I hear it all

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham
newdominion@ntelos.net

“Whaddya mean, you can’t do anything to stop the war in Iraq?”

It’s funny what people ask you about when you press the flesh, which I’m doing basically every day and have been for weeks now heading into my May 6 election.

“What is your position on the city assessor?” one voter asked me.

“Er …”

I hadn’t thought through my position on the city assessor. Still haven’t, honestly.

“Well, you appoint him. Get back to me when you decide what you think about him. And don’t ask for my vote until you do.”

O … K …

Just for the record, I think we have to have an assessor on the payroll. That’s my position.

“You one of those tax-and-spend liberals?”

Now, even if I was a tax-and-spend liberal, I wouldn’t answer in the affirmative. I mean, even tax-and-spend liberals have common sense, I’m supposing, anyway.

“Not at all, sir. I’m …”

“Well, then, why is it that you say you want to throw money at them damned schools? Waste of my tax dollar …”

Er, um …

Like I said, it’s funny what people ask you.

I’ve only had a few of these kinds of encounters, though. The vast majority of people offer a few words of encouragement. A handful make some version of the remark I thought you were smarter than to run for elected office.

I make sure to ask everybody that I talk with what they think is most important to them about the upcoming election. I’ve been doing it for years as a reporter, but it means a lot more now as the guy in the middle of a campaign.

Talking about funny things … about a half-dozen, if that, have mentioned something specific, like support for some pet project or something of that nature. Most just want to know that I’ll listen to my constituents, listen to my fellow city-council members, and try to do what’s right.

It sounds elementary, but the way politics are done these days, we need to get more elemental in how we do things in local government.

Heck, I think folks in Richmond and on Capitol Hill might have something to learn here, too.


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