When I filed to run for Corbin City Commission in January, I knew it was going to put the shackles on my ability to talk about city politics in this column for awhile.
Election laws make it pretty well taboo to do so. So, I kept quiet. Now, all bets are off. The voters have spoken. I want to thank everyone who supported me.
Honestly, I can say that running for office was quite an amazing experience. It was A LOT of work. Perhaps I put more pressure on myself than I should have, but I wanted to do well. I was not satisfied with just putting out yard signs and waiting for Election Day. I wanted to really get out there and meet people, tell them why I was running and what I was all about, and then listen to their ideas and reactions.
I walked so much of this city. You don’t really get to know a town when you are driving past most of it at 40 or 50 mph. But out on your feet … going door-to-door and really meeting people … that was a truly interesting experience. I got to know Corbin in a way that I don’t think I would have otherwise.
I estimate that, between my wife and I, we visited about 72 percent of the residences in Corbin. Almost EVERYONE was at least cordial to me. I had very few bad experiences. Many people invited me to eat dinner with them, or offered a bottle of water. A lot of folks invited me into their homes to simply show me where they live. There are some truly fabulous homes in Corbin. Hidden treasures that I never knew existed.
Often I got to see the fruits of people’s hobbies or their life’s work. Photo albums, landscaping projects, woodworking, restored vintage cars, impressive audio/visual setups, awards, collections of various stuff … you name it! I saw some pretty unbelievable things and had many great conversations. I really feel like I made a whole bunch of new friends. It was about more than just asking for votes.
I spoke to any social club and community organization that would listen to me. I loved that part. It was so neat to be speaking to members of the organizations I’ve covered as a reporter so many times in the past.
Wherever I went, I welcomed and encouraged tough questions. Nothing was off limits. If I felt people were timid, I’d address some questions about me that I thought might be on their minds, just as a way to break the ice. It’s a little unusual for someone that works at a newspaper to run for office. There’s definite issues and possible conflicts there. I figured that was something in the back of everyone’s mind. So, I’d always address it right up front. I feel like if you really believe in something and you are doing the right thing, it shouldn’t be too difficult to articulate that to other people.
I’m excited and even a bit nervous about taking office in January. I think people spoke loud and clear that they want something different as far as leadership in Corbin.
A newspaperman was the top vote-getter! Three of the four new commissioners have never been elected to office before and aren’t part of city government. There’s a message in that result. A mandate. Change is desired.
I think social media is such a bad thing in so many ways, but I tried to use it in a positive way during my campaign. I kept my Facebook friends updated about what I was doing as a candidate, and I encouraged everyone to search for me and send me a friend request. I plan to use it now as a way to keep people updated on what’s going on in city government, answer questions from local residents, and generally just interact with people about what I think are the important issues. So, be my Facebook friend and I’ll do my best to keep you in the know.
I always was annoyed by evasive politicians who dodge and duck voters and the media, scared to death they may be asked something that requires some thought to answer. There’s no honor in that. I want to be accessible. I will be accessible.
It should be a fun two years!