This week Raul Labrador will raise his right hand and swear an oath to the United States of America. Upon the completion of that oath, the "-elect" will drop from "Congressman" and Raul Labrador will be hurled into a world the daily duties of of which he is currently unaware yet will become all too aware within a week's time.
He'll experience the "voting bells" of Congress. The meeting halls of Congress. The personalities of the GOP Leadership and he will experience the reality that he is fully capable of being a successful US Congressman.
That this is so, may not be a big "ah ha" to many people - for the man ran for the office telling us that this is so - but each of us knows that applying for a job is much different than the first few days on the job...or the first few weeks...or months.
My hopes for Raul Labrador's success as a US Congressman are based on many reasons; here are just three.
1. His time in the Idaho Legislature was solid. He was an able and attentive leader. I never experienced anything but sincerity in his listening, even if we disagreed. My hope is that he will bring that into his now-future days in DC.
Raul Labrador is a conservative from the inside out. Unlike the more-than-occasional GOP candidate for US Congress across the land, Raul's strength is that he does not need polls...or "helpers" to determine his plan of action on legislation.
2. He "gets it", because he was taught to "get it" from the days of his youth with a single parent Mom who loved him and poured into him the conservative values that were a part of her.
3. Raul's belief in the Reagan Revolution compelled him to run, against all odds - in the Primary, where I saw him regularly, as his spokesman - and in the far more arduous General Election, where the state and Nation took notice of a young man with a thoroughly hispanic name capturing a Congressional seat in Idaho - a state not known for its ethnic diversity, but fully known for its conservative choices. Raul ran in two races against two well-supported candidates: one GOP and one Dem.
Ronald Reagan's politics undergirded Raul. Ronald Reagan's counter-intuitive decisions to run against two incumbent Presidents in 4 years, gave him a model on which to build Raul's own candidacy. Reagan won his races that counted.
So did Raul Labrador.
For those three reasons alone, I rest assured that whether you'll like his votes or not, you will always know how Raul Labrador will vote as the new US Congressman from Idaho's 1st CD. My hopes for him are anchored to what my son, Colin, and I saw day to day and what I have observed over the years.