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Hello, South Carolina. My name is Joe Reynolds.

I am a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, and I am a licensed Chief Engineer on oceangoing vessels. For over thirty years I’ve sailed all over the world. It has been my honor and privilege to bring heavy equipment – everything from Abrams tanks to Apache helicopters – for our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea.

I’ll be honest. I know little about politics. But I believe in our institutions, in Congress, and in the Constitution, and as an engineer I kept thinking something was broken. Engineers don’t like broken stuff. We try to figure out some way to fix it.

Just what exactly is it that is broken about Congress?

Well, it isn’t working. They aren’t good at balancing the budget. They aren’t able to make any compromises on big issues like immigration, health care, climate. Even bipartisan legislation seems to just gather dust on Mitch McConnell’s desk. Why?

The reason is that Mitch McConnell is looking out for his party. This is noble of him, really. He doesn’t like legislation that people will have a tough vote on. A universal background check bill would pass easily. Handily. But he won’t allow it to. Because there is some Senator X somewhere who will have to vote on this bill. And it will be hard for this Senator X because he can’t lose those 5% of voters who are uncompromising on the gun issues, and he can’t lose 5% of suburban moms who will be furious if he votes against it.

What does this tell us about the whole process?

That politicians are more worried about their own political prospects than the nation’s business. Mitch wants these politicians to succeed because he only has a 4 vote majority. Mitch wants to retain power. That’s understandable. If you are a politician who cares more about pure political power than the needs of the country. But isn’t it supposed to be about us?

Nancy Pelosi does the same thing. So did Harry Reid. Retaining power is everything. OK. Let’s go from there. Say we wanted things to get done, what would we need. We would need fewer politicians who cared about they’re positions, and more politicians who cared about the country. Some go up there with noble intentions, but they are soon swamped by demands of the party and leadership. And they have to get money. More money. Lots of money.

As an engineer I thought: to fix this we need people who DO NOT WANT to stay up there forever. So I’m the first volunteer.

I won’t run again after this. It will only be one term. I won’t raise money while I am in office, not for the party, not for me, not for other candidates. I won’t be campaigning or fundraising. I have ideas to get more people like me in Congress. Especially the Senate, a place completely unrepresentative of the country. During my one term in the Senate all my time and energy will be devoted to working for you. On the budget, on legislation, on South Carolina’s issues, and the country’s.

We need to fix Congress. To make it for us, not them. I hope you’ll consider me. Thanks.

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