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Carroll: Your election year scorecard
David Carroll is a longtime anchorman at WRCB television in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Welcome to election year! True confession:  When I was a kid, I looked forward to Election Day almost as much as Christmas.

Starting today on covnews.com, the Covington News will carry a weekly column written by David Carroll, a longtime Southern writer and broadcaster.

“David Carroll’s News and Notes” will cover a variety of topics, ranging from humor and history, to today’s top news stories.

“My goal is to entertain and inform people,” Carroll said. “In addition to being on TV and radio, I have written newspaper columns in recent years. The response has been terrific, and it’s an honor to now be a part of the Covington News."

Carroll began his broadcasting career in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, while still in high school. He has continued to work in television and radio, and began his newspaper column in 2013. 

His most recent book is "Volunteer Bama Dawg," a collection of his most popular columns. He has presented programs about his book at hundreds of civic clubs and church groups.

Carroll says he hopes his column will become a weekly habit for Covington News readers. "I’ve always admired columnists who can relate to their readers, whether the topic be humor, tragedy, history, or a hot topic in the news. That is my goal each week, and I appreciate any and all feedback.”

Growing up in a country store, we didn’t see many celebrities. When someone wearing nice clothes would come in to campaign, that was a big deal. To this day, I love politics.

I have always admired people who run for office. My parents were amused by my fascination with politicians. I was disappointed if a candidate visited during the school day, when I wasn’t in the store. 

I attended political rallies, where I would study the candidates. Some of them were polished speakers, while others struggled to string together a few coherent sentences. More than once, I suspected a candidate had consumed a little booze, trying to work up enough courage to face the crowd.

Since becoming a broadcaster, I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few hundred politicians, from U.S. presidents to county coroners. Most of them are hard-working, qualified folks. But there are a few who get on my nerves. I will let you fill in the names on my Election Year Scorecard.

Mr. Photo Op. He’s the guy who has never voted for a tax of any kind. In fact, he votes “no” on everything, and is against any new idea. However, he always smiles for the camera, holding the giant scissors in the ribbon-cutting photo for the new school that he voted against.

Ms. “I’m Only Here for the Food." She’s the city councilperson or school board member who never asks questions, and rarely offers any ideas or solutions. She does, however, enjoy the free catered lunches, and will never miss an out-of-town conference to expensive hotels and restaurants.

Mr. “I’m Not a Politician.” He always insists he’s only a good ol’ boy, just one of us. He once helped coach a little league team, so he lists himself on the election ballot as “John (Coach) Doe.” He doesn’t really keep up with the issues, but he pats everybody on the back, volunteers at the concession stand, and will pay for your lunch. He has never lost an election.

Mr. “Doesn’t Stand a Chance.” Nobody ever sees or hears from him. We’re not sure if he lives in the district, or even in the state. But as sure as daylight becomes dark, each election year, he shows up and runs for something. He’s usually attempting to settle a score, like when the sheriff locked him up for DUI on a lawnmower. He’s never gotten more than 13 votes, but he sure loves to see his name on the ballot.

Mr. “Let’s Make a Deal.” He’s part of that grand political tradition: What’s in it for me? After being on the city council or county commission for a few years, people begin to notice. He has a nice home, a new car, and he wears fine clothes. What he doesn’t have, is a job. Someone once made the accusation that he could be “bought.” He took offense, saying, “That is outrageous! I cannot be bought!” After a short pause, he said, “But I CAN be rented for a few days…”

Ms. “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t.” During campaign season, she’s on full display. Her signs are everywhere, and she accepts every invitation to speak. But when a controversial tax increase is being debated, she is suddenly very busy. She dodges reporters with the skills of an NFL running back. When it’s time for the big decision, she votes “Yes,” and then quietly excuses herself, leaving early through the back door. But just like birds that migrate north each spring, she’ll be back in time for the next election campaign.

Mr. “I Was Confused.” He votes against a complicated proposal, and when there are unpopular repercussions, he pleads confusion. “I thought I was voting FOR it,” he explains, demanding a re-vote. Oh yes, he will be re-elected.

Finally, Mr. “No Comment.” The most frustrating one of all. Despite the fact he was elected by, and is paid by the people, he will refuse to answer questions from reporters, or even his constituents. Try that with your boss, and see how far you get. “Excuse me, did I just see you taking money out of the cash register?” “Uh … no comment!” Goodbye job, hello, unemployment line.

All this political talk reminds me of a story.  A congressman was on the campaign trail, giving his stump speech. He closed by saying, “So go out and vote for me on Tuesday!”  An elderly man jumped up from his seat, and yelled, “Not me! Not me! I wouldn’t vote for you if you were St. Peter himself!” The congressman looked him right in the eye and replied, “No sir, you wouldn’t. Because if I was St. Peter, you wouldn’t be living in my district!”

David Carroll is a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based reporter and columnist. His website is ChattanoogaRadioTV.com, and you may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or 3dc@epbfi.com. Twitter: @davidcarroll3.