I borrowed this phrase from an acquaintance regarding the practice of the Elbert County Republican Party of picking a similar type of candidate election cycle after election cycle. This is particularly true in the current (and past) Commissioner races.
What do I mean? Picking a candidate who has not been particularly involved in county meetings/events/issues until they decide to run (a "Johnny-come-lately" syndrome); speaking in fine-sounding generalities and election-year-promises; not engaging in any serious discussion of specific plans; having a sense of entitlement to the position simply because there is an "R" after their name on the ballot.
Chris Richardson, candidate for Commissioner District 1, is one more in this same cycle of "rinse and repeat." New to the county in 2011, he has been visible at county meetings (BOCC and Planning Commission) for no more than 12 months.
Danny Willcox, while living in the county for 20+ years, also is one more of the "rinse and repeat" crowd. He has been virtually uninvolved in county meetings, county business, or any county committees until appointed to the vacancy created when Kelly Dore (another of the "rinse and repeat" crowd) abruptly resigned in August.
Richardson is endorsed and supported by current commissioner Robert Rowland (another "rinse and repeat" player) and has surprisingly similar campaign views as Mr. Rowland did 4 years ago.
Willcox has a long time relationship with former Commissioner Kurt Schlegel (you guessed it...another "rinse and repeat" member) from his years of service with the Aurora Fire Department.
Well yes, this may be accurate, you say, but at least they are good, conservative, dyed-in-the-wool Elbert County Republicans, so their views are similar to the other registered Republicans in the county.
Here is where the argument goes off the rails...and what so many people who think "party first" have missed over the years.
Ideological views, whether Reagan-esque, Trump-esque, Obama-esque, Roosevelt-esque, Eisenhower-esque, have no bearing on the need for qualified, involved, ready-to-serve-on-the-first-day abilities of any candidate.
Rather, what matters in a COMMISSIONER candidate is aptitude, familiarity with the county issues, and an ability to stand on one's own two feet while thinking for oneself. Leave the national, ideological issues to those running for state-wide or national office.
In Elbert County, what we have been lacking for many years is competent, skilled, educated and strong leaders who have been involved in county business, and will make decisions based on what is best for every county resident...not what is best for a local party hierarchy.
In the short time we have had to observe newly appointed Commissioner Willcox, his lack of understanding of county issues and as well as urgent needs is very apparent...we can ill afford to have another commissioner who spends the first 18 months in on-the-job training.
We cannot have commissioners who are afraid to do what is right, or make hard decisions without first checking with party leaders who tell them, "We'll call the shots."
Quite frankly, many in the county are worried that if we don't start putting qualified, independent thinking commissioners in place who will hire qualified staff to help them run the county, we may be in for serious financial calamity within a year or two.
Here is the point...under-involved, under-informed, "Johnny-come-lately" candidates have not been good for the county in the past and will not be good for the county now. Nor is there any realistic expectation that there will be any change in how our county operates...other than a new name on the name-plate and a new face behind the desk.
What time is it?
It is time to switch directions. It has to start at the top.
Help Elbert County turn the corner by voting for the best qualified commissioner candidate in each district, regardless of the letter behind their name.
- Neal W. Cash