Mr. Smith Goes to Big Stone Gap

In Jack’s weekly blog, he announces his intention of making the world a better place. Or a certain part of it, anyway.

Small towns are amazing places at times, and this one is no exception.

On Saturday morning our good friend Gary (who appears in Wendy’s book under another name) reminded me that I’d been talking about possibly running for a place on our Town Council. That meant gathering the necessary forms and getting at least 125 signatures of registered voters resident in the town to support my application.

Now please recall that this conversation took place in our bookstore about 5:30 pm. At Church next morning at 11, one of our congregation congratulated me on running! Then on Tuesday, when Wendy went to the County courthouse to get the forms, the lady there said “we’ve been expecting you”. No need for the Internet around here when the jungle drums are alive and well.

So now I have three weeks or so to get those signatures and there’s really only one way to make sure they are really resident in town – knock on doors. Because when I trailed around local offices and businesses on Wednesday I was surprised by how few of the people who work here actually live here.

One difference between Scotland and the US when it comes to local democracy concerns party allegiance. In Scotland, even at town level, folk stand on a party ticket and follow the party ‘line’. But, unless I’m much mistaken local democracy here is much more about individuals, and that seems healthy to me.

So – I need to have a ‘platform’! Fittingly enough, I announced mine on Facebook – “I’m not a member of any political party, I’m a good listener, I want BSG to be ready to welcome visitors with something to see and do when the movie comes out, I support local businesses, I am an advocate of lifelong learning and education. How can I not do all in my power to support and represent the citizens of this town who stood beside me in the courthouse and cheered me on as I became a US Citizen?”

I remember the day I became an US Citizen, when every single official there encouraged us ‘newbies’ to become involved in the democratic process. I’m following their advice! And I’m offering a willingness to hear the concerns of the town residents (whether they vote for me or not); a desire to support any initiative that will make the town a place to visit and spend time in; an understanding of the issues that concern the owners of a small business; and over twenty years as a college professor who believes passionately in the value of education.

Plus shortbread for everyone. :] That’s my platform, and I’m standing on it.

6 thoughts on “Mr. Smith Goes to Big Stone Gap

  1. Good for you, Jack!! I have wished many times I could go back to my roots: Stonega, that is , and I would move to Big Stone and vote for you.

  2. Famous remark of Will Rogers: “I’m not a member of an organized political party–I’m a Democrat.” Long ago, I ran for my own city council (Takoma Park, MD); lost twice, won once. Highly satisfying experience.

Leave a Reply to Jean Stewart Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s