This week’s Courier Herald column:
I don’t spend a lot of time writing about campaigns these days. I work primarily in policy now, and too often the things said and done during campaigns are antithetical to good policy.
There’s a few races on the Republican side that are being run primarily on actual policy. These are generally down ballot races that don’t make much news. Statements pledging to be the best policy wonk don’t lend themselves to top-of-fold headlines.
In the race for Secretary of State, you have four choices. Some of the candidates are actually openly referring to themselves as “nerds”. That’s not a bad thing. While the election for Secretary of State is quite partisan, the function of the job is not.
Chief among the responsibilities of the Secretary of State is the operation of safe and secure elections. Technology has advanced quite a bit since Georgia adopted electronic voting machines. The next Secretary of State will need to oversee the replacement of these systems.
The office also oversees corporate registration, professional licensing, securities regulation, and charitable oversight – Not exactly the material that lends itself to red meat for partisan bases. A nerd in this office will do just fine. In fact, a nerd is preferred.
I generally know all four candidates in the race, some better than others. I’m going with the one I’ve known the longest, Buzz Brockway. I’m not voting for Buzz because of time served as my friend. Voting for friends, and especially recommending friends to others in politics, is dangerous business.
“Friends” in politics are often by convenience and association. In this business, you get to meet many people. If you know them long enough, you get to watch them under many different circumstances and situations. People who are friendly don’t always turn out to be friends. And some people who are friends turn out to be nice people who unfortunately lack the skill set needed to execute the tasks required.
I recommend Buzz Brockway without hesitation or reservation. I don’t recommend him because he’s my friend. I’m voting for Buzz because I believe he has the skills necessary to do the job and – of equal importance – I believe he has the approach and temperament demanded to maintain trust in our elections.
Buzz predated my tenure as a blogger at PeachPundit.com. In fact, Buzz was a blogger before there was such a thing. When I first got elected to a county GOP position, I found myself on an email list from Buzz talking about things to do to improve our party while informing us of news.
This was a time before email distribution lists were a widely used thing. Buzz has long been an early adopter of technology, but also one who understood how to use it to make people and organizations more effective. They weren’t emails about self-promotion. They were, at the time, cutting edge in communications and collaboration.
I got to know Buzz during our blogging days. At a time when blogs were the Wild West of politics, Buzz was our calming force. He challenged us to use our power for good and consensus building rather than for bomb throwing. It was through his wisdom and example that I was able to transition from someone who (often unknowingly) spent more times tearing things down to someone trying to use these words to build consensus around opinion.
A general resume of being a “good guy” often doesn’t stand the test of opportunity and ambition. Buzz, however, passed the ultimate test. It was well known that he wanted to serve in the legislature, but he wasn’t willing to challenge his state Representative or Senator whom he helped get elected just so he could have a title.
When Buzz’s Rep got an appointment just before qualifying was to begin, Buzz had an opportunity. He also had already committed to managing a campaign for a friend in a neighboring district. He had a choice to make. He chose to honor his commitment.
Buzz qualified for the House and won, but his campaign was unconventional. His time (and social media presence) was dedicated to electing his friend, spending weekends canvassing and putting up signs not for himself, but for the person he promised to make sure was taken care of to the best of his ability. They both won.
When opportunity has presented itself, time and time again, Buzz Brockway has put others first. That’s my kind of nerd, and that’s the kind of person I want guaranteeing free and fair elections.
The above column is the endorsement of the author personally and as with all opinions expressed here does not reflect the opinion of all contributors nor the organization GeorgiaPol.com.