Liberty Dispatch readers have various thoughts on what they want our county judge to be doing. With the county judge election coming up in 2014 and rather than repeat one more time why we think Liberty County should re-elect Craig McNair, we thought it would be helpful to sort out just what County Judge McNair has and has not done in his two and a half years in office. One of the main reasons we feel this is necessary is that Judge McNair has spent less time campaigning and promoting and defending himself than any Liberty county judge in recent history. His insistence on focusing on action, rather than speeches and photos for the newspapers, has left his opposition an open field to interpret or even invent things in ways that might affect voters to take their side. Readers should decide whether they want four more years of the type of leadership Judge McNair has actually provided rather than what his enemies say he has done.
His enemies are saying things like this, “What we need is a county judge who can stop blowing money on his pet projects and quit giving huge raises to his relatives. Everybody is going to have to tighten their belts and quit spending like crazy.”
We ask these people to explain their accusations. "What raise did McNair give to his relatives? What 'pet projects' are they talking about?" If these folks would like to approach some sort of rational and honest campaign rumor mongering, then they need to answer these questions.
The reality of the next county judge race is that if a voter wants someone to loosen the purse strings and go back to the good ole boy ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours' way of doing business then they should not vote for McNair. If they do not like that he has practically anchored himself in front of the county treasury and been the undisputed champion of holding spending down, then they should vote for someone else.
In anticipation of more disinformation about the newest building in Liberty, let’s clear up some things. First, anyone that runs against McNair should let their voters know where they stand on McNair’s decision. The federal government chose Liberty County as the best location to build a building for catastrophic emergencies. All of the funding for the actual building of the emergency center came from the federal government. The only decision Judge McNair was told to make was does Liberty county want the building or not. The federal government would build the center in another county if Liberty County did not want a multi-million dollar headquarters during hurricanes etc. McNair said, “Yes, build it here.”
Opponents cannot legitimately argue that the expenditure was taxpayer money whether it was local, state, or federal money and therefore this is an example of a big spending “pet project’ by McNair. McNair did NOT get to decide whether the money was going to be spent or not. This was a “pet project” of the federal government and it was going to be built, period.
Opponents need to be honest and indicate what they would have done. They can point to the fact the federal government is not going to provide funding to man the building they have built and act like that is scandalous. That argument might appeal to non conservatives who prefer the federal government to direct local affairs or to someone who is only looking at the short term economics. But in the specifics of Judge McNair’s decision to allow the building to be located here was the fact that after ten years Liberty County is in total control and ownership of the building. In other words, while the building was not free with any strings, the strings will soon be cut.
Any voter who believed we needed a no nonsense leader who could navigate all of the attacks and disinformation that comes with telling other politicians “NO!” they got him when Craig McNair was sworn in two and a half years ago. Anyone that wanted a county judge that spent his time working on economic development rather than holding the hands of potential political enemies and making them feel important got him when they elected Craig McNair.
Liberty Dispatch does not fraternize or socialize with the current county judge or any potential opponent that we know of and we welcome SPECIFIC FACTUAL criticism of this and any other elected official so our readers will have the facts. If someone disagrees and is reluctant to send their objection to us and reveal who they are, they will almost surely have an open invitation from all other media. Otherwise, they are asking voters to depend on their political attacks in hopes that they will not be rebutted or they are hoping the voters want a more liberal county judge. We welcome a race that argues whether we can solve Liberty County’s problems with a more liberal approach or with someone claiming to be conservative who is unwilling to face reality.