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When I was 17, I made the decision to serve our country. I graduated from West Point and was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army. When I left the military, I carried with me the ideals of integrity, service and commitment to a mission.

In business, leading a division of a global technology firm, I created jobs and managed a multimillion-dollar budget. As a director of the nonprofit People's Health Clinic, I learned first-hand the critical need for access to affordable health care. And as a mom with a third-grade daughter, I understand that education is our most important investment.

I care deeply about getting our economy back on track, practicing fiscal responsibility, strengthening our struggling education system, developing energy resources responsibly, ensuring access to affordable health care for everyone, stewarding our public lands and iconic wilderness and honoring the commitment to our veterans. These are not mutually exclusive.

Nothing is going to get done on any of these critical issues until more elected officials are sent to Washington who are committed to progress and are able to take personal responsibility and move beyond divisive rhetoric. We need representatives who will put duty, patriotism and people above self, partisanship and politics.

The lack of action by our 112th Congress has yielded economic uncertainty, farmers without drought relief, educational funding in jeopardy and a Department of Defense facing unprecedented cuts that threaten our national security.

During this campaign, I have visited with parents, seniors, students, farmers, business owners, teachers and working families throughout the new 1st District. I have listened to their cares and concerns. Utahns are angry with Washington and tired of the legislative gridlock.

Recent polls show Congress' approval rating is at 10 percent — the worst in history — which is a clear indicator that voters are tired of the legislation logjam in Congress that results in meaningful legislation being held hostage by partisan rhetoric. Nothing will change if we continue to send the same people back to Washington.

My campaign slogan of "Not Left. Not Right. Forward" is a pledge to you that I am about delivering positive results. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done for Utah and for our nation.

The issues facing our state and nation are complex and require legislators with diverse education, relevant experience, and mission focus. I hope that on Nov. 6 you will join me to send a message that it's time to get Congress back on track and focused on its mission — governance for the good of Utah and the nation.

The military oath I took "to preserve and protect" does not expire.

Donna McAleer is the Democratic candidate for Utah's 1st Congressional District seat.

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