I have a confession: I was born an independent, and I'm pretty sure the majority of Americans were too.
Whether it is here in the United States or over in Germany and Britain, there have always been and always will be partisans. But based on voter registrations and the general frustration toward Washington and our state houses, more and more voters are beginning to understand what being an "independent" is all about.
There was a time when I was a member of a party. When I first registered to vote at 18, the world and the political landscape were very different. Republicans still looked to work with Democrats. They weren't best friends, but there was a sense of partnership.
Since that first vote back in 2002, I have seen the steady erosion of bi-partisanship to the unworthy hand of "my way or the highway" approach to policy.
And that's bad. It's bad for business. It's bad for schools. It's bad for health care. It's bad for the environment. It's bad for you. And it is bad for me.
After the 2016 Iowa Caucus, I made a choice: I changed my voter registration from Republican to independent. Because at the end of the day I realized I had been one for years.
I grew up believing it was more important to get things done and help people rather than simply winning elections and keeping a seat.
I will never forget -- and Senator John McCain still has his maverick, independent moments -- in 2006 as he was ramping up his presidential campaign, an event in Mason City, Iowa. I went to scope out the man I supported in 2000 to determine if he was still the leader I wanted.
A fiery young professional, I sat near the front of the living room of his house party and asked a question, "Senator, why haven't you guys fixed Social Security?"
The senator did not hesitate. "Because we are scared," he replied.
And there was the proof. Even though we all know our budget has significant and long-term challenges, our leaders are unwilling to deal with them.
And over the next decade, I tried to make it work. I tried to be a good soldier. But I couldn't go on. I'm not a Republican, and I'm not a Democrat.
I'm an independent who wants to do good for our communities by supporting policy that lifts people up, leaves no one behind, and strengthens our schools, protects our environment, and makes sound fiscal decisions.
And that is why after changing my registration and growing more and more frustrated by the partisanship in my home state of Iowa, that I talked to my husband and we decided I should run for office -- as an independent.
It's not Republicans vs. Democrats anymore. It's just doing good. It should be and can be that simple.