I want to express appreciation to the readers of The Sun Commercial who recently spoke out in support of adding my name to the Indiana Primary Ballot to represent the 8th District in the US Congress.

Unfortunately, our efforts were unsuccessful.

That said, this endeavor was never about me. I recall being asked by a leader in the Democratic Party last summer why I wanted to run for Congress. My answer then was, "I don't." Certainly, being a politician, let alone a member of Congress, was never a personal goal. My 35-years in the army provided me with enough personal and professional satisfaction to last the rest of my life.

Yet others, from current and former members of Congress to local residents in my hometown, convinced me that my background and leadership skills were right to add a much-needed common sense perspective to our current political discourse.

My inability to convince the Knox County chairperson of the Democratic Party to certify my political affiliation was disappointing. But, I hope the people in Knox County will recognize that this disappointment should not be perceived as an indictment of the principles and values of my fellow Democrats. Collectively, we’re working hard to earn back the trust of rural working-class voters. Democrats are moving forward to get back to a "Big Tent" philosophy that embraces those who agree on the vast majority of issues, but on certain issues may have dissenting views.

I believe the lack of recognition I received from the Knox County chairperson was an anomaly within the Democratic Party. I understand that many folks expressed frustration that I was denied the opportunity to place my name on the Indiana primary ballot. But now it’s time to move forward.

Let’s use this teachable moment to achieve something positive. Get involved in the political process, volunteer, support a more progressive Wabash Valley and work hard together to make all our communities better.

In short, make it matter.

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