PART 4 OF 4
The next time I get the bright idea to write a four-part series on the inner politics of county government, just kick me in the shin.
I mean…let’s not take ourselves too seriously, OK? The county commission will pick a chairman on Nov. 30 and on Dec. 1 the sun will rise.
My, um, plan was to go into detail about "protocol" for this fourth installment but forget that. I’ll say this: Protocol is important sometimes and sometimes it’s not. There you have it.
I’ve made a career writing about Citrus County politics. City council, mosquito board, state Legislature…if there’s a candidate on the ballot there’s a real good chance our paths have crossed.
But my focus has always been the county commission. Many aspects of our lives in Citrus County pass in some form by the county commission.
To follow candidates through the campaign season, and to talk with the winners on Election Night – it’s pretty special stuff. County commission winners are so eager to get started and do good.
So it’s entirely demoralizing when it doesn’t work out that simply. I saw a Chronicle Soundoff a few weeks ago from someone upset with something Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach did. The person said he voted for Schlabach and now regretted it.
I got to know Ruthie during her unsuccessful campaign in 2018 and then the winning one last year. She is sincere and well meaning. I don’t agree with everything she does, but I have never doubted that she has Citrus County’s best interest. (This is the commissioner who writes personal thank-you notes to folks who contribute to the new animal shelter.)
To have someone say they regretted voting for her because of one issue – that’s a kick in the gut. They’ve all felt it.
And, despite the political upheaval of recent weeks, I feel that way about all five. In over 30 years of observing county government, I can recall only one or two commissioners whose motives were questionable. No, I’m not naming names and none are in office currently.
Scott Carhanan, Holly Davis, Jeff Kinnard, Ron Kitchen Jr., Ruthie Schlabach – these folks are our neighbors, our friends. We see them at church, in the grocery store or at one of the many community functions that are thankfully beginning to spring up again.
Look. I love Citrus County politics and sometimes it ain’t pretty. But it doesn’t have to be ugly or petty. Despite our differences, don’t we wish our commissioners success?
I need to get into a better habit of encouraging commissioners instead of constantly poking at them. Criticism will come when needed, but after a while it’s just noise.
I’m sure they’d like to hear from you as well, especially during the holidays. Here’s how to reach your commissioners:
Chairman Scott Carnahan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr.: email@example.com
Commissioner Ruthie Schlabach: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Holly Davis: email@example.com
Commissioner Jeff Kinnard: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.