"I see where the Guv visited the county the other day," Old Line Carroll said to the Dead Politician as the two spoke over drinks one night last week. "What the heck does he want here, anyway? He knows we hate his guts."
"Actually, he came here because he knows that some of us hate his guts -- but maybe not all of us," the Dead Pol replied. "In fact, the governor has decided to travel all over the state to talk to real people and listen to what they have to say. He started in Carroll specifically because he lost the county in the last election. Daniel in the lion's den, sort of."
"Bull," Old Line said. "All that stuff is just politics as usual.He's running for office again."
"If you know that, you know more than I do, pal," said the Dead Pol.
"Yeah, just politics as usual," Old Line said. "These guys just run around pretending to do stuff. But nothing ever happens."
"That's what you said about the trip toKuwait, but I recall that at least one business right here in this county has received major business as a direct result of that excursion," said the Dead Pol.
"Sure, and what benefit was this visit?" asked Old Line. "How will anybody benefit from a visit to a dairy farm?"
"The theory is that the more the governor knows about the way farmers feel about the 2020 plan to control growth, the better job he can do about growth management," responded the Dead Pol. "Farmers aren't the only people he listens to, but he thinks their concerns and ideas are valid. He said that the local guy, Jason Myers, was very articulate."
"OK, so Willie Don discovered a farmer who could talk," Old Line said cynically. "First he has breakfast on the farm. And thenhe goes to lunch at some inn. Does this man ever do anything but eat?"
"Some inn? You need help with the facts, as usual," said the Dead Pol. "The governor visited the Winchester Country Inn, a bed and breakfast that is part of a program that provides training, job placement, and housing for developmentally disabled folk.
"The governor wants to see programs that work so that his staffers can pass along the ideas to other places in the state. TARGET Inc., the organization that runs the inn, is the brainchild of a professor at Western Maryland College, Don Rabush (TARGET president) and operates with minimal government money.
"The program gets results that the state bureaucrats can't believe, and the governor wants to spread the word. He alsowants to see TARGET and the inn prosper, and that's good news for us, because the locals get the benefit of most of what TARGET does."
"But the Guv cut the funds for developmentally disabled last year," Old Line said.
"Wrong again," the Dead Pol snapped. "You seem to forget that the governor tried to get the legislature to enact a tax on certain convenience foods -- the infamous 'snack tax' -- to fund special programs for developmentally disabled people, but the legislature, in its wisdom, refused."
"You always blame the legislature," Old Line said.
"Yes, and you always blame the governor, and you rarely have a clue," the Dead Pol exclaimed. "After lunch,the governor visited the Youth Service Bureau. He personally saved the entire YouthService Bureau network statewide by restoring cuts that would've shut down all of them. He wanted to see how the local program is doing.
"He was overwhelmed by the bureau's effectiveness. He talked to staff members and clients too, so he wasn't just hearing some kind of PR fluff. And the bureau named a meeting room after the governor in appreciation of his concern.
"How many governors do you know who go around and talk personally to private individuals to hear how they feel? The latest is that the governor was so impressed with our YSB that he wants to help personally with its fund-raising plans."
"Okay,so Willie Don's a big hero," replied Old Line. "He sure turned off the crowd down at Gamber Fire Hall. He just can't leave the gun control issue alone."
"He's not the one who raised that one," said the Dead Pol. "He wanted to talk about all the good things he'd seen here,not get into a hissing contest. But two people out of maybe a hundred kept trying to nail him. They think assault weapons are good.
"The governor thinks they're bad. He doesn't duck and he doesn't flinch. And guess what? After all the efforts of the gun lobby, he's still the governor, and the NRA still isn't. And, in spite of the disagreement on that issue, the governor considered the day a big success.
"The stories that he doesn't like Carroll County are bunk. He has thegood sense to know good work when he sees it."
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