To Whom it May Concern:
I am a master’s level neuroscientist and work for a nonprofit supporting adults with developmental disabilities. I also happen to be the stepdaughter (but more accurately, daughter) of David Armstrong and could not be more proud to share that information. Dave has no idea I am writing this letter and would never ask me to do such a thing. He has tried to keep me, as well as the rest of my siblings, away from his campaign and out of his political forays. I have, however, recently felt compelled to share my experience of having Dave in my life.
Dave came into my life when I was 11 years old. He came into my life by marrying a single mother of 4 children: 3 preteen/teenage daughters and a preschool aged son. He took on this challenge knowing that my biological father is an abusive, alcoholic, drug addict who had a negative impact on my perception of father figures. Dave approached this with nothing but patience and kindness; always emulating respect and love. He never spoke poorly of my biological father and took on the role of Dad without any need of acknowledgement and many times without thanks.
Dave demonstrated what a good dad can and should be. He supported me in all my endeavors; even the ones that I was clearly not cut out for. He hugged me when I cried, but also taught me resilience in the face of adversity. His nurturing and honesty helped me through years of bullying and gave me the strength to speak my mind even if I was speaking alone. I fondly recall sitting with him for hours and having him listen, patiently, to teen girl drama.
Dave’s patience and compassion helped me overcome the hurdles of my early life experiences to grow into the person I am today. Truly, I would not have gotten through college or graduate school without him. He extends these practices not only to myself and my siblings, but to everyone around him. Dave sees the best in people and contributes positive motives to actions unless proven otherwise. This mindset carries into community involvement.
Following the adoption of our special needs cat Dave joined the board of the Barron County Humane Society so he could help the animals. He also joined me in volunteering for the “clean boats, clean waters” program in high school battling aquatic invasive species taking over our waterways. He worked hard as a Councilman to improve the local economy and fight for the Rice Lake community. Finally, he took a job in economic development to help local entrepreneurs realize the potential of their ideas and gain funding to bring these ideas to fruition.
After Dave had been working in economic development for awhile, I visited Wisconsin and was surprised to see new businesses popping up around the county. Dave showe be businesses he had helped get off the ground. When he walked through the door, the owners greeted him with beaming smiles. He affirmed how proud he was of their hard work and asked if they needed anything more help. I was so proud of Dave in his leadership role utilizing his knowledge to help others.
I felt the need to write this letter as it was brought to my attention that Dave’s opponent has been producing advertisements that are incredibly inaccurate representations of the Dave that I know. My dad is a caring, compassionate person who is passionate about improving the lives of others. He attributes differences of opinion to differences in life experiences rather than attributing them to malice or hatred. He attacks ideas not people. It is a type of integrity I try to practice every day.
Obviously, I am biased. I will not pretend that my experience with Dave is everyone’s experience. I do know, however, the man who took over the responsibility of raising me and the values he instilled in me. Those values are patience, compassion, understanding, and nonjudgement. To see someone whose only goal is to help his community smeared in such a way breaks my heart. I am proud to call Dave my Dad and will always defend his integrity. I wish political battles could simply focus on policy issues, but that is not the standard these days.
I sincerely hope that anyone who hears political advertisements from any candidate thinks critically about the information, considering its goals and framing. Please take into consideration my experiences with Dave’s character, or simply his contributions to the community, before making a character judgement.
Editor's Note: the above is a paid Letter to the Editor submitted and paid for by Samantha Abbot