by Hon. Larry Breitfelder
Recently I shared with you two endorsements that are very special to me. Supervisor Ron Roberts for (among other things) his extraordinary accomplishments in governmental reform at the County and Former Chula Vista Police Chief Bill Winters for his legacy of personal integrity and always putting the public interest ahead of the selfish special interest agendas that are so influential today.
In addition, the endorsement of Congressman Brian Bilbray has a unique personal significance for me because he is why I became a Republican in the mid 90’s. I was brought up in a staunch Democrat household and until about the age of 30, I considered myself free market, strong defense JFK sort of Democrat. Over time that became a lonely and unpopular thing to be, but I guess I didn’t have the imagination to look further.
Then we had the horrendous first two Clinton years. I was beside myself. There was of course the big national issues – taxes etc. But there was also Democratic Congresswoman Lynn Schenk who did not just offend me on policy, but seemed to consider herself an aristocrat burdened with representing Washington to us slack jawed bumpkins. You may recall that when her offices were flooded with calls protesting one of her votes (probably the tax increase), she had the line unplugged.
I’d never met Brian Bilbray, but I found his campaign headquarters, met with his campaign manager and told her I was a fed up Democrat and I was there to help in a big way. I guess she could see I meant it, because she put me in charge of Brian’s phone banks.
I worked so hard that when I was taken to the hospital with pneumonia, I refused to spend the night for observation because election day was close and things had to be kept on track. I don’t think Brian knows about that to this day.
What brought me in the door was legitimate and important, but it was negative. In a very short time it was clear to me that I believed in Brian’s leadership. However, I was too busy or not smart enough to realize how in a broader sense I was at home in philosophy and values. Until one evening, one of the volunteers looked at me and said “Larry, you agree with us and you work really hard for us. Why don’t you become one of us?” I was stunned, but from that day I had a re-registration card staring up at me from my desk for about two years. When I finally filled it out, it felt good.
I learned to appreciate and admire Ronald Reagan through the lessons of my life experience. But Brian Bilbray with some help from that volunteer, is the one who personally touched my life and inspired me to become a Republican.
Please don’t misunderstand. I deeply appreciate all of the endorsements I have received. Sometimes there’s just an alignment of the particular qualities of an individual, the circumstances that brought you together and nature of the times we’re going through that combine to point to a greater meaning.
I wish you all the best.
Larry Breitfelder, an Otay Water District trustee, is running for Chula Vista City Council. Visit him on the web at http://www.larrybforcouncil.com/