Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Trashing of a Great Public Servant: Ray Samson Deserves Our Support

When a politician in urban areas gets elected, he or she is sought after by numerous corporations and organizations. This is especially true when said politician is appointed to a leadership position. All want to appoint this new leader to one of their boards and such positions are almost always ones that pay well.

The above is all the more true if the appointment comes from an organization that the politician in question has a history of actively supporting. The matter is simply viewed as a way of bringing strong talent and leadership to the appointing organization.

The process routine and no one questions it. Elected officials are viewed as being among the best briefed on civic affairs and local economic conditions and the most in touch with diverse issues facing their communities just by virtue of their research staff and constant contact with community leaders.

The routine nature of these appointments makes it shocking, never mind hypocritical, for large metropolitan newspapers to harpoon former Speaker Ray Samson over his appointment to the board of a local college. This is especially true given the fact the by and large, such appointments are made to corporate boards at a far higher salary, not to a local non-profit college that also services the Air Force.

Ray Samson is one of the most dedicated and noble public servants in the nation. He is a strong supporter of military training programs and supports educational programs for our troops. His community affiliations include the University of West Florida, the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, the American Heart Association and the YMCA Corporate Board. I can see why liberals have a problem with him, as ACORN is noticeably missing from this list. But to all thoughtful people, his broad affiliations are a reflection of his high level of community involvement.

His dedication to education is well known to all who’ve come across him in any professional capacity. As Northwest Florida State College is his local college, he dedicated himself to furthering its programs. And yes, given his strong belief in education, he allocated funding to that college, as he did with every other major college or university throughout the state. Furthermore, Northwest Florida State College operates full time educational centers at two Air Force bases in the region.

The papers that maliciously harpooned him wrote that had the college instead pretended to open the job to everyone and then rig the process for Samson, they would have seen nothing wrong with that. They fault Samson and the college for having been open and transparent throughout the process. Their arguments against him are as ridiculous as they are vindictive.

The fact that Samson allocated the funds well before he was appointed Speaker and well before such an appointment seemed to be in the cards for him, should prove that there was no malfeasance on his part. But leave it to the media to twist the story and try to destroy a man who has worked tirelessly in support of our military and for the benefit of his community.

Ray Samson believes strongly in education. Already affiliated with another university board and those of other non-profits, a local college appointed him to an advisory position. Liberal newspapers have harpooned a long time supporter of military education. We do not need to follow suit. In fact, we as citizens should be outraged by the ridiculous double standard that they have shown.

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