While I consider myself a true independent politically-speaking, I’ve always had an interest in politics and the way in which our government operates. So as you can imagine, I spent the entire trip walking around on cloud nine. The energy, the gravity... I really feel drawn to that city.
But this visit wasn’t meant to satiate my political appetite, it was 100% focused on establishing partnerships with legislators who hold the power on the issue of gun violence.
I understand that not everyone can throw their political persuasions to the wind and hunker down on just one issue. We live in difficult times and everyone should be politically active on the issues that matter to them most. But for me, it is so much simpler.
I almost died on 9/6. Many others have died before me and since, as a result of gun violence. My life’s mission is to solve this issue and as a mother of young children, this is all I have the energy to tackle.
I continue to be grateful for this bubble period where I can concentrate on healing and deeply immerse myself in the information necessary to succeed with Whitney/Strong. While not all of our solutions involve legislation, it will always be a part of our efforts. And in order to pass legislation, you need votes - at the Federal and State level.
As a Kentucky resident, an Ohio employee, and a U.S. citizen, I am not going to make progress by partnering with Democrats only. This strategy doesn’t work. Gun deaths have been rising for years and the House just had their first hearing on gun violence in over eight years. Sure, individual states with a Democratic majority have made progress but that makeup doesn’t apply to KY or OH. And furthermore, do you really get the best solutions when you surround yourself with like-minded thinkers?
If we are going to tackle gun violence for the long-haul, we need diverse thought and we need Republicans. Whitney/Strong believes the only path to real change is through bipartisan action. This means I may end up in a meeting with your political nemesis. Luckily for you, I’ve spared you the interaction and no political bias will ever supersede my desire to save lives.
So what did we learn? A ton! I truly believe that both parties are authentic when they say, “We want all of this to stop. We just believe in different solutions.”
This is where we come in. We serve as that squeaky wheel to Republican leaders on those solutions that we can get behind... solutions like red flag law, laws that demand prohibited persons don’t gain access to firearms, and laws that help provide support for the mentally ill in our communities.
I do not care who gets credit for these solutions. I just want lives to be saved. It’s really simple for me, but maybe that clarity can only come with a story like mine.
Special thanks to the offices of Representative Yarmuth, Representative Hollingsworth, Representative Crow, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senator Cornyn, Senator Graham, and Senator Paul. I’ll never forget this experience and I can’t wait to build upon the partnerships formed.