By ANGEL KANE
Summers in middle Tennessee have always been chocked full of festivals, ball games, and local fundraisers. These events provide communities with a chance to band together for those in need and the opportunity to simply come together.
But these events have become ever more important and prevalent during an election year. From pancake breakfasts and community yard sales to little league games and fish fries, everyone can find a steady stream of candidates for local and state offices vying for votes and visibility. This campaigning is often as hot as the temperature and the barbecue.
Jamie Winkler was recently qualified as the Democratic nominee for the District 40 State Representative seat serving DeKalb, Macon, and Smith counties. Therefore, he is now a regular at every one of these occasions and loving every minute of it.
Jamie remarks, “You cannot imagine the energy you get from talking to people and meeting literally hundreds of your friends and neighbors each day. I have always enjoyed the ‘nuts and bolts’ of politics and how an idea can become law to better our lives. But I never dreamed the real fuel for candidates is the people at the bluegrass festivals and antique car shows – and of course the hot dogs, fresh lemonade and fried pies.’’
As a practicing attorney in Carthage, Winkler works primarily in the Fifteenth Judicial District which includes Wilson County. Right out of law school ten years ago, he clerked for a Judge and then worked for a large Nashville firm.
He soon married his wife, Amber. During that time, she was attending Tennessee Tech, while Jamie worked in Nashville. Naturally, living in Smith County, home to both of them, made sense as it was the halfway point. However, the Winklers believed, at some point, they might end up pursuing their big dreams in the big city of Nashville.
However, Jamie was soon given the opportunity to practice law in his hometown. And a little while later, the family was blessed with son Jack (6). All of a sudden the Winklers realized that they had no desire to go anywhere. They had everything they always dreamed of – right in their hometown.
“Raising a family and working where I had grown up, was something I had always wanted. We found our piece of the good life – right where we started.
Ironically, I played Little League on the same fields that I am now trolling for votes instead of fly balls. I know now that family and the people in our community are as much of what has kept us home as anything.”
Jamie then decided to run for State Representative. He had a strong desire to find fiscally-responsible, common-sense solutions to the problems facing his district. He wanted everybody (just like he and Amber) to have the opportunity to raise a family and make a living in their hometowns.
“I contemplated this for a long time. After much encouragement from friends and long talks with family, I stepped forward to seek an elected office. I work each day in my practice to find solutions to problems for working men and women. I see first-hand the real issues confronting voters.’’
But Jamie has learned that the real knowledge; however, comes from seeing and talking to so many people on the campaign trail.
“These local events are more than just carnivals and benefit spaghetti suppers. They’re an opportunity to give people handbills and ask for a vote. In an election year, these happenings are one of the best ways to truly find out what is on the hearts and minds of families, friends and neighbors. No poll or political advisor can tell you as much as you’ll find out over a plate of fish at a fire hall. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Angel Kane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.