Spending a week at the County Fair was a rewarding experience. I have never participated in politics as a candidate before this year and had no expectations. I was somewhat nervous about intruding on people who I did not know as they and their families enjoyed the fair, and I wanted to explain my role as an independent candidate for the Jefferson County Commission.
I met retirees, longtime county residents, newcomers and many couples with small children. More than 99 percent of the almost 1,300 Jefferson County voters that I talked with listened politely as I explained that my name was on the ballot and I was not a write-in candidate.
My message was simple and to the point, which I believe people appreciated. I told them that I've been an independent voter since 1965 and spent the last three years as a Jefferson County planning commissioner.
I explained that I have been a close watcher of the County Commission and have been before the commission more than 52 times in the last five years on a variety of issues and was not satisfied with the commission's performance. Since I am now retired, I thought that I would stop complaining about our County Commission and would try to do something about it by bringing a more professional approach to local government.
My message seemed to resonate with voters, who appeared to be dissatisfied with the major party candidates as they always seem to have the support of special interest groups. Most of the voters I talked with chuckled after I pointed out that the only special interest group behind my candidacy is the Social Security Administration.
My week at the fair gave me a better understanding of the concerns of Jefferson County voters. I would not trade last week's experience for a place on a major party's ticket. I'm an Independent candidate and independent - and intend to remain so.