Thanks you to responding 78th candidates

I still plan to post a few more questions in the weeks ahead (I’m hard at work on the next one), but since the election primary date is rapidly approaching, and honestly since a majority of the candidates are not responding (though I can see them reading the website), I wanted to go ahead and thank the candidates that did respond.

Given what good sports they’ve been the past few weeks, I hope you will give Donnie Kemp (R) and Linda Hayes (D) extra consideration for the time they spent here when you vote in the primary on August 2, and Rick Wilson (as an independent) in the general on November 9.

I originally decided to conduct my little experiment in participatory democracy after Leadership Cheatham County’s candidate forum was canceled due to lack of candidate participation (sadly that does not appear to be an isolated incident).

I wanted to get inside candidate’s heads a bit.  Resumes and degrees tell you little about the character and wisdom of the candidate.  Given the duties of a politician, *how* they think is often as important as *what* they think.  And with the uncertainty of the times, character and wisdom are more vital than ever.

You are never going to find a candidate you agree with 100% of the time (even if *you* are the candidate).  So rather than apply up-or-down tests on positions, I try to gauge the whole person.

It is in a weak candidate’s best interest to avoid calling undue attention to themselves lest the public realize the emperor has no clothes.  They try to skate through on the basis of a smile, a name, and who has the best campaign signs.  Opening yourself to scrutiny means taking a chance, and requires confidence and conviction.

And even strong candidates face brutal time constraints.  Handing out fliers, putting up signs, raising funds, organizing volunteers, going to events to meet voters, not to mention the more mundane work like making sure the tables they borrowed for their booth get back and ensuring the volunteers get fed.  All that, and they juggle their regular job and trying to find time for their family.

I thank the candidates who took time to respond to my little invitation to parley.  Like all candidates they are busy as bees, but they choose to make talking to little folks like myself a priority, for which I am grateful.

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3 Responses to Thanks you to responding 78th candidates

  1. Donnie Kemp says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to let me share my views on your blog. Of course, I would appreciate your readers votes in the primary election. Thanks!

  2. Rick Wilson says:

    Looking forward to your questions after the primary. I didn’t answer the Health Care question, because I didn’t want to be the first one again. I was planning on doing it tonight, since I saw Donnie post one.

    Donnie and I have had a phone conversation about a week ago. This is something that I wanted to do from the very beginning with each candidate. I unfortunately had to go in the hospital on June 9th, to get my appendix taken out. Then it was a long 5 week recovery, and I wasn’t able to touch base with all of the other candidates. Kirk Low and I have talked a little. I know with it getting close to the primary, no one would have the time to talk right now.

    I’m flattered Mat that you were interested in my responses. Word has gotten back to me, that a couple of the other candidates think I’m a joke, and an embarrassment to the campaign. I’m okay with that, cause I’m in the November election.

    All I can say is, if they didn’t feel that it was important to respond to your blog/post before the election, how can you trust them to listen or respond to the voters after the election?

    Just a thought.

    Thanks Mat!

    • binkleym says:

      You’re welcome Rick. I’m interested in hearing from candidates before the primary, because for all intents and purposes the primary *is* the election. That’s just how things are.

      I know candidates are busy, but honestly that’s part of the test. Whoever is elected representative will always be busy, will always have more to do than they have time. So how do they prioritize? What makes the cut and what doesn’t? Call me crazy, but a candidate who prioritizes talking and listening to voters stands out in the crowd.

      I liked your response about the internet question. “I don’t know” is a perfectly valid answer. No one expects candidates to be experts on every question. In my book “I don’t know but let me look into it” is a superior response than just quoting some party line on the idea.

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