How This Republican Became A Guy Who Says #ImWithHer

Here's my Presidential voting record.  You may not like it or agree with it, but here's what it has been since I was able to vote.  
  • 1996: First time being able to vote. Fall of Freshman year in college. Bob Dole. 
  • 2000: Just graduated and selling drywall screws. George Dubya Bush. 
  • 2004: In the thick of things working for Tom Cross and the Illinois House GOP. Re-elect Dubya. 
  • 2008: Just married. No kids. Voted for the patriot and honorable man despite Nat being all-in with BO. And, even in the face of 'you-know-who' as his running mate. Proudly voted John McCain. 
  • 2012: Two kids in the suburbs. Voted against the incumbent and hometown guy BO for Mitt Romney. 
Yep. That's right. 5 presidential elections. 5 straight Republican candidate votes for president.  Again, you may not like my votes, but that's what they've been.

Here in Illinois, you have to pick a party (or basically not vote by picking the non-partisan ballot) in the primary. If you wanted to look me up in the voter records, you'll find out that I haven't missed a primary election since I was 18 and have ALWAYS pulled the Republican primary ballot.

I also ran a few times and won the races for Republican Precinct Committeeman in my Township.  Yeah. Seriously.  I put my time and effort in supporting candidates locally.  Thus, I'm a strong, Republican vote and have stuck with my party through thick and thin.  I sometimes disagree with opinions voiced by the leaders of my party.  But, in the end, I've always been a 'big tent' Republican.

My belief is that in the *true* Republican Party, there's lots of room in here for all kids of people.  Lots of ideas.  Lots of backgrounds.

We're bound to agree more than we disagree- if we focus on what matters to the lives of the people of Illinois and we stand up for some core values of limiting the reach of the government, supporting business growth, protecting the environment, and supporting and protecting families.  Because of that, some might call me a RINO.

That's why, back about a decade ago, I was excited to support and rally folks around (then) Congressman Mark Kirk's "Suburban Agenda" and was eager for my fellow Republicans to latch on to it as a platform.  The Suburban Agenda focused on three concepts: protecting families, improving health care access and financial stability and environmental stewardship.  Those are things that we should be proud to support and stand behind.  How in the world did the GOP let the environment - as an issue - get out of our grasp?  We *should* have been owning the notion of protecting the environment from day one.  But then here are folks who don't believe in science.  

Over the past 18 months, MY party, the Republican Party has gone astray.  For a long time, the party has been under siege by the far religious right - those who oppose marriage equity and label those who support a woman's right to choose "pro-abortion."  But that's not the foe we're dealing with now.  We're dealing with a guy who is utterly unprepared to serve as the President of the United States.  

To be clear: Although I am a through-and-through self-identified Republican, I am #NotWithHim.  I'm sharing this with all of you - not because I think I can change anyone's mind - but because I think it is important to tell my party - or what's left of it - what is at stake.

Since Trump wrapped up the nomination, I've gone around and round thinking about what kind of vote sends the strongest message. Do I just undervote on my ballot?  Meaning decide to not vote in the Presidential election, but then vote for Senator Mark Kirk in the Senate Race and my local statehouse Republicans? And have that undervote be the message? 

Do I join Jeb! and go with Gary Johnson?  Like the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board did today?

Or, do I go with Hillary?

As they say, "It's chicken or fish, man."

The days of saying, "Boy, I really wish there was steak on the menu" or "I really felt like having a steak this fall" are over.  We have to choose.  Chicken or fish.

The decision was easy.  One morning, a few weeks ago, after trolling though Twitter and seeing the continued nonsense from Donald Trump, I decided that I had had enough.   I went on Hillary Clinton's site and (gasp!) made a donation.  Yep.  That's right. This life-long Republican voter - a guy who has only ever voted for Republicans - donated to the Democrat Presidential candidate.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. I picked up a yard sign and a pair of buttons.

One for me and one for Nat.

This photo of my daughter- The Bird- wearing the button this week tells the real story of why #I'mWithHer.  The future is too important to sit on the sidelines.

You're likely asking yourself, like I am, is Hillary Clinton a perfect candidate for President of the United States?

Of course not.

She has flaws and I don't agree with everything she stands for on the issues.

I, do,  think she has some sensible solutions for our country when it comes to immigration, guns, climate change and how to protect wildlife, our great open spaces and the environment.

But, more importantly: Is she qualified and capable of handing the job of navigating our country through the next four years?  (Yes, I said four years.)

Yes, I believe she is.

After this week's debate, I'm proud to stand by the candidate who was prepared.  She spoke on the issues and offered her approach to solving our challenges.  Again, I don't necessarily agree with everything she said at the debate, but of the two candidates we have to choose from, she's the easy choice.    If you haven't watched this Curb-related Tweet, check it out below.  It is preeety, preetay, preetay great.

As a father of two young girls, I'm excited to see the world laid out before them. They need to know that they can be anything they want to be.  Even President.

I'm a Republican and I'm voting for Hillary Clinton for President in November.  So my daughters know that they can be President one day, too.  

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