Constituent recalls ‘bizarre’ talk with candidate

Dear Editor,

I moved to Athens a little over a year ago, and in an effort to get involved in my new community I began following local politics and volunteering.

I had the opportunity to meet State House candidate Jay Edwards this week. He came strolling down my street and we talked for a little while. The conversation was … interesting. It seemed as though Edwards thought I was the one running for office because, on every issue I brought up, he asked me what I would do. Which would have been nice, if it wasn’t a cover for him not wanting to share, for some reason, his thoughts and plans.

What few ideas he did share with me were puzzling. He told me he does not support a minimum wage. When I shared my troubles finding a job here, he suggested a plant in Belpre that might hire a receptionist. When I challenged those ideas with some facts about unions and minimum wage, he quickly became agitated. Clearly he is not used to being told “no.”

Our conversation was far from the positive, invigorating experience that I would expect to have with a candidate for public office. In fact, it was frustrating. Our officials should be open minded and curious. After all, outside-the-box thinking is invaluable in solving the sort of generational economic problems that face Appalachia. I expected more from Jay Edwards.

My vote for state representative will go to Sarah Grace, and not just because of my bizarre conversation with Edwards. She is a smart, caring and thoughtful leader who truly understands policy, which will benefit our schools and our communities. I could not be more excited to support her.

Paula DiBernardo