By Wilmot Collins, Democratic candidate for United States Senate
They said it couldn’t be done. A Liberian refugee who escaped a civil war could never be elected to office. And certainly couldn’t do it in Montana.
They do not know Montana. They do not know America. Where if you dream, and if you work hard, anything is possible. I may not look or sound like the regular politician, but I’m a hard worker and I get things done. I’ve lived my life in service of the Montana that gave me a chance and gave my family refuge.
I’ve served Montana as an Army and Navy reservist. I’ve served Montana working for the VA hospital at Fort Harrison. I’ve served Montana’s children as a teacher and working with underprivileged and at-risk youth.
It’s been some time since that snowy February day, in 1994, when my sense of purpose was restored as I landed in Montana. But every day since then has been a renewed reminder for me of why we live in the best state in the greatest country on earth. See, I didn’t grow up here, but in more ways than I can count, Montana you raised me. You taught me the value of working hard and the unwavering importance of reaching out to my community. And most importantly, you gave my family an amazing life.
Now I’m running to once again serve on behalf of all Montanans in the United States Senate. And I’m asking Montanans to join me, with one collective voice, to demand better of Washington DC. If you elect me, I will be your public servant, not just a politician.
I promise to fight for Montanans: for our friends and neighbors, hard-working families, students, entrepreneurs, farmers, ranchers, the LGBTQ community, hunters and fishermen and women, and finally – I will fight for our servicemembers and our veterans.
And I promise to stand up for our Montana values: protecting access to healthcare, access to our public lands, preserving our clean air and clean water, keeping dark money out of our elections, ensuring our right to privacy, and making sure veterans have the care they need overseas and when they come home.
Now I recognize that our challenges may be vast, and the road to our most desirable visions may not always be clear, but we owe it ourselves and future generations to provide more ladders of opportunity for more Montanans.
Written in our constitution is a commitment to the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These promises don’t belong to any one party. They belong to us: Montanans, Americans.
I’m asking Montanans to join me in a movement to remind this great country about that forgotten promise, to believe that no matter how divided we become, that under one Big Sky, we still can reach for the promise getting farther away each day. Together we are one people, our voices roar louder than ever, and we’ve got some work to do.
Look for me on the campaign trail, I promise you, I won’t be hard to find.
Wilmot Collins made history in 2017 by defeating a four-term incumbent to become the first African American mayor in Montana. Wilmot is a military veteran and refugee from Liberia who fled from civil war and arrived in Helena in 1994. Collins is running to become Montana’s next United States Senator.