I was in the fifth grade when my father taught me a very valuable lesson. I recall coming home from school one afternoon upset that our principal had taken away a valuable privilege because of the actions of one student. My father patiently listened to me complain, and when the moment was right he asked, "What are you going to do about it?" I told him I wasn't old enough to make a difference. His response was, "If you are not willing to do anything about it, then stop complaining."

Years later, I realized that this was a lesson about service and hard work. My father wanted me to take action when I saw something wasn't right. Service challenges us to reach beyond our own needs and uncertainties and extend a hand outward for the greater good. Service and hard work create America's path forward.

I am inspired by the level of service and hard work that I see from my fellow Utahns. The rate of volunteerism in Utah is the highest in the nation, and we are ranked second to none in charitable giving. Our communities are served by teachers and nurses who pledge their hearts to our citizens, while our police, firefighters and veterans pledge their lives.

As a Utah state legislator, I brought my father's lesson of service and hard work to the hill. Utah's lawmakers work hard for their constituents, pushing for laws that reflect our shared values. When they have questions, we listen. When they have needs, we respond. Washington, D.C., needs this kind of service.

We must serve together. More than ever, our country needs a united government, dedicated to the American ideal of service and hard work. Our leaders must read every letter and answer every call.

America is ready. Utah is ready. Now our leaders must respond with principled compromise to move our country forward. Compromise is a willingness to give of ourselves. Is this not the essence of service? Is this not our path forward?

Utah, the path forward leads to a future of hope for all Americans. Our destination is one of economic prosperity and security. We will arrive in a far better world in which our children can live and prosper. And every American will have the opportunity to live out his or her dreams.

The wisdom of my father and constant reminders from hard-working Utahns define who I am. If you elect me to Congress, I promise to work hard and always serve. This is our path forward.

Jay Seegmiller is a former state representative and the Democratic nominee for the 2nd Congressional District.