In all of my years of campaigning for candidates, I have never come across a more dedicated and hard-working individual as I have with Lewis Blanchard.
I worked as Clay Whittle's campaign manager back in 1995 and again in 1996. When Lewis contacted me to discuss his potential candidacy, I was truly amazed at the ideas, research and his vision for improving the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. I told him it would be one of the most difficult challenges in his life due to the political environment and system in Columbia County. His reply was, that if it was the right thing to do and in the best interest of Columbia County, he was going to challenge incumbent Clay Whittle.
I remember him saying that win or lose, it would greatly improve Columbia County because it was obvious that the sheriff had become complacent, was not in touch with the citizens and was spending money within his budget very unwisely.
I began speaking with various individuals about Lewis, including deputies within the Sheriff's Office, friends, family and his employees. After deciding Blanchard would be the best choice for sheriff of Columbia County based on his leadership abilities, work ethic, principles and strong desire to serve his community, I decided that I would be a part of his campaign. As the campaign began, Lewis needed a campaign manager and upon his request, I took on the task. ...
I told Lewis to buckle up and get ready for a bumpy road, because as you begin to gain momentum and the race becomes close, you will be the victim of personal attacks. Lewis has been accused of owning a restaurant and bar although it was sold almost two years ago...
He has been accused of not being the first public safety director of the Columbia County school system, although he has credentials from the school system along with many letters from various superintendents over the years addressing him as such.
He has even been accused of not being a real Blanchard and trying to use his name to get ahead in politics. Well, as Lewis put it, when his mother married Joe Blanchard when he was 5 years old and Joe raised him over the years, the one person no one had better say that to is Joe Blanchard, because that is his father and he is a Blanchard.
Through all of this, Lewis has taken the high road and stuck with the issues of the campaign. ... He believes ... the sheriff should be accountable and accessible to the citizens. He has plans to improve the agency by eliminating wasteful spending, reducing the supervisor-to-officer ratio, doubling the vice and narcotics unit, starting a drug interdiction unit again, answering phone calls from citizens and advancing technology....
We need progressive leadership for a progressive county. We need a sheriff who has law enforcement, public safety and business experience, as well as leadership qualities to manage an agency with a $15 million budget. We need to make sure that Lewis Blanchard is elected as our sheriff on July 20.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.