The Saturday before the Nov. 5 election, I was driving my youngest daughter through a Grantsville subdivision and saw a man going door-to-door. I slowed down and parked at the curb as he came over to say hello, flashing me that familiar smile and giving me his firm handshake.
Here was Grantsville’s incumbent mayor, Brent Marshall, up for re-election, and he was passing out pamphlets to voters.
“Doing some campaigning?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said, smiling sheepishly. He mentioned grandkids, being out of town, a busy life. How hard it has been to get out. So he decided he needed to go and meet the voters in one final effort.
He probably could have stayed home and raked leaves. Marshall won the mayoral elections by a landslide, getting 1,123 votes or 83 percent. But it was gratifying to see the incumbent mayor going around and meeting people, talking and connecting with them just as he has during his first term as mayor. Which is probably why he won by such a huge margin.
This is why I love living in Grantsville. In this small town, it’s easy to know candidates more than just from their brochure or flier. They might even be your checker at the grocery store.
That’s how I met Michael Tate, the 19 year old who ran against Marshall for the mayor position. A few months ago, I saw his nametag as he scanned my items at the checkout stand, and recognized his name. At that time, I remember being impressed that someone as young as him had political aspirations.
And then there’s Jill Thomas, who ran as a write-in for mayor and who owns the local copy place, Digidocs. As a small business owner of a memoir publishing business and as a writer, I’m always outsourcing my printed drafts to her. I’ve seen her business flourish from when they were at the strip mall by Soelberg’s, and now, in the historic drug store on the corner of Hale and Main Street.
She’s one busy lady. With dogged determination these past few years, she and her family renovated the old drugstore to transform it into Digidocs’ new digs and the classy building it is now. So I admired her grit and passion when I saw her “Write-in” signs popping up in Grantsville.
Sometimes, I wish there was a spot for everyone to be involved in local politics, because there are these amazing individuals with a lot of passion wanting to serve the community.
It’s not easy to run for political office. It takes time, money, and your family’s patience. And I’m sure it’s hard to give it one more shot, especially if you’ve tried before.
Take, for instance, Erik Stromberg. For the past three elections, he’s run for city council. He was closer this time, but unfortunately, not close enough to win. On election day, voters chose Mike Colson and Tom Tripp.
However, the truth of the matter is, when someone puts him or herself out there to win a public office, they’re already a winner in my book. As a voter, I appreciate having candidates run and keep the political landscape lively.
Marshall, Colson and Tripp may have won the elections, but it’s really Grantsville that won the day.
Jewel Punzalan Allen is a memoir writing consultant and an award-winning journalist who lives in Grantsville. Visit her at www.TreasuredStories.net.