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Friday, February 16, 2018

Common Heartbreak and Common Ground. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE KEN HARBAUGH.

David --
My heart is broken for families in Parkland, Florida. As a country, I know we stand united in this grief. We know that every American -- Every. Single. One. -- wants our children to be safe.
But the moment we begin to talk about solutions, we tear one another apart.
For a lot of people -- for many of our elected representatives -- that means we simply don’t talk about solutions. We don’t have conversations. We don’t say the word gun. We offer thoughts and prayers and then look the other way.
But our children are dying at school. Our children are dying at school. We must talk about guns. We must wrap our thoughts and prayers in courage, action, and love.
Voters have asked me this week, “Ken, where do we even begin?”
1.) We start by acknowledging that we are not as divided as our politics suggest.
I am a hunter, a gun owner, and a veteran of the United States military. I am also a Christian, a father, and a neighbor. I want to be able to protect my family. I want my wife to feel safe in our place of worship, and I want my children to feel safe in their schools. Regardless of party, I believe every father feels the same. So when we have these difficult conversations, remember our shared values.
2.) We speak with authority and act with courage.
I have fought for this country. My friends have died for this country. So I speak with some authority when I say that fully automatic weapons are for killing terrorists and background checks are for protecting families.
I have fought terrorism overseas and sat across the table from Afghan warlords. So I speak with some authority when I say that we must prevent dangerous weapons from falling into the hands of dangerous people -- people who seek to bring death, despair, and destruction on our families here at home. We must prevent potential terrorists and people on no-fly lists from obtaining firearms.  
I have put my life on the line to defend this country. So I speak with some authority when I say that I do not need a bump stock to defend my family. And if a 19-year-old boy is not old enough to buy a beer in the state of Florida, then we should come together as a nation and say that he is not old enough to buy an assault rifle either. 
Each of these solutions has overwhelming bipartisan support. The question is: how do we turn these ideas into policy?
3.) We elect representatives who will lead.
We must drain the swamp of Congressmen whose silence can be bought with donations from special interests. My opponent, Bob Gibbs, has taken $24,550 from the gun lobby. That has been the price of his silence.
I have been asked this week, “Ken, will you take money from the NRA?”
My answer is no.
I believe in the Second Amendment. But I will not be beholden to any Washington special interest group that demands silence in the wake of tragedy and inaction in the face of national crisis. That is not leadership. That is not courage. That is not the democracy I fought to defend.
Our children are dying. This is a time for patriots, not politicians. As a nation, we need to come together in common heartbreak and common purpose -- and find common ground.
In service,

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