Official Declaration of Candidacy Speech
Good afternoon and thank you all so very much for coming today. I know it’s a lot to ask to give up some Saturday time when football is in full swing, so I am very appreciative. As you all know, I am a man of few words, so I will try to keep this brief.
Two years ago, I awoke after a two-month coma and realized that I had nearly lost my life. I immediately remembered that I had recently lost the man that taught me how to be one and also the younger brother I never had the chance to help become one. I also realized that God had blessed me with another opportunity to live. While my head immediately told me that I would once again grace the stage and sing, my heart told me that this once operatic voice, taken from me by a Divine plan, would one day be repurposed to change the world in a much different capacity.
A very wise man once told me that, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” I owe my dad and my mom a great deal. Integrity abounds, my friends, and I am confirming for you today that I know that there is a hurting people out there. I know that we have not been duly represented by those we have elected. I KNOW — that there is a chance for a better tomorrow...I am still here and I am ready and I will stand.
Folks, it’s simple. As individuals, we can agree or disagree, but as Americans, the less our government intrudes on our individual liberties, the freer we are to live as a people. My impression of our current state of government is this: shambles and confusion. Right now, we have a fleet of incompetence in our government, that instead of working for its people, is steadily taking away from them. I am not in the business of instituting change. TOO much has changed. I am in the business of fixing what is broken. Keep it simple — keep it small — let the states speak for themselves — and above all, support individual liberty and the constitution of the United States of America. I truly believe, as was the mission of our founders, that the government should be limited to the protection of its people and to the maintenance of our liberties. Freedom and independence are neither free, nor independent. One former president captured it best in a State of the Union address, when he said, “The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.”
The country has headed down a path that was never intended. We were purposed for freedom and prosperity. We were designed to break down tyrannical barriers and commit ourselves to the betterment of our brothers and sisters. We escaped control in order to entrust freedom to our fellow man, but today...today...we have seemingly given it back and become those we first sought to abandon.
I want you to know that there are people out there, regular everyday citizens that know that America is reaching its threshold. In life, we want to work, to pay our bills, to raise our children and retire with a smile on our face and grandchildren at our feet. We can only do that when we realize that the power of our voices and the freedom of our votes can and will make a difference.
The American Dream that seems to be under foot has not disappeared, it has simply been muffled. If you can dream it, you can do it. No matter your race, your creed or your station in life — your determination dictates where your life will go. I am a living example of that. I work hard, I don’t make a lot of money, but I know that if I press on, I, too, can achieve that dream. Unfortunately, the values of the American Dream that I hold dear are unfamiliar to many of the younger generation. It is the task of all Americans, and a personal focus of mine to pass on the ideals of a hard work ethic, the spirit of volunteerism, the benefits of a comprehensive education, and above all, a great love and respect for our country.
I want everyone here to go home every week with more money in their pockets. You worked hard for your money, you should keep it. I will work hard to foster a fertile environment for new business in our district and our state. I want to attract new business to our own district, along the lines of the new movie studio in Fayette County, to make employment opportunities a top priority for residents of Clayton County who have the ability and the desire to work. Our current situation in which workers have to compete for limited jobs, often beneath their skill level and pay grade is not how our economy should work, and is unacceptable. I want to see a day where once again, businesses will compete for the best and brightest employees, which will be reflected by higher wages and better benefits across the board. A rising tide lifts all boats. But folks, economic prosperity doesn’t happen the way we’ve been forced to believe here recently. To quote Adrian Rogers, “You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.” Prosperity has always been the catalyst for innovation in our economy, and with innovation comes new, unforeseen opportunities for all of us.
I want to protect your rights, your constitutional property. I support your constitutional right to protect yourself and your family. I also want to ensure that you, me, your children, and your grandchildren, all have the God-given right to life that our Savior promised us. I believe that our lives begin at conception and our equality does not stop at skin color. Your gender, your age, your origin, your sexual orientation, should never be the reason you are denied basic liberties and rights. As many of you know, I am adopted. My birth parents, who are also here today, made a choice thirty-two years ago that saved a child, that gave him an opportunity to live — to grow — and to one day stand up for the voices that have yet to be heard. Isaiah Chapter 33 verses 15 and 16 says, “He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil — this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.” Because my mom and dad were the helm of my integrity and the foundation of my faith, I will never stop standing.
Here today are members of my family; dear friends of mine that I have confided in and counted on for decades; even former teachers of mine, that without their wisdom and formidable patience, I would not have even had the fortitude to stand here. Most of you here know that I am a horse of a different color. And we realize now more than ever, that that is okay and perhaps what is needed. The future of our nation is depending on us to start standing together, side by side, hand in hand.
I have so much to be thankful for — more than I could scribble on paper. The time has come for us to step back from the precipice of division and for me to stand up for us on the prominence of solidarity. I am honored to believe that my country is the bulwark of nations and the ultimate bastion of freedom. For all that we stand for, we are a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. With your votes, your financial support, and most importantly, your prayers — this regular man can make a difference. It’s not enough to have the courage of my own convictions, I have to have the courage of others’, too.
To have the opportunity to serve the people of my district, the people of the great State of Georgia, and the citizens of the United States is not just an honor, but a dedicated investiture in continuing what was started, helping to grow from where we’ve come to where we will be, and most of all — maintaining liberty and justice for all. So today, I am humbled and excited to announce to you, officially, my candidacy for the Georgia State House of Representatives. It will be a long road with bumps along the way. But, if my life experiences have taught me one thing, it’s that a little bit of resolve and a whole lot of brass goes a long way.
You have honored me with your presence, and I pray that you leave here inspired and resolved with the conviction that help is on the way.
To quote the great classical scientist, Archimedes, “Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth.”