When performing my duties as a legislator, I keep myself motivated with a memory; a memory of my own mother, Dr. Oretha A. Faust. She was a champion for the rights of the disenfranchised and struggled all her life a better life, not just for herself, but for her community. The Kansas Democratic Party website rightly describes part of her legacy as:
An avid community activist, Dr. Faust helped to eliminate food stamps with the replacement of the first Vision Card; providing a level of self-respect and diminishing shame for individuals requiring food assistance.
Her moral compass and persistence are the keys to my motivation: doing the right thing, despite the setbacks, seems easier when I remember my mother’s courage. On her deathbed, I promised her that I would persevere in being the voice that would speak for robust public education programs, jobs that pay a living wage, healthcare accessible to all Kansans, and fair taxation of working and middle class families. Day after day, I ask myself: if I support this bill, am I keeping that promise? If I oppose this bill, am I breaking that promise?
Decisions on major legislative changes are never easy–but they are necessary. There are decisions of pragmatism, effectiveness, and more. But for the big decisions, that promise is my litmus test. Am I doing the will of my constituents? Even those who may not have the money to amplify their message?
The promise I made to my mother, is the same promise I make to you.