On The Record: John Courage
Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:53am
I sat down with John Courage, 2006 Democratic candidate for Congress from District 21.
How did you get started in politics? Did you come to it in your youth or later on?
The assassination of John F. Kennedy, when I was 12, was a major factor for me to research information in politics. This event inspired me to learn more about politics and has stuck with me.
What was your personal progression from the role of activist to the role of founder of a non-profit group?
In college, I ran for student body government and participated in protests. I then served in the Armed Forces from 1971 through 1975. When I returned, I began working for Schriver's Democratic nomination for President in 1976, which led to the Carter campaign for President. I ran twice for Congress, unsuccessfully, and have decided to put my efforts into my non-profit organization, True Courage Action Network.
What would you say are the primary issues concerning San Antonio?
Similar to the concerns for myself, which include good, clean open government, jobs, water issues, and good education.
How do local politics affect your family?
They affect my family the way it would any other person in San Antonio or Texas in general. We all have similar concerns.
Do you have any ambition for higher office? Do you have plans to run for any other party office, or possibly even public office?
I do have ambition, but not in running for office. The district I am in now is not a place the incumbent can be taken down by a Democrat. Redistricting is a big part of winning that particular area. I plan on working with the Bexar County Democrats and the True Courage Action Network to help the Democratic party advance in Texas.
Who are some of your political heroes?
John F. Kennedy; he inspired me to learn about politics.
What would you say has been the single most defining moment in your political life?
My most memorable political experience was my first election. I ran for the Alamo Community College District Board of Trustees and won against a very wealthy incumbent. It was a hard won campaign, and I felt I could truly make a difference.
What are you looking forward to in the coming cycle?
Bringing my involvement in the True Courage Action Network to work in the upcoming elections to ensure fairness for all voters.
What would you say the political breakdown of your family is? Is it mostly Democratic or are you somewhat unique?
My entire family is Democratic, starting with my mother. She supported the Kennedy family when I was younger. My wife Zada True-Courage and I have worked in politics together for the last 20 years. My wife is the SDEC representative from SD 25 and works with me on our non-profit organization, True Courage Action Network.
What advice would you give to young people just getting into politics?
My advice is to be a part of the process. Volunteer, take presented opportunities, and prove yourself by working hard to get your tasks completed. I never ask people to do anything I wouldn't do myself.
What one thing would you say a political organization never has enough of?
Volunteers, of course. Also, money is part of getting the message out. The organization must have the funding to have its voice heard.
What has been the most valuable lesson you've learned in politics?
Don't burn the bridges behind you. If you want to fulfill long-range goals, you need to be able to work with everyone; this includes people in and out of your own party. You will find yourself needing support from unlikely people in order to pursue your goals. I have learned to work with all types of people in order to complete the job.
Tell us a little bit about the True Courage Action Network, and what roles you feel like you fulfill in that group, official or otherwise.
I am the co-founder, with my wife Zada, for the non-profit organization. The organization focuses on campaign finance issues, ethics reform, redistricting issues, and ballot protection. I think these are the most important issues we're facing today.