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Wed, Nov 22, 2017 06:50 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Smile Awhile


An appeal to repeal


ARH
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11/02/2007 - When my sisters and I were growing up, our internal clocks automatically signaled the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was Election Day.

Our father, Buzzy Wheeler, was Johnson County Court Clerk for 16 years. He held that office until I was 16 and my sister Melinda was 18, so up until that point our lives revolved around campaigns and elections. Every year there was some kind of election on the city, county, state, or national levels and if we weren't campaigning for Dad, we were involved in other races.

In retrospect, Dad was the quintessential politician who genuinely liked people. He enjoyed talking with them, laughing with them, and helping them. Actually, doing for others was really his chosen profession. He didn't have to learn to get along with others, it just came naturally, and he always impressed upon us how important it was not only for elected officials to serve others, but that all of us had a responsibility to set examples.

Dad was so magnanimous that he gave a man a house and some property because he and his family had fallen on hard times and they didn't have a place to live. He deeded it to them and never asked for anything in return. Several years later Dad saw this man handing out campaign literature at the polls for his opponent. When Dad questioned him about it he said, "Well, Buzzy, the man asked me first and I wanted to keep my promise."

Daddy didn't get mad about it and he always told us we shouldn't get upset at people who didn't vote for us, reminding us sometimes people had already obligated themselves to someone, or they were related in some way or they might just think another person was the better choice. He encouraged us to be open-minded because if they couldn't vote for us that time they might be able to help us out in the next election. He also cautioned us to never forget that when we stepped into that ballot box everyone was as important as the next person, so we needed to remember to treat everyone equally.

That type of personal responsibility is just one of the reasons I wasn't surprised when Melinda decided to run for Kentucky State Treasurer, because running for public office was never too far from her mind.

As a child she was competitive but it was obvious she was a natural leader. The other children deferred to her because she had the ability to delegate duties, thereby getting them to do things together without much effort. She thought I lacked that initiative because she always told me I was an underachiever and also that I didn't place enough emphasis on my studies. I suppose she was right because while she went on to become the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, I went blind. (In my defense, I always thought I had the potential to be a great artist, but my art teacher, Clyde Pack, told me I might have the potential, but unfortunately I lacked the talent.)

I always looked up to Melinda not because she was 10 inches taller but because I admired her and valued her opinions on everything. To me, she was the perfect role model (and that was before we had role models).

One night when I was in the seventh grade and she was a freshman we were lying in bed when I turned and asked where babies came from. She quickly replied, "Well, have you seen that four-letter word that's written on the walls in bathrooms?" When I assured her that I had, she said, "Well, that's how." So commanding was her response that it was years later before I realized that she hadn't known either.

While in high school, Melinda joined the BETA club, became class president and took college English classes. During her sophomore year she took six classes (you were only required to take five), ran track, and acted in a theater production of "Annie, Get Your Gun." After school she would go directly to track practice and return to the gymnasium for rehearsals, which went on for nearly six to eight weeks until nearly 10 o'clock. During that time she still found time to study and date but little time to eat. Her weight plummeted to 109 pounds because she was too busy to miss a thing. I, on the other hand missed everything — except for meals.

Yes, Dad led by example and laid the foundation to encourage his children to be givers and not takers doers and not users. He instilled us with the desire to help others, thereby helping society as a whole. "Since we have to live together, we need to help each other," he said. "You never know when you're going to be on the receiving end."

Thankfully, you don't have to decide whether or not to vote for me; but you do have the opportunity to vote for someone who wants to bring about reform and shrink government by abolishing an unnecessary office that wastes taxpayers' money. Melinda has the proven record to successfully accomplishment this goal, but she needs your help. Get out and vote for "Wheeler the Repealer." When she wins, you'll have a good friend and a voice in Frankfort.

Thank you!

ARH 2
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