Saturday night my husband and I attended the Heart & Soul Free Clinic’s 10th Anniversary Gala in Westfield as guests of our friends. The clinic’s fundraiser was a lovely affair held at The Club at Chatham Hills. In addition to celebrating their volunteers and supporters, it was also a fundraiser to help cover their operational costs in the future. Attended by more than 200 people, including several of Westfield’s elected officials, I encountered Mayor Andy Cook just outside of the Sky Ballroom as the night’s program began. Unavoidably passing him upon my return from the ladies room , I queried, “Good Evening, Mayor. How are you?” And that would be the moment when I realized just how worried he is about losing Tuesday’s election.
Typically and publicly dubbed “my small group of friends," Mayor Cook finally recognized that I/we are political influencers who have opted to endorse his Libertarian opponent. He mentioned reading our (FCoHC) concerns regarding TIF districts, suggested I should attend a few Carmel city council meetings so I could chime in on their food and beverage tax as my family often dines there too, and made some ridiculous remark about Westfield being HIS city. While attempting to demean me, a suggestion was made that I take the mic and publicly proclaim my support for him as a Republican.
After balking at the ridiculous nature of his request, he proceeded to tell me why he thinks I should be embarrassed to call myself a Republican. In the midst of the conversation, I invited him to return to our table to further discuss his concerns with my me and my husband. An offer which he declined. It's much easier to browbeat a woman who stands alone in an evening gown. As I left the conversation, I remarked, "Shame on you, Mayor. Shame on you."
We are the Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County. We are a non-partisan (multi-partisan, actually) group of volunteers who decide who we believe are the most fiscally conservative candidates running for office in Hamilton County. We aren’t the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent Fiscal Conservatives. We’re just the Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County.
Personally, and individually, I identify as a Republican. I believe in the tenets of the Republican party. I ran as a Republican in the 2018 primary. I am not an elected official. Nowhere do the rules state that an individual gives up their right to be a Republican when a person openly does not support all Republican candidates in a general election. So, let me ask you the following rhetorical questions,
If I support only one Republican candidate, rather than the two on the slate in Westfield, does that make me a bad Republican?”
Am I less Republican today than I was last year?
If I told you I can’t even vote in this municipal election (because I live in the unincorporated) am I more or less Republican when I offered my opinion as to who I believe is more fiscally conservative in Westfield?
If I remind you that I supported (and FCoHC endorsed) four Republican candidates for City Council last spring and three of them won by beating incumbents, am I more Republican now?
I have many, many friends who aren’t Republican. Am I less Republican when we’re together?
Am I less Republican because I refuse to support the Republican candidate for Mayor? A man who attempts to publicly shame me whenever possible. A man who makes my blood boil. A man who is an elected Republican, and in my opinion, doesn’t operate under the core beliefs of his own party. (Read those core beliefs again and use them as the yardstick with which you measure the value of your elected Republican officials.)
We find ourselves in a unique place in time. A time when we are reminded of the significance of a person’s right to vote for our representative government. One that will be governed by elected officials who truly represent different groups of people in our community. A time to be thoughtful and thankful for the politicians who will be accountable to us. A time to recognize that the voice of the voters is strong, and that our Republican form of government is the only practicable form of democracy.
I am not embarrassed to stand up for who and what I believe in. The Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County stand by their decision to endorse political candidates of various parties based on the information we’ve gathered. As such, we get to decide who we believe is the most fiscally conservative, damnit.