Oct 25, 2010

Larry Burgess, Unemployed Candidate for Miller County Judge

Burgess speaks as McNatt looks unhappy
Politics is a dirty game no matter how you look at it.  One side is going to say the other side is not qualified, or their platform is wrong, or any other dozens of political avenues for victory.  Texarkana politics recently echoed of a past when politicians gathered in the back room of the Cattleman’s on State Line to discuss the operation, plans, and their own agendas for the small southwest Arkansas town.  County Judge Roy McNatt fired Larry Burgess for what has been described as “absenteeism”.  Whether McNatt was justified for the firing or not is a decision best left to the court systems and unemployment commissions to debate and ultimately decide.  However, it does not help the dim outlook on McNatt that he has fired his political opponent, Larry Burgess.

Larry Burgess has seen the inside of the County Judge’s operations.  Burgess has seen the trucks that require constant work just to start, he has seen the roads that need repair and maintaining, he has seen the multiple areas of need in the county that simply are not being addressed.  Burgess’ platform is simple.  He wants to fix things, get Miller County back on track, and ensure that the county has the equipment needed to address routine maintenance or a major county emergency.  Burgess, having worked on the trucks the county owns, has seen first hand that it often takes up to two hours to start a truck.  This ultimately means that the county tax payers are not only maintaining equipment that needs to be replaced, but they are paying the bill for crews to sit around and wait while other crews are being paid to simply start up a truck.  While two hours may not seem like a long time for a road repair in the county somewhere, consider if the there was an emergency such as another ice storm to the area.  Those trucks may be needed to move trees off roads, assist in ensuring electrical repair trucks can get to their needed destinations or deliver salt to ensure safe travel.  With an emergency, two hours becomes a long time to wait for an emergency crew to arrive.  Larry has seen truck issue first hand, he has worked it, and he knows there is a better way. 

Larry tried to express that “better way” or at least offer suggestions to his former boss.  Larry wanted to ensure that taxpayer money was not being wasted.  McNatt, apparently content to run the county as he always has, disregarded Larry’s suggestions.  Out of this disregard for the opportunity to improve the county came Larry’s desire to run.  Unfortunately, it appears that Larry’s desire to serve his community caused him to be fired.  He has now lost the income to support his family and received what appears to be a clear message from McNatt.  Yes, politics as usual is alive and well in Texarkana, Arkansas.  Based on this observation alone, it would be very interesting for some outside people to view exactly what is going in Miller County with Miller County money that does not allow for the maintenance  or purchase of good county vehicles or the repairs needed around the county.  Maybe those two hours a day aren’t really all that bad.  After all, two hours a day is only ten hours a week or twenty hours for a two week period.  Miller County can continue to be content with paying county employees up to twenty hours for nothing or Miller County can elect Larry Burgess and get back on track.