Typically individuals ask what I do for a residing. After I say I write about politics, most instantly go into some diatribe concerning the president or Congress or such factor.
“No,” I cease them. “Not nationwide politics. I write about native politics.”
I write about Citrus County politics. That’s my job. I don’t get combined up in most issues exterior these county borders, although I as soon as snuck on a van carrying information reporters when Vice President Dan Quayle was in Ocala, however that’s for one more day. Plus, I’m positive I stored it native by asking Quayle concerning the Bush administration’s plan for fixing roads in Citrus Springs.
I don’t simply write about native politics, I’m actually into it. I’m an elections geek, not tied to a particular candidate or trigger, capable of view the entire thing from atop the bubble, because it had been. I pour over election statistics and studies and, after all, individuals feed me data on a regular basis.
There aren’t too many like me in Citrus County. Truly, I can consider just one:
I used to be simply getting warmed up as a political author on the Chronicle when Gill ran for supervisor of elections to exchange the legendary Wilma Anderson, who was retiring. I wasn’t an enormous Susan Gill fan at first. The late Sybil Barco, simply an absolute gem of an individual, had labored for Anderson for years and was working. This was 1996 and the political tides had been shifting. She was a Democrat and Gill a Republican. I keep in mind writing in a column that Gill didn’t have the expertise to do such an vital job accurately.
I’ve a number of occasions since then identified to her how a lot I used to be mistaken. That’s as a result of she has so many occasions proven us Citrus County people simply how proper she is for this job.
We wish loads from politicians, however an important is belief. Elected officers could make all the guarantees and assurances on the earth, but when we don’t belief them it doesn’t make any distinction.
4 years after Gill was elected got here the 2000 “hanging chad” election. We overlook this right this moment, however Citrus averted the entire punch poll fiasco as a result of we didn’t have punch ballots. Gill, in her first time period, had satisfied county commissioners to pay for these new fangled poll scanner issues. The issues we’ve been utilizing since then and that everybody has lately.
Gill was capable of construct public belief with that election and it’s solely grown.
I as soon as heard somebody say, “I don’t wish to be a pleasant man. I simply wish to have a REPUTATION of being a pleasant man.” Gill’s popularity for working truthful and environment friendly elections, plus getting the outcomes out in report pace after polls shut, are recognized and accepted by nearly everybody in Citrus County politics. Democrat, Republican, no occasion, different occasion — I by no means hear a nasty phrase about Gill’s workplace or her therapy of candidates. By no means.
Together with equity, Gill harassed voter schooling. Her employees, significantly Patrick Thomas, who simply left the elections workplace lately for the Key Coaching Heart, confirmed up at each competition. They attended all of the neighborhood candidate boards and Gill was a preferred speaker.
One 12 months Susan requested me to take part in a video she was producing at Fort Island Gulf Seaside. It loosely had a “Survivor” theme, as a lot as you’ll be able to go Survivor on voting practices. I say loosely as a result of I’m fairly positive Susan wrote it. We acted out this factor at nightfall with tiki torches, then met up at a restaurant later the place Susan handed out Oscars to her actors.
She additionally was huge on getting younger people within the elections. Gill was within the excessive colleges, signing up new voters.
We had been speaking at some point about involving highschool college students within the marketing campaign course of. From that we hatched a plan to have student-led boards for county fee, faculty board and superintendent the place authorities and journalism lessons confirmed up and grilled the candidates.
We grew to become buddies and debated election points on a regular basis. I’ve even forgiven her for transferring the elections workplace from downtown Inverness to downtown Meadowcrest. By the way in which, title me one other Citrus County politician who might have pulled that off with out some public yelling.
Inverness as soon as threatened to sue the county authorities if it moved the county fee places of work to Lecanto, however nobody mentioned a peep when Gill left the quaint Coca-Cola constructing in Inverness, ending a a long time lengthy custom of saying election leads to the county seat. They stood by due to their belief in Gill.
And now she’s retiring. Gill even arrange an exit plan of kinds, throwing her full assist behind Maureen “Mo” Baird, who has been on the elections workplace for thus lengthy she labored for Wilma Anderson. Baird gained her first election outright within the major, and it ought to be a easy transition come January when she takes workplace.
Tuesday was Gill’s final election. A couple of of us had been within the shiny new elections workplace when she introduced at 7 p.m., “For the final time, the polls are actually closed.” A short time later, the canvassing board began handing out the primary set of outcomes, which at all times include an evidence. And I hardly ever hear the reason as a result of I’m trying on the outcomes or taking footage.
That’s what occurred Tuesday.
“After all, I heard none of what you simply mentioned,” I informed her.
As we had been speaking, her staffer Bryce Hale snapped the picture that accompanies this column. I like this picture. It’s two previous election varieties, attending to the meat of voter outcomes, on yet one more election night time. We’ve had this dialog so many occasions. It saddens me we gained’t have it once more.
You see, we’re election geeks. There aren’t many like us. The outcomes are usually not as vital as the method as a result of with out a truthful course of, the outcomes don’t matter.
Susan Gill made positive the election course of labored properly for Citrus County. She deserves our gratitude and properly needs for a deserved retirement.