Yesterday we brought you the story of Jacob (Jake) A. Rush, a 35-year-old attorney and former sheriff’s deputy is running for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, the Gainesville area. The story became such news that the campaign was forced to respond with a press release and in a bit of a shocker, embraces his gaming past. In fact Rush and his campaign not only embraces it, he points out the positive aspects of his LARPing group (live action roleplaying), and goes on a bit of an attack towards his opponent.
As a straight shooter, yes, I play and have played video games, role playing games, board games, Yahtzee, Clue,and I have acted in dozens of theatre productions.
In the release, Rush owns up to his hobbies and intelligently in the statement above connects activities like LARPing and video games, which have a negative connotation, with positive ones that individuals might be more familiar with like Yahtzee and Clue.
All my life, I’ve been blessed with a vivid imagination from playing George Washington in elementary school to dressing up as a super hero last Halloween for trick or treaters. Any cursory review of the Internet will show that I have played heroes and villains … I have never hid nor shied away from disclosing my hobby activities. When I was hired at the Sheriff’s office, I fully disclosed my gaming and theatre background on the application, and these hobbies posed absolutely no problem or raised any flags. In fact, when applying for undercover work, these hobbies were considered an advantage, so much so my shift lieutenant nicknamed me ‘Shakespeare.’
The Rush campaign accused his opponents of game playing with their false characterization of what LARPing is, but even says it’s a deflection of his opponents failings.
Bottom line-There is nothing wrong with being a gamer. It’s kinda nerdy, but North Central Florida deserves a legitimate debate on the issues instead of Ted Yoho’s usual sideshow distractions.
In the release Rush and his campaign promote the positive community aspects of the Minds Eye Society (the LARPing organization) and the charities they’ve helped including:
- Wounded Warrior
- Houston Area Women and Children’s Shelter
- Ronald McDonald House
- Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation
- Redwood Rehabilitation
- Operation Homefront
- ALSAC/St. Jude
- Child’s Play
- Sanctuary for Families
- American Diabetes Association
While we have no issues with Rush’s past, and in fact thing we need more gamers as elected officials, our only question was about comments made on a message board by Rush’s game character. We actually have an answer to that as well. According to the Washington Post:
Another LARPer, Lee Snyder, emailed the Rush campaign and said he had made the comments while gaming as one of Rush’s preferred characters.
Well that answers that question.
There has been numerous recent attacks on gamers seeking office, including a World of Warcraft player who ran for State Senate in Maine, and won. Expect more as the next generation steps up and runs for office.