If you are surprised, don't worry – we were too.

So let me explain this to you the way it was explained to me: in the form of a story.

Nearly thirty years ago, my father came home from meeting with a group of politicians in D.C. My dad is a clinical psychologist. He had driven to the District that day to talk to them about children's mental healthcare. He put it simply: "Children are hurting, and parents are hurting for their children."

In response, one Congressman assured my father that he knew all about hurting, as he had eaten at an all-you-can-eat catfish diner the night before. That was discomfort, he said.

Unsurprisingly – especially if you know him – my father arrived home and promptly informed my mother that he was going to run for Congress. My mother listened, with my newborn older sister in her arms, and calmly explained that she would prefer that he not "hit the campaign trail" with a newborn baby at home.

That's all my mother remembers of the conversation. My dad, however, recalls an addendum: "You can run once the kids are out of the house and on their own," she said.

That's right – this is my mother's doing. Or at least, she has been in on it from the beginning!

And really, perhaps I too should have seen this coming.

You see, some of my favorite memories with my father are actually of us "on the campaign trail" – just not his own. When I was 10, my dad managed the gubernatorial campaign of then-District Attorney Randall Nichols. I went to every debate, town hall and city fair that occurred outside of school hours. Randy didn't end up winning – he lost in the primaries to the eventual governor, Phil Bredeson – but I learned a lot about the political process, and a lot about my dad.

So here's what I know:

If there is anything my father understands, it's people: what they think and what they feel; what they believe and what they need.

I have no doubts about why. My Dad listens. Remember, he's a psychologist. And as his daughter, let me tell you, there's no turning that off.

I also have no doubts that my father will make an excellent Congressman. 

I'll see you at the debates,

Jennie K. Williams


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September 27, 2017

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