First and foremost, I want to thank Judge Arvin Reingold for his 12 years of public service to the city of East Ridge. You have served our city with the utmost integrity, professionalism and compassion for your fellow citizens. You have always treated me with kindness and respect and I thank you for that. I will always hold you in high regard as a lawyer and a judge, but above all else, you’re a good man whom I admire and respect. Thank you for your many years of public service and the manner in which you served. I hope the city honors you in a manner that reflects the dignity and honor with which you served.
Secondly, I want to congratulate our new judge, Cris Helton. You ran an excellent campaign. Your love and passion for East Ridge cannot be denied. I saw first-hand how hard you worked throughout your campaign. You earned your victory with your hard work and I am very happy for you and your family. I wish you the best as our new judge. Congratulations to you and everyone who helped you run a great campaign.
And with sincere gratitude, I want to thank my supporters, the citizens of East Ridge and everyone who worked on my campaign. None of this would have been possible without you. To all those who voted for me, I sincerely thank you. I started as a virtual unknown but thanks to all of you, I managed to become the runner-up in my first political race at the young age of 39 years old. You welcomed me into your homes. You shared your stories with me. You put my signs in your yards. You donated money to my campaign. You went out of your way to cheer me on and to motivate me to keep fighting the good fight when I got tired and weak.
Running for office can be grueling and exhausting at times, especially when you also have to raise a family and run a business. You gave me energy I never knew I had. You gave me hope in times I never could have imagined. And you made me believe again in the good of the human spirit. I cannot thank you enough for your support. I am humbled and grateful. Despite the outcome, I hope I made you proud.
On a personal note, I want to thank my wife for your class and grace in the face of adversity, for your unconditional love and support during this challenging process, and for carrying my share of everyday life when the campaign interfered.
I want to thank my children for always reminding me that love is the greatest victory. On election night, after the votes had been counted and I had officially lost, all three of my daughters ran to me, embraced me together and told me they loved me. Instantly, I knew I had won. You are my greatest success.
I want to thank my family and friends for the private words you shared with me throughout the campaign that lifted me up and confirmed that my purpose in life is to help people. Thank you for believing in me and letting me know how proud you are.
I especially want to thank Rick Witt, East Ridge resident and owner of Advanced Electric, for your selfless contributions to my campaign, the countless hours you spent taking me door to door meeting so many people and all the hours you spent sitting at the polls. You have shown nothing but class and compassion since the day I met you. You started as a random volunteer who just wanted to help but you became my friend. Thank you so much.
And finally and most importantly, I want to thank God. For giving me a second chance in life. For seeing something in me worth sharing with the world. For giving me the incredible privilege of being a candidate for judge. For speaking to my heart and giving me the courage to reach out to the world in the face of great scrutiny. And for being with me during the quiet times reassuring me that all will be well so long as “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…” So that is exactly what I do.