Harlan will not be stopped from running for public office
Even though he has given up his job, lost friends and had to fight every step of the way, Patrick Harlan believes it is his mission to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Harlan is running as a Republican candidate for the House seat in District 17 because he believes changes must be made in government -- including a need for representatives to bring the values of the people they represent to office.
Harlan told Rock Island Today that he has been deceived by members of the Democratic Party in the past, believing they were the candidates that would help fight for jobs for him and his neighbors. But, as he looked at the record of Democratic incumbent Rep. Cheri Bustos -- who represents his area -- Harlan discovered her votes are more likely to chase jobs away than bring them to the 17th District.
“I want the 17th District to have someone who truly understands what the 17th District is,” he said. “We are blue-collar working folks around here that believe in God. We work hard for our money and we're farmers. That's what this district is.”
Unfortunately, according to Harlan, Bustos doesn't seem to understand that.
Harlan never intended to run for office; he figured he would retire from Maytag just as his father did -- but those plans changed when the business closed. He watched as other businesses in his area followed suit and the people in his community lost hope. It doesn't have to be that way, he said: manufacturing and industry can be brought back.
Last July, Harlan began looking at the record of Bustos to see what she was doing to help the area. Harlan said he learned she is a strong supporter of the Iran Nuclear deal, Planned Parenthood and a Barack Obama apologist. After discovering that he disagreed with her on all of these issues, he contacted the local Republican Party to see if they had a candidate to oppose her for the election and they did.
By September, however, the candidate had dropped out. And Harlan wasn't about to watch Bustos be unopposed in the election.
The nuclear deal with Iran is death to America, Harlan believes. He opposes Planned Parenthood and abortions being supported by taxpayer dollars and is disappointed in what the Obama administration has done to the constitution and the nation.
Harlan's father and mother both died when his little sister was 15. His brother, who served over two decades in the military, would become her legal guardian, but he was about to be deployed again. Harlan's father wrote to Bustos -- while he was dying of cancer -- pleading with her to stop his son from being deployed again. She never responded.
Harlan said he was able to get help from another representative and a member of Veteran's Affairs that allowed his brother to stay to care for his sister. They did in two weeks what Bustos failed to do in six months.
Running for this office has been one of the hardest things Harlan has ever done. He lost his job and some friends because he refused to drop out of the race, and his opponent has challenged every name on his petition -- but he refuses to give up the fight.
“I've lost a lot over this, but we're still not giving up: I'm fighting all the way through,” Harlan said. “I believe we all have a mission, and I think this is mine.”
Harlan said it is a right and a duty for people to help their country -- and not meant only for the elite. He said he is the face of the 17th District. He knows what it's like to live in the district and work hard while living paycheck to paycheck. Furthermore, he knows family values need to be protected.
“I want to make sure families are able to take care of themselves and not have to rely on the government for assistance,” he said.
Harlan's goal is to bring manufacturing jobs back to the area, lower taxes, and make sure families and emergency first responders are safe. Harsher penalties need to be put in place to anyone harming first responders, he believes.