Sometimes the important things get lost in a campaign. “Issues” are easily manipulated by the press or partisans.
For 41 years I was associated with the American Legion Montana Boys State program; for more than half of those years, I served either as the program’s chief counselor or as its director. The program offers high school junior boys - the “cream of the crop” – an opportunity to learn about citizenship and leadership and much, much more.
Steve Bullock was one of the best counselors Boys State ever had. For more than 15 years, Steve gave up a week of vacation, for no pay, to come to the University of Montana-Western in Dillon and help young men formulate the principles of their citizenship and leadership. (Steve is a former Boys State governor elected by conservative young men from every town and city in Montana who trusted him to lead and represent them.)
As a counselor, every day at 6:30 a.m., Steve led 400 young men in singing the Star-Spangled Banner and “God Bless America.” (Neither he nor they were trained singers.) Also, because he is a Boston Marathoner, I asked him to “warm up” the delegates to get a good start on the day.
Steve is a patriot. He taught love of God and country. He explored the meaning of freedom. He taught respect for the American flag – stars and stripes forever.
Steve was effective because he not only taught these values, he lived them. No young man who became acquainted with Steve at our program has forgotten or will forget him. He is a patriot in every sense of the word. I do not personally know every candidate, but I do know Steve. He continues to live those Boys State ideals.
While issues are important, they change daily. What is more important is knowing a candidate’s values. My vote will be for a proven and practicing patriot who lives that value every day.
K. Paul Stahl