She expected backlash for switching political parties. The opposite happened.

Lori Stegmann is putting values over party — and people are taking notice.

Stegmann is a county commissioner in Oregon, a position that's normally pretty under the radar. But her story has been going viral and becoming a national one since she announced that she is leaving the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat.

"There's too much at stake in our country right now and we have to speak out," she wrote on Facebook.


"As a woman, a business owner, a mother, an immigrant, and a minority," she continued, "I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration. I fear for the safety of our country, for human rights, for women's rights, the environment, and the uncertainty of our future."

Image via Lori Stegmann/Facebook.

Describing herself as a political moderate, Stegmann made it clear it wasn't about attacking Republicans or endorsing Democrats.

It was about finding a home for the values she refuses to give up.

"This decision is about who I am, what I believe in, and my core values," she wrote. "And if you don't stand for something, then you stand for nothing."

Stegmann expected major backlash. But so far, that hasn't happened.

She admitted she expected a lot of negative feedback from her constituents, especially over the fact that she became a Democrat instead of simply leaving the Republican Party.

"I didn't do this to attack, criticize, or belittle my Republican friends," she wrote. "I still consider them my friends and colleagues, and hope that they will do the same. But I know this will be hard for some to hear."

Instead, her Facebook post has received mostly supportive comments. Her story was picked up by major media outlets as yet another example of a career public servant finding themselves forced to choose between party and country.

Stegmann might be taking cues from a growing number of Republicans and conservatives who have recently publicly advocated support for Democrats.

And it's not just about Trump. Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said voters should support the Democratic candidate over a self-identified Nazi Republican running for Congress.

Real political courage is about standing up for our values in the face of adversity.

America's politics are becoming increasingly tribal. Even good people sometimes find themselves torn between doing what's right and being loyal to their "team."

It doesn't have to be that way.

Stegmann's letter shows there is a way to protest while embracing what's best about us. And it might just be the best way to get our elected leaders to start taking notice.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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