by Dan Romero
It was a great privilege for me to know Jack and be his friend. I met Jack when I decided to work on the Larry Echohawk campaign back in 1989/1990. Jack was a devout Democrat. He firmly believed that people needed a hand up instead of a hand out. He would explain his political position with ease and clarity and, unless you live in Canyon County, you may not know how difficult that really is.
Jack was a gracious man with a warm and sincere heart. He made people feel at ease when talking about politics. Over the years Jack and I walked long hours on several different campaigns, including mine. In fact, it was Jack who convinced me that I should run for office and, on my first try, Jack was my campaign manager.
One thing I quickly learned about Jack was that you never wanted to walk a precinct and hand out literature unless you had good walking shoes. Jack could walk like no other person I have known.
Jack believed that all politics began at the local level and that change did not belong to those who are content with today or apathetic toward common problems. Rather it belongs to those who can blend vision, reason, and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals of our community.
Jack believed that a good education did not lie beyond our reach, but it was completely in our control. It is the shaping impulse of our community and the work of our hands that will determine our destiny.
I remember one of my first walks with Jack and how his devotion and experience was a great example to me. We were heading back to our vehicle at the end of a very long day, and we saw a young woman sitting outside on her porch. Jack looked at me and said, this will be our last visit for the day.
We introduced ourselves and told her why we were there. She was polite and explained how she was a single, stay at home mom with three children. She explained how hard it was to support herself and her kids and that she received food stamps and lived in subsidized housing.
I thought, boy, this was going to be an easy person to talk to. We explained our literature and our stand for better education and livable wages. She seemed to be open to what we presented and then the magic question came. “ARE YOU REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT?” Feeling confident, we both said Democrat. She then stated how she could not support Democrats because they gave too much welfare to people who didn’t need it.
I retreated baffled, but Jack continued to talk with her, and she eventually took the literature from him. When he got back to the car, he said to me, “We can’t walk away. It is our responsibility to provide education on what Democrats stand for.” This was my confirmation of Jack’s devotion to the party and to the people in his community.
Jack believed that an education would open doors to many that otherwise may be shut. We talked many times on education, and it was apparent that we pay now to educate our children or pay later to support them.
Jack also worked hard attempting to push livable wages in our community. As we walked and talked to people in our community, it was sad to hear that many worked two and three jobs to keep their heads above wager. Jack and I talked about how not having livable wages affected families. Jack sincerely felt that people who worked should earn a livable wage.
Jack was a great family man, friend, and Democrat. He was well-read and articulate, interesting to listen to and talk with, and a man who appreciated others’ personal points of view. Those of us who the privilege to know him and those whom he touched, please, pray that what he wished for others someday becomes reality in our community.
Goodbye, my dear friend.
Dan Romero is an international management consultant whose home and family are in Nampa, Idaho.