Landry from Wailea asks, “Candidate McLaughlin, I saw you on the forums and you looked very impressive. With the primaries this weekend, I am wondering what has the entire campaign process been like and will it be worth it if you don’t win?”
Let me address the first part. It has been an absolute blessing. The amount of things I have done and the people I have met have just been awesome. I got to meet Governor Lingle as well as other political leaders and share my story with them on why I decided to run. If nothing else, I know I got my issue with restrictions on small business out there. People’s eyes have been opened to this.
It has been a blessing to meet some of the other candidates who are also running because they want real change. They are Richard Pohle, Alana Kay, Lisa Gapero, Joe Blackburn, and Kanohowailuku Helm. Here are just regular people who see something wrong with the government and are willing to do something about it.
One thing I was nervous about at first was what would it be like when I met my two opponents Don Guzman and Alan Fukuyama. Surprisingly, meeting them has been one of the bigger blessings in this whole process. Although we are all running for the same position and we obviously won’t agree on everything, there is a mutual respect for what we are all willing to do. One thing I wish I could take back was when I was interviewed for Candid Candidate by Joe Kent was comments I made when asked why I was the best candidate. I did a little unnecessary mud slinging. I pride myself on not having to tear my opponents down to build myself up.
I have really grown to respect both of them and one of us will be eliminated this Saturday. While I hope to move on and want to win bad, I will be sad for either of them if they are eliminated. It is ironic because I am the guy who got sick of American Idol because I hate seeing the contestants cry for the other guy going home. It is them or you. But I guess I can see the point that we are all in this together and while we are competitors, there is a mutual respect.
The biggest blessing has been my daily encounters with people at the grocery store, gas stations, etc. They ask if I am the guy they saw on TV and tell me about themselves. One example was when I was eating pizza at Costco and a gentleman asked, “Aren’t you Erin McLaughlin?” I acknowledged and he asked if he could sit with me for a little while. He told me about how he knew so many people who tried to start small businesses but couldn’t the same way I couldn’t. He said that he was proud to have met me and that we need more regular people who are willing to step up. Words can’t even describe what a good feeling that is.
The only part that has been a little disappointing is that running for office is when you find out who your friends are. Part of that has been great like a guy at my church who when I gave him my card asked for about twenty more so he could pass them out at early morning prayer and they would pray for me. There are those who stepped up and did more than I ever expected they would. Unfortunately, there are those who I thought were my friends who I caught “talking smack” on Facebook and Craigslist. That did hurt because these were guys who had been to my place to watch football and guys that I worked with for years. In the end though, I am glad I found out the truth about them and I know they will ultimately have to face ultimate judgement for their actions.
Now for the second part as to if it is worth it if I don’t win.
That reminds me of when I first decided to run and I went around to get my petition signed. I went to my aunt who I love and respect and she told me I was wasting my time because Don Guzman will win. I think back to that day and think what I would have cheated myself out of if I had listened to that. I know she meant well and did not want me to fight a losing battle, but with all the blessings I have experienced I feel like I already won even if nobody votes for me.
A good friend who goes to my church told me last Sunday that regardless of what happens the blessing is in the process not the outcome. I couldn’t agree more.
This has been such a great blessing and a wonderful learning experience. If I don’t win this time, I will run again and have much more wisdom next time. Honestly, I recommend that everybody run at some point. It is the ultimate chance to make your voice heard and what is great about America is that everybody can.
But make no mistake of it, I want to win and I want to win bad.