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‘Woody for President’

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VIEWPOINT

By RALPH HARDIN

[email protected] O K, so first off, no, unless there’s a secret campaign I’ve accidentally uncovered here, Woody Wheeless is not running for president. Yes, that’s the “Woody” I’m referring to in the headline … not Woody Harrelson or Woody Woodpecker or Woody from the Toy Story movies.

But, yes, I think our County Judge would be a fine president – far better than any of the actual candidates we’re going to have to swallow like a bitter pill and cast ballots for here in about three months. Oh, sure, there are some things you or I might support about them, but it’s a little sad that off all the great minds and leaders in this country, this is where we are.

Now, for all I know, Judge Wheeless might not even want to be president. He might be perfectly content just being the County Judge. He might go all LBJ on us and say, “If nominated, I shall not run. If elected, I shall not serve,” but let’s face it, he’s the man for the job.

I suppose it’s possible there are folks out there in the county who could tell me some sad story about how Judge Wheeless did them dirty, but I can’t even begin to imagine how that story would go. In his time as County Judge, he’s accomplished a lot. I remember when he was first elected how one of his main goals was to upgrade the county’s technology, and sure enough, through a long, slow process, through grants and wise use of taxpayer money, he had dragged the county, kicking and screaming mind you, into the 21st century.

He’s always been completely transparent with what he has done, he’s worked with a (sometimes very contentious) Quorum Court to do things like replace the local hospital, renovate the courthouse, enhance the county’s 911 system, and most recently, for many, he’s been the lifeline to vital information about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

So, vote for Woody!

Again, just to clarify, he’s not actually running for president. In fact, he’s not even up for re-election in 2020. County offices will next be voted on in 2022. Which brings me to my next point. And I do want to point out that as far as I know, there is no secret campaign underway among the inner circles of the Loyal Order of the Good Ol’ Boys. Despite my best efforts, I’ve yet to receive an invitation to join the Good Ol’ Boy Network that allegedly runs things around here. But anyway …

I really appreciate everything Judge Wheeless has done for this county, so selfishly, I hope he just decides to run for County Judge again. But … while the presidency is probably out of his reach (probably), there’s no saying he could not seek a higher office. State Representative Woody Wheeless has a nice ring to it. Or maybe State Senator Woody Wheeless? No one even ran against Rick Crawford this election cycle or Tom Cotton for that matter. I wonder how much support the campaign for U.S. Congressman Woody Wheeless would get?

This is all pie-in-the-sky conjecture, folks. But, the point I guess I’m wandering up to is that even with all the bad stuff that has gone on here and around the nation, we have a great leader on our side. We actually have several great leaders here in the county. We’ve seen it in action with the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve seen leaders who have really stepped up and stepped out when dealing with everything from economic development to racial divisiveness to improving education. People like West Memphis mayor Marco McClendon, Marion Chamber director Tracy Brick, superintendents Dr. Glen Fenter and Jon Collins, West Memphis assistant police chief Robert Langston. I can look back through back issues of the Times since March when all of the world seemed to go crazy and these are the names of people who have been right alongside Judge Wheeless in doing what they could do to keep their little corner of the world informed, engaged and moving forward.

I don’t have all the answers to all of the problems we have here in Crittenden County and across our great nation, and neither do these folks whose names I just rattled off. But we’re all in this together. It’s cheesy, I suppose, but it’s true.

So, this November, if you’re at the polls, and you run through the list of real presidential candidates and you just can’t bring yourself to pull the lever for one of them, go down to the writein candidate box and put Woody Wheeless’s name down. Why not?

After all, he got us a Chick-fil-A!

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