This is part of my daily writing ritual where I write a short monologue / inner monologue in a 45-minute time block. No self-critique. I just start writing and see where it takes me.

I’m not much of the speaking sort, but I drove, and yes, I said I drove here halfway across the state in my automobile, in the mud, to stand before you tonight to talk about something that’s been on my heart.

Many of you know that things haven’t been coming together too well around here as of late. People are tired of their labor and wages and be up and leaving. Heading back East, back to where ever they’d had initially come from. New York. Philadelphia. Boston. Most packing up without proper provisions or precautions just to get themselves out of here as fast as they can. They’re just giving up and leaving, and this has me concerned. Very concerned.

They don’t see any future here. I do. It ribbons out into your fields and farms, and grabs hold of the sunset. It grabs hold of the future, our future. Everyone in this room has a stake in that.

Most of you have read about me in the newspaper or have whispered about my intentions in the shadows of your saloons and schools. I know that I can be seen as someone a little quick on the speech and the trigger, but that’s only because I know what I’m after. I’m not particularly eager to let things linger. Most of the problems we’ve been dealing with have been lingering for some time now. And a few of you haven’t done much to stop it. That ends with what I’m about to discuss here tonight. I hope you give it the attention it deserves.

I’m an engineer, and I pride myself as a man with a particular understanding. Unwavering in my pursuit of progress. Growing up on my family’s farm outside of Iowa City had taught me a lot about resilience and perspicacity. Those might be big words for a community this small, but there are smaller men in this gallery that flinch at their meaning. They hide from advancement, knowing that the time of their oxen is up. And, and I’m here to tell you that it is, and good roads are what I see for us here.

This vocation we’ve undertaken is very much a creative effort. The men that have endured, like me, are of a particular lot. I encourage my men to come to their trade with an open mind and enthusiasm. How else will we connect the county seats of this state with one another? It takes grit and determination to do great things. But for many of you, this change means the death of old ways, and you hate to see those old ways go.

We want to build roads. Turnpikes and parkways of gravel that entwine this state and this great country of ours. These roads are the future. Your children and your children’s children will use them in ways we can only dream of. Washington to Los Angeles. Bismark to New Orleans. New York to Miami. Where ever we point them, the future will follow.

These new roads are not a luxury to race a red Mercedes on like Vanderbilt presumes. These new roads will be open to all. We’re going to build roads the connect your farm with his and his to theirs and so on. Create new routes of enterprise for buying and selling. Our crops and farms will get bigger and better. We’re going to have more of everything. Employment. Education. Entertainment. The future has so much good in store for you, but you need just to let it in and let it happen. Stop all of this fighting and nonsense.

I assure you all that if you let us build our roads through your towns, and yes, we will build them. I assure you that this state and all of the communities within it will not only survive but will also pave the way for progress around the rest of the country. You will do something that will last longer than us all. You connect this great nation of ours with our hearts, your heart, and yours and yours. And its heart will stay beating for as long as the great people of Iowa are alive and flourishing.

It all begins tonight. It all starts with this idea—the idea of good roads.

What says you, Iowa?