Sometimes events happen in life that contain certain symmetries that help frame events as proper bookends around life events. Thursday evening I was honored to accept an invitation to speak to the Spalding County Republican Party. It’s a group that I was once quite familiar with in another life.
Twelve years ago through a somewhat unexpected series of events I ended up challenging an incumbent State Senator in the Republican primary. The events that led up to that are another story in itself, but when qualifying was done there were three of us running from my home county of Fayette, and one – the eventual winner – was a challenger from Coweta.
Realizing that I was sharing my home county with two people who had been elected several times in my home county, I adopted Spalding County as my part of the district. In many ways, they adopted me as well. The incumbent carried all three counties but was forced into a runoff he would eventually lose. I managed to come in 2nd in Spalding, but third in the other two counties. My brief attempt at political office ended with neither me nor the incumbent in the Senate. I remain quite OK with that.
I was able to do a little reminiscing last night in front of some very familiar faces. It wouldn’t be a Spalding County GOP meeting without seeing June and Mac McIntyre. It equally didn’t seem right to not see Betty and Ivan Taylor, who are no longer with us. David Knight has moved up to the State House since I was involved. Mr. Cole still sits on the back row.
Having no assigned topic to speak on, I generally connected the dots from the time I ran for the Senate to the journey that has been PeachPundit.com and eventually this column. Sometimes I have to say it out loud just so I can appreciate the complete accidental and improbable nature of it. It’s been a great outlet for me, and a way to use my interest in politics to find some application that does not involve me running for office ever again. In fact, much of what I choose to right certainly precludes it.
Yet writing for the sake of writing has also never really been my style. There are issues I care about, and there are problems that need to be addressed. One of those that I used to write about frequently is about our country’s need for energy independence. It’s something we as a people tend to agree on, though like most issues of today we’ve managed to focus on where we differ than on the common goal where we agree.
I haven’t been writing about the topic because I’ve been working with some friends on the issue, and I have a general rule that I don’t write about topics where I have a business interest. While the original opportunity I explored appears to have come and gone, new ones have been presented that I’ve decided to focus on. Going forward I’ll be the Communications Director for the Bio Feedstock Industry Association. It’s a relatively new trade group formed to promote the use of non-food biomass as part of an “all of the above” 21st century energy strategy for the county.
It’s not a side of the issue that is usually dominated by my friends on the conservative side of the aisle. It is my hope that working with the group I can help change that. Alternative energy has received quite a bit of bad press because of crony capitalism substituting for sound science, as well as many snake oil salesman flooding the field as the ideas became popular. Our hope is to promote the good and weed out the bad, along with articulating conservative market driven principles on which to base a sound and long range forward looking energy policy.
I’m looking forward to the new venture. It’s another outlet for me to take on the path that began well over a decade ago and has gone anything but as planned.
Twelve years ago I came to Griffin as a young idealist asking for votes. It was nice to come back and thank them for the ones I received, and also remember that beneath the pragmatic veneer and under the graying hair, there’s occasionally still a bit of that guy left.
Charlie Harper is the Atlanta based Editor of PeachPundit.com, a conservative-leaning political website. He is also a columnist for Dublin Georgia based Courier Herald Publishing.