a child of the 60s, and an adult of the 90s. I was raised in a middle- class family where my parents had six children, and my mother, like most mothers then, didn’t work. We didn’t have a great deal, but we did have enough to go on an annual vacation, attend parochial school and if one of us got seriously ill we weren’t faced with bankruptcy.


I fast-forwarded my reflections to my life in my 40s.


We had two children, my wife and I both worked, we weren’t spendthrifts, but we lived paycheck to paycheck. I recalled that when I was a kid I received a weekly allowance of a quarter. I would blow it all at once on a can of pop, a comic book and a few pieces of candy. Thirty years later the same spree would cost several dollars. What was the difference? The Internet articles I was reading told me taxes and inflation had eroded the personal income of the middle class in the intervening three decades. Since the Federal Reserve was enacted in 1913, the dollar had been devalued to three cents.


I didn’t like school. I didn’t get it. In high school, I remember


sleeping during a government class. I happened to wake up and noticed all of the other students were sleeping, too, while the instructor droned on. I didn’t know anything about our constitution until I got the Internet. I did not understand until then about the miracle in Philadelphia and why the founders were such geniuses. I also recognized how we had strayed from those eternal truths expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The simple truth is this: if we had followed the Constitution we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today. I realized I had to do something instead of just complaining. I decided to get politically active so that I had a voice.


I honestly thought you had to be something akin to a


lawyer to run for office. I presupposed that you needed a long political resume to qualify as a candidate for a major party. In the meantime, I became enamored of the quote “Liberty is the only thing we cannot have unless we give it to others.” That sounded to me like The Golden Rule. In my research I was attracted to the Libertarian Party because they seemed to


take the Constitution more seriously than the other parties, and they put principle over party. I also found out that the Libertarian Party wanted anyone they could get to run for office, so I joined up.


In 2000 I ran for State Senate, and in 2002 I ran for


Congress. In each case I only received around five percent of the vote, but I did get a voice in the discussion. I will say I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences of running for office on a shoestring. There is a certain freedom that comes with no hope of winning. I made new friends and I got to visit neat little towns like Pomeroy and Republic, which I would probably have never visited otherwise. Instead of writing a letter to my congressman, I was able to tell him on television our differences of opinion.


By this time I had put up thousands of signs for various


campaigns, and in 2010, I became U.S. Senate Candidate Clint Didier’s sign guy for Eastern Washington. Clint lost in the primary, but as I was helping observe ballots during the primary count I noticed the County Treasurer race was uncontested. I paid the filing fee and sent out emails to all my contacts to write my name in. I came in second place with two percent and won in the General Election with the help of a Republican surge. This was my first victory since being elected Student Body President of Kellogg High School in 1971 – nearly a 40 year dry spell.


A few months ago I had the privilege of addressing the


Ferris High School Leadership Class. I told the students several things: that they owed a duty to God, their family and their business, but they also have a civic duty. Instead of throwing a shoe at the image of a politician on TV, to get involved and stay involved. Take risks, because if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time, and don’t just vote—make an informed vote.


There were times in my life where I didn’t think I had a


single friend. Maybe that was because I loved to talk about religion and politics. I think these are important topics because it educates us on how we should live in this life, and what we might expect in the next. Now I haven’t exactly pleased everyone, but I have made more friends the last few years of my life then all the years before. I love hearing all viewpoints as long as they prompt civil and friendly discussions, because I think we are always learning until the day we die, and then we get the report card that really matters.


38


SPOKANE CDA • May • 2012


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