Duffy said he is proud that as a township trustee, he helped bring back bus services to Northeast Ingham County.
“(O)ur local public transportation authority decided to cut service to those of us here (in) Northeast Ingham County,” he said.
“But there were people that did depend on it. There were folks that needed that to get downtown for jobs, or they needed that to get to their doctor's appointments or whatever it may be,” he said.
“So, I wrote an op-ed and submitted to the Lansing State Journal and it got published.”
Within four or five months, transportation authorities had restored at least some of the bus services to the area.
“That was something I was proud of,” he said. “That was the one spot where I was able to help out a little bit.”
When it comes to Catholics being involved in civic life, Duffy said he would point them to Pope St. John Paul II’s oft-repeated phrase, “Be not afraid.”
“It can be a little scary, but we have a responsibility, and we as Catholics understand the idea of the common good, the need to serve everybody,” he said.
“We're not called to be Republicans. We're not called to be Democrats. We're not called to be Libertarian. We're called to be Christian, and we're called to be servants of our fellow man, and to perpetuate the common good. I think that's something that we need to get back to.”
Carlos Santamaria is a lifelong Catholic who is running for a state senate position for California's 3rd district.
Santamaria had previously served as the vice chair for the Napa County Republican Party, but he said he felt called to do more after attending a leadership conference in Jerusalem last November.
“I spent over a week in the Holy City. And if that isn’t life changing, I don’t know what is,” he told CNA.
He decided to run for state senate, “especially when I came back and I found there were seven Democrats (in the state legislature) that were running unopposed.”
“I just wanted to represent my district. It was a calling. And I see so many anti-religious, anti-Catholic, anti-life (politicians),” he said, that he wanted to help bring about change.
One particular area of focus for Santamaria’s campaign is helping the homeless population. He plans “to use workforce development and career technical education to provide lifelong jobs and permanent housing” to people experiencing homelessness, and “to reintroduce these individuals into society before they go off the cliff into extreme, episodic homelessness, or chronic homelessness,” he said.
He also wants to bolster small businesses, particularly those that are experiencing significant losses due to coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions.
“The current unnecessary Lock Down of our economy and small businesses has devastated many businesses and the lives of families in California,” Santamaria’s website says. “We need leadership that understands and supports small business rather than destroy them.”
Santamaria said he is strongly pro-life and pro-family, and that he plans on standing up for those issues, should he be elected.
“God put me here for a reason. If I can't express my feelings about life and about the sanctity and the value of life, then I'm not using my talents and this platform the way I should,” he said.
Senator Susan Wagle has been president of the Kansas State Senate for the past eight years, and she was the first woman to hold the post. She has served in positions in both the state house and senate for the past 30 years.
A Catholic convert, Wagle joined the Catholic Church the same year she was first elected to the Kansas House - in 1991.
Wagle said she had been a teacher and a business owner who had not considered running for political office, but both her business colleagues and her husband kept telling her that she would make a great legislator.
There were important issues at the time, Wagle said, including rapidly increasing property taxes. She said she actually tried to convince other people she knew to run for office at the time, but nobody wanted to sacrifice the time.
The thing that kept Wagle up at night was not property taxes, but the late-term abortion clinic in her hometown of Wichita.
“When I'd lay my head down on that pillow at night, I could actually hear those babies cry from the Tiller clinic down the street,” she said.
“I could just hear the slaughter down the street in my mind, and I thought, ‘that has to stop.’”
George Tiller was the abortion doctor at the clinic, and it was one of the only clinics in the world at the time that was performing third trimester, post-viability abortions.
Wagle said she had unwittingly walked into the clinic years prior, earlier in her marriage when she thought she was pregnant. The clinic advertised free pregnancy tests, and these were the days before over-the-counter tests.
As she waited for her test results, she was counseled to get an abortion. Wagle said she noticed a world map on the wall that had yellow pins all over it. When she asked what the pins were for, she was told that they represented the women from all over the world that the clinic had come to the clinic.
“And as years later, I learned that the reason people were traveling here from around the world was because other countries didn't allow third trimester abortion,” Wagle said.
Wagle was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1991. By 1997, Wagle had helped to pass the Women’s Right to Know Act, which was the first law regulating abortion in the state.
“I carried it. We had a pro-choice house and pro-choice Senate. So I was able to advocate that we need informed consent for a late term abortion, that women should be informed about fetal development, about the procedure. And so I passed the first pro-life bill in the state of Kansas,” she said.
“And since then, we've passed more regulations. But when I went into the legislature, the money from the abortion industry financed most of the legislators. So it was a challenge.”
Looking back on her years of service, Wagle said she believes it was a calling from God, and that she has learned much about how to get along with many different people of all backgrounds.
“I've learned our faith is based on our relationship with God, and then we bring it to those who surround us,” she said.
“I've learned how to work with people who are very different than me, who have different experiences, different perspectives. And you learn how to be very relational and very kind and very optimistic about the founding principles that we’re based on and combined with the faith that we are a people created by God,” she said.
“And there's no better founding documents in all the world that have allowed the progress and the development of the human spirit than America,” she added.
Wagle, like Justice Barrett, is the mother of seven children - four of her own, and three of her husbands from a previous marriage. She said she sees Barrett as a woman of faith who is living up to her full potential.
“Amy is reaching her full potential. She's a mom, she's adopted children, she's pursued a career, and she has made it very clear that she will interpret the law and not write new laws. And she's the perfect advocate and voice for this moment in history,” she said, “...and we've seen where her faith is not a conflict, but that her faith makes her a very strong, successful woman.”
Wagle said she continuously relied on her own faith throughout her time in office. She said while she set aside specific times for prayer, she would also pray silently during meetings or legislative sessions. Prayers like “Lord, I need you right now” or “Please speak through me” or “Please help me to articulate this thought.”
“It was a constant reaching out for assistance,” she said.
Wagle encouraged Catholics who feel called to serve in public office to pursue that path, if they see changes that need to be made and if the right doors are being opened.
“Don't hide from public office. We need people who have our values in public office as our advocates. So I would say pursue the path and listen to that still, small voice that says, ‘Go fix those problems.’”