How I lost respect for Judge A.J. Wagner

I was collecting signatures door-to-door tonight on Stonemill Road. Lots of city employees over that way. Some very nice people.

Then I knocked on Judge AJ Wagner’s door. According to the voter registration list, there are 5 registered voters that live there (and only 2 are named Wagner- does this make it an illegal rooming house?).

A.J. answered the door. I joked about the rooming house- and asked him to sign my petition. This isn’t verbatim, but pretty close:

AJ: I’ve already signed one.

Me: You are allowed to sign two, since two seats are open.

AJ: No, I think you’re wrong about that.

Me: Nope, I know the law- there are two seats open, you can sign up to two petitions.

AJ: No, you’re wrong.

Me: No, you are allowed to sign two- did you sign Joey and Nans?

AJ: Yes.

Me: Well, are there any other registered voters at home? The list has five of you.

AJ: Just my wife.

Me: It’s cold out here, any chance of getting a signature?

AJ: No, we’re eating dinner.

Me: So, why didn’t you just say you weren’t willing to sign and help me out? Don’t you want to see people on the ballot?

AJ: You supported Joy Clark against me.

Me: I what?

AJ: Good night- closes door.

If you don’t want to sign, say so. Don’t give spineless excuses. Don’t pretend to be friendly to someone for years, while harboring some deep resentment. And, don’t make assumptions that your wife doesn’t want to sign either. The days of wives as chattel ended with the 19th amendment in 1920.

Lastly- I vaguely remember Joy Clark. I doubt I ever supported her. However, you can rest assured that I’ll always remember this exchange tonight.

Access to the ballot is part of the democratic process. It gives the people to vote for or against people. It stimulates debate. It is democracy in action. I should realize that Montgomery County Democratic pogues like AJ Wagner still believe the decisions on who should be elected belong to their secret committee that meets behind closed doors (note, his name appears as a sponsor of one member- Douglas G Dempsey).

I’ve never turned a person down who has asked for the right to run. It’s up to the voters to decide who should represent them, at least, that’s what I grew up believing.

Judge Wagner thinks it’s up to him instead of you. Remember that next time you see his name on the ballot.

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