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A friend recently wrote me a lovely recommendation in which he described me as one-in-a-million. It was, of course, very gratifying to hear that he held such a high opinion of me. The idea, of course, is that out of a million people, I rank at or very near the top when applying to me whatever measure is in question.

But millions are funny things. We want them if we’re talking about dollars. We want them if we’re talking about second chances. We want them if we’re talking about opportunities. However, be it people, dollars or opportunities, few of us have any experience with millions. We’re more familiar with hundreds or thousands. These are numbers and a scale we can relate to. Neither my friend or I actually know a million people to be able to make that comparison truly accurate. It’s just a way of speaking.

But I do have extensive experience with hundreds. Not only have I met hundreds of people in my lifetime, I’ll meet hundreds more. These people will have the opportunity to impact my life and I will have the chance to impact theirs. Beyond that, I know a great deal about hundreds more. I may never meet them, but they, too, have the opportunity to impact my life. And despite having never met, it’s still possible to know a fair amount about them. It’s this second group, the ones I know about, that is the topic of this post.

There’s a group of men and women, just 435 of them, that are far more influential in my daily life and likely yours, than most of your family and friends. You’ll likely never meet them, but they’ll have that influence on you just the same. They are the members of the US House of Representatives.

We can know a lot about them. Their votes and bios are online and available. They are often on the evening news or cable news shows. We can hear their words, their values, their heart. The votes they cast based on those values touch the lives of every single American every day. We should really take the time to get to know them.

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of them. It was my privilege to have met him and to have been able to interview him at last October’s Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno, NV. His name is John Shadegg and he hails from Arizona. He’s one of those of whom you might be tempted to say, “He’s one-in-a-million!” Meaning that out of a million, he ranks at or near the top. But he’s not a member of any statistical group of a million in which he stands out. He is, however, one-in-435! And out of those 435, he ranks at or near the top!

Another man I know and respect, Chuck Muth, describes John Shadegg like this:

Rep. Shadegg represents Arizona’s Third Congressional District and has established a reputation in Congress as a leading advocate for reduced government spending, federal tax relief, and the re-establishment of state and individual rights.

He is a former chairman of the House Republican Policy committee (fifth-ranking position in the House leadership), is a former chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, and a former chairman of the campaign training organization GOPAC.

Congresspedia notes that Rep. Shadegg “is also the son of Steve Shadegg of Arizona, 1964 campaign manager for Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater,” and was a founding director of the Goldwater Institute for Public Policy.

A true limited-government conservative from the West with leadership experience who understands the importance of nuts-and-bolts training for grassroots activism.

An unprecedented letter signed by 130 of Rep. Shadegg’s colleagues in the House today urges Rep. Shadegg to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election this year.

John Shadegg is a national asset. I will not insist that he stay in the House if he and his family have come to the conclusion that it is time for him to move on to something else. But neither will I let him go without also letting him know how much I value his leadership and influence on my life and the lives of my countrymen. Given a choice, I would prefer that he stay.

If you agree, Chuck Muth has a petition up to go along with the petition his fellow Representatives submitted. You can tell John that you value him as well, that you’d like him to stay and that you think he’s one-in-435! You can sign the petition here. I urge you to do so. For me, for you and for our country!

Blue Collar Muse