In light of the governor’s safer-at-home policy, the Star-Observer looks back at some of the most interesting questions and even more interesting answers.
Looking back on 2019, was there an act of courage or compassion or maybe both that stood out for you?
My sister and brother-in-law have an 18-year-old daughter that has a Batten disease. She is blind and in a wheelchair. My sister is courageous every single day. She is the best mom I have ever known. The disease affects people in their late teens and early twenties. There is no cure. She will continue to get progressively worse. My sister’s name is Jennifer Kaiser.
When was the last time you held a gun? What is your take on what happened in Dayton and El Paso?
A couple weeks ago. It was target practice with a handgun. I am a gun owner. No, I am not a member of the NRA. I think the NRA has too much influence. People are looking at electability and the money they need for that versus what’s the right thing to do. I’m a former Marine, so I certainly understand guns. With regard to the gun violence over the weekend, I think we’ve lost the privilege to own certain types of guns. I have the right to come and go as I please. But if I were to break the law, I would lose that right. I think we have to look at it from that standpoint.
I think there is a huge contradiction in terms. On the one hand, we’re for the right to life and on the other hand, we're for the right to guns. At some point in time, when rights become more important than lives, you’ve got an issue.
If you could invent something to help kids, what would you invent?
Thanks to the 4th Graders from Somerset Elementary School
I would make some sort of fabric that you could put around a school that senses if there is a gun in the school. It would turn a color like red, to warn everybody.
When was the last time you made a difference?
I helped an autistic student go through the Middle School because it was his first year here. I invited him to sit next to me and my buddies at lunch so he had friends. I’ve never done that before. It was really interesting and I got a new friend out of it.
Have you ever saved a life or been saved yourself?
I had ovarian cancer. I was 30, very young and I had a son who wasn’t a year old yet. It was very tough to hear that diagnosis. My doctor caught it very early on and was very aggressive. Thanks to my doctor and my family and all their support, the outcome was great. The positive support was just as important as the medical treatment. You have to get to that point where you want to survive, where you have a positive attitude, where you are willing to accept what they tell you and believe them and move forward. When you have a child that’s about a year old, you have a lot to live for. It makes all your decisions doubly important.
In your opinion, what is the most important right that our government provides and protects?
The nineteenth amendment, women’s right to vote. 2020 is the 100th Anniversary of the women’s right to vote. It’s really important. I’ll be able to vote in three years and I’m excited for the opportunity.
What is your perfect pancake?
A Pannenkoeken. It’s a German pancake that’s baked. It’s real thin and it’s cooked in a cast iron skillet. As it bakes, the pancake rises up the side. After it’s baked, you fill the inside with fruit and sprinkle the whole thing with powdered sugar. If you’re feeling crazy, you can put a little maple syrup on there too. No butter. You slice it up like pizza.
In the spirit of giving thanks, if you could invite anybody to share your Thanksgiving dinner, who would you invite?
I would invite my friend from school Kaiden, but I don’t know if he could come. I believe he has autism like me. We invited him over for my birthday Aug. 26. I’m thirteen now. He’s thirteen or fourteen too. With his autism, he doesn’t really interact with anybody. My last birthday was the first time ever he’s been out with anybody. My mom told me that he said to her, it was the best day of his life.