"Mr. Average America^
•^ This challenge of service was accepted l»y Congressman Bruce Alger of Texas, as it is accepted
each election year by young men and women
throughout the United States. A newcomer to the
Washington scene two years ago. Mr. Alger relates
his experience- in "learning the ropes."
Put yourself in Bruce Alger's shoes as you read
of his initiation into the intricacies of our federal
government. If you are an average American of
courage and high purpose, your application may
IS ALL this really happening to me? I often speculate on
that in a "pinch-myself-to-prove-1 in-awake" routine. One
ela\ you're living a normal though bus) life as ei businessman, and the next you're a congressman representing the'
people hack home in the- highest legislative body in our
country. These things just can't happen, particularly when
your election is anel was em "impossibility," eia you're sometimes told by unbelieving fellow citizens.
\\ hy should a businessman run for office? Of course, this
will always be a personal decision. Man\ factors men go into
it. 1 mav inner lie sure, in m\ ease'. >e, main coincidental
events occurred. *uiyway, I was approached b) people whom
I respect who said, *'\ou can render a service eunl >nu are
able to do it." 1 reminded them. "I'm not em attorney"; hut
they replied. "That i- not necessary.
True, I believed in the need for a two-part) societ) instead
of the one-part) political system traditional in the South. I
thought of nn disapproval of the staggering growth of government with the huge national debt for our kia> to inherit.
I realized that everyone should be willing to serve, just as
we' expect our \oung men to do military service. I thought
of my age and the- fact that I could serve several years and
Mill have time afterwards to build a business. Then, too, 1
thought of the' \eiliemt struggle of President Eisenhower and
his administration to shew down the runaway train of
bureaucratic big government.
\\ hethcr il was the challenge of the long odds, the real
concern that governmenl wei- encroaching too much on all
our lives, or the culmination eef years of working in "service"
capacities in business and civic life — 1 dei not know. But
somewhere along the line I said "yes" and was plunged into
ei iie'w and different life.
That decision left unanswered many common sense questions, for example: What about the family — here or in
Washington? Where will we live? How about sel
Jill? What will you do with the business? What is
eif living in Washington? \nd a host eel other rather
questions some of which ni\ wife sensibly asked,
had not yet considered.
I heul given little thought to public appearances einel 'Pf(" "
making. This was foreign tie me. but sureh the leu
unsolved problems. Critics might have suggested,
not win, SO me matter : lent I w as ll 11 (le.... I tea 1. H;l\iHr-
iii athle'li'' eenel other competitive activit) all in\ lite- '" '"
!•■■—•- il wei- e.utieineilir nol to worry aboul thc outco
rather to optimistically assume victor) and plan accord** d
There followed weeks ol self-imposed stud\ on c*
issues and a re-examination ol whal I believed I" '"
function of government. Thus grew a fund ol infofj '
talks throughout '
later used in man) extemporaneous
MOTIVATING FACTORS ) :
\l\ philosoph) is ;. simple' one, and the conviction5
stem from it. uncomplicated. Thev are shared. I am ""'.,,
■ , , ., ...;,.t lb;
The'\ include a rather strwl
struction 'if the Declaration "f Independence and tne
slitulion. The) coincide with the views eel emr fni* ..'
who embodied their strong religious beliefs in the
tion of our form of government the conviction that "
rights come from l.e.d. ne,l government that goVf A,
should 1 in servant, not our master. Prom this pi'',,
springs the long-held American belief thai in
responsibility, initiative, and hustle lies our
The campaign was on a high plane. M) pledge ■
represent the majority of the people, regardless "I U ,
pressure applied b) minorit) groups, to the end of
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