Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughts on some politicians.

Yesterday before leaving the hospital a man came into my room representing the hospital. He wanted to know if I was being treated OK? Were hospital procedures followed, and was the staff attentive? The answer was yes. I am very pleased with the treatment by the staff at NEA hospital. However, this isn't about the qualities of a hospital at all. This is about politicians.

The man's name was Al Brodell. I asked him if he was any relation to Hubert Brodell. It turns out he was, Hubert was Al's father. I know Hubert Brodell. Hubert was the mayor of Jonesboro for many years. I was told by Al that his father recently turned 80 and had back surgery. Hubert is active spending time between Jonesboro and Florida. He volunteers for some group and works still in helping his community in a volunteer capacity.

Then this morning I read a disparaging letter directed at Sen. Barbara Boxer from California. I know the incident the letter refers to and have thought for a long time that Sen. Boxer is an arrogant person who I believe does not act in the best interests of her electorate, but marches to her own drumbeat. So what is the difference?

I think it is the difference in the contact with the folks how have placed their trust in the politician. I do not know Hubert Brodell well, I would not call us friends. I ran into him for a number of years at a variety of functions around Northeast Arkansas and we would talk from time to time, but I observed his actions in his community for many of the years I've lived in Arkansas. Hubert seemed to try to do the best for Jonesboro that he could. There were things that happened that favored Jonesboro over Paragould, and Hubert was not friend to all. That is the nature of politics. Hubert's actions almost always were for helping Jonesboro grow, attract more business or improve the quality of life of its citizens. The same is true for a longtime Mayor of Paragould, Charlie Partlow.

I know Charlie, not as a friend, but I used to bump into him around Paragould and we would talk and I observed his actions. I recall the time that Paragould thought it had gotten the shaft in the placement of Highway 67 coming north from Newport. Two buses were chartered by Paragould residents and they came to Newport to a Arkansas Highway Department hearing over the routing of the highway. I remember Charlie, red-face with anger having a decidedly heated conversation with Nick Wilson a State Senator from Pocahontas. Nick was responsible for getting the route moved out of Greene County to Lawerence and Randolph county, his constituency. Charlie took on the issue and defended it well even though in the end the powers to be left the route alone. Charlie Partlow once again always seemed to act in the best interests of his constituency.

I feel the same way about the current mayor of Paragould, Mike Gaskill. I know Mike. He used to be the Manager of Hays Grocery store in Paragould, and I've agitated him for years at various Paragould functions. I have been impressed that Mike seems to act with the welfare of his constituents in mind and seems to be an honorable person.

However it seems the higher up the ladder you go the more our elected officials succumb to the lure of power. Special interest groups that pump money into campaign funds hold sway. I do not believe government should intrude too far into our private lives. However in areas where they should the actions seem prostituted and end up making me feel like our politicians think we have deep pocket books that can fund the engines of special interests. I really would like to see term limits for federal officials. When it comes to federal elected officials I do really believe in the old saw, "throw the rascals out!"

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