I couldn’t help but be reminded of this earlier quote when contemplating the slate of 2012 commissioner candidates we founding fathers endorse for Lee County. Never before has there been a more stark difference in the Republican factions; never before has there been this number of competitors; never before has there been so much at stake for Lee County voters.
To be perfectly honest, picking the best three at-large commissioners was very easy. There are only three genuinely conservative candidates in the group of five. There are only three who support the Lee County GOP, the party they seek the nomination for. There are only three candidates who have demonstrated personal and professional integrity in standing up for conservative principles during this campaign. The other two prospects are faking it; hoping the old (moderate) establishment wing of the party will cover for them, and that enough ‘good old boys’ in Lee County changed from democrat to unaffiliated or republican in time to vote for them.
As once stated by a great general, “hope is not a method.” There probably aren’t enough goobers and moderates to help the two RINO’s get past the primary, though the race certainly is an interesting one to watch. So, here are the top choices, listed alphabetically:
Frank Del Palazzo. Frank is a locally based retirement planner, small business owner and father of two children in Lee County schools. He has been active in the GOP for over two years and stepped up to run for the BOC as an advocate for financial accountability and family values. Frank’s campaign slogan is “Running for my family and Yours.” Frank is a student of our American heritage and has pledged no new taxes for the county. He strongly supports our second amendment liberties and local law enforcement. He intends to help stem the tide of illegal immigration into the county. We believe he is sincere and that his presence on the BOC is sorely needed.
Max Dolan. Max is an employment specialist working at the Stevens Center, where he helps under-privileged people overcome hurdles in finding meaningful work. He is a retired military officer and active in his (First Baptist) church. Max espouses strong conservative views in removing our many barriers to employment and in creating a landscape for economic growth and prosperity in Lee County. Max has boundless energy and an infectious sense of humor desperately needed on the BOC. He would add great value to this body of decision-makers.
Kirk Smith. First Sergeant (retired) Kirk Smith is a former airborne cavalry scout and a veteran of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. He completed his masters degree and teaching certificate a few years back and has taught a variety of subjects in North Carolina public schools. Kirk is an accomplished expert in the rich history of our great nation and lectures frequently on constitutional rights and liberties. Kirk is an avowed protector of first and second amendment rights and a strong fiscal conservative who also has pledged no new taxes in Lee County.
The other two candidates seeking at-large seats for the BOC are Larry “Doc” Oldham, an incumbent commissioner, and Mark Lilley, the manager of the local cable channel. Both of these gentlemen are well-known in Lee County’s Christian circles and both seem sincere in their desire to serve. But both exhibit serious flaws that would render them ineffective in fulfilling the necessary duties of county commissioner. Neither is suitable as a candidate in 2012.
Doc Oldham has the usual benefit associated with being an incumbent- he has instant name recognition and experience as a commissioner. That, too, will likely be his undoing in this race. Doc has a voting record, and it is lamentable to put it mildly. Doc voted for every tax increase that came before the board in his four years of service. He voted for every corporate welfare ‘give-away’ in those same four years, with an unprecedented record of 17 for 17 in voting against conservative values in economic development. He voted to give away tax revenues to certain non-profits while leaving others high and dry– picking winners and losers. Doc voted against fiscal accountability in seeking to avoid hiring Evergreen to audit the county and our public school system (an audit that yielded over $14 Million in potential savings). It isn’t too harsh to call Doc a fake republican. He doesn’t support his party or his party’s values. He is an embarrassment to the GOP, and that’s putting it mildly. Returning him to the BOC would be a travesty.
Mark Lilley is a bit of a conundrum. He has supported GOP activities in the past and his wife ran twice for the BOE with strong party support. But, now, Mark appears to have been wooed by local detractors, those seeking to reverse a conservative shift in the BOC. Mark has publicly criticized his party and BOC conservatives for standing on principle in opposing tax-and-spend liberalism. He has skipped all party functions during the campaign and has been observed colluding with anti-GOP antagonists. Clearly he has not earned the respect or support from his party in seeking a BOC seat.
That’s everything Republican and Unaffiliated voters need to know as they head to the polls to cast their votes for BOC prospects. Del Palazzo, Dolan, Smith are the three best suited candidates for the three at-large commissioner seats. They are the only suitable candidates.