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Leading with Love

 

Elephant wearing maskGood evening District 37 friends and neighbors!  I hope you have had an opportunity to enjoy our beautiful NE Ohio weather this weekend! As the weekend comes to a close, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts…

Over the past few weeks, the Bigham Brigade has hit the streets to spread the word about my candidacy. As a result of this, many folks have made comments relative to our campaign approach.  As a nurse practitioner with over 20 years in practice, and a portion of it in public health, I am confident that our approach was reasonable and safe. Even so, I will represent and listen to my entire constituency when I am your representative.  My goal on Hudson City Council has been- and as your State Representative will always be- to listen to what you have to say, voice your concerns in Columbus, and create legislation that leads us to a better District 37. 

Therefore, I want to incorporate your comments, ensure safety, and show respect through our revised plan for campaigning. While no one is perfect, I seek to be led in wisdom through biblical truth and wise counsel. This week, I have been reading Romans 14 and the beginning of chapter 15. These verses discuss how we should interact in a society with differing beliefs. Although this chapter is specifically talking about differing beliefs among Christian believers, the verses can apply across our culture. There are many verses that are appropriate in this chapter, but three I would like to pull out specifically.

The first is Romans 14:13. “Therefore, let us stop passing judgement on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way”.  Whether to wear a mask or not should not be the central issue of this campaign and I genuinely do not want others to be disappointed by how the Bigham Brigade presents itself. While I do not believe it is possible nor is it helpful to try to please everyone, I have listened and we will modify our approach to respectfully consider concerns.

The next verse is Romans 14:19. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification”. This is my goal as your representative.  I will make every effort to rise to this challenge.

The third verse is Romans 15:2. “Each of us should please his neighbor for his or her good, to build him or her up”.  A good leader and representative certainly works to build each and every one of his constituents up, allowing them to reach their greatest potential by not putting governmental or regulatory roadblocks in their way and by directing legislation that best supports our District. 

Secondly, as scripture directs, I seek and consider sage advice from wise counsel. One of my constituents and supporters sent me a very convicting email, challenging me to consider the campaign’s image and impact across the entire District relative to our previous approach. This constituent has my utmost respect and my thanks for providing this sage advice.  She challenged me to unify, lead, and consider the entirety of the communities’ feelings on this matter.  Others of you have also provided advice, varying across the spectrum of positions.  I thank you for your thoughts and it is my belief that a good leader and legislator can take everyone’s thoughts and opinions and put it into a consensus action plan. 

Taking all these things into consideration, I have developed the Bigham Brigade’s revised Campaigning Approach.  Many of the steps are the same as we have been performing, with some minor modifications.  The approach is as follows:

  1. To start, each campaigner will continue to follow the protocol of taking their temperature and evaluating for any signs/symptoms of illness (including those that they live with) prior to any campaign events. They will report any findings and be instructed accordingly.
  2. I have ordered 150 ‘Beth Bigham for Ohio House’ reusable cooling scarfs which are designed to be worn as masks. The Bigham Brigade will wear these around the neck when we are walking in between doors and pull them up over the face when we ring a doorbell. We will also endeavor to wear these when together in a group or unable to physically distance. If you want one of these cooling masks, please let me know and we will make sure you get one. They obviously do not have to be worn just for campaigning.
  3. We will continue to ring doorbells with our masks and talk to our constituents. The response thus far has been fantastic, and people are excited to meet us!
  4. After ringing the doorbell, we will do as we have always done-by immediately stepping back from the door, at least 6 feet, to allow the resident to decide their level of interaction. I passionately believe that our citizens should be allowed to make their own decisions, ones in which they feel most comfortable —especially while they are on their own property.
  5. If the resident is not interested in talking, they will either not answer the door or tell us they are not interested. We will then either leave campaign literature or simply thank them for their time and move on.  This is not a negative interaction, but a respectful one—again, based on their personal situation, their level of comfort, and their beliefs. 
  6. If no one answers, we will put the campaign literature on the door and move on.
  7. We will not be wearing gloves while we do this work. The Bigham Brigade is trained to avoid touching their nose, mouth, eyes, or anywhere on their face and we do not shake hands with the residents. If any of these events happen, they are also trained to utilize hand sanitizer immediately after.  If gloves were worn, there is no opportunity to effectively utilize hand sanitizer and if you do touch any of the above areas, the contaminant will be present on the gloves as well. We do not want to potentially transfer contaminants from house to house through wearing the same pair of gloves. We will not be bringing 400 different pairs of gloves to change throughout the campaign day. We do not believe that this is an environmentally sound approach. Hand sanitizer will work.
  8. Upon completion of the campaigning, each member of the Bigham Brigade will wash their hands as soon as possible and shower when they get home.  

My goal is to be more aware, to continue to listen, to be part of the solution. I am willing to stand on my issues, but I’m also open and willing to come to the table and hear you too—because that is what this moment in time is calling each of us to do. We are all passionate about our communities, and we can do this together, regardless of political leanings—but we have got to find a meaningful way to work together to bring about positive change. It is going to begin NOW and with the BIGHAM campaign!!

Thank you for your continued support and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at www.bethbigham.com or on my campaign Facebook page.  

For the love of the 37th district,

Beth

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