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.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.