Cumberland County is an amazing place to live, work and raise our families. This community embraced my father when he was first stationed here as a young soldier from Massachusetts. My mother, a proud Greek immigrant who came to this community at age 12, not being able to speak a word of English and graduated from Highsmith Nursing School in less than 10 years. A short time later, a Roman Catholic soldier from New England married a Greek Orthodox registered nurse who had just immigrated to the U.S. a decade before.
Together, even with their differences in culture, religious differences and their family expectations, they raised three children and made it work despite all of apprehension from both their families. They were stronger together because of their differences than they were as individuals. Their core strength was that they respected each other, had similar values and were very involved raising our family. This happened through conversation and compromise. Both had a strong commitment and record of service to their community, their church and their family.
I tell you this story because it is important. During this time of civil unrest, intolerance and instability, there seems to be a void of any respectful conversation and compromise. Since 1980, when I first registered to vote, I chose to be a Democrat. I have always been fiscally conservative, but more open-minded in supporting social issues. I remember early in my career a seasoned member of the local Democratic Party cautioned me, “If you do not vote for this, you are not a true Democrat.” It was an epiphany moment for as I thought, who gets to define a true Democrat?
I have struggled with our two-party system for many years. Like most Americans, I do not identify completely with either party. I agree with some things on both sides and am opposed to others. I do not identify myself by any other measure than being a good father, a trusted friend, respectful person, an ethical business person and a devoted citizen of this city, county, state and country.
Recently, I believe that many decisions by elected officials throughout government have been swayed by bias and self-serving members of their respective parties. The results of this legislation is not always in the best interest of the people we have sworn to defend by oath. For those that know me, they understand that I am a creative problem solver, who does his research and works toward solutions. I am always willing to compromise on issues, but never willing to compromise my values as an elected official or person.
After, 38 years of years in local politics, I have recently changed my party affiliation to the Republican Party. The only thing that is different is my party.
I will still fight of every citizen whom may have been treated unjustly. I will continue to fight to maintain a fiscal responsible government that provides quality services to their citizens. I will always an advocate for the Health, Education and Welfare of each and every citizen of Cumberland County. Because in the end, this is what I have done, will continue to do and what every each of us should do.
PHOTO: Cumberland County Commissioner Jimmy Keefe