Please give me the chance to continue serving you | GUEST OP

For the Auburn Reporter

Many of you are concerned about my past, as well you should be. That was 34 years ago.

I have lived in Pacific for the past 24 years, during which I have endeavored to make this a better place to live. I bought a home here, started a business and created good jobs until I was no longer physically able to work. I pay my bills and my taxes.

My wife and I watched our two eldest grandchildren grow up in Pacific.

Nearly five years ago, I was asked by several citizens to serve on the City Council. At that time, I advised them of my past. They stated that since I had received my final discharge and restoration of civil rights, that they did not see a problem and once again asked me to serve on the City Council. I submitted my candidacy and was unopposed.

This past year I was approached by Howard Erickson and others to seek the office of mayor. I advised them of my past and they, too, stated that was not an issue since my civil rights had been restored. I declined their offer and chose instead to remain only one of seven votes on the City Council.

Midsummer I considered rescinding my candidacy because of failing health. Several citizens asked me to stay on the council to ensure continuity in the event of the election of a new mayor. I agreed to remain as long as my health permits.

I am eligible to hold public office. The issue of whether I am worthy is entirely up to you as voters. As long as I am in office, I will continue to vote against raising property taxes. I will continue to pursue development of retail businesses to stimulate our economy, generate sales tax income for our city and to create local jobs for the people that live here. I have advocated, and will continue to do so, for the elderly, the disabled, the children and other vulnerable populations of our city.

I will continue to make a positive contribution to this community, whether or not I serve on the city council. I will continue to strive to make Pacific a city in which responsible citizens can live in peace and prosperity. This is my home. This is where I am going to spend most of the remaining time I have left in this life.

I have never tried to conceal my past. Neither have I tattooed it on my forehead. It has always been there for all to see. If you did not care to look, all you had to do was ask me. My closets are too small to hide skeletons. Instead, I hang them out on the clothes line in my back yard. All one has to do is look over my fence.

I have shared my past with most of my neighbors because they deserve to know about the man that lives next to them.

The troubled young man who committed a horrible crime and went to prison all those years ago is gone. In his place is a broken, old man. One cannot learn compassion except through suffering.

I am but a man, a mere mortal human being who has made mistakes. But I am a man, a man with a voice and the willingness to make a difference.

I cannot fix all the problems in this world but I can, each of us can, do something. I do not ask your forgiveness for the past, nor do I ask your understanding. That is something that I alone will live with for the rest of my life. What I did many years ago was wrong. I stood accountable for that and paid a price.

Whether or not some of you believe I have paid a just amount is irrelevant to me. What is relevant is that if any of you ask for my help, I will be there as long as I am able. If I see something wrong, I will speak up.

I bring to this community a plethora of life experiences, some bad, most good, but contained in each was a lesson learned. If it is God's will as expressed through the votes cast by you, the citizens of this community, that I no longer serve you on the City Council, then so be it.

The purpose of government is to serve the people. I will continue to serve this community in whatever capacity I am able.

I will continue to serve our nation's veterans, my first calling, and make available to them whatever resources are required to allow them to recover from the visible and invisible scars incurred in the horrors of war. There are no noble wars, only noble warriors. If I can guide one veteran away from the path I have gone down, my life will have been successful.

Our mayor is a veteran who served in an exemplary manner. He has my love and respect for that service. He endured the horrors of war and still suffers, as do I, from both visible and invisible scars. For that, he has my compassion. We will not always agree, but that will not diminish the love, respect and compassion I have for him as a veteran.

Thank you for allowing me the time to address you. May God bless you and guide you in your decisions. May God bless our city and our country again and bless our elected leaders. May God especially bless those who even now guard the gates of freedom, and their families, for without freedom, we have nothing.

In closing, I remain your humble servant.

Reach Gary Hulsey at 253-929-1100 or ghulsey@ci.pacific.wa.us.

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