The political process is daunting. From every angle, it is both captivating and nauseating for people of all political affiliations. I can’t imagine there is a person out there who is so enthralled with their own political party that they don’t grimace from time to time at the mudslinging and political ad nonsense that their parties produce. This year’s election brings a mixed bag of the possibility of the first woman president and an unprecedented movement on behalf of a billionaire reality tv star. Whichever side of the line you fall on, this year’s election can be described as both an all-time historic era and also as an embarrassing moment in electoral time and possibly both might be true.
So what beckons rational people to join the rat race, give up their quiet lives and jump head first into the political arena? For some it may be a natural off-shoot of heading college debate teams and owning a pension for running up the corporate ladder, while others were walking, choosing the path of leadership as a natural next step. For others, it is outrage at the status quo and red tape that they’ve grown tired of seeing. Some people are pushed onto the political scene by well-meaning loved ones and friends who see the ability to communicate that they find appealing and unifying. And for others, a long lineage of family members serving the masses and speaking up for the good of all is planted in their young minds and blooms when the time is just right.
For North Port resident Chris Hanks, running for a commission seat, a combination of patriotic pride and ties to one of America’s founding fathers pre-positioned him to help his community and neighbors any way he could. He says that his lineage provides a family relation to Abraham Lincoln and that has always been in the back of his mind as a special link to history. Add in the fact that his grandfather was a decorated soldier and retired colonel who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam and you have the makings of a line of civil servants. Chris grew up spending summers helping his grandfather on his farm and learned that a hard day’s work never hurt anybody. As a third generation tradesman, he takes pride in the years he hauled lumber and worked at construction sites before becoming a general contractor himself.
Hanks lives in North Port with his wife and three children and recognizes similar desires for North Port’s growth and expansion when he frequently visits with the public. With a median age of 41 and being the most populous city in Sarasota County, North Port is a diverse community that continues to attract new businesses to accommodate a growing population. Hanks foresees a more diverse representation on the City Commission and hopes to add a youthful element, as he is a member of the under 30 sector. He thinks his old-fashioned roots, deep seated civic convictions and vision for a family-friendly community have added an appeal to the local politics this year. Chris Hanks is running for North Port Commissioner, District 2. For more information on Chris Hanks or to view his specific views, please visit www.chrishanks2016.com.
As we venture into the depths of summer, nearer to that second Tuesday in November, yet seeming so far away, we will first enjoy the freedom of. For so many brave individuals, this has meant the supreme sacrifice of self or loved ones in order to retain America’s liberty and to provide her lucky residents the freedoms they so enjoy. Participating in the election process, supporting another’s right to do so, and actively voting, even in the local elections is not just a freedom but an obligation. And in an age of shock news and campaign smearing, let’s celebrate the local folks like Chris, and many others, who are deciding to participate despite the many reasons that seem prohibitive to many of us. We would like to showcase other local individuals, of all political affiliations, who have unique stories to tell on why they will participate in this year’s political elections. If you have recommendations, please let us know.
Photos: I Voted Today by Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr, commercial use allowed
American Flag by Mike Mozart on Flickr, commercial use allowed