Big Bill’s a Shoe-in for Councilor, Look at the Crowd That Showed Up!

Who’s gonna beat Bill Dwight in the race for city councilor at large? Nobody! It was evident tonight as I joined a throng who gathered at the Florence Community Center to kick off his campaign to get back the office he once held, along with his regular gig working in a video store and doing a part-time radio show. The radio show may be history but hey–this guy is beloved!

He posts some photos on Facebook and more than two dozen people weigh in with praise, and he puts out a notice that he’s kicking off his campaign and voila, a huge crowd surges forth. Heck, even I drove down from Deerfield, and I could care less who runs the city. It’s just that he’s a phenom, people are fans, people used to love him on the radio, and he’s a good guy with good aspirations. If a political fundraiser has cachet, I gotta hand it to the guy whose name will be on the ballot. He makes these events cool.   I had to check it out, and I saw a lot of my friends down there.

Bill got up to the mike to talk, admittedly humbled by this big turn-out, wondering aloud as to why all of these people were here. He told a story about when he was councilor last time, and the prospect of Wal-Mart coming to town “made him reach for his pitchfork, to rouse the citizens against it.”

Yet he then did something few politicians really do well…he went out and talked to people in the neighborhood; in Hampshire Heights, in Florence, and in areas around where the big store would be located. “I found that people really did have no other options to shop in a discount store…there was nothing left downtown. Teppers, gone, Woolworth’s gone, and there sat a shell of a store that was once Caldors. So what I realized was that this was the right place something the city needed, and Wal-Mart kept it the same size, and the truth is it hasn’t cannibalized the downtown…it’s made it stronger.”

Here’s to a big guy who tells it like it is. Yes, even to those in the audience who would never set foot in a Wal-Mart, Dwight was speaking the truth. A politician who listens, is optimistic about how wonderful a city of such diversity can be, and who is a regular guy…hey, he’d get my vote if I lived in his district.