Didn’t make it to Andy Rusk’s kickoff party last night? It’s cool. We were there, and here’s what we think you need to know.
- Attendance was good; we’d say upwards of 50 or 60 folks.
- Heidi Davison was there. Awkward! Or at least it could have been, given that most of Andy’s platform is based on criticism of the current local government. We give Andy props for sticking to his guns and his platform, and not getting rattled with the Mayor sitting some ten feet away. We also give the Mayor props for showing up. That’s about all we’re going to say on that front, given that Mayor Davison’s presence will probably be the big story when the ABH gets around to writing this up.
- Best Rusk line of the night: “Lewis Holloway [member of the Poverty Task Force and local school superintendent] is quoted in the paper as saying, ‘We don't know what it's like to not have a car.’ Well, it sucks.”
- Andy was good at criticizing Davison’s government, but he didn’t come out swinging as hard against Tom Chasteen as we would have liked.
- The phrase “barnyard epithet” is becoming as ubiquitous in our local political discourse as “hanging chad” was about five years ago on the national scene. For what it’s worth, Andy kept the cussin’ to a minimum, and only said “bullshit” once, in reference to the smoking ban.
But all of that is more or less irrelevant, really. Here’s what you really, really need to know. Andy Rusk is a serious candidate. We were of two minds on Andy Rusk 24 hours ago. From the standpoint of our work putting this blog out, we liked him. He’s entertaining, and not afraid to say what he thinks. But we weren’t terribly sure that he wasn’t just a vanity candidate. To be honest, we kind of thought that he was running for Mayor as some sort of joke.
We were wrong.
Andy Rusk knows his stuff. He’s smart, personable, and, based on a long conversation with him and some other members of the Athens New Media Collective, he has studied the issues, and indeed, probably knows more about things than some of our Commissioners do. As voters, we’re not locked into Andy Rusk yet; it’s still far too early. But know this – the guy is serious, convincing, passionate, and he’s got a vision for Athens. As he puts it, he’s not running for Mayor as much as he’s applying for a job. A job that he thinks he can do damn well.
We’re not so sure he’s wrong about that.