Jim Vandermaas – US Senate

Why I’m Running


Since I was a kid, I have been curious about our government, how it worked, and how it kept us safe when so many scary things were going on; the Cuban Missile Crisis, air raid sirens going off frequently, having to hide under our school desks as though that would protect us from a nuclear blast. The clear feeling Russia wanted to destroy us, and that strong feeling of fear and uncertainty.
And in spite of all the internal turmoil, racial hatred, inequities, and the fear of nuclear attack, wondering how our leaders could make us all feel safe & secure. Get us thinking that the good of our country was more important than thinking of ourselves, and that we should forget our differences for the common good. That there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do as a country if we worked together and put our minds to it. Inspired by a sense of purpose and the hope of a brighter future. True leadership…

I grew up in very humble beginnings, father abandoned us when I was one, and mom raised 3 kids by herself. As a kid I was always fascinated by how things worked – I took apart my mom’s toaster when I was 6, just to see how it worked, and then negotiated my first peace treaty by convincing my mother not to spank me if I could put it back together – in working order… I started working to help support the family at 10, and was out on my own at 16. As each of my children turned 16, I would look at them and wonder how I survived on my own at that age. And do they feel as inspired and hopeful as I was at their age?

That sense of shared common values, being inspired by our leaders, and that sense of hope we all used to feel seems lost now, or more accurately, been destroyed over time by those leaders who use fear and anger to divide us for their own advantage.

I have never lost that idealism, that sense of hope or purpose, because I know that things are better for all of us when we come together, working toward our common goals, shared values, and the common good of our country. And those feelings are not unique to that time, but rather unique to those visionary leaders that inspire us to challenge ourselves to be better – to make a better country, and give us the hope to persevere.

We have the power to affect this change, because the solution is within each of us. We need only look for these values and that hope within ourselves to be able to recognize it others. This change can be organic, but we still need the leadership with the vision and dedication to make it happen.

And if you’re wondering, the toaster worked and ‘that’ spanking was avoided…

Our country is a wonderful disorganized mess of disparate ideas and political philosophies, comprised of people from all different walks of life, genders, races & ethnicities, and actually such diversity that I can’t even list them all here! And despite all those differences, what has always held us together as a country is our ideals, our values, and the intrinsic support for our right to be who we are, love who we love, and to defend those who can’t defend themselves.  And the basic democratic concepts of majority rule and being constructed for the common good of all. 

In spite of the divisions we feel today, I know that if on a human level we just focus on those interests and concerns that we all share – that we all want the best for our families, neighbors and our country, our differences will fade, and we will begin to feel the hope again, and that a brighter future is within our grasp.

My entire life has been dedicated to public service, and in spite of being retired, I know I am not done, as there is so much more to do. 

I am ready to work for all of Idaho!