One Mike shows up, but we don't see the otherOn Saturday, Nicole and I had the opportunity to attend Rogersville Heritage Days. We love fairs and festivals, so it wasn't exactly difficult to decide to go up there. As usual the food was great, and the entertainment (especially the Celtic ensemble Fire in the Kitchen) was top notch and was absolutely free. We even brought home a couple of jars of good honey and I got a bag of natural honey candy. I even managed to find Nicole a birthday present.
The Master of Ceremonies for the entertainment at Heritage Days was none other than our next State Senator Mike Faulk. Why am I so quick to say that Faulk will win the election next year? The answer is simple: Mike Faulk shows up. Clearly Mike enjoys himself and when he wasn't on the stage introducing the various acts, he was walking around the festival shaking hands and handing out campaign cards. The difference between Mike Faulk and many other people in public life is that he doesn't need to be doing this, he is running out of a sheer desire to serve. As a result, he doesn't act in the least like he is campaigning-he just enjoys being around people.
Granted, I've come to be a supporter of Mike Faulk, so it is true that I have my biases where he is concerned. It is also true, as Mike pointed out to me, that he and I have grown closer over the last year, and each of us has come to consider the other a friend. As a result of that, it is all too easy for me to look above and beyond the politics of a situation because he and I are often (again, to quote him) "on the same wavelength." It isn't that we always see eye-to-eye, but we view politics, public life, and public service in such a similar light that our similarities are much deeper than mere philosophy. We've even had the shared experience of working in radio-separated at birth, perhaps?
Even knowing all of that, I think it is fair to ask this question considering that there is a State Senate Race on in the 4th District: Where on God's green Earth was Mike Williams this past weekend? Festivals such as Heritage Days are a notorious repository of politicians for the very reason that they are filled with the very voters who get public officials elected and re-elected. Yet at a well-publicized festival filled with visitors from all over the 4th Senate District and beyond, Senator Mike Williams was nowhere to be seen. Yes, the Faulk Law Firm was a sponsor of Heritage Days, and yes, this is Hawkins County, Mike Faulk's back yard. But Mike Williams cannot win re-election by winning Union County alone.
Is he so ashamed of his reputation as a ship-jumper that he will not even show his face? There are rumors abounding that he is considering not running for re-election at all. I have heard from at least one source that Williams is considering running for the House in District 36, where Rep. William Baird could be retiring. Williams rarely, if ever returns constituent phone calls, and can be heard from in mailers only when trying to make himself look good. He didn't begin this way, but the way he has apparently chosen to end his career is truly shameful.
While it is true that the sudden appearance of Borat at any festival would likely turn the affair into some twisted comedy routine, and The Daily Kos did Williams no favors in this district by highlighting his switch Friday, he is still the State Senator until January 2009. Apparently, that doesn't mean much to him.
NOTE: Nicole took some pictures at Heritage Days on 35mm film (the digital camera ran out of battery). When we have time to scan them and get them up, there will be a few Heritage Days pictures in the next couple of days.
Labels: Tennessee politics