Have You Met?

Who is Bill Winter? That’s the question many people in Colorado were asking when they heard he was the Democratic candidate running against incumbent Congressman Tom Tancredo. It was Bill Winter’s first bid as a political candidate, and although he lost the race in the 6th Congressional District this November, he gained valuable insight from this first time experience.

Bill is a man who has faced and overcame many challenges. He was given away at birth and had a heart defect. Winter was an orphan until he was adopted at around age 4. He had surgery to correct his heart problem - and moved from Greeley to Littleton with his newly adopted family.

Bill Winter joined the Marine Corps when he was 17 and went to boot camp just a couple weeks after his high school graduation. He served in the Marine Reserve for four years in an artillery unit. He then began a second term of service with the U.S. Navy.

When he lived in Washington, D.C., Winter experienced opportunities he wouldn't have had elsewhere. He got to debate Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia when he spoke at his law school on various occasions. Bill held jobs in the Department of Justice; with a Federal District Court Judge; and finally, worked on Senator John McCain's Commerce Committee staff in the U.S. Senate. Later, he also worked on Senator McCain's Presidential primary campaign. In Colorado, Bill has been practicing law, teaching and coaching high school students.

Bill Winter is a man with stamina, courage - lots of heart – and one kidney. He agreed to give one of his kidneys to his sister-in-law three years ago when she needed a kidney transplant in order to survive.

In addition to his generosity, Bill doesn’t sugar-coat anything, and is very direct – but with the purpose of uniting people whether he stays in politics or not.

So what has Bill learned? He says he wants to earn the right to be here every day of his life, and the only way to do that is to help others. He also knows that he won’t compromise his values or his ethics.

Bill Winter reflects: It’s always been about what’s right and wrong for me - and people have more in common than they do in difference.”

How are things in your life, now that the election is over? I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going and what I’m going to do. We got a late start in the election; we made some mistakes, and it would be nice to do it again the right way at some point.

When did your interest in politics come about? Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to do things in people’s lives that are positive. In 3rd grade, I was part of a group called “Kids for McGovern”.

What were you thinking when you became a first-time candidate – and how do you feel now? Fear! Now, I’m not afraid of this; the only person I have to answer to is the person I face in the mirror everyday. Did I say what I believe, and do what was right? I know what to expect now, so it’s different. I didn’t expect anything for sure, so I see everything as a blessing.

What is something positive you can say about politics? There are a lot of good people in Congress just trying to make a difference. They aren’t trying to get their name in the paper – they are trying to make people’s lives better.

I understand you are hoping to get more involved with non-profit organizations in the community? Yes, I’m very interested in doing that.

What do you think is the greatest problem this country is facing today? Our need for leadership. We are very cynical in this country right now. People are apathetic when it comes to voting. We need someone to come out and run for something “bigger”, and stand for something other than self-interests.

How can we best reach out to other people in the world? We need to reach out with more humility. We can start with the realization that as people, we all have similar needs.

What do you follow to stay up with the latest news in the world? Mostly through the newspapers and on-line. I don’t watch that much television.

What do you like the most about yourself? I’m very compassionate and care about people.

What can make you laugh every time? Many things make me laugh - I have a good sense of humor - as long as it isn’t at the expense of others and isn’t humiliating.

What is something you learned from your recent political experience? I’ve learned to trust my instincts more.

What is the best book(s) you have ever read, that you can recommend others read? I enjoyed reading all of the “Lord of the Rings” books. Two others I liked were: “Fortunate Son”, by Louis Puller - and everyone should read: “The Nightingale’s Song” by Robert Timberg.

Do you have a favorite quote, motto, or saying? “Don’t ask people to do anything that you won’t do yourself.”

What are your favorite hobbies and/or leisure time activities? I love reading, movies, music, and hiking.

What do you love most about living in Colorado? All the family and friends that I have here; and on clear days, you can see how beautiful the mountains are – especially when it warms up after a storm.

Do you consider yourself a risk-taker? Yes, but not stupid ones – but ones that make sense and could be worthwhile. True risk-takers that have made a difference were the men at Normandy – and the firemen, etc. who take risks everyday to save others.

Who do you consider your mentor? Congressman Elect, Ed Perlmutter. He’s been a good friend to me for several years now; and when I was a “nobody” and couldn’t benefit him, he was a friend. He also has been a great mentor. And – he has no hesitation telling me when I’m acting like a “jackass”.

What do you consider an “Aha, I get it now!” moment for you? When I was younger, I’d get mad at my parents. When I was in my 20’s and in the Navy, I realized that they were just people – and not perfect (even though I wanted them to be). I know now that they did the absolute best that they could.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? So far, any positive differences I’ve made in the lives of the kids I’ve coached.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now? Ten years? Maybe more like ten months. I may want to go work in Washington D.C. where I might have more opportunities to make a difference and help to make some policy changes. I need to decide whether I will do that, or stay in Colorado.

Are you thinking about running for another political office in the future? I’m sure I will; I don’t know where or when.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? I want to be remembered as someone who offered something that really made a difference – who stood for something that wasn’t just for his own benefit - and was willing to put everything on the line for it.

What would you like to say to the people who did vote for you? Thank you, it has been the greatest privilege and honor of my life to work with all of you and represent your hopes and dreams for the future of America.