04/26/04 — OPINION -- Making them happy

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OPINION -- Making them happy

By Gene Price
Published in News on April 26, 2004 1:58 PM

Making them happy

The setting was a political function at the home of Phil and Margaret Baddour. Erskine Bowles was the guest of honor.

Jack Best, Bud Gray, "Cousin" Atlas Price and I were sharing thoughts on the rewards and sacrifices of serving in public office. Mine, of course, was limited to being a state Wildlife Resources commissioner for a couple of decades. But Cousin Atlas has had an extensive career as county commissioner and as a member of the board of education.

Jack and Bud are in their first campaigns for county commissioner.

I assured Bud, who is in my district, that he could be absolutely assured of my vote -- "at this time." Bud thought about it briefly and then was both pleased and pained to observe that "at this time" he was unopposed.

I cautioned Jack and Bud that the sacrifices of public office often exceed the rewards.

Then Atlas offered a sage observation: "But in the long run, you can be assured that you will make everybody happy."

"Everybody? How do you figure that, Atlas?" I demanded.

"Well," the veteran commissioner responded, "there are those who are happy you were elected and are serving. And then there are the others who will be happy when you leave!"

Reassuring, of course. But perhaps not quite as reassuring as Jack and Bud had hoped.