Afterthoughts on the campaign



Dean Calvert

On roads: “The real problem is money…We have some challenges in Blount County, but with the help of citizens, we can decide to stay with our current course of action and get further behind on roads, or we can face the issues, find a solution, and move this county forward.”

On priorities going forward: “While there are many…,my number one priority is the Economic Development Council (EDC). I want to fully support…our newly established Economic Development Council. This county commutes 70 percent of our workforce out of the county, and we need to bring in new businesses to keep more jobs in the county, therefore keeping more of our young men and women here. I would like to see…(a shopping center)…come into the West Blount area…The EDC will be the group that will…help move Blount County as a whole forward.”

Observation on campaign issue:“Social media seems to play an important role in today’s politics. But we need to remember that most of it…is just someone’s opinion and may not be the complete truth. Even when the news media and local paper do accuracy checks on the information given, a part of it is still the opinion of the writer. It is best to go to the source, if possible, and remember always to keep an open mind.”

Ragsdale readout: “Here are the facts. There are 10 families living on Ragsdale Road, not just two, as was charged during the election. I’ve graded it, widened it, eliminated a dangerous curve, eliminated a dangerous intersection, and shortened it about 800 feet on the end where it intersects with Ala 132 to make a safe, 90-degree intersection. I’ve spent a total of less than $10,000 out of the road budget on it, plus the road crew’s excavator time. I have no plans to pave the road. It will still be a gravel road. The state will require that the short segment of it at the intersection with Ala 132 be paved – less than 500 feet – in order to keep gravel from washing down the steep hill on Ragsdale onto 132. The total cost to the road budget will be $45,000 or less, depending on how long a stretch the state requires us to pave, and that will make up half or more of the total cost. Once complete, Ragsdale Road will provide a route for county trucks to travel from the gravel pit on Douglas Lane near the northern edge of the district all the way across Straight Mountain to the southern edge of the county, without having to detour through Oneonta, with all that involves in adding to the traffic and to the wear and tear on city streets. That’s the story on Ragsdale Road.” Brett King

On the campaign:“The campaign was an incredible life experience. I am very thankful for the 8051 voters who trusted me to be their voice in Montgomery…We were outspent by $130,000 and just about every Montgomery special interest was against us. Our people got out the vote; there just weren’t quite enough of us.”

On his takeaway from the experience: “We all need to spend less time lamenting over Washington and doing more locally… I have repeatedly said that the two biggest problems facing this district are rising costs of fuel and health care…I intend to spend the next four years doing what I can to creatively attack these issues in the private sector.”

On accentuating the positive: “Personally, now that so many people whom I greatly respect supported me, I feel a greater obligation to live my life in a way that would always make them proud.” I’ve always done. The focus of my career and civic activities has always been to help people. I saw serving in the state Senate as an opportunity…to be a strong voice for the hard-working middle class in Montgomery. I will consider similar opportunities in the future as they present themselves.” From campaign Facebook page:“If you still have yard signs, feel free to drop them off at the office. 2018 will be here before you know it, and I try to recycle whenever possible.” Shay Shelnutt

On the campaign: “It was very different than I expected, but I learned a lot. There are a lot of common concerns throughout the district. Brett (King) and I have agreed to meet so we can discuss what issues he thinks are important.”

On his platform for the legislature: “Three parts: (1) We need an economic development team for our district. I’m going to help us get there, formally or informally. (2) I am going to work on the senior tax cut I proposed in my campaign. This is something that was passed for Baldwin County and we should extend it here. (3) Local issues: I talked with the highway director last week and discussed the northern beltline, Ala 160 and some other issues that need attention.”

On not being able to say “I’m not a politician” any more:“If a politician is a state of mind, I will just never be one. I’m just a guy who wants to serve our community. I’ve been told I’m too honest and I won’t survive the politicians out there, but I disagree. Maybe I am naive…but I’m going to be me, give it my best, and build coalitions with other legislators and local leaders to have a strong team representing our area.”

On an action plan to stay in touch with constituents: “I’m working on it now but it’s not something I’m ready to put out there yet. We are going to have to work through a timetable for recurring meetings and who we coordinate with, but I made a commitment to keep in touch, and I plan to do that.”