Why I'm Running

When I was young, my parents instilled in me the American Dream. I could be anything I wanted with hard work and perseverance....a future where I would have the opportunity for a wonderful family and a good life if I worked hard enough. There are countless stories of immigrants and talented people 'pulling themselves up' by their own bootstraps, even people that come from backgrounds with limited resources. This is the America I believe in.

Throughout my life, this belief was never far from my mind. I was a good student, graduating with honors at Boston College with degrees in economics and history. I gained experience with various jobs in different types of industries, and started a number of companies. I met and married my wife in Colorado and we started a family. We have 10 year old twins, one boy and one girl. Today I currently own and run a small software company (www.loanxengine.com) that started from our home, which has numerous clients across the country. I did this without venture capital, loans from banks or other debt instruments. The company grew on its own cash flow and revenue, and grew only as I could afford to reinvest. For myself and my family, this has meant years of sacrifice and hard work. But I'm proud of my company and the families that the company is able to support. I'm proud of the fact that the company is in a position where we can offer retirement savings plans and healthcare for our employees.

One of the biggest lessons I've taken from my business experience is that it is *extremely* hard to 'manufacture money'...to start with a blank slate, create a product (any product), sell it for a profit, persevere, and overtime grow it into business. At times, growing my business has challenged me more than I've been challenged in my life, but it's also taught me more about nearly everything. It has sharpened my understanding and vision into the world around us. I've learned immeasurable lessons and gained unbelievable respect for other business entrepreneurs and individuals working to create our future.

While there have been great lessons and inspiring days in my professional and personal life, I've also witnessed other behavior I would characterize as deplorable, disappointing and unethical. And when I look around at America today, I get upset at the stagnation, the government, the crony capitalism, the polarizing finger pointing and the propagation of short sighted policies which are selling out future generations, short changing savers and senior citizens, and jeopardizing the ability for our nation to grow. Opportunities that previous generations have enjoyed are becoming increasingly diminished for our kids and grandkids.

I have decided to do something about it. I have decided to take action to do whatever I can to fix the mistakes our politicians have made and to plant seeds for a future on solid footing...for our country, our state and our kids. I have always been involved in private business, but I have something unique to give and see something worth fighting for. I plan to bring fresh ideas on how to fix our business environment to facilitate direct job growth, ideas for protecting our children's education, and diversifying Colorado's economy.

I am taking action and implore you to take action with me. Please support my campaign however you can, and most importantly, please vote for me this November so that I can bring a fresh perspective to our state and country.

On these pages, I plan to write extensively on various issues facing our state and country, offer my perspective and new ideas that I hope to move forward as your representative. I welcome your feedback and support.

Sincerely,
Alan Johnson
Your candidate for Colorado House District 8

When did Elections become about Parties rather than People and Ideas? Let's change that.

The other day I was having a conversation at a Cub Scout outing with a group of dads, and in particular, with a friend of mine who is very active in the Democratic Party. In the past, I had related to him my desire to one day run for public office, and wanted to personally tell him that I am running to represent District 8 in the Colorado State House of Representatives.

He said, "Congratulations, that's great news," and wanted to dig into the details. When he found out I was running in the Republican column, his first reaction was "why on earth would you do that in such a largely Democratic District, especially with the current state of politics?" (I've heard this more than once from my Republican friends too.) His initial reaction, bummed me out. To me, it doesn't matter what column I run in. The column is merely a label that doesn't define my ideas or me as a person.

I know there was a time when citizens carefully considered each individual running for office, measuring their vote on the person and the ideas they proposed. In recent years, it seems political parties have intentionally generated a poisonous environment to vilify their opponents, making elections more about 'political parties' than people and ideas.

I have been extremely disappointed in this partisan finger pointing and derisive atmosphere that permeates 'modern' politics. Partisan politics is a poison that leads to gridlock, isolation and stagnation. As a nation, now is *not* the time to build walls. We need to come together for the sake of our future and our children's future, to solve the very dangerous and very real problems in front of us.

I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way, and I'm encouraged that regular folks in all 'political' areas are starting to look beyond party labels and consider ideas with an open mind, regardless of where they might come from. We have bigger problems which must be faced with an attitude of selflessness to rebuild an environment where our country can once again prosper.

After my friend's initial reaction, we continued chatting. He knows me, and looked beyond the party label. We talked about why I was running, and some of the ideas I've written about here and plan to add in the near future. We discussed my goal to make a difference and he shared ideas that I should keep on my radar. Despite the fact that I am running as a Republican, he was open to new ideas and to helping me where possible with my campaign. I liked talking to him and look forward to our next chat.

That same evening, one of the other Dad's who was listening to our conversation sent me an email. He said he was also a Democrat, enjoyed listening to my ideas and congratulated me on my willingness to enter the fray. He also shared a personal story about his 100 year old grandfather, Virgil, which I found incredibly insightful and powerful. It is a story that needs to be shared, and embodies the attitude we need to embrace in America to move things forward.

He wrote, "While at my grandfather's house about 5 years ago, with my kids playing on the floor, my grandfather patted me on the knee and said 'I hope your kids grow up to be good citizens of their country one day'. He didn't say that he hoped they would be rich or well known or highly recognized, just good citizens. I thought then that I didn't know that many folks my age to whom that thought would even occur."

Virgil is right. We all need to start thinking less about personal riches and fame, and start thinking about being good citizens of our country. His grandfather's words seemed so simple, but profound. We exchanged a few more emails. He wrote back that he calls his Grandfather's process toward making decisions 'The Virgil Rule' as in; do my intentions in a given situation comply with the Virgil rule? Am I in it for me or for something more beneficial to all?

Let's keep the Virgil Rule in the forefront of our minds, working together rather than expending effort labeling people and building walls. We need to tear down these political walls, start being good citizens of our country rather than our parties, and find a sustainable path for future prosperity, for ourselves and our children. We need good citizens. Elections need to return to being about people and ideas, not about political parties. We desperately need Republicans, Democrats and Independents to start working on building solutions together.

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  • #1 by Mike on 5/5/12 - 2:24 AM

    Alan, I love the attitude and focus you're bringing to the race. Look forward to supporting you.