A wise old politician once told me all politics is local.
After watching campaigns, elections and political shenanigans for 25 years, I’ve come to the conclusion this is true.
When you look at the national picture, you have to remember that it all filters down to a particular region or community heading to the polls and marking a ballot.
Yes, you can debate the merits of the national media, the two-party system and massive political machines, but I’m always impressed at how it is a man or woman quietly walking into a polling place that determines who is in charge of the greatest and most powerful country on earth.
And it is local people who team up with a particular candidate early on in a campaign that make things happen. They put signs in their yard, bend the ear of family and friends and then make sure their people get out and vote in the primaries and General Election.
It’s not a perfect system but it’s the only one we’ve got.
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Your Chickasaw Journal ran a Page One story on candidates qualifying for municipal elections in Okolona, Houston, Houlka and Woodland last week.
Primaries will be May 7, party runoffs will be May 21 and the general election – if needed will be June 4.
I said earlier that all politics is local. Well, all media is local, too.
We’ll have the Tupelo TV stations run down here this spring and then run back to Gum Town on a particular story. If we’re lucky we might have the paper out of Jackson do a story or two.
But the media outlet that will keep you up to date on local politics is the Chickasaw Journal.
That’s our job.
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The winds of change are blowing across this country — and that is not a bad thing.
I am an eternal optimist and I couldn’t do this job if I didn’t think things would get better.
People are fed up with the buying and selling of power in Washington, Jackson and even Chickasaw County. While I don’t think things will change much on the local level around here this spring, it will be interesting to watch the tempest whirl.
If you want change, you will have a chance to vote for it this spring.
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I admire people who are willing to throw their hat in the ring.
It takes courage, commitment and lot of blood, sweat and tears to run for political office.
The problem is getting good people to run for office.
Those with business savvy, a strong work ethic and good common sense usually have a real job making real money somewhere else. It’s hard to get good people to run for public office.
Part of the reason is the job is public. It’s difficult for people, who are used to making big decisions, to have their every vote scrutinized and berated at the coffee shop every morning.
The second reason is it takes a lot of time. If you think being elected to a local board is meeting once or twice a month – think again. There is homework – lots of it – at all of these jobs.
Last but not least, these jobs really don’t pay very well. I’ve always felt if you are doing it for the money you are doing it for the wrong reason. I also believe if this is the best paying job you have ever had, we don’t need to vote you into office.
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For years in this state if you wanted to get elected at the local level you had to run as a Democrat.
That trend is slowly starting to change.
Let’s watch how many folks file as a Republican this spring!
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The deadlines for municipal offices are beginning to pull people off the fence in Okolona, Houlka, Houston and Woodland with candidates declaring for a variety of offices.
We will have mayor and town marshal races this year and that always brings out people to vote. The post of mayor and town marshal do more to set the tone for your community than most people realize.
A mayor who can bring people together and make things happen can bring jobs, business and a high quality of life to a community.
Town marshals who know the difference between the good people and bad people and then have the courage to arrest drug dealers, violent people and troublesome youth, make us all feel safer and happier about living in our respective town.
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I said earlier that all politics is local. I also said earlier that I am an optimist.
This year will see this community come together and work to elect our best and brightest.
This is the year that good people study the candidates and the issues and make the right choice.
Because if you take a hard look at campaign 2013, it is the future of our town, our community and our country that is at stake.