The race is on for Weakley Co. Mayor

Voters should get to know the candidates


Daniel Richardson

The race for Weakley County Mayor is on, with Danny Powers announcing his campaign as an independent candidate and the Republican caucus selecting John Robert Freeman as their candidate. Others will likely join the race, and we will report it all here in the Dresden Enterprise and Martin Post.

The Weakley County Republican Party encountered some bumps in the road as they prepared to select a candidate. One potential candidate was disqualified for not voting in three of the last four Republican primaries, as required by party bylaws.

The office of Weakley County Mayor was vacated by former Mayor Jake Bynum on April 30th. He stepped down to take a position at the University of Tennessee at Martin as President Yancy Freeman’s Chief of Staff. The absence of an incumbent should make for an interesting race, with several candidates to choose from, which is how it should be.

Many have fought and died for our ability to vote and elect our governmental leaders. Selecting who will manage the public’s affairs, funds, and resources is a critical responsibility. Having a slate of candidates where voters can evaluate their platforms and get to know them as much as possible, then vote on Election Day for their candidate of choice, is what democracy is all about.

We’ve become accustomed to thinking of democracy through the lens of national politics, which have become divisive and polarizing. Yet, 99% of those voting for the office of President have never, nor will ever, meet either candidate. Other than what they see in the media, they don’t know them at all. Relying solely on media outlets for information about a candidate is not ideal, but in nationwide elections, it’s all we have.

Local elections, in my opinion, are much more important to the community. The next Weakley County Mayor and the impact they can have—whether positive or negative—on the county will play a much larger role in the lives of Weakley Countians than who is elected as the next President. It is very sad to me that nationwide politics have hijacked the democratic process. Part of this hijacking includes the polarization of the two major parties, the Republicans and the Democrats.

The Republican Party in Weakley County met Saturday and selected a candidate to run as the Republican nominee for county mayor. He may be the best candidate for all we know so far. Unfortunately, there will be some who do not take the time to get to know and understand the candidates and have already made up their minds based on party politics.

I know there are many who would disagree with me, but as large a role as partisan politics play on the national and statewide levels, I don’t think they have as much of a place in local, county, and city governments. The Republican and Democratic parties have planted their flags on hot-button topics such as gun rights, abortion, same-sex marriage, and immigration—issues that local elected officials have no influence over. Locally elected officials are chosen to focus on the affairs of the community and its direction. Having the right candidate elected is much more important than which party they represent.

My values align more with Republican values on the national level. However, I don’t see how that directly impacts local county government.

I, for one, am looking forward to getting to know each of the candidates and hope that many voters will do the same. Election Day is August 1st. I hope everyone eligible will educate themselves, form an opinion on the best candidate for the job, and vote. For those who aren’t going to educate themselves and form a real opinion on the best candidate, I’m not going to encourage them to vote. Voting for the sake of voting without being informed is counterproductive. Let the people who have evaluated the candidates decide who is elected as the next mayor of Weakley County.