Thursday, July 18, 2024

Letters to the editor July 8

| July 8, 2024 12:00 AM

Parade of politicians

During Kalispell’s Fourth of July parade, the behavior of three politicians stood out. 

U.S. Senate candidate Tim Sheehy walked so fast he didn’t stop to shake hands. He occasionally gave a perfunctory wave. 

Congressman Ryan Zinke handed out miniature American flags, all while wearing a patriotic T-shirt, in case there’s a Montanan who somehow is unaware Zinke served in the Navy. His speed was quick and businesslike, but nowhere near Sheehy’s almost-jog.  

And then, pasted in sandwich boards bearing his name, walked Lukas Schubert (House District 8 candidate from Evergreen).  Schubert impressed me the most of the three.  He walked with an ear-to-ear smile on his face and was enjoying the moment.

A positive attitude can overcome divisiveness in politics. Schubert’s enthusiasm and authenticity is refreshing. He brought that same energy to my door a few months ago. I challenged him on a variety of issues. He was articulate, reasonable, and exhibited a willingness to listen to my point of view. This skill in retail politics is difficult to teach  You either connect with voters or you don’t. Interaction with voters shouldn’t be viewed as a necessary evil of the job — it’s how politicians, at any level, understand the concerns of the electorate.

I spent almost a decade in Washington, D.C. working for elected officials. I have phone banked and waved signs in the Flathead Valley, likely before Schubert was even born. I know potential when I see it. The connection, authenticity, and fire in the belly Schubert brings to the role should be welcome. He could teach those running for federal office a lesson or two.  

This November, let’s send Schubert to Helena. And even in the unlikely event he is unsuccessful, something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him.  

— Jodi Schipper, Kalispell