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When our Representative fails to represent

Editorial by Chad Hobbs

 One theme which has emerged quite often in my writing revolves around calling attention to those throughout our community who are experiencing some level of pain, suffering or injustice. Unfortunately, by bringing light to one person’s pain, it often causes someone else a different kind of pain on the oppisite side of the fence. The truth hurts sometimes. The ire of local politicians was a facet of this job I had to come to grips with right off the bat. Oh, how they love praise, but when reporters fail to constantly spew rainbows and cotton candy their way, it doesn’t take long for the accusations to begin that we are biased, lying, incompetent, trashy idiots who are out to destroy outstanding public servants with our propaganda.  Well, I learned a long time ago that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Also, if you’re going to give it out, you better be able to take it. Regardless of what is said, I sleep well at night, knowing that I do what I do in hopes of making our community better, and that what I say is well researched, not tin foil hat wearing nonsense I hatch up in my parents’ basement. If you are going to be a public servant, whether it be as a reporter or a politician, you had better have thick skin, because you will never make everyone happy. Always trying to do the right thing is all you can control.  The current pandemic we now find ourselves in has resulted in two dominant schools of thought. One group animatedly contends our society should continue with the current “stay safe at home” model and follow Governor Beshear’s lead. The other group feels that we need to open the economy back up, take our chances, and get back more towards the way life was before this virus.  I personally find merit in certain parts of both sides of the argument, and as with most hot-topic issues, I do not think the truth or what is best can be found in the extremes of either contingency. Compromise and the middle ground are usually where the best real estate can be found, in my humble opinion.  There are a lot of people who are very anxious, fearful and worried in both camps. One side fears physical death, and the other side fears financial death. In such an atmosphere, the people need united political leaders working together, despite their differences, towards the common good of all, not showboats or partisan civil wars.  Last Monday and Tuesday, I watched Brandenburg Mayor Ronnie Joyner and his City Council along with Judge Executive Gerry Lynn and his Magistrates respectively live stream both groups’ monthly meetings with all members separated, but connected via internet on screens for all to see. Outside the standard business of those meetings, a message of hope, faith, and solidarity was put forth from those leaders to the community.  Despite differences I have had with a few of them, my hat is off to them all for their leadership during this precarious time we all find ourselves in, regardless of which school of thought we fall into. They practiced what is being preached, displayed a united front, and did what they could to turn down the temperature a little on a pressure cooker full of emotions that is about to boil over.  Then came Wednesday and enter stage left, our state representative Nancy Tate. That evening I began receiving copies of video footage of Tate sharing a handheld microphone with protestors at the State Capitol. She wasn’t wearing a mask or gloves or paying any regard to social distancing. Many of her constituents back home, however, can’t even attend funerals for loved ones because final fairwells are considered too risky. After reviewing it, doing some background research on the event, and writing an editorial piece to go with it, I released it on the Messenger’s Facebook page. The following morning, the Meade County School District released a statement after receiving an abundance of calls from concerned parents due to Tate’s alleged volunteer work, passing out meals at local schools. My colleague reached out to both Superintendent Bill Adams and Rep. Nancy Tate for clarifications and comments. Tate, as usual, refused to comment or clarify anything, and instead waited until Friday to make a public statement on her own page, while crying foul at the Messenger for our coverage. “Some reporters think it is their job to make the news versus report the news,” stated Tate, in regards to our reporting. Well Mrs. Tate, I am not in that video and neither are any of my colleagues. It is just you and your “acquaintances.” So, please don’t be so humble. You not only deserve but also get all the credit for this story, not us. The fact that 14,300 people have viewed that video speaks not only to the fact that it was news worthy, but also to the fact that we, here at the Messenger, are dedicated to telling the whole story not just one side of it. That is why I released the video of you at work on the taxpayers’ dime so they, not I, could decide for themselves what they think of your hard work. Now I have spoken with quite a few nurses and doctors who work at various hospitals in our region about this little video and your claim that there is some kind of “virus communicable standard of 30 minutes” for contact. Despite the fact that many of them have treated and cared for COVID-19 patients, not one of them had a clue where you got that information from, but they all agreed that for a government leader to insinuate that a person must be in contact for 30 minutes to catch a virus from someone is preposterous. One individual who works at a hospital in Louisville and has treated patients that tested positive for this virus stated, “ I don’t know what is more reckless, her grabbing a microphone from someone with no protection or telling people it takes 30 minutes to catch any virus, especially this one.” One of the most unsettling remarks Mrs. Tate has made in the fallout of this all, at least in my eyes, is the fact that she publicly insinuated that myself and my colleagues are sadists. I consider myself to have a fairly large vocabulary, but in the 100,000’s of thousands of words I have probably penned in my lifetime, that particular word I have never used before in my lifetime. Being the fair and accurate reporter I strive to be, I had to turn to Mr. Webster for clarification on exactly what Mrs. Tate was accusing me of. I find it beyond appalling and quite disturbing that someone who has been elected to represent Meade and Northern Hardin Counties on the state level would accuse a newspaper of “deriving sexual gratification from the infliction of physical pain or humiliation on another person.” I’ve been accused of a lot of things in life and often rightfully so, but there is good reason why no one has ever accused me of being a sadist now that I fully understand the accusation. Tate said, “I would love to open up the conversation about Chad Hobbs and his leadership skills but will save that opportunity for another platform.” First of all, I chose to be a reporter Mrs. Tate and YOU chose to be the leader. So here’s my two cents on your leadership skills, and since I am a registered republican, catholic, and personally against abortion as I made evident at the March for Life I attended just a few short years ago as a chaperone for the youth group I was a leader of, please spare me all the accusations that this is propaganda to support my politics and beliefs. Mine are the same as yours at our cores. So if th