From the Gazette:
Proud of Gazette election endorsement
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
By Tom Barrett
I am writing to respond to the two letters criticizing the Kalamazoo Gazette for having endorsed me. I am proud of my endorsement from the Gazette, and I believe that they made the best choice. In fact, my opponent did not even show up to our interview with the editorial board.
Obviously, the voters chose my opponent on election day, but I am proud of the campaign I ran and I have no regrets about the effort put forth by myself and the scores of friends, family, volunteers and contributors, and I am grateful to those voters who supported me and believed in my message.
In response to letter-writers Professor Edith M. Fisher and her student, Jennifer L. Anderson, my friend Matt Hall and I did not ``invade'' her classroom as she claims. We were unaware that she was teaching a class at the time that we approached her to recover our materials advertising an event we were hosting that evening.
Fisher, as well as several of her students, had defaced or removed hundreds of our fliers, going so far as to stab the eyes out of one and impale it with a Mexican flag. What this display taught about women's studies, the class that was supposedly being taught, is still unclear. I am proud to attend a university that is committed to diversity, freedom of thought and discussion of all points of view, not one that condones silencing of certain groups because one does not agree with their message.
I have a good conduct medal that I was awarded while serving our country overseas in the Army, and I have never been arrested or been in trouble with the law. To imply that I am unworthy to serve our community is an insult. Some even went so far as to mock my military service following this unfortunate incident.
Both Matt Hall and I offered a written apology to the students in the class and told them that we never intended to disrupt them. I am a responsible student at Western Michigan University where I have made the dean's list several semesters. Any one of the countless voters I met in my campaign observed me acting courteously, respectfully, knowledgeably and committed to my campaign. Instead of bringing forth their ideas to make our community better, Professor Fisher and her student instead decided to attack me personally. The real outrage should be reserved for the distortion of the facts that the professor and her student reported.
I will look back with pride on my experience in running for office and I will know that I did my best to take initiative for real leadership and positive change. It is unfortunate that we cannot be joined by Professor Fisher and Anderson, who would rather attack a person than offer real solutions in the political discussion.
Tom Barrett resides in Kalamazoo.