Oct 28, 2015

Carol Dalby's Meet and Greet

Candidate Carol Dalby and Curt Green
On Tuesday night, Curt and Diane Green along with several sponsors opened their home for a meet and greet session with candidate Carol Dalby.  Dalby is running for the Arkansas House of Representatives District 1 seat.  This seat is currently held by Prissy Hickerson who will leave office in 2017.

Curt Green and Rep. Hickerson both shared in the introduction of Dalby to a gathering of about seventy-five people.  Local politicians, business leaders and friends gathered to hear Dalby speak about her campaign and her vision for District 1.  Dalby shared a vision that has a wider focus on growing jobs for the entire area.  Dalby noted that what affects one side of the border ultimately affects the other.  Because of our unique location, it's important to Dalby that both Texas and Arkansas thrive in the Texarkana region.

Rep. Hickerson noted that Dalby, who is an attorney and a former member of the Arkansas Supreme Court, would easily be able to read and understand proposed laws in Little Rock that might affect Texarkana.  Dalby placed high praise on Hickerson's service and noted that she would be serving as campaign manager.  Rep. Hickerson stated that she "fully endorses" Dalby and feels that she is the best choice for District 1 and the strongest choice to preserve the things important to the district.

I had the opportunity to speak with Carol Dalby briefly during the event.  A couple of things stood out immediately about this candidate.  First, she already has a firm grasp on the issues important to Texarkana and she already has solid ideas on how to continue the work of Hickerson.  The second thing that stood out is her strong personality.  I can only assume that this no-nonsense and willingness to stand up for what she feels is right has been instilled in her from years of service on the Arkansas Supreme Court.  However, there is always the chance that the trait also came from serving as an Arkansas teacher.  It is clear that Dalby is well prepared to deal with everything from our education issues to our legal issues and that she will likely make a positive impact in Little Rock on behalf of Texarkana.

Oct 21, 2015

Democrats Overboard!

from: http://truthandcommonsense.com
Imagine for a moment that you are on a sinking ship.  People are grabbing life vest, jumping into boats, and basically trying to get off the ship anyway they can.  Nobody wants to say they were friends with the Captain; after all he’s 90% of the reason the ship is sinking.  Your friends are leaving; your business associates are leaving.  You look, and grab the nearest person and yell, “It’s time to go!  The party is over and this place is a disaster.  If we are going to survive, we have to jump now!”  You leap into the unknown and hope that somewhere, somehow, somebody will pick up you and save you.  Is this the latest makings for a movie?  No.  It’s a true story.

You see, the story you have just read is based on the good ship U.S.S. Democrat, and in Arkansas everyone is jumping off that ship and looking to be picked up by another.  The major problem is, the nearest ship to the disaster is the U.S.S. Republican, and everyone is fighting to get a seat on that fine liner.  In other words, it’s a “Grand Old Party” again.  While this is good news, that the Republican Party is growing and gaining support, it is also disturbing for others.

Many Republicans have sat back in Arkansas for years and listened to the horror stories.  “Don’t run as a Republican, you can not win,”  “You’ll only win if you are a Democrat,” and “I always vote Democrat…it’s the south and that’s what we do here!”  We have been told for years that you simply cannot survive in Arkansas as a Republican.  Recently I even learned that so few are Republicans in some counties, that the filing fees are a single dollar…yes, one dollar (Doyle Webb).  There are counties where there has never been a Republican run for Judge or any other major county office.  Those counties have been die-hard Democrat.  The Republicans in those counties have been looked upon almost as leapers.  But now that’s all changing.

The same Democrats, many who have spoken negatively about the party for years, are suddenly switching gears.  They are jumping off the good-ship Democrat and joining the grand old party.  It’s happening all across Arkansas as a wave of Republican pride swells.  Even in Miller County, there have been several Democrats cross the lines to the Republican side.  Unfortunately, in Miller just as many other counties across the state, not everybody is happy about the sudden switch.

Most people on the good ship Republican have been fairly happy to stick close together.  They have their own little group of supportive friends, they have parties together, they go to church together, and they badmouth…well, they badmouth Democrats and their polices together.  It is really a grand little party, but now the Democrats are crashing the party.  A lot of people feel that Democrats should remain Democrats and Republicans should remain Republicans.  It’s a tough line to cross and a tougher issue to deal with for chairs, committees and the state.

In dealing with the Democrat wave, we almost have to consider them war refuges.  They have fought long and hard and their own leader has abused and abandoned them.  Many of them who promoted Obamacare as the best thing next to apple pie, now feel that it belongs with last week’s apple pie in the dumpster.  Bottom line, their party betrayed them and now they are looking for a new home.  However, this search for a new home does not ease the feelings of Republicans who have fought long and hard against Democrat policies and views.  We can remember a time when Democrats proudly pushed through their legislation and told us to “deal with it,” or “it’s now the law, so deal with it.”  They were not exactly friendly to us then.  Sadly for them, the American voter has awaken and realized that the party of Clinton and Obama is no longer the party for America.  They have realized what many of us Republicans have known for a long time….we are the party for America.

So how does a county committee deal with the flood of Democrats?  Well, according to our own bylaws and rules, we really don’t have a way to deal with them.  Every two years anyone living in the county can seek membership in the county committee simply by filing during the filing period (this year 11-2 to 11-9).  Potential, major office holders can file at the county level for Judge, Sheriff, Tax Collector, Tax Assessor, Treasurer, County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Coroner, JP, or even Constable.  All they have to do is fill out the paperwork, pay the fee and submit it.  The committee can do very little to stop either a potential member or a potential elected official.  Basically the committee has three choices:

1.     They can set up county rules to deal with Democrats jumping ship and hold elections during non-filing periods on new committee members-this may present problems though (see below)
2.     They can openly accept the people filing, but watch them for signs of Democrat support and then bring them up on committee charges that they are not working in the interest of the Republican Party.
3.     They can accept them and move on.
4.     During the filing period or after, they can hold a special meeting with proper notification, and have a 2/3 vote to remove the person from the committee.

This all sounds fine and dandy; however, as noted in number one above there is a potential problem.  The fact is the problems rise if number one or four should be implemented by a committee.  According to Doyle Webb, if a committee decides not to accept a Democrat joining from the Republican side, there could be a lawsuit.  In other words, the person or persons that the committee threw out could file a lawsuit against the committee.  This would mean that the committee would be named in the lawsuit with the executive officers listed first – Chair, vice-chair, second chair, secretary, treasurer, state committeeman and state committeewoman.  While the executive officers would be named, the entire committee could stand to suffer from the lawsuit.  The committee representatives on a membership level and individually could find themselves in the middle of a lawsuit. 

For most committees the answer should be simple.  Accept the person and move on with business.  Most committees cannot afford a major lawsuit, and certainly they cannot afford the negative press that would surround such a lawsuit.  While accepting the people may be hard medicine to swallow, it should be noted that you can still watch the way they vote, how they conduct themselves, and how they deal with Republican issues.  As a friend reminded me today, “We could find ourselves with these folks voting their Democrat agenda while calling themselves Republicans.”  This same friend also suggested that we share the platform with these new Republicans and see if they can tell us why they want to be Republican.  I think he’s right….even when I switched parties, I had a solid cause and answer when that question was presented to me, so why shouldn’t our new Republican friends know a little about the party they want to join?

Oct 20, 2015

Judge Larry Burgess Leaving Office in 2017

Judge Burgess with AR Gov Hutchinson
Judge Burgess working with AR Gov. Hutchinson
from: http://www.couriernews.com/
Judge Larry Burgess is a unique politician and judge in a world full of people who make questionable campaign promises and sometimes-underhanded deals.  He is different in that he did not participate in the outrageous campaign promises that some potential county judges make, such as “You can get your driveway paved by voting for me!”  He simply avoided and refused to do anything that would bring his character or the office of county judge into question.  As a judge, he has been direct, honest and open.   Even when he has come under fire from the newspaper and others, Burgess stood by what decisions he made and explained them in detail to anyone interested.

I have watched Judge Burgess from his first announcement to run for the office, through the recount of his first election, and through his following victories.  I have seen his name on the front page of the paper both for what the paper considers good and bad.  I have seen him face difficult questions and I have seen him work to improve Miller County.  One thing I have always noticed about Burgess is that he threw 100% of himself into the job.  He made sure the courthouse is neat, updated as it can be, and he worked diligently to ensure Miller County continued to grow in a positive manner.  He has worked to see grants come into the county, and improvements to all corners of the county.  He has answered the call of emergencies as well as the call from local citizens to complain. Judge Burgess has proved a campaign cornerstone that he wanted to be a judge for the people of Miller County.

Today’s article in the Texarkana Gazette indicating that Burgess will not run for reelection was sad news for the county and for Republicans.  The article also noted that the judge would be spending more time with his wife.  This is a positive win for Burgess’ family.  Amber Burgess, the judge’s wonderful and faithful wife through all these elections and the work of the judge, has been a backbone of the judge’s campaigns and has even been a constant worker at the Republican headquarters.  During the last election cycle, she almost single-handily ran the campaign headquarters on Arkansas Blvd.  It must be assumed that as the judge and Amber step out to spend more time with family and friends that they will back away from the political spotlight.  For the committee, this means not only the loss of a great judge, but also the loss of a campaign worker that simply cannot be replaced. 

Judge Burgess has a little over a year left to serve Miller County.  During this time, the county would do wise to not dismiss him as former judge.  The wise thing to do would be to watch him, learn from him and follow his lead.  The next judge will need to be honest, loyal to the citizens of Miller County, and will need to work to improve everything from the county parks and roads to the county courthouse.  If the next judge does not watch and learn from Burgess, then Miller County will be on the losing end.   The sad truth is, regardless of whom the next judge is, the county is already on the losing end simply by Burgess leaving.  There will be large shoes to fill under the desk of County Judge come January 2017.  On a personal note, I will miss the thrill of the campaign season with Judge Larry and Amber Burgess.